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Censorship Entertainment Games

MMO Bans Men Playing As Women 616

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the nice-legs-bob dept.
jkcity writes "In a bizarre move Aurora Technology the owners of the King of the World MMORPG has taken the unusual step of banning men who play women characters but the ban itself does not stretch to women playing men. If you want to play as a woman now in game you have to prove you are a women via web cam. This is something that people ask for in many mmorpgs I myself have seen people say people who play women in EVE online as being some kind of degenerate but how long can a policy of verification by web cam last since its so easy to get around it doesn't seem to solve much and is an insult to many."
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MMO Bans Men Playing As Women

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  • So that means... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fistfullast33l (819270) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:17PM (#20756451) Homepage Journal
    no role playing in a Role Playing Game?
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:19PM (#20756493) Homepage Journal
    If I am playing a MMORPG, I am going to be spending a lot of time looking at my avatar. Why can't my avatar be something I like looking at?
  • by miller60 (554835) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:19PM (#20756495) Homepage
    ... for the Aurora guys to look at gamer girls on their webcams.
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bahwi (43111) <incomingNO@SPAMjosephguhlin.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:19PM (#20756503) Homepage
    I've played male and female chars in mmo's and have had no problems. It depends on the person playing, if they are going to cause trouble they are going to cause trouble no matter what gender.

    Also, no matter how hard you beg the developer, that hot elven chick just won't be that way in real life. And this step doesn't get you closer to that.
  • Just watch... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Orange Mage (1057436) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:20PM (#20756513) Homepage
    ...as suddenly, the in-game populations turn to about 80% male, 20% female.

    And that's a conservative guess...I bet most would skew it even more towards male players.
  • by dontspitconfetti (1153473) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#20756521) Homepage
    If it's just a one-time webcam thing, the people who are really desperate can have their mom or sister appear on the webcam for them. Even Grandma Nana counts as a woman!
  • Doesn't work... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by prxp (1023979) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#20756543)

    If you want to play as a woman now in game you have to prove you are a women via web cam.
    Do they get to see the vagina? It won't work otherwise.

    It's not too hard for a men to disguise as a women, specially under a webcam feed. Really motivated (and weird) dudes will certainly keep playing as women if they want to.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:22PM (#20756561) Journal
    And all of a sudden, female avatars started gathering more male players than ever before trying to get them into their multiplayer party, and harass them with guild recruitments. :-p
  • Re:Idiotic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:24PM (#20756577)
    Any MMO where there is an ounce of roleplay would have a total of twelve players, max.

    Go play a MU* if you want roleplay.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:27PM (#20756619) Journal
    Like, there are going to be some existing male-as-female players, and to bring them in line with the policy, you'd have to make the female avatar male. Doesn't an RPG have to have some storyline reason for this?

    (If they're planning to "grandfather" ["grandmother?"] existing male-as-female avatars, that'll probably create even more problems for them.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:28PM (#20756657)
    No powergamers either. Min/maxers pick girl characters (assuming no stat drop) because:

    *You can get free stuff with minimal effort.
    *You don't spend 30+ hours a week staring at the cartoon picture of a guy's ass.
  • Hey look... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheik Yerbouti (96423) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:30PM (#20756683) Homepage
    A little known MMO that I have never heard of has pulled a publicity stunt and gotten some free coverage from Slashdot. What what what? Slashdot is there target demographic. Congratulations sirs PT Barnum would be proud.

     
  • Re:Just watch... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:31PM (#20756689)
    I would guess it will trend toward 99.999% male. What geek-girl that you know of would go through the hassle of letting some anonymous geek-admin see her real face just to have the honor of logging in with a female avatar, then becoming the target of cyber-sexual harassment because the perps _know_ you're female? They'd be better off just removing female avatars.
  • Simple fix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... Hl.com minus cat> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:37PM (#20756785) Homepage Journal
    Sex: M/F
    Real-life sex: M/F
  • Re:finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:39PM (#20756807)
    "But it's kinda stupid cuz the actual females playing as females do that too."

    Well, that's what females do in real life; use their feminine wiles to their advantage. ;)

    But your complaint is absurd. If one is unable to resist the feminine wiles of an online-character, then it's his own fault, not fault of the the person playing the female character.

    I've known many that have played characters of the player's opposite sex (both men playing as women and women playing as men), and I see no problem with it. The whole point of playing RPGs (either multi-player or single-player) is to get to assume a role you could never assume in real life. The ability to choose your character's gender, ethnicity, etc, goes along with that.

    This business of requiring webcams for anyone playing as a woman is the stupidest thing I've heard of in a long time.
  • TG's (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LSD-OBS (183415) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:39PM (#20756823)
    Erm, what about transgendered individuals, such as your mother?
  • Re:Just watch... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by metrometro (1092237) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:41PM (#20756841)
    Exactly. How this is going to improve anyone's gaming experience is beyond me. If you were the elusive female gamer, would you advertise that with a female character? I sure as hell wouldn't.
  • No more metroid... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caesar-auf-nihil (513828) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:41PM (#20756847)
    Guess I can't play Metroid any more or I'll be a degenerate. Guess I had better not accept Princess Peach as a randomly generated character in Mario Kart either. Better not accept any randomly generated Wii characters either.
    What a load of crap. It's fantasy - a game for goodness sake. My guess is really some loser who runs the service just wants to look at pictures of the people playing women characters.

  • by gzerphey (1006177) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:47PM (#20756903)
    I tend to play female characters in the RPGs because it is my perception that the programmers put special twists in to try and get more of the female market. I don't know if I'm just deluded or not, but it seems to be true.

    At any rate, what is to stop me, or anyone with a girlfriend or wife, from a quick substitution for the webcam. My wife would think this rule is ridiculous and do it in a heartbeat.

    More to the point though, I have to agree with the Parent here... Its a FREAKING RPG. Let people Role Play in the Game as they see fit.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Creedo (548980) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:48PM (#20756915) Journal
    Hot damn. I thought I was the only one who had reasoned it like this. I much prefer female avatars. I do, however, have to make the occasional kid sad when they ask to cyber(or make some obscene suggestions), and I reveal my gender. I guess they are too young to remember that venerable adage:
    "The Internet: where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents."
  • Re:Just watch... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:58PM (#20757033)
    One doesn't necessarily have to be a (gaming) geek to play an online game. I'd even hesitate to call your average WoW player a gaming geek... no matter how many hours a week s/he might spend at it. IMO, a gaming geek is really into many games (and the associated hardware), not just one specific game.

    Also, I should point out that IF we find that there are 80% or more men in a game that bans men playing as women, we should consider that maybe the registration requirements alienated real women by making registration a hassle causing them to a) find another MMORPG or b) play as men. Really, it is a stupid move. Just let people role play however they want. I presume the motivation behind this banning is men tired of flirting with women that turn out to be men. Maybe it is time for guys to learn that anonymity is not an excuse to flirt with anyone that claims to be a woman.

    -matthew
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AndersOSU (873247) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:02PM (#20757111)
    What I find disturbing is people who find there to be, first, a difference between the pixlated backsides, and second feel affected enough by staring at the pixelated bottom of an animated avatar to need to rationalize or justify their choice of an animated character.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:06PM (#20757137)
    I myself have seen people say people who play women in EVE online as being some kind of degenerate

    So the grammatically-challenged, obviously teenage and sexually-challenged writer of the summary thinks it's his inalienable, god-given right to hit on anything with pixellated boobies, and finds the very idea of people role-playing in a role-playing game to be degenerate. Perhaps he shouldn't be such a slavering mess of inadequacy that he feels the need to flirt in a role-playing game with any avatar that approximates female and then be disturbed when the controlling player isn't. Avatar. Not player. The two are distinct, and it merely shows the stupidity of a significant proportion of MMO players that they can't appreciate that fact.

    Amusingly enough, my captcha for this post was 'redneck'.

    Yes, that he most certainly is.
  • by s4m7 (519684) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:06PM (#20757149) Homepage

    what is to stop me, or anyone with a girlfriend or wife, from a quick substitution for the webcam.

    My first thought exactly. The second thought though, was what about cases where someone has a sexually ambiguous look? This is a lawsuit waiting to happen for this company, especially since they didn't require women to play only women characters. That's discrimination plain and simple.

    Just wait until some mannish-looking woman is denied a female character...

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:38PM (#20757547)

    Very well said. I don't want to spend 8 hours a day starring at some MALE avatars butt. To each his own, but I play a female because I'm /not/ deviant and because I'm not a gay man.


    How insecure do you have to be to have your sexuality threated by a male avatar in a freaking ROLE PLAYING game? You're either gay or you aren't. Looking at a male avatar doesn't make you gay.

    When I first explained this to my friends, and they realized they have spent days upon days looking at a male characters butt, they switched as well.


    Are all your friends 14 years old?

    I've heard some good practical reason to play as a woman (free shit from other players, for example), but feeling insecure about looking at a male avatar? WTF?

    -matthew
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:40PM (#20757569)

    If I am playing a MMORPG, I am going to be spending a lot of time looking at my avatar. Why can't my avatar be something I like looking at?
    Because a giant disembodied floating set of knockers would be distracting for the other players.
  • by disckitty (681847) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:40PM (#20757575) Homepage
    "If you want to play as a woman now in game you have to prove you are a woman via web cam." This is a ridiculous comment. The population will become almost 100% male. Not just because all the men can't play as women, but because the women will find it too intrusive or perhaps too much of a hassle to have themselves screened by some total stranger. W.T.F? Way to alienate the demographic that is frequently being targeted for inclusion. They may as well not bother wasting the game developers time creating these female avatars in the first place. Though perhaps having avoided myspace and facebook, I'm out of the loop, and people now-a-days voluntarily show themselves off online to strangers.
  • by Bikini Kill (678047) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:44PM (#20757633)
    I don't think you're off-base here because I really can't think of any other reason to do this.

    Not only does it restrict the character options available for RL male players, it completely changes the gaming experience for RL female players who choose female characters.

    When I played WoW, there seemed to be roughly the same amount of female and male characters. There were plenty of men who played female characters, so people didn't see a female character wander onto their screen and immediately start sending "Pics plz" "R U hot?" "Wanna cyber?" tells. In that situation, RL women who play female characters had the option to keep their sex to themselves. This requirement removes that option, and will certainly result in a increase of (probably undesired) attention.
  • Silver Lining ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FauxPasIII (75900) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:47PM (#20757693)
    Most of the posts here are skewing condemnatory of this goofball policy, and I agree. However, maybe there's a bright side. If the playerbase actually go through this verification process (big if), it would offer a rare opportunity to observe macroscopic differences in how men and women behave in MMOs. Do women tend to tank less and heal more? Do they tend to cluster together in all-female guilds? etc.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:49PM (#20757723) Homepage Journal
    Exactly! If they want they could just add a basic player profile where you have to indicate your real body's gender. With that any player could then check to see the if the other person behind the character is really a man or a woman. I wouldn't mind having to indicate my real age and gender, if that means I could be whoever I wanted to be in the game.

    Actually, revealing age scares me even more! I still love video games and mmorpg's in particular, but skew significantly older than the core demographic. What does that mean? It means getting party invites becomes one hell of a lot harder when you're old enough to be the party leader's dad! Online games are a great way to have fun with others who share a common interest, but too many details from real life would just get in the way of that. I have to be an old guy in real life everyday, do I have to do that in online games too? I hope not!
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:50PM (#20757739) Homepage Journal
    Most men who play women are doing it so they can watch a females ass while they are running around.
    Hence Laura Crofts fame.
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:54PM (#20757811) Journal
    Proving they're ugly should be easy. It's proving their strong or brave that's the tough issue.
  • by sowth (748135) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:55PM (#20757817) Journal

    You don't spend 30+ hours a week staring at the cartoon picture of a guy's ass.

    This is why I hate 3rd person perspective. Most of the "scenery" is your avatar's ass. I like to see the damn game! It espeically pisses me off when your avatar gets in the way of seeing something important. Fixed camera (such as resident evil) is even worse--try and aim at a target in 3d space while viewing on a flat screen...WTF?

  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunterNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:01PM (#20757903) Journal

    You'd rather spend 30+ hours a week getting your cartoon ass stared at by other guys?

    You know, I'd played female tabletop RPG characters with about equal frequency as male PCs for years, without having to worry about that. If the other players at the table bothered me "in that way," a quick shocking grasp or heat metal to the codpiece set them straight.

    But my first female toon in WoW was a bank alt, and I dressed her in her undies and a buccaneer's shirt, cuz she looked good in them. Then I noticed other toons standing around and gawking at her.

    And you know, I finally felt what most women must have to learn to deal with when they grow bewbs.

    And the second revalation is that it only took me about 60 seconds to get over it, and ignore it. It's their problem, not mine.

    So, I say, let cross-gender roleplaying happen. It's educational.

  • by graymocker (753063) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:24PM (#20758191)

    Denial denial denial. Let us not forget what the "MMO" in "MMORPG" stands for. Players are not the only ones who look at someone's avatar; it is what you present to each and every other person you interact with. Everybody around them will naturally associate the avatar with the player, since it is, after all, what avatars are for. The "It's not really me" argument is one made by guys who deny using other men's sexual desires to their advantage, or who deny far more complicated sexual issues.
    On a similar note, bespectacled lanky computer nerds who choose muscular hulking warrior-types as avatars - which are naturally associated with the player, after all - are clearly engaged in fraud, denial, and working out complicated identity issues.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:33PM (#20758309)

    Who said anything about insecurity?


    Zxeses did by saying, "I play a female because I'm /not/ deviant and because I'm not a gay man." As if playing a male and looking at a male avatar would make you gay or mean that you were gay.

    I'm sure that holds true for the person you replied to as well.


    Maybe, but that isn't what he said.

    Or do you call it "insecurity" when I check out the gals and not the guys when I visit the local bar?


    Only if you note that you feel gay when you look at another male and make a conscious effort to not look at them. Yeah, I'd call that insecure.

    -matthew

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:47PM (#20758509)
    "On a similar note, bespectacled lanky computer nerds who choose muscular hulking warrior-types as avatars - which are naturally associated with the player, after all - are clearly engaged in fraud, denial, and working out complicated identity issues."

    No, you missed the important part: the insistence by these male players that "I don't really see it as representing me" and "I just like looking at my avatar." Otherwise you'd also be trying to argue that it is wholly impossible for a truly heterosexual man to admire and envy another man's physique, and that the minority of male players who pick female avatars are the only truly heterosexual men on the server.

    Avatars are about who you want to pretend to be. A scrawny geek will pick the butch male because he wants to pretend to be, and a guy will pick a female character because that is who he wants to pretend to be. But once the second guy starts dropping the "I just like looking at my avatar" excuse, it's less about pretending in the game and more about pretending in real life; the scrawny geek with the ripped barbarian avatar at least knows he's pretending.

    It's the ones who enjoy pretending to be a woman and don't admit it to themselves that are the problem here, and that's what the "It's not really me" rationale is all about.
  • by Psmylie (169236) * on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:50PM (#20758567) Homepage
    The problem I forsee if there is the thought that only women are playing female characters is that anyone with a female character will be harrassed. As it is now, the more perverse among the male MMO population show at least a little restraint, because they know the odds are that the "she" is actually a "he". Basically, being able to make a female avatar after verifying that you are really female sets up female characters to be targets of all sorts of unsavory advances. Women have enough of that in real life, they shouldn't have to be the target of it in a game.

    Unless, of course, they want to be

  • by poopie (35416) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @03:44PM (#20759145) Journal
    ... suddenly, I'm thinking about how much *more* likely it would be to have the plot of The Crying Game play out in a virtual world than in the physical world.

    And, if there's no law preventing a man from dressing up as a woman in real life, why should there be restrictions for them to do so in a virtual world?

    For anyone whose thinking, "well in real life, at a real bar, I can tell it's a man dressed up like a woman so I won't ever talk to him -- that's the difference!", I challenge you to go see a cabaret show in Thailand and *then* say that. I saw a few performers that were way hotter than my wife who would have made me not care about the presence of a Y chromosome.

    http://images.google.com/images?q=cabaret+show+thailand [google.com]
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:58PM (#20762203) Journal
    You may joke, but there is a serious point there - what about transgendered people who cannot "pass" in real life? (Either pre-op transsexuals, or transgendered people who have no intention of transitioning).

    It's sad that the assumption is that playing a gender other than your biological sex is only done for deception. Having to conform to gender roles is bad enough in real life; let's not bring it online too (and a roleplay game, of all places!), where your physical body shouldn't matter.

    One of the things I found interesting about traditional (non-computer) roleplaying is that there were no hangups in playing a different gender (after all, no different to playing a different species such as a dwarf or an elf), but I guess as it becomes mainstream, we get all the mainstream prejudices and hangups.

    I wonder, can women still play men in this game?

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