Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is WoW Hating on Ladies?

A special  note about this post: I was going to post this on January 7th, 2015. I didn't though, because I felt like I was ranty and bitchy, and I really didn't want to come off that way. I really appreciated the view that Lindsay Ann gave about her experience with Warlords of Draenor. I was so polite in my comments on her post that I thought maybe I should just copy them here, but you guys deserve something better than that. So here is my post. And yes, its still a little ranty and bitchy. But I'm not a girl gamer hater- I am a girl gamer! I just think that people nit pick so many things nowadays, and I don't think that Warlords deserves to be one of them.


World of Warcraft is a lot of things to me. Sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I love it. For a while, it was a place where I could go and always know that a friend would be there, so I would be there almost all day long. WoW is also a pit of internet trolls. Trade chat can be an entertaining scroll, or an offensive diatribe. If you want to know anything about Chuck Norris, anal [insert class talent here], what your mom just did, or if somebody said Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker, you'll find it there. One thing that WoW has never been to me is sexist. Sure, there are the immature boys that will announce in trade that they just told their girlfriend to get in the kitchen and make them a sandwich. But in reality, if he's sitting there typing that to trade, his girlfriend and that sandwich probably aren't around. So I was really interested in this blog post that was shared to the Female Geek Bloggers group the other day. Its found on the HerStoryArc blog, and it basically states that with the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Blizzard missed an opportunity to make female gamers feel more welcomed by not including any lead females into the storyline. If you check out the post, you will see my rather lengthy responses, but I still felt compelled to write this, because I don't think Blizzard is in the wrong, and I certainly don't need a female Warlord to feel welcomed into a game that I have been playing since 2006.

In the past versions of the game, female characters have been present and had some roles in the expansions. The two most prominent are Jaina Proudmoore (Alliance) and Lady Sylvanas Windrunner (Horde), and from these two, I think that Sylvanas has had the better storyline (especially in Wrath of the Lich King). But even if they weren't the main focus of anything, they've always been around in the game (and they still are, if you go into any of the older content). The complaint from HerStoryArc was that the Warlords of Draenor expansion lacks female leads, and for that, Blizzard let their female demographic down. While its true that the main focus of this expansion are male, I don't feel that they've let their female demographic down at all. I play WoW because its fun, not because of the lady leads. And in this expansion's storyline, the characters were all male. Even I, who lacks in the greater depths of knowing WoW lore, knows that. The author of the post feels that by incorporating more female friendly leads and quests into the game, thats going to change the dynamics of how gamer boys feel about gamer girls. That sounds nice, but I don't think so. Players who are set on completing the objectives of a quest will do it. It doesn't matter if the quest is for a male or female NPC. What needs to change is the behaviors of the players. Which brings me to the other issue that was brought up: language in the game.
The post suggested that Blizzard place stricter guidelines for in-game language, harsher punishment for those that break the rules- again, all so that female gamers (which later in the sentence turns into all players) can feel safe while playing. I take issue with this because the post made it sound like Blizzard has nothing in place for these types of behaviors when in actuality, they have several. First, you can turn on a mature language filter in your settings. It won't catch everything, but if you don't like cuss words and things, it will do this @#$%#%^# number to them. If you think that someone is saying inappropriate things, i.e. rape jokes or racist comments, you can click on their name and report them for abuse. There will be a few things you have to answer to report them, but its really that simple. And bonus, once you report them, they also get blocked, so you don't have to see their idiotic comments anymore. There is also the option to just flat out block them, if you don't want to bother with reporting them, And yes, you can still open a ticket to talk to a GM if things get out of hand. Just be prepared to have specific times, dates and places if you want to go that route. Speaking with a GM is the best way to get someone temporarily banned/have their account suspended. I know all of this because I have had instances where players have been really unkind, but I've also been fortunate enough that those instances have been few and far inbetween. 

My last issue with the post is with its tone as a whole, and this is probably where I am going to get the most backlash. There are girls in the game that use being female to their advantage. They will use the horniess of these poor dorky guys to get gold and gear and sometimes real life items like keyboards and cash. I hate girls like that. They make the rest of us that are there to just play the game look really bad. They're one of the reasons guys don't take female gamers seriously. But in that same vein, I feel that girls who constantly complain that games aren't girl-friendly are just as bad as those girls who are banking off of their sex, and that's where that blog post fell for me. Hearing that the gaming isn't doing enough for girls calls to mind that episode of The Guild where the Knights of Good want to buy the guild hall, and the guys want the metal gray one with all the spikes, and the girls want the candy colored, hot pink hall. The Guild wasn't complaining about lack of female anything (I mean, Felicia Day practically made WoW every geek girl's game at one point), but it highlights the difference in the way most guys and girls play. Always saying that girls need something for them makes me think that they want the pink frills, they want something decidedly girly (which is funny, because in the post, the author states that's exactly what she's not asking for). WoW doesn't perpetuate hate towards females. It doesn't portray them as helpless princesses (Sylvanas was murdered, then came back, got revenge and managed to snag a position of power. Um, that's pretty awesome.). It would be different if they were having quests where you only kill women, or there was somewhere in the game that shows graphic violence towards them, but there isn't. So why does it matter if there are a few more male leaders than female? It doesn't. Or it shouldn't.

Like with anything else in life, WoW is an experience that you create for yourself. You control your toon, you control your actions in the game. If some troll has something to say, you can be the bigger person and ignore it, or you can feed them and engage in a word war. Just know, that report button works both ways. I try to be positive while playing, and just yell at the screen when people annoy me :) That way, I'm not adding any negativity to the game. We all pay $15 a month to play, why not make the best of it?

What are your thoughts? Do you think having more lady leads in WoW would change male opinions of female gamers? Do you think the game needs more lady leads in general? Would trolls stop you from playing a game you love, but would stronger consequences against them bring you back? Let me know in the comments!

Helpful links:
*The Guild Season Four (its the season I was discussing above)
*Wowhead (basically an encyclopedia of WoW, you can snoop around and see who/what's in the game)
*WoW: New Models, New Theme and New Potential (the article on HerStoryArc that inspired this post)


  1. I agree with you 150% on this post. I don't really want to get too much into it, but I feel like right now, a lot of women are looking for ways to be oppressed, and they will jump at any chance they get to bash someone for being unfair to women. In this particular instance, I think a gamer girl is a gamer girl. I know that I personally don't pick what games I play by which (fictional!) character is "in power." (To be honest, Jaina got on my nerves!) Girls who are not gamers are probably not going to play WoW, no matter how many female leaders there are. If they do end up playing, it's going to be because their friend or SO plays and convinced them to play as well. Personally, I have been pretty happy with the storyline and everything that that entails. I have never felt unwelcome because I was a female. (And if I did, it was because of real people, not fictional ones.)

  2. Exactly. I only started playing WoW because my husband had been playing it. I don't participate in aspects of the game (mainly raiding) because of experiences I've had, but that didn't turn me off to the game as a whole. And while I love the game now, it took my husband a whole year to convince me to even try it, so I know that its not something I would have tried out on my own, no matter what characters were featured. I was much more of a Duck Hunt/Dr.Mario type of gamer back then lol.

  3. Ha! We are just alike! It took my husband a year to convince my to try it too. I thought it was so stupid until I finally tried it, and then of course I fell in love. I only played The Sims...I was "not a gamer." Haha. I think the only one I was fooling was myself.


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