Batman, Superman, and Spiderman are the most popular answers for the famous, who’s your favorite super hero? question. But what if you were asked to name your favorite female super hero? Icons such as Wonder Woman or Lara Croft may come to mind. What attributes make these super women feel truly real, but also truly memorable? For video games specifically it can be difficult to mention just one or two favorites. And it can be even more difficult to narrow down wonder-women characters from an MMO.
As creators, we face various challenges and obstacles when creating relevant female protagonists. This got me thinking about MMOs. It made me reevaluate the games I play and ask myself, who do I remember? Which female characters have made an impression? Three come to mind: Lion from Final Fantasy XI, Sylvanas Windrunner (World of Warcraft), and Kira Carsen (Star Wars the Old Republic).
Lion comes across as knowledgeable and caring. She has a conscientious and loyal demeanor. Intelligence often translates into strength, but only when wielded by a steady hand, and Lion has both, plus compassion to boot. She is a natural leader and a caring guide, which makes her memorable to me.
Sylvanas is fearless, talented, and cunning enough to outwit powerful foes. Her strength to survive helps her through unbearable circumstances. Behind her ruthless choices, she’s makes an argument for freedom and a person’s right to control his/her own actions. Her determination for revenge, for rest, and for justice makes her worth remembering.
Kira endures the sting of alienation and fear when her past is uncovered, yet she holds to the Jedi code of honor, and does so with flare and jest toward its strict lifestyle. She is sarcastic and tough but shows hints of her own vulnerability toward adventure and romance.
Creators imagine various motivations that compel heroines to act. Some wonder-women have the strength of ten men, while others have an inner strength that helps them overcome trauma or abuse. Qualities like loyalty and bravery can be powerful motivators to avenge family and friends or break cultural boundaries and gain personal power.
I’m often asked how to go about creating good characters and storylines, and always find it difficult to explain it in one simple answer. Heroes must be infused with passion and complexity, and characters should always be driven and motivated toward something. Finding what drives your character is foundational. They must find a way to learn, grow, and evolve. A woman who suffers greatly, but finds a way to get back on her feet transforms her into her own kind of super woman—even if she doesn’t have super-powers.
The creation of protagonists can be a complex subject that generates excellent discussions. I’ll be speaking alongside fellow writers and artists on a Comic-Con panel about Wonder Women of the 21st Century, so be sure to add in your thoughts below, and I’ll add them to the discussion! Who are your favorite wonder women? What attributes do you want to see in the next generation of heroines? Don’t forget to mention your favorite MMO heroines and why they make your list.
Every week, Holder’s Dominion author Genese Davis opines about MMO gaming, the issues the genre faces, and the power of shaping online worlds.
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