One of the predictions I made for Blizzcon 2013 was that, yet again, Blizz would do or say something stupid that would offend women, the LGBT community, or some combination thereof.

Unfortunately, they didn’t disappoint.

Actual Search term: "Warlords of Draenor Wankfest"

It was quickly noted by many that Warlords of Draenor appeared to be quite the sausage-fest.  There were one or two obviously female characters depicted in the trailer, but overall it was all about the bros, big hairy-chested man-orcs swinging axes and riding warg.

Given this presentation, it was easy for many in the audience to feel left out.

For sake of Consistency

This is a little difficult to unwind due to the nature of the expansion.

The story is that Garrosh steals Doc Brown’s DeLorean and goes back to Draenor to the point in time before Grommosh Hellscream drinks Fel blood, and somehow prevents that from happening.  Rather than fall into servitude to the Legion, the Horde becomes united as the Iron Horde.  They’re still gonna attack Azeroth, but now it’s at maximum strength.

WoD Warlords


Sidebar

Given the physical modeling of characters in WoW, it’s already established that male or female, Gnome or Orc, if there is a class that interests you, then sky’s the limit.  A female Warrior dual-wielding two giant chunks of iron on sticks – no problem. And thus, there is no physical reason for any of the major characters to be one gender over another.


Except the big "reason".

See, every one of these Orc clan leaders is a figure of Lore. They already ARE.  It’s obvious that Blizz wants to revisit these lore characters, and so "they must exist as they did in lore". And, unfortunately, these characters were created in less progressive times, when the testosterone-fueled character design studio was fixated on the Noble Savage trope1, so we got a big sausage-fest. 

And "we’re stuck with them."

James Cameron calling on Line 2, Mr. Matzen

Give me a break

Actually, that’s a bit of a cop-out. "We already haaaad them, so we’re stuuuuck with them, we can’t chaaaange it, it would be inconsiiiiiistent!", "they" bleat. That’s the easy, cop-out answer. Technically correct, for sure, but it also ignores one whopper of an important factor.

Namely, history has already been changed. Garrosh effectively undid everything from the First War era onward.  And since they are no longer besotted by Fel blood, he has also changed the history of Orcs on Draenor. With that in mind, it is therefore possible that one or more of the Draenic Clans is under new management. If you accept the "Klingon model" for Orc culture2, then this becomes even more likely. Easy to imagine that one of the clan leaders LUCKED OUT with the fel blood thing being the ONLY thing that stopped him being murdered in his sleep by a slightly less macho, but infinitely sneakier, female clan-leader-to-be.

Given all the variables we DO know, it’s laughably easy to come up with viable scenarios for any of the clan leaders to be supplanted to a woman within or outside of his clan.

I hope for your sake you are initiating a mating ritual

So … nope, not buying it.

They’re doing this because those are the characters they want to revisit.  Too bad they can’t own up to it.

The U Factor

All of this is in spite of what we do NOT know about the story of the expansion. We have heard plaintive cries from Blizz HQ that they are indeed cooking up totally awesome female characters that will blow our nipples clean off, from fifty yards even.

And that’s great, but we’ve been promised many things in the last nine years, and not all of them have come to pass, or were even (apparently) worked on in good faith. Faith doesn’t always require deeds, but it can be broken by (mis)deeds or lack of deeds where they are required. We’ve been told "have faith" multiple times and seen that faith not fulfilled almost as often. Not because anyone is being malevolent – I don’t really think so. But because nobody in a position to make a difference actually *cares* enough to enact positive action to make women or other groups – such as the LGBT community – feel like they’re being included or at least not being belittled – as part of the culture of this game.

As one small example. There was a big blow-up at one Blizzcon over the hateful words of a particular death metal "artist". We were told that Mistakes Were Made and that We Will Make This Up To You.  And yet, in Northrend, you can still find Gorge the Corpsegrinder, a clear tribute to this man.  Years after the event, they have done nothing to remove this tribute.  Is it because they just don’t care, or because they feel we’ll overlook this eventually if they just lay low and not make a fuss.

So on one hand we have the Grand Unknown.  A promise, implicit and explicit, that things to come will make things better. On the other hand, we have a track record of failure to meet those promises with deeds.

It’s lonely Out There

There is nothing worse from a social aspect than being among a group of people that have a strong bond that you don’t share.  All the little -isms that pull cliques together also tend to push us apart. And seeing an activity, show, book, story, or game that has nobody that you can relate to only enforces that feeling.

A game that focuses on alien creatures already removes a potential relation that you might have with them based on species alone.  At that point, all we have are the most ambiguous cues – tetrapod construction, bipedal locomotion, two eyes, two ears a face, and gender. And for 50% of the world’s population, they see one less thing to relate to in the WoD reveal.

Mistakes were made

Unlike the Corpsegrinder incident, we don’t even get a mea culpa out of this one. Why is that? Do they feel that they’ve already paid that pound of flesh and shouldn’t have to all over again? Do they feel that the pro-female3 WoW audience just won’t be happy with anything and have given up? Do they feel that siccing one of their female CMs on to the Twitter community will diffuse the situation without having to actually provide substance? Or are they just so tone-deaf to the point that they should be banned from ever having band instruments?

I’m rather fond of that theory myself.  It beggars belief, but I really do think they haven’t ever gone out of their way to do a good PR review of what they’re about to say at a public gathering.   I have strong doubts that anyone at Blizz has ever pursued training in this area. I have strong doubts that they really think they might even need to consider looking into it.

And our fandom feeds any potential arrogance they might have to the point that they don’t see that they NEED that kind of internal support, so they keep doing it over and over again and then sobbing nobody understands us! when the inevitable backlash comes.

I swear by his pretty floral bonnet, I will end you.

So here’s the thing. They can make press releases after the fact saying that they made mistakes and will try harder to not do it gain, but that’s an empty promise with no measurable goals, so job’s not done until they say it’s done.  They like that level of control.

But until they believe it internally and take real, measurable action to correct what I believe are massive internal cultural flaws at Blizzard, they will continue to talk first, think later, and try to ignore the problem.

I’ve reached a crossroad

I love this game, and I love the people I get to play alongside.  I love the dialogs that get opened, I love the characters I meet (NPC and PC), I love the community4, I kinda like the lore, and I like the potential that the game, ever after nine years, offers.

What I do not like is being lied to. I do not like being treated like an idiot that will keep on giving out my money just "Because We’re Activision Fucking Blizzard, that’s who."  I do not like people saying "we will do a thing" and then pretending they didn’t. 

At the end of the day you can piss and moan about lack of Flight until 6.1 and I’m just going to make faces.  But if you choose to short-shrift an entire segment of population based on gender, lie about it, and then barely do just enough to shut "them" up until the next time, time and time again, eventually I’ll run out of patience.  I don’t care if you’re Activision Fucking Blizzard. 

So I am here at the end of PandaLand-point-four watching to see what they do next.  If what they have coming up looks half-assed, begrudging, or an otherwise insincere delivery on the promise they made in Blizzcon’s wake, it will be too much for me to bear anymore.

And, yes, by Mammon, that is a completely unfair and arbitrary standard that I choose.  But here’s the deal, Blizz. You had the chance to set those standards, to provide measurable milestones to show good faith in this, and you blew it. You have hidden behind a pile of bullshit, and have dared us to tell you it smells like bullshit.

So, this is me. Drawing the lines and setting the standards by which I will judge. This is my story to tell.  And I will choose the setting in which to tell it.


  1. Or, "bullshit", if you’re as fed up with it as I am. []
  2. And there certainly are already plenty of cues there. []
  3. Since I don’t meet someone’s "standards" on this, I won’t claim to be "pro-feminist" anymore. []
  4. Implying a consensual collective as opposed to a blanket thrown an unwilling population sample. MR BEAR. []
14 Responses to “I hate being right about some things”
  1. I’m more than happy to agree that the leadership is massively skewed toward male characters, and also to say that the old lore is not an ironclad excuse to avoid female characters. Agreed. But i am not sure how I feel about these issues being discussed amongst Warcraft. Is this the right forum for this battle?

    Yes, the “old” leaders were mostly men, from an age in games where the female player base was almost non-existent. The female player base in wow is high compared to many other game, but still very small. But that is no reason either. Fantasy has the opportunity to point to what we might have, rather than reflect society directly.

    That said – I am a bit tired of subtexts being found in almost everything, especially where they are targeted to point of that they are unfriendly to a group in the community. Racial stereotypes in DnD or Game of Thrones are problematic. Gender equality in GoT and Dr Who is not fun for me. LGBT issues are something that I do not want to read in WoW.

    I like my fantasy to challenge me a little, and entertain me a lot. That is were I draw my line, and I can respect your views are different, and no better or worse than mine.

    If a LGBT storyline was added to WoW’s game I’d just play though it and note it as strange and ill suited to the setting. So the young Alliance King swings both ways, or wants to be a Princess instead? Good for him/her.

    It would break the illusion of the story thus far.

    Does Warcraft need to be another platform for equality? I’m not sure it does.

    • Grimmtooth says:

      I’m not sure what “story” gets “broken” with an obviously LGBT-friendly character. Maybe it’s “the story that we’ve all come to expect from people that dont care about LGBT people’s feelings”. Maybe it’s the norms that we’ve told ourselves are normal instead of the reality of the world around us. Did Jack Harkness really destroy the ancient lore of Doctor Who, or did he enhance it and possibly inspire an independent (and IMO intriguing) spin-off series? WoW is part sci-fi, not just gothic fantasy (“space goats”); it’s pretty difficult to imagine anything that would NOT fit if they wanted it to.

      Sprinkled throughout this actual article are photos of well-rounded woman characters that did NOT take away from the stories they were in AT ALL, and in many cases figured quite prominently. It can be done, if you have the desire to make it happen. The scifi and fantasy genres are full of them. You just have to look. You just have to make the EFFORT.

      Does equality for all really take you “out of the game” any more than those endlessly lame Indiana Jones references in Cata? I know which I’d get rid of, and it’s spelled “lame-assed fan service”.

      I’m “a bit tired” of the topic as well. But I’ll make a deal with you and everyone else that’s trying to use that argument to shut it down. Make it better and I’ll move on. I don’t get on this topic because it pleases me or is pleasant or entertaining. I get on it because I see something that is unfair, I see a large chunk of the “community” trying to perpetuate that, and I, by Mannoroth’s Flaming Balls, object, yer honor.

      I have small needs. Equality for all, in word and deed.

    • Zy says:

      “The female player base in wow is high compared to many other game, but still very small. ”

      Yeah, half the player base is very small. Your whole post reads “Things are fine the way they are.” You are part of the problem.

      • Zy I think you’re looking for an argument.

        “half the player base is very small” – so you think that half the players in Wow are female? I really really doubt it. Just because half the population are female does not mean that half the players are. In my past guilds it is not the case at all, and I’ve never seen any stats or surveys to indicate otherwise.

        I said it my first sentence “more than happy to agree that the leadership is massively skewed toward male characters, and also to say that the old lore is not an ironclad excuse to avoid female characters”… then later happily agreed that the gender balance should be addressed.

        But perhaps I am part of the problem. It is possible that I am less open minded that I think I am, and my default position is tinted by being hetrosexual. I don’t believe that to be the case, but perhaps you’re right.

        If so, I’m at the very least a percentage of players who is willing to talk about it, offer a perspective, and read and comprehend what others write on the topics. Saying I’m “part of the problem” in that manner is bloody rude. I guess this is what I should have expected when posting on a blog where my thoughts are different to the perspective of the writer. We could both get all riled up and have a screaming match in caps too.

        I am GM of a LGBT friendly guild. My policy is that you can be whatever you like as long as you are polite about it. We are happily almost-R-rated in guild chat, and unless something is harsh it is ok. That means the comments and jokes swing every which way, and nobody can really step out of line unless they start targeting another player or discriminating. Sexuality of all types is talked about openly and happily.

        I’ve had officers and raiders in the past who were “openly gay”. A few more were Bi, but wanted it kept quiet, I’ve got friends who are gay and bi, and they’ve been friends for well over twenty years. I lived with two gay men before I was married. It didn’t offend me then and still does not.

        But now that posts are not actually reading, and instead flinging insults – I’m done. Stuff it.

        I’ll stay away from these discussions in the future. Frankly I think that won’t help the cause at all, as you need moderates as well as extreme views to effect changes in perspective, and change is still what is needed. But hey, you got to be nasty. Congrats.

        Reminds me of the old saying – Don’t mud wrestle a pig, as you just get dirty, and the pig likes it.

  2. LGBT breaks the story when the sexual orientation of the character is not relevant to the story. I do not care if Gruul is gay. if Silvannas is Bi, or if Attumen might be a transgender, as we never see any of that. WoW thus far has only a few stories where romance involved, and sexuality is not a theme which is explored at all directly in the nine years of the game.

    The game is written for a general audience, and that is reason enough. I do not think confrontational (openly gay) sexuality issues are appropriate in a game aimed at G rated audiences.

    It can be done, it probably won’t, and I’m ok with that. There are many other platforms for sexuality to be explored, characters, etc even in other games. Adding this “openly” in wow is off.

    However the gender representation balance is something which should be addressed, as that is easily actioned via new characters and would not challenge a G rating. I agree totally on that.

    Some environments are not appropriate for some topics, and I think WoW is one where LGBT is too far from their core.

    >> “Jack Harkness really destroy the ancient lore of Doctor Who?”

    No, but he was a pretty boring two dimensional character, who thankfully did not rely on his sexuality for story. His big reveal was a total waste for me.

    • Hiratha says:

      I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but WoW is not G rated – it’s a teen rated game.

    • Grimmtooth says:

      Wait, what – you think that if it’s hetero, it’s okay, but if it’s gay, it’s not fit for a ‘G’ rating? Why is that. Gay is what, perverted or something? I hope that’s not where you’re going. Gay sexuality is no more “perverted” than anyone else’s. And as far as that goes, NBC News showed dudes kissing in prime time. Let’s get over that. That train’s left the station.

      One doesn’t have to be OH HAI I’M GAYYYY Y’ALL to have a character or two that are obviously (if you look) attracted to someone of the same gender. That happens all the time in this game for hetero characters. I realize that Blizz’s writers may not be up to using their imagination that well, but that just illustrates where they really need to focus more educational resources than anything.

      If the comic books are doing it, it’s past time.

      My original point on the LGBT thing was that Blizz still supports those hateful cockwaffles that were making the anti-gay hate speech. I linked back to that. Blizz was “very, very sorry” – but NOT until after a lot of people gave them hell over it. And even then, as I pointed out, “Gorge” is still in the game. My conclusion stands. I don’t think they regret a damned thing and would just be happy if “the gays” got lost or shut the hell up. NOT HAPPENING.

      One doesn’t have to openly depict trans people in a game (that would take some work, possibly, or maybe there’s something there with the Broken) for it to be at least not derogatory towards them. That means NOT inviting anti-trans* hatemongers to one’s main media event, then slobbering all over them while a video showing them talk shit is showing behind.

      As for Jack’s significance one way or another, I’ll point out that his fandom is bigger than WoW’s, that you can have opinions either way on that, but the fact that he’s OPENLY bi in the Who-verse really doesn’t do much to slow that down. He may be 2-dimensional, but that really is one more dimension than Sylvanas, Garrosh, Varian, and Jaina have COMBINED.

      Maybe they could USE a little livening up.

      Beats the piss out of Star War jokes.

  3. Dobablo says:

    I think I came to a similar conclusion. Lots of gaming companies started out as boys in bedrooms messing around. Blizzard never outgrew that culture and their Blizzcon presentation team (and most of their other work groups) ended up with people from one background so they lacked the skillset a diverse group would give them and can’t spot their faux pas. In my opinion Activision as a “grown-up” corporate entity should get more their hands dirty and shuffle the management. They need some new faces from a more diverse background.

    http://dobablo.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/sexism-in-business-the-new-white-mans-burden/

    • Grimmtooth says:

      Yeah, I don’t think I hit on that as hard as I intended, but despite the private views of its management, as long as those private views aren’t given agency in the IP, I could care less. A good PR department would do wonders, but if they’re convinced that they’d rather be “rough around the edges” than “a bunch of phoneys” then it makes it hard to convince them that they really, really, really need to get their heads out.

      • Dobablo says:

        Doing a quick google for company name and diversity, I got the following:

        Diversity for Activision means a being active in a wide range of platforms and geography

        Blizzard’s corperate statement (which is huge!) has a single mention of diversity and that is in a section on growing games globally. It treats player diversity as an obsticle (While respecting the cultural diversity that makes people unique, we strive to…)

        On the other-hand, when I checked Vivendi a page on their commitments to a diversity culture was right at the top of the list (http://www.vivendi.com/talents-en/the-ambition-of-our-commitments/diversity/).
        I guess this is one aspect of the split that the average WoW player comes off worse. :(

  4. Grimmtooth says:

    I hate to be a buzzkill and throw numbers on the pile, but as reported recently, Neilsen actually did some research into this. They found something like 700,000 actual female players out of around 1,800,000 unique players in the game, which is something like a 2.5:1 ratio. So while it’s nowhere near parity, it’s also nowhere close to “vast majority” for the penis-wagging crew.

    (they also noted WoW having a higher ratio of women than other MMOs, which was the focus of the WoW Insider article that mentioned it)

    Granted these are inexact numbers from Neilsen but this is what they do, and what none of us do, for a living, so try to cut them a little slack.

  5. Grimmtooth says:

    Also it might have been 600,000 or 800,000. Too lazy to go look (I need to get started on the dishes), I split the difference. It’s not an order of magnitude error margin, at least.

  6. R says:

    Alright, this post is almost entirely on point with why I think this whole WoD female (and now LGBT, apparently, although this is the first time I’ve seen that mentioned in the context of “not enough” in WoD) representation issue. So, I’m going to vent a bit. I’m also going to mostly agree with TA in general principle, somewhat to my surprise, that doesn’t always happen. ;)

    A video game, WoW or otherwise, is generally (and in the case of WoW, is) a work of fiction and not designed to be realistic. It’s a story consisting of NPCs who are created by people who live in the real world. That’s a hell of a long way from requiring, expecting or demanding that the game REFLECT the real world in any way. That’s where it’s written, not where it’s located.

    Movies are created in the same vein as video games, they can tell whatever story they want with whatever reality they want about whoever they want, within the constraints of what studios think will sell (I loop back around to this at the end, try to avoid mental knee-jerk reactions to that comment until then). Books are written along the same lines, sub in publishers for studios. Video games are part of that entertainment/art milieu, they don’t have any different requirements or obligations just because they’re interactive and that we play them rather than watching or reading. The ‘R’ in ‘RP’ is ‘Role’, not ‘Realism’, it typically indicates a genre that takes you OUTSIDE of your normal everyday reality. The only question that MATTERS from a “societal” perspective is whether it works as ENTERTAINMENT. If a handful or more individuals want to base their enjoyment on things like sexual representation or any other factor (not enough Gnomes in trailers, goddamnit! too many dailies! tired of replacing my gear every tier! /ragequit) they’re entitled to that but that doesn’t mean the game has any obligation to change as a result. That last part is kind of important but unfortunately gets somewhat lost in a culture of entitlement and inability to think critically. Something that might happen doesn’t imply that it will, and something that wasn’t announced doesn’t mean it won’t happen. 75% of the exchanges I see between players and Blizzard fail that basic comprehension test, it’s gotten to the point where I cringe anytime anything starts with “So”… such an innocent word, so much implication that someone is going to be subtly referencing something that they completely misunderstood no matter how clearly and simply it was stated. “Spirit will only show up on jewelry pieces, not armour (plate/mail/leather/spirit).” “So spirit will show up on plate?” Sigh.

    Alright, back on track. Check this out:
    http://fxpaper.fatalsystem.com/images/wallpapers/movie/lord-of-the-rings/lord_of_the_rings_46.jpg

    Just look at that. Where was the outrage? Where was the picketing? Where were the torches and pitchforks? Dudes, all of ‘em. THAT MOVIE DOESN’T REFLECT MODERN SOCIETY. How could it possibly have been released and watched and enjoyed without the Internet folks getting themselves into a tizzy?

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=lord+of+the+rings+female+representation+picket&qs=n&form=QBRE&filt=all&pq=lord+of+the+rings+female+representation+picket&sc=0-0&sp=-1&sk=&cvid=90c6fd7604ec48d191f915a327a66e14

    A few articles here and there but no picketing outside theatres that I can see and definitely no tizzy despite it being an almost entirely “sausagefest” movie. Crazy. I mean, I didn’t even see any boycotts! Those are easy, just a list on a website and people don’t even have to actually boycott, nobody will know! Do the same search above without ‘picket’ (roughly the same results) and contrast to this:

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=warlords+of+draenor+female+representation&qs=n&form=QBLH&filt=all&pq=warlords+of+draenor+female+representation&sc=0-20&sp=-1&sk=&cvid=ca5e3f510bef4fd5a64a319bc2694339

    Wee bit of a difference in the search results, huh? Wondering how many of those WoW bloggers wrote scathing commentaries about how LoTR neglected female representation when it came out.

    So why is WoW with its 7.7M users held to this mystifyingly different standard compared to a movie with, what, 10x that audience? 20x? Blizzard has women working for them, there are at least 3 identifiable women in the design credits… lots of men, yep, but they aren’t working in a vacuum of “gaming companies that started out as boys in bedrooms messing around who can’t outgrow that culture” (sorry Dobablo but I seethe a bit inside every time I read something that cheap and easy, at least put a bit of effort into casual stereotypes and recognize that those boys typically grow up, move out and exist just fine in the real world, thanks very much, and it’s unlikely that the rare few who didn’t all ended up at Blizzard).

    Like it or not (and anyone is entitled to either), the story in WoW is what it is. Historically (the original Warcraft games, WoW to this point) the game has been primarily male-dominated. There are certainly some interesting female characters but they’re a minority. This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it just is, like how the Elvin High Council of Elders or whatever the hell it was called in LoTR (-1 geek points) was all male. Those types of decisions are made for all kinds of reasons including existing lore, continuity of theme and likely tons of other reasons I’m not aware of (I don’t write for a living but I’m sure there are plenty of discussions on the subject of “consequences of making your protagonist male vs female”… related question, why is Harry Potter male?).

    WoW doesn’t HAVE to represent our society, either as it was, as it is or how it should be. It’s not an idealized version of our world in any way, it’s fiction. It’s fantasy. It’s not something to find role models (role model isn’t the same thing as role play) in and it certainly isn’t something to DEMAND role models in, in-game characters have nothing to do with us. I keep seeing references, clear as in this post and elsewhere and subtle in others, that a significant portion of the playing audience was “left out” as a result of the presentation. I can’t possibly overstate my WTF? reaction to that. The presentation wasn’t supposed to include the audience in any way, WoW isn’t a mystery theatre night at a local restaurant. I mean, good lord, I don’t watch Rambo in the theatre and then go out and start shooting people. I don’t watch Jurassic Park and then call up my travel agent asking to go to the island with the dinosaurs. I also wouldn’t want to play a WoW where the average NPC was me, I’m perfectly fine with the game consisting primarily of stylized beefcake.

    It would be an entirely different (and actually valid) argument if Blizzard actually changed the game based on the sex of the player. If female players were encouraged, explicitly or subtly, to pick up cooking and first aid as professions while males were pushed toward skinning and mining? I’d be in line with you throwing torches. Hell, as I recall old D&D rules had females with lower Strength than males and possibly more base Charisma (another potential -1 geek point). Blizzard may not have invented sexual equlivalence but they certainly implemented it. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, we’re talking about Blizzard telling a story and a vocal portion of the audience saying that there aren’t enough women implied in a small introductory part of that story. Hypothetically, if Blizzard’s next expansion took place on a new planet consisting of 95% female NPCs, it wouldn’t even OCCUR to me to wonder where the hell all the guys are (unless they have kids and the 5% aren’t specifically sex slaves, in that case I’d nod and move on but otherwise I might wonder in passing). If WoW from day ONE had been a female-dominant story I honestly, absolutely believe that it wouldn’t have changed my enjoyment of the game ONE BIT. I probably wouldn’t even notice unless someone pointed it out to me. It’s just not something that MATTERS. In a perfect world achieving equality, all men = all women = a mix, it shouldn’t matter whether the representation is male, female or both. WoW could be all male, all female or a mix and it wouldn’t matter to me. Why does it to others? King Varian’s wife dies and he’s affected. Swap that with Queen Jaina’s husband dies and she’s affected.

    Opinion/fact – it doesn’t cost more for Blizzard to have a female NPC than a male one (might even be a bit less if you factor in armour design art requirements *cough*). Since male and female NPCs (and PCs for that matter) are functionally identical why DON’T they just do that? I’d love to see some focus on that question vs the simple underrepresentation of females in the presentation. Blizzard has been doing this game design thing for quite a while now, they seem to have a pretty good handle on what people will play and pay for… there must be more to telling a good story than female representation.

    I’m all for a good hoopla but this strikes me as much ado about very little. It’s Blizzard’s story to tell; I want them to drive the story, not community reactions. This type of community outrage is how we end up with characters like Aggra, mal-formed characters who I spend the entire expansion wondering “where the hell did she come from and why is she ordering me around?” (note – if it’d been a male character I’d have had the same reaction). I’ve seen a few “well, she’s female, so better than nothing” reactions but… really? On the other hand, Zaela and Taoshi? Bring ‘em on, if Blizzard can introduce and expand female characters organically like those two and makes the decision to do so, I’m all for it, but I don’t want female NPCs shoehorned in just for their own sake. That Blizzard could easily sub in females for males in many/all situations but doesn’t strikes me as more significant than just the knee-jerk “they’re a boy’s club” or “they can’t write women” (in an argument asking for equality, there shouldn’t be any “writing women” involved) or “they’re lazy”. If this backlash is going to result in lost sales &/or if sales would increase with more NPC diversity, what would be the downside for them? That’s why I think they have reasons for doing it, whether any particular people (and groups consisting of people) accept it or not.

    Two TV show scenarios that summarize my point for anyone who has watched both:
    Good introduction of females into an existing story: Big Bang Theory
    Bad introduction of females into an existing story: Human Target

    BBT introduced female characters to expand to new storylines and is stronger than ever today, HT did it because the network wanted to bring in more female viewers and it was cancelled after the revamped season. “Catering” isn’t something that anyone should want to happen but that’s basically what’s being requested here. “You have too few women, I believe you should have more women, I request that you include more women.”

    My confession – it’s somewhat but probably not entirely outside the scope of this but since TA was honest enough to express his own bias, mine is that I cringe a bit whenever I kill a female NPC, named (bosses) or not (random cultists). I’ll usually seek out the males when there are enough mobs for me to be choosy, that feels “better” to me when I play. I PREFER that the bad guys I slaughter be male. I’ve spent most of 6 years slaughtering female NPCs and have the same reaction today so that isn’t something that’s just going to disappear, either, not sure whether it’s chivalry or sexism or what but it does matter to me to at least some small degree. So for my taste, if we’re going to be whuppin’ Warlord asses in 6 months, I’m glad they’re male. Perhaps Blizzard has done some research and I’m not alone in that reaction…

    • Grimmtooth says:

      The main difference between LOTR is that it was fairly fixed in nature – they were retelling the story in a set of books. Only an idiot would demand the rewrite of a set of books when the goal is to tell them as they exist. Having said that, it WAS altered a bot to amplify the roles of two of the female characters a bit more than I remember in the book.

      And you’re missing a key point – how to do that in so many words, it’s hard to imagine – WoD is *going back in time*. The future is not fixed. It may be changed. I pretty clearly illustrated how that could happen.

      The annoyance here is that THEY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY and they WILLFULLY TURNED ASIDE FROM IT as far as anyone can tell at this time. They chose to hang with the bros ‘caus they’s bros, I guess.

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