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Censorship Entertainment Games

MMO Bans Men Playing As Women 616

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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  • Idiotic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#20756525)
    This is a role playing game. One of the attributes of a role is gender. And you get to choose. I play WoW and I have both male and female chars. This is quite normal IMO. You fond out the true gender of somebody when having them in voice chat. You can be friends with them and adventure together before/without that.

    Also would this one-sided policy not directly violate anti-discrimination laws? Seems to me it does.
  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:22PM (#20756559)
    So can I not be a 400 year-old wise mage, when I'm neither old, nor wise?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:27PM (#20756613)
    If this were happening on WoW or Everquest in a civilized First World nation, it might be news. That it's happening in a totally fouled-up place like China is just not very interesting at all.
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:30PM (#20756679) Journal
    AFAIK there's not significant roleplaying in most MMORPGs.

    So, say you're a straight guy and not into role playing. Why would you prefer looking at a male character for hours? Usually the camera position in such games would be _behind_ the character, so you'd be staring at the male character's ugly back or butt for hours ;).

    While the male characters are unlikely to be as bad as goatse.cx, given the larger numbers of males in the game developing industry - I'm sure the female characters are going to look better than the male ones ;).

    If I control an animal, robot, car or vehicle in a game, I sure don't expect it to resemble me.
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:46PM (#20756897) Homepage Journal
    You speak truth. Of course, I guess it depends on how much you identify with your character.

    I've found that I'm generally a step further away than some people - I don't identify the character as myself, or myself as my character. I'm more like the controller types you see in some advanced military movies. You know, where there's a guy sitting in a trailor/room somewhere with a bunch of video and status screens sending directions to the soldier who's actually in the field.
  • Playing gender roles (Score:5, Interesting)

    by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @12:58PM (#20757031) Journal
    ROFL My Waffles, I actually did a report in a college class on gender about gender selection in MMOs...

    Out of about 6 or so people interviewed, the most common reasons given for playing as female were:
      - Male characters are ugly in many games
      - People (males) give you free stuff if you're a female character, especially a newbie
      - People are more likely to help you if you're an attractive female character
      - Females get better looking clothes
      - Men want to look at an attractive avatar, and don't necessarily think of it as being themselves
      - Females want to play an attractive character, or like the clothes a female char gets, but don't necessarily think of it as being themselves

    Reasons people don't like playing female:
      - Guys hit on you constantly
      - Occasional stalkers
      - Many female avas are overtly sexual or 'slutty'
      - Female avas don't look tough or 'butch' even as warrior-types

    One female gamer said that when asked her gender while playing her female char, she tells people she's a guy because that gets them to stop bothering her. WHen she plays as a male, she tells them her real gender because that also freaks them out. The people I talked to basically just want to play the game, and don't like having sexual or gendered attitudes imposed on them, so I wonder what they will think of this.

    This move by the company really seems like implicitly supporting the idea of using MMOs as a hook-up site, instead of a fantasy realm, so I doubt it will be popular among the people I talked to.
  • Re:So that means... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:05PM (#20757135) Homepage Journal
    Makes you wonder exactly what body parts they want you to put on camera. Imagine the humiliation if a woman is refused because she allegedly has a mannish face-- so they want "more proof".
  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:13PM (#20757231) Journal
    The moderator who bothered to mod the parent as flamebait is a worthless turd. Was it REALLY worth the mod point?
  • by kidcharles ( 908072 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:58PM (#20758649)
    The parent company of Aurora Technology is called Shanda Entertainment. 'Shanda' is the Yiddish word for "shame or embarrassment."
  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @04:35PM (#20759765) Journal
    Fixed cameras on Resident Evil are one of the many reasons I can't understand the popularity of the game. There's nothing like standing three feet from a zombie and not being able to see it because the camera angle won't change to help you.

    I'm gonna get all ranty now because I really, really am baffled by the original success of RE ten years ago. It never should have survived...I guess it reflects the low standards console gamers had at the time versus PC gamers as adventure games and/or shooters go. What sucked about RE:

    -The voice acting. Seriously, worst ever. Okay not EVER, but still horrible.
    -It was the most unscary horror game I've ever played.
    -Third person oddball camera angles.
    -I think I could load and fire a musket faster than the 9mm Beretta in that game.
    -The puzzles were repetitive and simple.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @05:16PM (#20760423)
    Because, presumably, you're role playing as a male character. And because it is just a 3D model. And because staring at some dude's ass shouldn't be a issue for anyone secure in their sexuality.

    This isn't about insecurity. A guy reading playboy isn't insecure about his sexuality; he's indulging in it. He's not trying to prove he's heterosexual; he's merly being heterosexual. He's been given the choice between looking at a male or female character, he's choosing to look at a female one. Its just that simple.

    Most players treat their avatars like the wooden dummies that ventriloquists carry around - it has its own name, and it has its own gender, and its may even have a bit its own personality. But the player is still there with their hand up their back controlling the puppet. Its an extension of themselves, and if the gender of the puppet doesn't match the gender of the ventriloquist, they'd be pretty taken aback if someone tried to 'pick up' their dummy. Mostly they'd wonder what kind of idiot tries to pick up the dummy in the first place, no matter how cute it is. They might not know what the player behind it looks like, but its not like they don't know its a dummy, or that the player isn't there.
  • by coreolyn ( 65876 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @05:20PM (#20760505) Homepage
    Hmm being a pre-op TS that's been on hormones for several years....

    What would I show to prove I'm a woman??

    Take of my top? Take off my pants?

    Show them my drivers liscense which is 'F' or my Birth Certificate which is 'M'

    Should I show them the letters from my therapists?

    How about my hormone level results from my blood tests?

    Hmm are they going to create TS characters? Or Can't I play at all?

    From my perspective it's just sheer ignorance.. But then I'm waiting for a form on the web that uses a slider bar instead of radio box's for gender.

  • by TriezGamer ( 861238 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @05:46PM (#20760887)
    Someone mod this up.

    You're spot on. Potential sexual harassment really is a major issue that is often ignored. I've played many different games in many different ways. I play characters of both genders, with a slight bias toward females, if only because the inter-personal interactions are so much more interesting. (Read: People talk to you more, even if the reasoning is shallow in many cases)

    I have played characters as female, intentionally giving the impression that I'm female in real life (a blatant deception, generally, most people who I tell later that I'm actually a guy tell me that they never would have guessed, so I assume that I 'act like a female' fairly convincingly), and female characters where I insist on being a male IRL. Both methods have lead to a great deal of harassment, though in noticably different ways. However, instances where I'm playing a female character and skirt the issue of real life gender entirely have lead to a noticably lower level of harassment.

  • Re:So that means... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by garylian ( 870843 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @06:00PM (#20761073)
    I've played a lot of MMOs over the years, and it really depends on the game as to how much value there is in playing a female toon versus playing a male one.

    In EQ1, you could outfit a whole party with good equipment by playing a single female toon. I have friends that did just that in the early days. One female cleric got the whole party very nice (for the time) equipment to get them going, just by standing around and acting clueless.

    In games with much less mature players (WoW comes to mind awfully fast for some reason...) the amount of weird treatment towards female toons is higher. I haven't noticed it being nearly as much in EQ2 as it was in EQ1 or WoW. There aren't too many people that start throwing equipment at female toons anymore, and most people know that there is a large percentage chance that a female toon is being played by a guy.

    I've played a few female toons, but it depends on the MMO. CoH/V, during the beta, it was fun to play a female toon, as the character creation alone took twice as long. (lol) I did the same in WoW beta for a bit, and had a great laugh at how much "bounce" the female night elf had when walking backwards. That got fixed before release, and I was one of the ones that reported it as a little too over the top.

    The Asian MMOs are really bad, though. They love to give the female toons really provactive clothing. Remember the dark elves in Lineage II? They all started in a leather harness that only covered the nips and the pubic area. I remember being in the beta, and 85% of players that created a dark elf made a female one. You know it was all guys doing it. If it's an Asian-based MMO, it's pretty much a given that you will see a lot of exposed thighs and breasts. Even Guild Wars female toons show a lot of skin.

    It's all about the titilation. When Anarchy Online when it first came out, you couldn't go anywhere without having someone having a female toon kneel in front of you and shake it's ass in the hopes of a tip or equipment.

    With voice chat via Ventrillo or TeamSpeak being used by most guilds these days, there isn't a lot of "ZOMG, it's a GIRL playing!" going on. Maybe some pick-up groups see it, but usually not. And if more games do like DDO did and include a built-in group voice chat, you will see that phenomenom pretty much disappear. You can't really hide your voice, and you quickly forget that the toon is female while the player is male, or vice versa.

    Still, this is China we are talking about. It's not exactly a hotbed of tolerance.
  • Re:So that means... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Macgrrl ( 762836 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:56PM (#20762197)

    I was astonished the first time some random guy opened a trade window and gave me stuff out of the blue.

    All my WoW toons are female with the exception of one bank alt. The main reason is I don't think much of the male avatars as a general rule.

    At RPG tournament level I've probably played more male than female characters - due mostly to the fact that game designers often didn't include female characters in the senarios. Or if they did they were T&A fluff.

    My RPG campaign characters are mostly female because it's easier for me that way. Though I've had a few male characters along the way.

    The guys I play tabletop RPGs with play a mix of male and female toons. It only pisses me off when one guy in particular always tried to play ugly chicks obsessed with getting impregnated by the heir of any particular kingdom we happen to be in at a the time. Not sure what that says about his view of women.

  • by grocer ( 718489 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @11:20AM (#20769061)
    No, the really interesting thing (and your post made me notice this after reading all the replies here), is that as long as the gender mix in a MMOG resembles real life in an approximate 50:50 gender mix seen on the screen, enough people respond to an arbitrary gender choice that it affects the game play experience. It's not magical thinking that playing a female avatar incurs an advantage but it's because of the conditioning and stereotypes people use to navigate real life, not actual programming choices. Seeing a 50:50 gender mix on the screen seems to make the brain (subconsciously perhaps) revert into normal navigation mode for real life social topography, which puts all the stereotypes about men and women into play and affects actual game play decisions.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?