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Playing different gender characters

May 16, 2010

I’m totally fine with it. Many people pick what they pick purely based on Aesthetics. For example, in most people’s opinion, female Night Elves offensive and omni cast animations are much better looking than the male’s animations. The girl balances delicately as she casts and throws out spells like throwing a basket-ball. The male’s animations look like they’re trying to singe their fringe off (offensive) or are in serious need of a chiropractor (omni).

My own personal team of characters is 3 female, 6 male. I made the choice at the time of creation based on what I thought worked. Some people take offence at others character choices, whether it be for race or gender reasons. I don’t pick female characters because I think I’m a girl, or have a deep desire to be one. I pick them based on how they look compared to my other options available.

In most games for consoles that involve choosing a character, you will have a set of predetermined figures whose story you follow. Sometimes the game requires you to play as a the brawny male lead, sometimes as the courageous female heroin. Just because one picks that character to play as, doesn’t mean it undermines anything about said person. Similarly, just because one chooses to play as Male Troll Tank over a Female Troll Tank is a decision entirely up to you. The female trolls have somewhat bizarre and limited tanking animations, whereas the males have wild swings with their long arms. One may be more comfortable with either.

I went out and did some research on this (gasp) and will quote a few opinions from the MMO-Champion forums, showing the how people think differently when they come to pick their character.

For a few reasons. The first is purely for variety.  The second is because I think some gender/class/race combos favour either male or female. The third is for gear; I’ve never been a fan of armour on male trolls so my shaman is female.

I think of a name first. If it’s a female-sounding name, I create a female char, else a male one.

I was gonna write a story about how much I disliked looking at a man in a dress who was clearly on steroids. But instead, I will stun you all with the following comment: “I made my Mage a girl, because I can.”

I grew up as a kid in the 80s, I had enough male protagonists in my media (books/tv/movies/video games) to last a lifetime. Nowadays I generally pick a female character for style purposes. I think the only male characters I have at the moment are undead, blood elf, and maybe a tauren. The steroid-junkie look just doesn’t do it for me.

In general, females have the better casting animations, males have the better melee animations. I pick gender based on the class I’m rolling.

So there you have it. An often used argument is ‘I don’t like to play as the guys because they have huge bulging muscles and look ridiculous.’ A rather interesting inverse version of that is one a past girlfriend of mine used. She always played as male characters; male Tauren, Blood Elves and Trolls. When I questioned her on this, she replied that the females in the game all look hyper-sexualised to her, and she’d rather have an avatar that looked powerful and interesting rather than something scrawny with a massive chest. I think that’s fair enough.

Just play what you like to play! It’s as much your decision as what clothes you put on in the morning. Your avatar is not you, and people assuming everyone who plays a girl is a girl and guy is a guy obviously hasn’t been a MMO player very long.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 6:56 am

    Funny you post this just as I decide “SCREW THIS” to my all-girl cast and create a male dorf priest. Because due to the Iron Boot Flask, I fell in love with the male dorf casting animation. I normally roll girls because I am one (it just feels natural) but when I go male, it’s usually because of the toon’s animations.

    Had an acquaintance who plays a male troll because she likes the dance animation better than the female troll.

    I already have a shaman, and I actually like her as draenei, but I might have to roll another male dorf caster come Cataclysm. <..> Two ele / resto shamans? Maybe?

    • Zal permalink*
      May 16, 2010 8:07 am

      Heh, spooky. Dwarf’s healing animation is awesome, their offensive one is ok, but I can’t help thinking that once they can be mages that animation would make their beard set on fire. And there’s no harm in trying a new shaman if you’ve already got one, I have a 60 mage and I plan to start one from scratch. It’s gonna be such a different leveling experience in Cataclysm with the new quests in the old world, masteries, new abilities and talents etc that I think it’s worth trying something new.

      • May 16, 2010 9:31 am

        True. It’s more I just recently finished (power)leveling my shaman, so the leveling experience is still fresh in the head.

        It’ll probably end up as my Elune shaman, since my current shaman is on Eonar. Different servers or different factions (but I already play mostly Alliance) is about the only way I can tolerate having multiples of the same class, for odd reasons unknown to me.

  2. May 16, 2010 6:58 am

    There are a bunch of interesting thoughts on character gender in this thread in the Single Abstract Noun forums.

    • Zal permalink*
      May 16, 2010 8:08 am

      Awesome, I’ll give it a read. Thanks

  3. May 16, 2010 11:19 am

    I tried playing a male Tauren once and felt uncomfortable playing a male character, so I always play the girls personally.

    Dan’s characters are almost all female these days, his Druid is a man cow but otherwise all girls.

    I can think of a couple of bloggers who are female and prefer male characters. Some do it because they prefer the animations, the looks, and I always remember the age old reason behind it: they receive much much less attention ingame.

    • Zal permalink*
      May 16, 2010 11:37 am

      Hah, the attention thing made me swap Katastrophe from a girl to a guy. Lecherous horde folk! I never had the same trouble on my priest who was nearly identical though. /shrug

      • May 16, 2010 8:37 pm

        Odd, from my experience, female Priests are more likely to be girls than female DKs. Though honestly, I don’t notice myself getting too much attention. Tiny bits when I join new guilds and speak on vent for the first time, but it’s not something I mention outside of that situation and generally, everybody ingame is assumed to be a guy anyway so, pretty safe :p


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