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Posts with tag male

All the World's a Stage: Anonymosity

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

Roleplaying is a journey of trust you take with strangers. You may now and then start out with a group of people you know in real life, but for the most part, the people you roleplay with have no idea who you really are, or why you are sitting here at the computer. You can tell them if you want to, but most people don't ask. Roleplayers tend to keep personal details private, and don't intrude on one another's space.

Besides, other roleplayers don't necessarily care that much about who you "really are" either. They're there to get to know your character, not you as a person, unless your character first makes a very good impression and they decide that they actually want to be friends as real people. Even though you respect each other as people who share the same interest, there's still a distance between you which either (or both) of you may wish to maintain.

And yet, the relationship you have is one of trust. It's not at all at the same level as a best friend of course, but you still have to trust one another in a very creative sense -- you rely on each other to create interesting things for your characters to share with one another. You're not just buying a shirt from a salesperson or holding the door for a passerby -- you're exchanging behavior and language in an unpredictable and totally interconnected way. Any little surprise a stranger brings to an interaction may completely alter the whole game session and stick in your mind as one of your most memorable gaming experiences. Roleplayers have to trust other roleplayers to help make those experiences positive, even without knowing anything at all about one another. Sometimes two characters can even become very close friends, even though the real people behind them do not.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Gender differences in armor

A few readers sent us this post over at Border House that has laid bare (heh) the oft-mentioned differences in armor between the genders in World of Warcraft. While there are some exceptions, in most cases, the exact same set of armor (like this chestplate above) shows up as much more skimpy on female characters than it does on male characters. To the point of absurdity in some places -- even plate leggings, designed to serve as solid protection to the legs, appear to be more like plate thong underwear on the ladies.

As Border House points out, this isn't just WoW's problem. Fantasy and sci-fi in general have been the domain of boys in the past (even if that is changing quickly), and the sexual depictions in the genre have reflected that, for both traditional and financial reasons. As I pointed out the other day, all of Blizzard's luminaries thus far have been men -- is it any surprise that the game is designed from a mostly male perspective? And as BH also says, fortunately, WoW has lots of different gear. If you don't like what your character is wearing, then you can find something else.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Drama Mamas: Time to man up

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we pretend to be a gender we're not. When we discussed boys playing girl characters before, we all pretty much agreed that it was cool as long as there was no deception involved. Roleplaying = yay. Experimentation = good. Hiding your true identity in a non-roleplaying environment = uh oh. Unfortunately, for One Big Liar, what began as experimentation and a wee bit of roleplaying evolved into a full-scale reputation for being a "real girl." Uh oh, indeed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Drama Mamas

Nielsen: WoW is most played core game by 25-54 females


Here's an interesting bit of info from the Nielsen folks: over 400,000 women are playing World of Warcraft in the US, which means it's the most-played "core" game for that gender. And even more interesting, females 25 years or older make up the largest block of PC game players overall, and they account for 54.6% of all gameplay minutes in December of last year. Girls don't just play WoW -- they're quickly becoming one of it's main demographics.

You can read the report in PDF form over here -- the chart above might be the most interesting piece of information, as it shows that though males still make up a huge part of the PC gaming audience, many of them have now moved on to consoles, and women (especially older women, over 25), during the last month of last year, are making up a huge audience for PC games. Later in the report, you can see what kinds of games women are really playing: Solitare, Freecell, Minesweeper, and all of those other little attention grabbers on every PC. But among those widespread casual games is our own World of Warcraft. And while the 25-52 male audience of 675, 713 for that game still remains larger than the female audience in the same demo, the ladies aren't far behind.

Neilsen also calculated some base stats for WoW, including the fact that 1.8 million unique people played the game, and the average time of gameplay per week was 744 minutes, just over 12 hours (slightly up from last year's average). Additionally, of those who play World of Warcraft, their second most-played game was Solitaire, followed by Warcraft III. Fascinating stuff. Remember that these are statistics, so they are more general trends than anything else, but it's definitely true World of Warcraft and PC gaming in general is no longer only the domain of the male demographic.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

Survey reveals what twinks are all about

This is interesting -- our friend Drayner over at Twinkinfo.com recently took a survey of his site's readers, and after picking up almost 1,000 replies, he's posted the results. They show a little bit of insight into the kind of person that plays a twink (a character maxed out at a certain level before 80, usually to run around in PvP battlegrounds). Specifically, they're male, under 21, play for 21-30 hours a week, think their gear rates a 5 out of 5, and are probably level 19 and in Warsong Gulch capturing flags. I'm not sure if that's suprising or not, but those are pretty safe majority votes, even given the smaller sample size of the poll.

Twink players are also more likely to not have more than one account, which kind of makes sense -- they only need one account and just have lots of characters on them. 66% of twinks are actually in twink guilds, and most have at least more than one twink to play around with. Hunters and Rogues top the class choices (though not with a clear majority at all). And perhaps most interesting, over 50% of twinks say Blizzard is serving them just fine -- they're not ignoring them, and they're not giving them any more love than other players. Still, as Drayner pointed out to us, about 36% of twinks said they'd leave the game if Blizzard shut them down with an additional 30% saying Maybe, so Blizzard does have a little incentive there to keep twinking happening.

Quite interesting -- twinks might be one of the only groups of players who are completely fine with how they're being handled in game. 2.3 obviously gave them lots of new items to play with, and while there is some frustration from other players, Blizzard has made it so easy to level that if you don't want to play with the twinks at 19, you can move on pretty quickly.

Filed under: Hunter, Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Alts

Breakfast Topic: To re-customize or not

Paid customization has come to the game, and with it, some big decisions for a lot of players. We've asked for a long time to be able to change our gender or look in the game, and now that we can, we have to decide if we will or not.

Personally, I'm torn -- way back when I first started the game, I created a female Night Elf Hunter, thinking along the old classic lines of "if I'm going to stare at someone's backside for hours and hours, it might as well be a woman." But since then, I've gotten a lot of flak for being a dude playing a female character, and since I've played all male characters since then, I think I better identify with male characters anyway, even if the view isn't as good.

But on the other hand, I'm used to my Hunter now -- she's looked the same for almost 80 levels, and it would be weird to suddenly see a Night Elf guy on the screen in her place. So I'm torn -- change my character to a male and make being social in game much easier, or stay the same and keep my character familiar to me?

What do you all think? Are you facing the same situation or is the choice easier (or even harder) for you?

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Interview with a Gnome Death Knight

We still have no idea who did the voice of the Headless Horseman, but if you're playing a male Gnome Death Knight lately, we know whose voice you've been listening to: Dino Andrade, recently interviewed by Geeks of Doom, a voice actor who's probably most heard as "Pop" of the Kellogg's Rice Crispies mascots. You can hear his reels and demos on his website, and sure enough, that's our Gnome.

Andrade says the Blizzard recording was "the most secretive thing I have ever done" -- they didn't show him anything visually about what the character was or did, and apparently he wasn't even allowed to take the script out of the recording room. Andrade also says that Blizzard is keen to let voice actors do their thing -- rather than giving direction, they let the actor come up with lots of their own reads, and then chose the one they wanted to use. It's almost hard to believe that Blizzard's voice acting is so good, given how hands-off they are (you'd think they'd aim to connect it with the art or animation in some way), but Blizzard fans know how well it works -- the voice characterisation in Blizzard games has always been terrific.

Very interesting -- while Blizzard's voices are one of the things that have really made their games successful, it's strange that they've never let us into the process more. Their sites are full of concept art and model designs, but it would be cool to hear an uncut recording session or find out exactly how voice recordings are integrated with the game. Maybe we'll see more on that in the future.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Jennicide: Male players "need to be more accepting of women ingame"

Allakazaham has posted an interview with "Jennicide," who, as we reported previously, is not only a poker player and Playboy poser, but plays World of Warcraft as well. Unfortunately, she doesn't sound all that into the game (she does claim to have raided during a poker match, which is pretty awesome if true), but she does make an excellent point about Blizzard's marketing: as cool as William Shatner and Mr. T are, their ads could use a little more feminine touch, and they could certainly acknowledge all the women playing this game a little better.

She also says that "guys need to be more accepting of women in game," and unfortunately she doesn't offer any solutions on how to make that happen, but it's good to hear someone say it -- just ask any girl who's been afraid to come on Ventrilo for fear that creepy guys will come out of the woodwork.

All in all, Jennicide sounds like she's got a good head on her shoulders (and she does actually win a few nerd points for playing The Realm). Maybe she's right -- more high profile female players might help turn the image of gender in game a little more close to equal.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

All the World's a Stage: If looks could kill

All the World's a Stage is a column for inquisitive minds, playing with roles every Sunday evening.

The media usually portrays WoW as a "boy's game." That's not to say girls don't play too, of course -- just that the game is basically about qualities such as aggressiveness and violence, and our culture expects males to be interested in that sort of thing.

Whether such a designation is true or not, the "masculine equals violent" stereotype is very pervasive, and it is natural for many male players to begin the game with a powerful and intimidating character in mind. The player may imagine that his avatar is warm and kind-hearted inside, but outwardly, his character looks as though he could rip out your throat with a flick of his pinky finger.

But there are many men out there who don't like such exaggerated manliness in their characters, just as there are many women who don't want their character to look like a dainty barbie doll. Being a person isn't just about just one gender attribute, after all. Indeed, female characters in WoW can achieve a full range of human attributes in their appearance; they can look friendly and intelligent, yet lightning quick and deadly at the same time. However, the appearance of male characters is often so filled to the brim with "strength and honor" that there's not much room left for any other human quality.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: It's not just about sexy butts

All the World's a Stage is a weekly column by David Bowers, investigating the explorative performance art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

Roleplaying the opposite sex happens. It is alluring to some, and repulsive to others -- a lot of people do it, while a lot of other people very openly proclaim (as if they know these things) that anyone who does this weird, manipulative, deceitful, and so on.

People also tend to come up with various excuses for why they play a character of the opposite sex, as if they need to justify themselves according to their own gender's traditional expectations. Some men say, "if I'm going to have to stare at a characters butt for hours while I play, I'd rather it be a hot and sexy butt," while some women say, "I get all kinds of unwanted attention if I play a girl, and the only way I can get away from it is to play a boy." All that may be true in some cases, but it's hardly the whole story behind opposite-gender roleplaying.

First of all, let me just say it here and now: you have every right to create whatever character you want, particularly in an actual roleplaying environment, and particularly if you intend to be faithful to the character you're creating.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Poll: More men play women than women play men

Perhaps brought on by the news that a Chinese MMO wants to reveal gender bending gamers, Cary posted a pretty interesting poll over on the WoW LJ, asking readers what their gender is and what sex they play as on their main character. The general consensus seems to be that most people play as their own gender, but overwhelmingly, more women play as their own gender than men. The poll itself seems a little off to me, as it's really pointless to compare the percentages given, but by crunching the numbers a bit (and please remember how bad at math I am), I get that 40% of men who answered play the game as women, while only 11% of women who answered play the game as men. Here's more data on this, that we've covered before.

Very interesting. We've touched on the reasons for gender bending in game a few times before, and there are all kinds of reasons why people play as characters of the opposite sex, from staring at an attractive behind to garnering more money and attention (or less attention) from other players, to roleplaying a character.

But really, none of that matters too much-- it's just a game, and for whatever reason, people are welcome to play it as they please. A better question might be how you refer to the gender of other players. I've gotten in trouble a few times here by referring to players on the forums (including CMs, way back when I started) as one gender when it turns out they're actually another, so eventually I just decided to call it how I see it: if someone plays a female character I call them "her," and a male character gets called "him." For people playing a different gender, sure, it might come off a little strange. But it comes with the territory, I guess, of pretending to be someone else for a while.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Azerothians vs. Earthlings: Oh the Humanity!


Newcomers to Azeroth are met with a choice as to which race they should choose. Undoubtedly, the most immediately recognizable and familiar choice is that of the humans. But are the humans of Azeroth really just Azerothian versions of us Earthlings, or are they better understood as a distinct species of their own?

The most obvious difference at first glance is that in Azeroth, all men are blocky and all women are curvy. Aside from various facial traits, hair and skin color, humans don't vary from this standard mold. Even in advanced age, Azerothian women's breasts do not sag, nor do men's muscles lose their beefy bulkiness. Some Earthlings have disparagingly compared Azerothian men to gorillas for their tree-trunk arms and their "smashed-with-a-shovel" faces, but others point out that Azerothian humans have been hardened through great suffering. Wars with orcs, demons and undead have reduced their population from millions to mere hundreds of thousands, and so the weak humans of Azeroth have possibly been weeded out. So, while many Earthling humans may enjoy the comforts of working at a desk all day, then coming home to play at a desk too (i.e. via computer game), Azerothians, even old ones, have to keep themselves fit to fight off the various enemies encroaching on their lands, such as murloc flesheaters and forsaken undead. While this may explain the over-muscled arms of Azerothian males, it leaves the question of youthfully curved elderly women quite unanswered.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor

Breakfast Topic: Gender in WoW

We've written about gender before, and it's an interesting topic that confronts one more frequently and more dramatically in WoW than it does in other parts of life. Azeroth is a sociologist's dream in several ways; I'm not even a sociology buff and I'd love to see some data on player vs. character demographics.

Do you play primarily your own gender or the opposite gender from your own, or do you play both genders pretty equally? Personally, I'm male, but I mostly play female characters. My other two RL friends who play WoW are male and female, but they both play mainly female characters as well. Furthermore, why do you play the gender(s) you do, and do you find that you get treated differently depending on what gender character you are playing?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Features

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