The Splendor of Gender Pretender

Zyngor | Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Well, I had planned on getting a blog post out a couple days ago, but Trion was so kind as to put out a new server for Archeage. While open PvP is not my cup of tea, free-to-play is, so I figured I'd give the game a least until level 30 or so (which I hear is roughly when the hostile player combat starts to pick up). At that point I'll likely play it by ear...perhaps see how much PvE content I can do while keeping under the radar? My original plan was to just do fishing, but I realized it wasn't quite as easy as picking up a fishing pole from an NPC and heading to a body of water.

While listening to an episode of LOTRO Players News (LPN) a week or so ago, they were talking a bit about how one goes about picking their character's sex, when the choice is available (this mainly would occur in an RPG title, whether it be MMO or single-player). The answers were pretty varied, from some males picking basically males (to others creating mostly females), females mainly creating females; others taking on a more scientific approach by splitting their characters to have a half:half split of male & female.

Some games may make the query a bit more one-sided, thrusting
"you" into one choice even before "you" are created
As for my male-self, I'd say that, when given the choice, my first character in most RPG titles are male - whether or not this character will end up being my main-player character. Perhaps this choice lets me connect a little closer with my playable avatar as I take on my first experience with the unfolding adventure embodied within the game. When/if I decide to roll up another character in that same game, my second character is female probably at least 75% of the time. Some games offer a slightly different set of dialogue, or perhaps the character animations offer something a bit varied based on the gender choice (yes, I said gender...I don't feel like filling my entire post with "sex" a thousand times).

Beyond the second character, I'd probably say that I fall into the mathematical approach of gender choice. My characters in LOTRO probably display the best example of this phenomenon. My toons displayed on the page at the top currently show those characters I am leveling/own - there are six male characters, and five female characters. The Beorning class will hopefully be released Update 15 (which I believe is supposed to be released before the end of the year), and I will likely create a female to even out the selection.

Though I usually try to customize the cosmetic appearance of my role-playing characters to some degree, I will generally not pick certain pieces to flatter the character's sex, male or female. Some game titles will put more effort into displaying certain aspects of character models, and armor alike, so it is sometimes hard not to end up with a rather voluptuous model under your control. However, from a backside perspective (which is how you'll generally see a character during gameplay), most of the games that I play don't really have too big of a difference between choosing male or female. I mean, have you seen elves from the rear in...basically any game?

As such, I suppose my choice to try and split gender choices is so that I can end up with a varied "army" of equal sexes. Whether that is subconsciously my views on the real world (peace, love, nerd hippy power) or not is beyond my current train of thought. Like I mentioned earlier, it's also nice to switch things up a bit, as some games may offer slightly different choices/dialogue based on gender.

Like I always say, gaming is a form of entertainment, and you gotta have fun with what you're doing, or it's time to switch it up. All of the hosts on LPN made solid reasons why they make certain gender choices when it comes to character creation, and I am not opposed to how anyone decides to make those choices. Even if it comes down to wanting some extra...jiggle physics, or perhaps those female beards are just not making the cut, you gotta choose what works best for you. As long as game designers don't create negative effects for selecting one or the other (when the choice is available, of course), we all get to be heroes in our own worlds.

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