Gender Bending in Video Games

by
By day an unassuming, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen and by night the most hardcore Night Elf Druid roaming Azeroth. I am referring to the life sucking game that is World of Warcraft (WoW). I am also referring to, Bill*, who after one too many beverages one night confided in me that he plays a female night elf.

Don’t ask me how this possibly came about but think of the most convoluted conversations you’ve had while tossing back tequila shots. But anyway, it got me thinking just how many other players in popular MMO’s like to experiment with their gender in game?

And do any dress up?

While playing any MMO a player is required to create an avatar. It begs the question as to how much of our own persona is reflected in this aesthetically enhanced character. Not even personality but more specifically gender.  Bill’s argument for playing a female character is rather amusing. His entire guild is under the impression that he is in fact a female.

Morally correct? That is probably another discussion entirely. Bill, being 20+, believes that his guild members give him, greatly needed, additional help in game. For example raid leaders will whisper him specific instructions in ‘dumbed down’  language, with no jargon, which he finds extremely helpful while raiding.

He never has to pay for expensive items such as flasks, potions or enchants because as he claims he is quite “chummy” with the guild alchemist and enchanter. Stories of him playing a ditsy female character were rather entertaining as this in no way reflects his real life personality.  Nevertheless he truly believes that playing and pretending to be a female is worth the in game perks and benefits.

Conversely I have had female friends that prefer to play male classes because they receive less attention. I can personally understand this as there is nothing worse than being mid-raid and getting whispers from the so-called sexy hunter asking if you’re on Facebook. Or the way some players patronizingly give you unwanted help, assuming girls don’t know how to move out of fire. This does not happen often but regardless it can get slightly irritating.

Because that’s how everyone plays WoW right?

With all this deception going on is there a way to tell which gender the player is? I have heard of players being able to tell due to the amount of smiley faces and emoticons used when typing. But I have to disagree. I know majority of my guild members in real life and they are all male and use way too many emoticons for my liking.

The dead giveaway for me is the flirting whether it be a /kiss or a /whistle, if this is done over twenty times then I’d put money down it’s a guy behind the screen. I have also been told that the bigger the breasts are on a female avatar then the more likely it is a male player. It goes without saying things do get a little easier when using Vent or Team Speak.

Although I did get asked once if I was really a 12 year old boy. *Ouch*

Virtual BOOBIES!

I have really only touched on WoW but this topic really applies for any game and not just online games. Do we create a character in the hopes of creating an enhanced version of ourselves? Or do we make an avatar who has a hot ass or a chisled chin to gawk at all game?

No matter, in the end as long as no one is taken advantage of (not including potions), Bill should feel free to get in touch with his softer side. I just find it particularly fascinating as to why players switch genders. So fellow Non-Fiction Gaming readers how do you tell who you’re playing with? And more importantly which way do you bend?

Bill* (Name changed to protect his identity because he does not want to get his ass kicked or guild kicked for that matter by anyone in the land of Azeroth).

Emma is a recovering WoW addict who recently had a relapse due to a scroll of resurrection and is now standing outside the gates of hell deliberating if she will return, follow her on Twitter and to convince her there is a world outside MMOs.

Emma also gets irked at Downloadable Content, see what she has to say here.