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The Devil's Advocate: Sex & MMOs Part 1

Column By Victor Barreiro Jr. on October 07, 2013

Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me.

Sex, whether it is the act of having sex, the sexualization of character models, or the use of sex to sell a product, is often seen as a serious topic of discussion or fierce moral debate. In games, sex is often seen as either a means to tantalize, to objectify, or to otherwise up the ESRB rating of a game.

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The effectiveness of these tactics is debatable. This is due to the number of factors that would reliably coexist with sex when trying to sell a game that is hyper-sexualized, such as the quality of the game or the marketing spin put to it.

I won’t tackle all of this today, and depending on what happens in gaming in the coming week, it may take me a while to even get back to this topic. For today, however, I wanted to at least discuss my personal leanings regarding sex in MMORPGs. If you’re planning on using sex in some way, shape, or form to help push an MMO as something worth buying, I will likely not be entirely on your side for this discussion.

And when I get that feeling, I want sexual healing. Sexual healing...

In my mind, sex as a sort of gameplay mechanic does not exactly make sense in the MMO world, not simply because of how it would play out, but because how would you reward such conduct in a game?

It may POSSIBLY work if you’re some kind of anime tentacle monster and your sworn racial enemies are scantily clad women who don’t know how to wear metal plated armor to cover their privates, but looks silly if you force people to engage in sex to level up or otherwise win a skirmish.

There have been non-MMO games where sex is a gameplay mechanic mind you, and they don’t have to be completely scandalous because it becomes a storyline enhancement rather than some kind of combat humping simulation. Rogue Legacy and the Agarest War games make it part of the story that you’re following a lineage of heroes than a single person. There’s also 7 Grand Steps, a sort of computerized board game on Steam where sex happens, but is largely a less-than-lusty mechanic designed for you to see how your created genealogy develops across one timeline of your progeny.

On one strange note, there is one MMO in development that seems to want to make sex a big draw for its gameplay mechanics: Venus Rising is that game, but aside from its description on its site, there’s not much I have found to make it noticeable. There is one thing though: you can apparently master up to 16 sexual positions in-game.

I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy, yeah it hurts.

Taking sex as a gameplay mechanic to its logical conclusion, let’s discuss itemization in a game replete with sex. I mean, after I complete the Raunchy Deadmines in WoW, I should get some booty for my troubles, right?

Let’s assume you’ve used your Sexual Prowess (SP) to open up a Sex Rift in Near Mathosia, and you and your gang of combatants thoroughly bang the SexBoss with your Elusive Spear of DongBlasting +3. Do you want to pick up the Shortsword of Stab-Thrusting +4 or the Greatstaff of Badonkadonk +3?

So yeah… what exactly are your rewards for sexing up an enemy? More sex? I mean, come on… that’s such a grind to go through, don’t you think?  Simply put, there’s very little chance of having a serious discussion about saving the world if all you’re doing is sexing Crucia or Onyxia or that horny demon with the Warglaives of Azzinoth or a Ringwraith. And don’t get me started on how you’d get C’thun to explode, so to speak.

And no, I will not discuss PVP servers in this particular case. Do not make the mistake of commenting about triggery stuff in the comments.

Head on to page 2.

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The Devil's Advocate is an opportunity for the oft-shunned and little discussed “Other Side of the Story” to be heard, promoting open discussion on a heavily contested subject.
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