the Renegade predicts The Colts shall be triumphant.
Archive for February 7, 2010
Ah yes, now back to a subject near and dear to my heart: being a female gamer. I have been one of these for many years now, and by in large I enjoy it. Okay, understatement- I freakin’ love it…spent my snowed in day- 12 hours of it roughly- playing CoX. Anyway… A few weeks ago I was told by someone who plays WoW that within their guild (mixed gender, more males than females, but a good percentage of women) that there had been a lot of discussion about women gamers. Now, I do not play WoW, but the conversation and topics could pretty much be applied to any MMORPG. Two topics seemed to rise to the forefront in this one:
1) Why do women play male characters?
2) Why are there seemingly very different styles of play when comparing male gamers to female gamers?
Course, you knew I was gonna jump all over that, right?
First it amused me that dudes, who often play women characters, would wonder why females play male characters and have such a stunted and one sided view on the whole thing. I mean, apparently according to the WoW dudes, this is really basic: Men play women cause women are hot, and women play men because, you know, they wish they were tougher and stronger and stuff….
Now riddle me this- isn’t a monty macked out kick ass tank tough regardless of gender?
But anyway…that seemed to be the whole depth of their thinking there- which made me laugh. Sure enough, I play some dude characters. Most of mine are women, but yep, dudes present. Now, I am a big fan of the “if you are gonna have to stare at an animated ass for five hours, might as well be one you like” theory, but it goes way, way beyond that. See, I happen to know a lot of female gamers myself, and in speaking with them and all…there are a whole host of reasons a woman might play a male character…lets roll with that…
1) If playing a dude, one is far less likely to be have their avatar hit on.
2) If playing a dude, and not on a chat tool where people can hear you, they will assume you are a dude and take you seriously.
3) In real life, you are female 24-7, so it is fun to create and be something different.
4) Heheh, different costume options!
5) Sometimes, it is just fun to play a dude character.
Now, I am not going to deny that there is some validity to the WoW crews mentality. By in large, women are smaller, physically weaker, and more often to be victimized in various ways than men are…so in a fantasy setting….well, maybe some women DO have the desire to be men because of that- I mean, even in gaming, female avatars can be treated rudely in an unwanted way by male players/ avatars. I mean, it is one thing (in my game of choice) for a male villain to tell a female hero she sucks and he is going to kick her ass…. that’s villain/hero smack talk. It is another thing for a male avatar to make unwanted and crude statements to a female avatar he does not know from Adam. A lot of women put up with that shit in real life, so in game…they don’t want to. And in groups of people who play together often, well, with some folk this is more acceptable. It’s a matter of comfort. I mean, I have male characters who say horrible things to female characters, and female characters who say horrible things to male characters, and I am one half of the twisted brain trust behind one of the most vile and infamous Villain Groups on our server …but I am PLAYING my Character (usually a villain)- people know that- and they know who I am as a player…. and so far as I know, in my main CoX lunatic posse…I’m one of two women. Everyone else? Dudes…and guess what…they are awesome players. I floor them with shit I say and the way I play. And never once has this crew made me feel uncomfortable or off as a woman gamer, no matter if I am playing a dude like Maverick Six, or a gal like Roxanne Black. Within good Super/Villain/Guild groups…. you know, I am not sure such things are always an issue. But just out there in game world in general…hell, I am not surprised a lot of women play men, whether it be for the staring at an animated ass factor or countless others.
The second theory- the style in which women play- I have to say I have seen to be true. A lot of women gamers (not all, but a lot), tend to play “back up” characters. They are necessary for good teams, but yeah- healers, buffers/debuffers, non-aggressive types. It has been pointed out to me by the wise Dead Vladimir that often these women might be women who game because their men folk game and not…er…gamer girlz…but I know some pretty hardcore gamer women who do tend to fall into these rolls. I have also been told by a couple people that it is not only for my foul language and…er…charming personality that a lot of folk who don’t know me in real life assume I am…a dude gamer. Things like I prefer to play massive damage dealer/up front/meat shield types of characters- some in full tactical gear and some in not much at all- of both genders. It’s because I will jump fearlessly (and sometimes suicidally) right into the middle of a fight, that I love drawing and holding aggro, that I do not mind dying- that, well, I love smash mouth slash and burn style gaming. And even my healer/buff/debuff types will jump right in the middle of it. Hell, even in our once in awhile D&D game…guess who the axe-wielding fighter is? Apparently, this is not so common in gamer world. Oh yeah, and because many of my CoX characters have non-gender specific names like D-Day, Black Sunday, Phreak Drive, Obsidian McKnight, Maverick Six, Shining Express, Upsilon Black, Operative Twitch, Flashpoint…so on, so forth- people assume I might be a dude. One has no idea, by name alone, if those characters are male or female…which apparently is a dude gamer thing (hahaha, hell, people in blog world assumed I was a dude for the moniker Renegade Evolution…its my curse!) So, I wondered about this for awhile…
And came to the following conclusions. Get ready for this- big feminist analysis for the month- I think a lot of women, “gamer girlz” or women who game because their men game, play these types of non up front aggressive characters because one: women are not supposed to be aggressive, and two, are socialized to “fix things” and keep things calm and help people- to ahem, be caretakers. Whereas dudes? Not so much. They are supposed to fight and win and protect (which trust me, if you are a meat shield, you are a meat shield so other people do not get hurt-well, hero-wise anyway). Playing non-hyper aggressive/tactically brilliant killing machines (hero or villain or…er… alliance or horde or whatever) is perhaps a socialized thing. Holy shit, imagine that? Playing caretakers…well…it is.
And as I said below, I am poorly socialized ;)
Be that as it may…I will say this, in all of my years of CoX play, the best “Hi, I am here to fuck your shit up” player I know of, ever, as any character they play?
Woman. And she ain’t me. I am a mere plebe compared to her ass-kickery. In fact, she whacked one of my toughest characters like 13 times in PvP!
Okay, gamer women, what say you???