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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Aim for the Shiny Parts....Please

Posted by SBFord Friday July 1 2011 at 8:07AM
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One of my friends posted a video from the folks at College Humor and, while I’m a looooong way from college age, I was struck by just how hysterically funny this video is when it comes to today’s games. But it’s more than just a good laugh (and it is that!). It also shines a light on gender bias with regard to armor models in today’s games. /overly serious intro

First I’ll let you watch it.

Now that you’re all done chortling about shiny parts and finished with that belly busting laugh at the end when the guys come out in armor frighteningly like the woman’s at the beginning of the film, we can move on.

I’ve been playing RPGs and MMOs for a good long while now and the last decent armor model I saw for any of my RPG characters was one that my level 99 Amazon wore in Diablo 2. My best MMO character armor came in Lord of the Rings Online with more of Kalaniel covered than uncovered. Guild Wars wasn’t too bad either. I have to admit, however, that I wasn’t totally enamored of the pseudo steam punk wear-it-as-tight-as-you-can look of my Mesmer but at least she wore pants most of the time! I had a lot of hope for Rift, I really did. But even they let me down. Oh sure, I got to lose the spike-heeled thigh-high boots that are just so dang practical for running around in the wilds of any MMO, but my characters still show an alarming amount of cleavage even at my end game levels. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to realize that the enemy will be looking for the parts that aren’t shiny to aim at first!

I’ll even admit that I’ve quit a few games because I just couldn’t stand what my characters looked like.

Yes, I’m that shallow.

But here’s what I want to know: According to a 2008 study, the ratio of male to female gamers is 60%-40% so why are female characters still running around in G-strings and Wonder Bras? Don’t get me wrong. I get it: Sex sells. I’m secure enough in who I am to think that, at least occasionally, it’s nice to look like a Victoria’s Secret model but not all the time for Pete’s sake! I also get it that men like to see the female characters they play dressed in the skank of the week costumes that some (too many) MMOs utilize. I can accept that but I want equal time. I want that bad boy in a jock strap and a pair of sandals so I can admire his rear end as he’s running down a horde of Orcs. Is that so wrong?

So now I’m putting out the clarion call to developers: Give me male armor models with just their shiny parts covered and at the same time, give my girls better than that thong and Wonder Bra combo mentioned earlier! Maybe I’d be more inclined to play male characters in my games if they were present. I might not but, either way, why can’t female and male character armors be created equal? Maybe we need some Gamers’ Constitution and then make an amendment to it. You know “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all character armor models are created equal.” Or something like that. But if that’s too extreme, all I really want is to see a bit less cleavage on my gals and a lot more shiny stuff covering my characters’ parts. And while they’re at it, I’d also like to see a lot more of my boys. *wink wink nudge nudge*

Vinterkrig writes:

I lol'd thanks

Fri Jul 01 2011 8:48AM Report
Rommie10-284 writes:

Nothing wrong with Going Conan, so I'm on board.

Fri Jul 01 2011 8:53AM Report
inzane3 writes:

lol agreed

Fri Jul 01 2011 9:08AM Report
Eskartaz writes:

I personally agree with the desire for greater equality in armor design.

If a game has its characters generally armored to an equal degree as in lotro, or generally unarmored to an equal degree as in age of conan, I can accept that. But when a game has males armored head to toe and females far less covered (such as in rift, the defiant guards being a particularly egregious example as I recall), I tend to find myself looking for something else to play (and I am a male). 

And although I can't speak to the general feelings of the mmo population, I will say that although sex might sell, the hardcore gamers whom I know generally seem alot more concerned with gameplay mechanics then being tantalized.

Fri Jul 01 2011 9:19AM Report
mCalvert writes:

60-40 is a lie.

Fri Jul 01 2011 9:59AM Report
gaeanprayer writes:

I've been saying this for a long time. However, I encourage you to take a hard look around; times are changing:

Karok from Vindictus


Guild Wars 2 (this was a response to this exact concern, actually, where Anet said they would offer both revealing and more realistic styles to please both sides of the fence)

Requiem - one of the races is particularly naked

Orc Male loading screen from Shaiya (the actual armor is somewhere ingame, couldnt find a screenshot of it though):


Women are definitely still more objectified than men, but it's becoming less and less so as time goes on.

Fri Jul 01 2011 10:29AM Report
meleemadness writes:

Male gamers far outnumber female a large margin.  Having said that, my wife plays too but only because I do and only when I do....I will play solo when she is not there but she won't.

Anyway, she wants to look pretty but not slutty....I usually design her characters cause she knows that whatever I make is something I will like, which she in turn likes. 

Again, one of her most favorite character was an Uruk Warlord in LotRO in the PvM.  She loved killing hobbits and she did NOT look pretty!

Fri Jul 01 2011 10:49AM Report
Paragus1 writes: has high mobility!

Fri Jul 01 2011 11:14AM Report
Tyrranosaur writes:

Male gamers who continue to live in denial that the number of female gamers is catching up always amuse me. Women who game may have different priorities than male gamers, but they are still gamers nonetheless. Your wife, for example, is still a gamer, even if she prefers to game socially with you; we really need to be more respectful; one does not have to be an OCD fanatic to qualify. Disclaimer: I come from a household of female gamers who are all more obsessive about their preferred games than I am, though they all tend to focus on their one or two favorite games whereas I tend to jump around to the "flavor of the week" a lot more myself.

Fri Jul 01 2011 11:21AM Report
Tyrranosaur writes:

Damn! Forgot to comment on the post. I've been railing about unrealistic armor for women in games for ages. I'm a guy, so sure I like eye candy...but I also am big on immersion, and nothing breaks immersion more than some warrior chick running into the middle of a swordfighting a dental floss chain bikini. If GW2 really does cater to both sides of the fence, I'll be even happier with them. My personal favorite MMO is DDO, and for the most part its armor is pretty "functional" for both genders (except the optional mictrotransaction armor kits, which are purely cosmetic and for the females are often quite slutty).

Fri Jul 01 2011 11:23AM Report
TuxedoSLY writes:

It's not like lots of games don't have half naked men running around with giant muscles. It's like wrestling, people complain about the girls wearing next to nothing, but the guys are just in briefs. It's just easier to complain about sexism against women.

Fri Jul 01 2011 11:26AM Report
Kuinn writes:

I like the revealing armor on females, yes sex sells for me, however I'd like there was an option to click on to show the more "realistic" (lol at realism in fantasy games or games in general but yeah...) armor with more stuff covering skin if desired. I'd also like the chance to drop some of the armor on male characters, not to make them wear bra's and bikinis but to give more of that barbarian top-off-only-belts mode on upper torso. Too much work? Ps. I also vote yes for the boobs-slider, sue me :)


I say more options for the looks would sell a lot better than sex only, or no sex at all, options/middle ground please ^_^

Fri Jul 01 2011 11:52AM Report
Neverdyne writes:

I actually like how full on plate armor (without gaps) looks on females, like in Dragon Age Origins. 

Fri Jul 01 2011 12:01PM Report
MikeB writes:

I prefer Paragus' logic, personally. Haha. <3 Suzie (don't keel me!). :D

Fri Jul 01 2011 1:03PM Report
futnatus writes:

I always was disgusted by the choice in looks given to female characters in games.  I'm a guy and it disturbs me when female characters are forced to wear something so revealing, especially when you think that the female character might be a guy crossdressing.  That's when I throw up and have to do log off till I've wiped all the vile grime off my laptop.

What, I'm really supposed to just enjoy the female looks?  Oh F. You world.  I'm in a fantasy realm slaughtering ugly something with a sharp something and I want immersion, not a slut to come and take me out of the moment.  I'll go watch pr0n later, dont want it when I'm distracting myself with a much cleaner passion.

Fri Jul 01 2011 1:33PM Report
fenrisblue writes:

on the flip side, i have always been a little envious of the woman , i have always wanted  a mascukine version of the skin tight leather armor, or the plate armor that shows off the form for guys, its almost like the designers are worried that seeing a guys skin will make them gay or something, and i really like what GW2 is doing,.. you guys WILL be seeing my male toons in smexy furs or as Rommie10-284 said "GOING CONNAN"

Fri Jul 01 2011 2:11PM Report
colvinj writes:

The fact is there are no "realistic" models of armor to base costume design for women.  They didn't fight.  Granted there have been rare exceptions in the history of the world and fantasy worlds don't have to comply to our worlds physical or social rules.

Also don't talk about the gender disparity of gamers, look at the gender disparity of developers.  Seems kind of obvious.

Fri Jul 01 2011 2:26PM Report
reillan writes:

Give us an MMO with full nudity and full coverage options, too.  That way, we can run around in as little or as much as we want.  And while we're at it, make armor fully dyeable rather than just single colors out of a multicolored garment.

Fri Jul 01 2011 4:31PM Report
Admin writes:

Tassles of intimidation - lmao.  Great stuff!

Fri Jul 01 2011 4:42PM Report
Drekker17 writes:

I don't mind women wearing barely any armor (realism sucks, however it's funny what people think what is realistic, often isn't). I just wish more men had bare clothes. Funny how nowadays women are nearly naked and men wear  full body armor, however in the past female heroes wore full covering clothes and male heroes had bare chest and short or no pants.

Fri Jul 01 2011 6:43PM Report
Kizzatta writes:

Be nice to have an option to show normal female armor (which doesn't differ much from male) or show the popular lingerie style clothing. To me it's a dignity thing. I don't like to run around town in my underwear all day.

Fri Jul 01 2011 7:38PM Report
Brenelael writes:

I love it when gamers complain that a fantasy setting isn't realistic enough for them. Like magic, monsters or anything else in a fantasy based game has anything to do with realism either. If you want realism try going outside... LOL


P.S. The Vid is hilarious btw.



Sat Jul 02 2011 7:47AM Report
garry writes:

Just adding my 2 cents. I have often enjoyed the variety of female armor in game, 'eye candy' is what it is called. I believe tho, that the person should have choice in 'skin' visibility.


My complaint is with the guys costumes. We are almost always allowed to be everything from gross and ugly to muscled wrestlers but, where is our package? I love the female boob sliders with all the beautiful sliders and variety. But why are we men turned into sexless neuters? Any game got the nerve to give us guys a package slider? LOL not a chance!


BTW, spare me the morality flames, this is all a bit of sarcasm. I had never considered running a female character. My best friend and his son are two fellow gamers since EQ. Both are hard line, right wing, gun toten conservative ( I am a Liberal) bubba types. I was floored when I found out that they both have run several female characters in various games.  They never said anything, I just found out when we got together in our group and WHOA!!! Being a Liberal it just surprised me and I learned another lesson about people being unique persons and not easily stereotyped.

Sat Jul 02 2011 12:58PM Report
stragen001 writes:

I think you need to play Mortal Online.......

Sat Jul 02 2011 1:15PM Report
Sabbicat writes:

Doh!! Right in the shiney parts. Too freakin halarious.

Sun Jul 03 2011 9:49AM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:

One of my friends just posted this a couple days ago and you are from Phoenix too and almost makes me wonder if we know each other on FB or somewhere else :PPPPP

That aside, funny video then and now too.  It is not as good though as the greatest College Humor video ever about noobs and leets.

Sun Jul 03 2011 3:14PM Report
DarkDelusion writes:

I agree with your arguement,  personally I'd like to run around looking like a badass Conan the Barbarian.  There is something primal and intimidating about that.  

But as a side note.

My girlfriend is the opposite.  She actually hates armor that covers up most of her body.  I kid you not,  the skimpier and more fasionable it is, the more she likes it.  She finds the "realistic" armor designs hideous.

Wed Jul 06 2011 10:51PM Report
TatsuOyama writes:

I have 3 neices. All of them game. 1 likes anything girly and could care less if it is skimpy or not. The other 2 hate the skimpy armor that they call "Chickmail". They mostly play MMOs and a crapload or Wii games. My brother's wife plays and could care less what the armor looks like, but wants stats...moster stats. My GF plays and hates skimpy armor...unless it is teal and then she will wear it no matter what.

My 2 brothers and I all play together with them.

So in my life the men are outnumbered by the female gamers and that majority hates skimpy armor...mostly...kind of.

Thu Jul 07 2011 2:21AM Report
nadrian3k writes:

Vid is hilarius :D

Thu Jul 07 2011 10:21AM Report
xenomonk123 writes:

hilarious for sure, there is nothing wrong female models in games, that's how females should look... my girlfriend plays games with me all the time and she has huge breast and a size 1 waist... sad you don't oh well

Thu Jul 07 2011 12:00PM Report
xenomonk123 writes:

also i would love the option to wear only a loincloth in any video game, as i do irl

Thu Jul 07 2011 12:02PM Report
DoorKnob22 writes:

You've got to be kidding me.


Female armor is fantastic! Less than half the material for all the same protection.

Wed Jul 13 2011 9:26PM Report
Olgark writes:

Age of Conan is the one for you as the men wear as little as the women in the armour.

If you want it to be more realistic then remove female characters from MMO's females didn't fight when people wore armour, and if they did it was because they was forced to. So there are no real designs for female armour.

The most armour that was ever worn by women was leather or light chain mail, usualy to placate them by their men folk and these women were noble by birth. Often done as a joke between the Oathsworn of the house they are married to. But when it came to battle they was shoved to the tent to look after the children. The men did the fighting.

Oh and as a side note the armour was usualy tight fitting to show off their curves or a bit of leg. Clinched at the wasit by a leather belt. So if your looking at real life for female armour your doing it wrong.

Tue Apr 24 2012 6:38PM Report writes:
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