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Posts with tag women

The joke is on women in Blizzard's April Fool's gag

Though Blizzard doesn't always treat female characters with as much respect as I'd like, where big game companies are concerned they usually do okay -- heck, the fact that you can play a female character at all puts them ahead of a lot of the gaming industry. But Blizzard doesn't have a particularly spotless record, with sexist NPCs, more sexist NPCs, sexual dimorphism, the lack of women in game lore, and the fact that Aggra won't be heading to Draenor in Warlords -- not to mention the fact that Chris Metzen described the journey as "more of a boy's trip" at BlizzCon. The fact that Blizzard does all of this and I still think of them as doing okay speaks to the exceedingly low standards women have where it comes to inclusion in video games.

And in today's April Fool's gag, the joke's on us with the new female draenei models. Today's draenei are the most sexually dimorphic of the lot, with male models that are extremely muscled and female models that are slender -- but still heavy on the cleavage (seriously, they must have so many back problems). Releasing this so-called ugly draenei model as a joke -- though it might have been intended to poke fun at the gamers who insist on sexualized game characters -- just says outright that any women who aren't the height of perfect beauty are a joke.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Love, raiding, and everything in between: how women are taking charge in WoW

A recent article in the UK Times has shed a rare, positive light of an undeniable facet of online gaming -- finding that special someone via an MMO. It also mentions the undeniable fact that when you get a bunch of socially awkward guys on Vent, then throw a girl or two in, it might lead to a few problems.

So, here we have it, folks -- in this new age of gaming, more and more women are picking up the controller, or sporting a mean WASD. What do the guys think?

They think it's perfectly okay.

Now, I'm not writing this to be sensationalist or to seek drama. I'm a bit of a feminist myself and having been a gamer since I was nine years old; I've seen my fair share of guys who "don't think you've got it." Or just because I have two X chromosomes I somehow can't pull some sweet DPS on a random heroic 5-man.

The times, they are a'changing. From the report:
"A Nielsen report published in 2009 found that women aged 25 and older make up the largest block of gamers in the United States, accounting for 54.6 per cent of all game play minutes in December 2008. For WoW, the male/female ratio is fairly balanced, with 428,621 women between 25 and 54 playing in December 2008 versus 675,713 men in the same age group.Another report suggests that in Britain women make up 48 per cent of total gamers who play online once a week."
It's believed that women have more fun with social gaming for the sheer fact that it's social. If you're running a 25-man, you need to be able to work together -- there's no room for ego or swinging your 'epeen' around. You need to be able to drop the macho-ism, smarten up and listen to your teammates.

Women also connect in ways when things are quiet. A thriving US guild, Got Girls, has bonded over everything from child-rearing, birthdays, relationships, and everything in between. Says member ShawnAnne Dixon:
"We celebrated a guild member's 21st birthday and a wedding recently. One of our members has a son getting ready to deploy to Iraq -- Got Girls has become a big part of her support system. We have truly become a family."
It's not always easy being a female gamer, especially in a very male-dominated gaming culture. I have heard of much less-forgiving people and guilds who make comments regarding our monthly cycles, certain body parts, personalities and the like. I think it's great that more women are playing the game -- giving some balance to the testosterone-laden playing field.

At this point, sometimes the best thing to do is to beat the guys at their own game.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

15 Minutes of Fame: Amazon grace, how sweet these guilds

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Why would players want to play only with others just like themselves? Members of special interest guilds tell us their groups allow them to play away from others who either inadvertently or purposely seek to harass or offend. GLBT guilds, Christian guilds (scroll down to Recruiting) and similar groups offer a haven for players seeking a peaceful place to hang out with like-minded souls. This week, we look at a new group that offers not one, not two, but three special interest guilds. The Goddess guilds of Nesingwary and Winterhoof, along with a brother guild also on Nesingwary, welcomes females - actual, physical females, not female characters - with a friendly, events-focused environment. We visited with long-time gamer and Goddess guilds founder Myredd to find out why so many women appreciate playing in a females-only environment.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Drama Mamas: Don't feed the trolls


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.

When is a troll not a troll? We can't answer that one for you (when he's a Goblin, instead? /shrug) – but we can definitely tell you when a non-troll actually is a troll: more often than you may oh-so-righteously imagine. Only two weeks ago, the Drama Mamas were reminding readers that you cannot "fix" other people. This week, we must add on to this principle: You may neither "fix" your fellow players, nor may you "beat" them. In fact, when you try to beat 'em, you join 'em. The Drama Mamas explain why.

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

The Queue: The Scantily Clad Edition

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Hello, everybody! I'm going to jump right into things today because I'm sure at least a dozen people will want to shiv me for my answer to our first question, and I'd like to give everyone time to do that.

Andrew R. asked...


"Why do the females in WoW always wear such scantily clad gear? I don't see how plate armor that exposes half your upper body will do you any good when someone wants to stab you. Isn't it kind of degrading to real women who play the game?"

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

This is your brain on PvP

Ars Technica has news of a new study that isn't directly World of Warcraft-related, but that does have some pretty obvious applications in Azeroth. By studying the way we play when we believe we're competing against a human and a computer opponent (PvP vs. PvE, in WoW terms), scientists have determined that different parts of the brain are more active when we think we're playing against a human opponent. They call this extra activity "mind-reading," but it's not that supernatural: when we think we're playing a human, we try to put ourselves in their place, and think what they're thinking.

It gets deeper: they even throw gender into the mix, and discovered that male brains seem to be working harder to do this kind of "mind-reading" of the other side. Their conclusion says that that's because women are naturally more empathetic, and thus don't have to work as hard to figure out what another person is thinking. That seems a little general -- it could also mean that the males care more about competition, and thus are working harder to "mind-read," or it could even just be a wrinkle of the way this data was gathered. More research is probably needed on that one -- if women are so great at figuring out their opponents, why aren't we seeing all-female teams winning Arena tournaments?

It would be interesting to know, too, whether there's increased activity in other areas, say pattern recognition or cause-effect centers of the brain, when we're playing against opponents that we know are computers. But this does tell us that there are definitely different skillsets at work when playing PvP or PvE, and why some people might very clearly enjoy one over the other.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, PvP, Raiding, Arena

Men are from the Horde, women are from the Alliance


Sanya Thomas continues a look into the demographics behind all of you World of Warcraft players -- last time around, we examined gender and how players measured up in the Bartle test (and crashed their servers -- sorry about that), and this time, it's all about the Horde and the Alliance, and why and when players choose a faction. No surprises until the very end -- the majority of players in game (though I swear it's become less of a majority since the game's launch a few years ago) choose Alliance, whether it's because of a "human bias," or just because they've usually been the heroes, and gamers tend to play with their friends.

But things get more interesting when you start putting classes and gender into the mix. Women are pushing the average on Alliance side (men even out around 58/42, but women prefer to "grab their sword and fight the Horde" at 65/35). And when you compare the classes to faction choice, as above, then the stats really start showing signs of life:clearly, women prefer Alliance Druids (and when you look at the Druid forms, there's no question why). You can see the Alliance/Horde separation in the Hunters (that's all those Night Elves), and you can see the gender separation again in the Priests. And the Warriors probably have the weirdest stats: Men play more Warriors overall, but the gender gap is even wider on the Horde side. While there are some women playing Horde Warriors out there (I know an Orc played by a female that will tank anything you can throw at her), Horde Warriors are much more likely to be men.

Very interesting. Keep in mind, as last time, that these gender numbers aren't character genders -- they're self-identified on the gamerDNA site, so we can be reasonably certain that we're looking at an (at least slightly) realistic stack of data here. There's probably lots more data to be explored, too -- it would be interesting to see what Blizzard knows about their players that we don't. What class, for example, logs in the most on any given week?

[via Massively]

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

UC Irvine studies differences between Chinese and US players

Our good friends at the OC (don't call it that) Register have an article up about how the University of California at Irvine has received a grant to study the differences between US and Chinese players of World of Warcraft. And the differences are fairly interesting: apparently US players use many more UI mods and addons than Chinese players do. Additionally, more Chinese players play the "more challenging version of the game" (seems like they mean PvP servers to us, though that may change with yesterday's big news), and Chinese players, say the researcher, tend to talk more about color schemes and architecture than American players. Finally, the demographics are fairly different -- here in the states, women make up 20 percent of the playing audience, and in China that number is almost halved. And while people here may play with parents or even grandparents, in China, the older generation isn't interested in the game at all.

These observations seem more to be based on anecdotal evidence of Chinese players in cafes more than anything else, but the study is just getting started, so maybe with some more research they can come up with some more solid numbers (or even more reasons) showing why this is the case. But it's interesting that inspecting how people play this game in two different countries can reveal something about the cultural differences between each.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

He Said/She Said: It's a man's WoW

Welcome to another edition of He Said/She Said where Amanda Dean and David Bowers take on some of the deepest gender issues in the World of Warcraft universe. This time we discuss the expectations of men and women in guilds and how WoW reflects the larger society.

Amanda:
I don't know how many times I've heard of women flirting their way into raids or excellent gear. Perhaps this happens in some cases, but these are the bad apples. I find myself growing kind of tired of the stereotype that girls can't play WoW. The truth is that many women play WoW, and many of us are very good at it.

Because of the stereotypes, A lady has to work considerably harder in a guild to earn respect. It's like being guilty of being a twit until proven otherwise.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, He Said She Said

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)

Voice-chat and women who play WoW

My wife, as I've stated several times, is an excellent player, one of the best hunters I've ever run with and has created in me a healthy respect for women who game. When we were both raiding, the biggest problem we had was that if she ever spoke in a raid, there was always someone who would hit on her until it was explained that she was engaged to and then married to the tank, and he would have no compunction about letting the mob come over and eat said person until such time as the supposedly funny come-ons stopped.

Fast forward a year to this post on wow_ladies and poster amalana asks if the new voice chat feature is giving other women who play the same kinds of experiences she mentions: running a PuG and the other players hitting on her as soon as they realize she's a woman. To be honest, I expected this. In my experience, WoW has the same ratio of jerks to decent folks as regular life, but something like John Gabriel's Theory always seems to come into effect and there's always someone in a PuG who feels comfortable making racist jokes or blindly hitting on someone based just on ten seconds of voice chat.

Have your experiences with the new voice chat feature been positive, or are you being subjected to crude commentary and unwelcome advances?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Odds and ends, Instances

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

Study says social games make people more social

Our good friends at Joystiq reported on a study earlier from Nottingham Trent University (it's in England) about MMO gamers and their social behaviors. And supposedly-- are you sitting for this one?-- massively multiplayer online games actually help people meet others and make friends. Go figure!

They surveyed 1,000 gamers (which is not a huge sample, actually), and found that almost half had actually met another player in real life, and one in ten developed "physical relationships" with someone they'd met in a game. 40% of people discussed sensitive issues with online friends rather than real-life ones, and 30% of players were attracted to another player. 80% of players also played not only with online friends, but with real-life friends and family as well. And according to the study, women were more likely to both be attracted to other players, and to eventually date them, and while women play for "therapeutic refreshment," men play for "curiosity, astonishment, and interest."

50% of respondents said World of Warcraft was their game of choice, so while the study was actually about MMO players, it's not a stretch to say it's just about WoW players (and pretty hardcore players, too-- average play time per week was 22.85 hours!). Like I said, 1,000 people is a pretty small sample, but apparently a journal approved it-- the study will be published in CyberPsychology and Behavior.

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

An open letter against a dysphemism

Elizabeth's post about getting the word "gay" out of the game got tons of feedback from you all (some comments more intelligent than others), and now a poster on WoW Ladies has another language sensitivity that I agree with. The word "rape" is used by some players in game for all kinds of things, and most of the time it's used without thought to what the word really means.

Personally I don't use it (not because I have a specific abhorrence of the word, although the act itself is pretty abhorrent), but every once in a while you'll hear things like "boy, our guild raped Hakkar last night," or "stupid elite Son of Arugal just came out of nowhere and raped me." The word for this kind of usage is actually "dysphemism," the opposite of euphemism, in which you specifically use a harsh word in the place of a more polite one.

And that's the problem-- just like "gay," it's not polite to use, not least of all because you may hardly know the person that reads it or their situation. In some cases, the word can be downright offensive. Fortunately, I don't know anyone (that I know of) who's experienced real-life rape or abuse, but especially in an MMO situation, there's no reason to use the harsher word, especially if, as Elizabeth said about "gay," it costs you respect (and possibly your account).

As the WoW Ladies contributor says, "realize there are a lot of women in guild, as well as a lot of married members and members with children. Realize that 1 in 6 women are raped in the US. Realize that each person in the guild is either female themselves, and/or has multiple loved ones and friends that are female. Realize that rape is a deeply traumatic experience, for the victim and their loved ones." Even if you're joking, or even if you didn't mean it that way, it's just not worth saying.

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

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