Gender Roles in MMORPGs versus MUDs

Playable Siren race from Achaea MMORPG
Player-submitted articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iron Realms, the company or its employees.


Anyone who's played an MMORPG has seen certain stereotypes in video games. The “tank” is a dude, the “healer” is a chick. It doesn't matter what gender the toons, or even the characters behind them, are. That's the stereotype most players start with and its clear the real world perceptions of gender roles bleed into what people automatically assume in gaming.


Studies have been done to investigate what motivates male gamers versus female gamers. One of the most common results found is that women prefer socialization and communal achievements, while men aim for competition and direct victory over opponents. Beyond that, evidence suggests that females will actually lose interest in games that lack interaction or engagement beyond just the gameplay and mechanics.


Perhaps this is why the “nurturer” roles like healers are often assumed to be feminine roles, while PvP is considered a male domain. In fact, in a study done on EverQuest II players, levels of aggression showed a distinct impact from who gamers played with: men actually demonstrated more aggression, and females less, when they gamed with significant others.


However, unlike MMOs, MUDs are far more encompassing of what one's “role” means and is defined by. PvP and PvE are not isolated scenarios divorced from the rest of the game itself, but are intrinsically intertwined with core gameplay. In Lusternia, for example, you might hunt creatures or quest to increase your city's power levels, or jump in and help fight at a revolt to increase your commune's influence in the world. Under Aetolia's Ylem system, cities group up for team combat every few hours to secure precious resources for their factions, and in Achaea you may find yourself called upon to defend your house's icon from attack. 


Each of these situations listed yield all types of participants as the effects from victory are tangible rewards for both the individuals and the characters' organizations. Combat and PvE participation is both about competition and socialization. A player can fight for the sake of fighting and aim to crush their opponents; but they are just as likely to be driven to join in out of a desire to help make their organizations stronger. 


But MUDs are not just about PvP and PvE. They are complex, with many other facets to the roles available. Players can design and craft clothing, jewelry and even alcoholic beverages, run shops as merchants, be a priest for an all-powerful god, or deftly manipulate political alliances as a government official. You'll find intrepid economists, shadowy spies, philosophers, scientists, artists, because the mechanics of MUDs tie all of these elements – roleplay, combat, PvE, PvP, politics, economy - together to weave who a character is.


However, even with this depth to character that MUDs offer, do gender roles still echo through? In Aetolia, for example, there is a guild called the Druids which is focused on a defensive, supporting role, with the ideals based around protecting nature and communicating with plantlife. Membership in this guild has shown a far larger proportion of female characters than male, with all of the current leadership being women. Is this the MUD equivalent of an MMO's “healer” role?


So, what do you think? Have MUDs found a magical balance in incentive and motivation, making things appealing to both genders, a goal MMORPGs are still struggling to reach? Or are things still largely defined around real world gender roles? Weigh in with your comments!


Author: Moirean of Aetolia

Have thoughts on the MUD and MMORPG industry? Want to submit articles to IRE? Contact the editor!


I think Achaea has a good balance now. i do believe that it has room for improvement, as almost everything does, but it the balance is good.

I am not exactly sure what is meant by "real world" gender roles as opposed to "magical balance". In my eyes me the two are the same. The real world is as magically balanced as you can get.




And not just because we're in the same house.


ccccombo breaker


combo restarter!



I agree.



I agree that you agree.


I also think we all agree that it's good when credits are free.





Well said.





heck yes





Well well said!



I think exactly the same



























with whom, though?

who can tell?


this phrase on a t shirt.


what phrase?





Agreeing with yourself eh?

Agree to agreement!






overall, yes.

you choose class/race etc based on it.  Like how many new females make troll characters.

when was the last time i saw a kohdon female, i wonder...

a what?

I used to see some female troll druids in achaea.

Eh, in Lusternia, we have a lot of female characters in my warrior guild who have held important leadership positions. I don't really see any 'gender role' bias in this game, every guild has an even distribution of males and females who find attraction to those roles for many reasons. I think MUDs do achieve an amazingly good balance of male:female.

I would agree here.

the loss of vision gives us a whole lot more.

It's easier to play based on a concept in muds a opposed to which armor sets will be the least hideous to stare at for hours on end in graphical games.

...I much prefer a customizable description over the ugly steroid freaks who all look the same in World of Warcraft.


Also I don't see what else there is to a female/male in MMOPG's beside perhaps \dance. Lulz


I haven't really seen any major imbalance in the leadership. Seems about 50/50 male/female.

I don't really get into PvP, so I don't know what the balance is like among Lusternian combatants.


Then there's the question of cross-gender RP. Is a woman more likely to play a male combatant so that they are taken seriously? Is a man more likely to play a female character in the hopes that other players (men?) will pay more attention to them, which leads to higher leadership positions?



Personally, I don't pay a lot of attention to other characters genders. Given the amount of times that Luenn has been refered to as female, it doesn't look like many other people do either.

Gender is something I usually check before using a pronoun. Beyond that, I find it unimportant.

Without the visual markers to determine gender it really is just flavor.

Substance>looks. Agreed.


I think that's really the difference between the text and graphics base which allows MUDs to feel much more varied when we let our imaginations create the images instead of having the screen show us similar versions of ourselves everywhere we look.


No real reason to discriminate unless you're on the prowl for some reason.

I don't usually check and then I often tell them to get over themselves if they get all bent about it not being the correct one.

you wouldn't mind if your mother reincarnated into a man?

Just realised that Luenn has long hair, so it's possible that people refering to him as female could just be RPing a "all humans look alike" thing.


... or the too lazy to check the gender before using a pronoun thing.

Your name looks/sounds feminine. Nothing else.

The decision comes before reading the description.

That's how I pick pronouns until I'm corrected.

I dont even notice male/female


It's interesting how many names I get wrong..gender-wise.

It would be interesting to have a study regarding what sounds masculine and feminine!

Name ends in an a - its a girl

"Given the amount of times that Luenn has been refered to as female, it doesn't look like many other people do either."

Loren has the same problem, though 100% of the time that I've seen the name IRL, it's been the male version..but I guess if you're just going on the 'sound' of it..

If anything there's a slight tendency for women to hold more leadership roles in Lusternia.


well in general there's simply more leadership roles in Lusternia, instead of a GM there's a Guild Master (more overall leadership and sits on the city council) and a GA Guild Administer (mostly in charge of guild advancement, novices and the like) and a guild champion (security can defend guildies).

But it does sound female.

There is a good gender balance in regards to combat. And by the way, I really hate those studies that people claim to make. I looked it up and there is no complete journal on the matter... which means they could have altered their results, who knows. There is no methodology stated either.



Gender only thing that can be balanced in combat.

Yeah, I don't really trust most of these studies. But I also tend to hang out around gamers that break all of the stereotypes, so those stereotypes were never there for me to begin with.


Since I've started playing Lusternia, I've also noticed that there's a pretty good gender balance across the board. I've seen plenty of female PVPers and pleny of male characters doing healing or support rather than tanking.


I'm a female, I always play female characters. Usually, I'll play ranged DPS classes. For Lusternia, I'm playing a druid. This is my usual class pick if I can't play something that wields a bow. I also tend to lean towards pet classes.

We used to have a ton of Glomazons, but... they've decreased in number lately.

I hope more leave!

You guys still have a ton of fighters! They just need to... be willing to fight moar.

probably because you call them glomazons?

Agree. In fact I never distinguish which character is male and which is female at first, I interact with them as neuter, and I bother to find out when gender becomes relevant.


i actually like females who can kick me arse.




Viva Lusternia.

Yeah, it seems like the numbers are not -that- disproportionate.


There is bias, even in Lusternia, but having a bias does not mean there's a bar. So woemen are not barred from certain roles in Lusternia, nor for that matter are men, but there are some bars where given an otherwise even abilities a man or women tends to be favored over there counterpart.

The trend does seem to be women, or those who generally tend to protect things (like Wardens). This is in Cyrene, at least. This especially goes for House Leaders, I think 3/4 of our Houses are run by women. Which is frankly very refreshing.

Refreshing indeed.

You should meet my friends irl >.>

The girls are more competetive with each other then the guys when playing D&D. Our most recent warhammer board game, we had to 'browbeat' one the girls into becoming an Inquisitor.  She needed a vote from everyone before even was considered...and ALOT of favors((two beatings)) later, she did!


While not same as a mud when round the table with friends, its kind of a 'black sheep' in the room situation.  There is just as many guys and girls seeking similar, but definately unique roles of their own, it makes sense why boredom comes from repetition.

I agree that women actually tend to be more competitive. I have had more spirited role-play and combat with women than I have with men, in most cases.

This made me snort.


Hehe, that's funny.


I'm gearing up to start a Dark Heresy game with some friends of mine. One female player is playing a female assassin. I'm playing a psycher. Our healer is a male played by a male.


I'm hoping to bring BAD END to the whole party. Mwahahahahaha.


between female/male characters and female/male players.

This. Although I feel that in both MMOs and MUDs the stereotype of "ladies play healers" rings true, for both RL and character gender. However, I've found that in MUDs people are far less likely to pick a gender based on 'looks'. Although there are of course very well known exceptions with some pretty typical descriptions....


Maybe these 'female' leaders are merely female because the player thinks they should be?

Of course, then you get into stereotypes there as well, but on a different level, it seems.

I agree.

I think the same thing. It's hard to answer the question posed without doing so.

I suspect there would be a 'spillover' of your own personality into the character, regardless of whether the gender is the same or not, so that might actually affect their propensity for PvP or lack thereof.

I mean, there are a lot of females playing manly males, you still can't really tell

I know a guy who plays a graphical mmo... all of his pvp characters are female, except the healer.

I have female friends who play male characters either because they don't want the "special attention" or they feel this will be thought of as stereotype "guy plays girl" which is worse than being thought of as a guy playing a male character.

Ah, there it is. Some of the attention is nice, some of it isn't. I've probably told about ten people that I'm not looking for any kind of romantic relationship. I haven't really been paying attention to the gender ratio, but both genders have been turned down. Arguably, at least some of these people might have not been actually hitting on me, but I still felt like I would be leading them on if I let them keep acting the way they were.

Very true.

Winterlynn is competive, and I don't if a lot of people know that though. She is mostly competive in events that happen in Aetolia and not so much with PvP....

How do you think that mixture would relate to the question? Do you consider that applicable as a direct conquering over her rivals?

not really, if they bashed more, they'd surely win, she's just sneaky

but she's a beast in general. Having gone hunting with her on several occasions, that fact is ever apparant.

Achaea seems fairly balanced really

I concur.  I have seem just about every possibility out there.  Not many female jesters though, but jesters are rare to begin with...

Still sometimes never know who is exactly a what.

I concur.  Some classes do have some useless abilities though that should be redone...



Lusternia goes out of its way to confuse stereotypical gender roles. You can't really make any assumptions about players or characters based on gender in this game.

I have always loved this about Lusternia. No one thinks twice about a character's gender when considering their ability to fill a certain role.

Those mirrors...

I will admit that I played a healer in WoW. On...4 different toons. >_>

I am definitely more competitive in MUDs than I am in MMOs. I think part of it has to do with ego and identity. In an MMO or a FPS it's a lot more anonymous, so I don't really care what people think, but in MUDs where your player is known in the community, there is a lot more competition to save face and preserve your identity/reputation.

I am always surprised at how much people know about my characters. I have to keep up the competitiveness all the time in order to maintain a reputation.

Chick's in armor are good tanks.

Are you saying they're fat? *deathstare*



No that armour doesn't make your butt look big, you butt makes that armour look fat.

To me Achaea seems very balanced. It's not perfect, but you can't really expect it to be some "magical balance."

I think Achaea is pretty well balanced, also.

There's always room for improvement, but I think Achaea is fairly balanced.

It's impossible to avoid some kind of gender stereotyping, because real world bias is always going to creep into gameplay.

I haven't heard anyone say: "That's because she's a female."

You say that because.

I agree



Good balance, I think. Traditional gender roles are something that haven't penetrated Achaea yet on a noticeable scale.

I am Bill Nighy, and from a real world perspective, one would be surprised at how many females there are in leadership positions in Aetolia (at least that's where my opinion is coming from). It's a good thing, overall.

I would argue, though, that leadership roles fit the "gaming style" studies of male/female gamers, though. Leadership is a community-oriented goal, so that is something females would be more likely to pursue.

Women have the leadership roles in the MUD because those are the paperwork/babysitting roles. The raid leaders/warriors are mostly male.

I don't think that's a result of any kind of problematic bias, though....seems to be self-selection.

Got to agree here.


Meh I say!

I find that gender bias is pretty much nonexistent in Imperian. That, or any guy who is gender biased keeps getting killed.

Reaching article is reaching

if said twice = truth

it's the Impy bus.

I used to play a female troll of GW in MKO. She definitely didn't adhere to gender roles

MONEY! Some of us women prefer making tons of money over socialization or PK for that matter. I know I am in a healer role, but I am in it for the money baby.


I am one of the few women who prefer less of the socialization... maybe because socialization became too much for me... I have had to eventually be straight forward with men so they can get the point quickly and leave me alone.

I have the same thought monthly ;p

I have only played Achaea so far, and I think it is balanced. 

I've only played acheae, so far I've seen little difference in the amount of leaders between male and female. It varies from house to house depending on the male/female ratio however.

I think this is bullshit. I am a woman who plays primarily male characters, and am very combat oriented. In fact, I'm usually one of the least social people in the games I play. The women I play are definitely not "pretty" either.

I think there was more gender-bias in MMOs because there were simply less women gamers. Today, not so much. I think MUDs appeal more to me than MMOs simply because of the fast in-and-out philosophy and the ability to roleplay - rather than because I feel pidgeon-holed into healing in an MMO.


The fact that I have an 85 Priest on WoW is neither here nor there! (Although nowadays its a Shadow Priest - melting faces for the win!) 

I think it's evened out a little over the years.


Ravien - Keeping women in power since 445AF! (maybe more but this makes me younger)

female characters, obviously!

Eleusis is largely the result of one huge estrogen infusion.  Not that I mind of course.  I love being surrounded by women.

How come nobody told me all the ladies went to Eleusis, I got gypped

all played by men.

This is the questions I asked myself when I noticed a lots of girls where joining the House. And I still feel like there are more of them around. BUT I've seen a good ( PvP-PvE / Girls - Boys ) balance, so that might be just an impression.

Ability is everything



with a 10 foot pole



Brooke would have sorted you out if you did... 10 years ago, that is.


I wear skimpy clothes on every game I play.

We don't have a healer Class, aside from the Healing skillset, as I'd have picked it otherwise. :C

I want a Priest comeback on Aetolia too.

I have come to find out that there seems to be a good mix of male/female combatants in Achaea. This also means that there is a good mix of noncombatants too. Now if the characters are male or female doesn't have to represent their real world gender nor should it.

I have never noticed a particular split in genders in achaea though now i do i geuss there are alot of female house leaders and male top combatants.

I never noticed that either but you are right there are a lot of female house leaders out there. If not they are at least in positions of authority.

Gilded Mirror. Throws the entire argument out the window

I don't believe in "gender roles" and think it's silly to still think of it in this day and age. I think male/female players play characters (be them male or female characters) they want in despite of any stereotypes that still exist, so i think it's balanced. I'm sure there are many female players that play fierce male or female combatants as there are males who play great female or male healers and vice versa .

A good article that raises an excellent point about gaming.

Achaea seems really well set, each person has their roles, and tend to be good at it regardless of gender, well written article



I like the upcoming idea for the female in Borderlands 2, she gets a skill which lets her hold the enemy still in a bubble. I assume this concept came from the developers agreeing that chicks can't aim in games :D

Achaea is more encompassing, which is why the gender ratio here is less askew than in more targeted shooters and grinding type games. Fortunately.

I generally don't even look at gender...I look at competence and rp ability. so beyond a pronoun or two, I don't see that it matters much



Some say the only difference between men and women is plumbing. I think this is absurd myself. Gender does make a difference and most people do look at it , whether or not they will admit to it. no self respecting man wants to be beaten up by a girl.



I rarely notice gender, and occasionally call people by the wrong gender on accident. I really haven't noticed much gender roles in MKO, but I am hardly the most knowledgable person on such things.

... just use 'it'?

In which it works out as intended I assume.

A couple years ago I had a character (can't remember what guild) reprimanded for bowing instead of curtseying as it wasn't "ladylike" or something.


Male and I always play the healer :D

I like the healer/supporter role better myself.



Even in LoL I prefer support.

It's definitely true in Achaea that more guys are into combat and more women are into the nurturing roles, on average.


But obviously there are exceptions. I think the fact that it's a text game, so you can't see the other person and be influenced by physical appearance or sound of voice and things, probably helps to tamp down the natural effects of gender stereotyping a little, and to make it easier for everyone to play whatever role they want.

At least in the parties defending Nature, there seems to be a pretty good mix of individuals. I occasionally notice a pronoun as someone is Staffcasting or Choking an exterminator, but for the most part, it's irrelevant. (Not to mention being lost in combat spam.)

I'm also the kind of person who tends to mistake and forget what gender everyone actually is as I don't pay much attention to it. On several occasions I still get it wrong!

this article just reminded me of the guy or gal who had in his or her motto/warcry, "i'm a boy!", or something... think it was soludra...

I think they're fairly equal, but there are always going to be more guys than girls in any game worth playing, since guys tend to like gaming more than girls.

And yet out of all my friends, the three who have stuck with Achaea are all girls, and I know probably as many female gamers as male gamers. Was a bit more skewed until a few years ago, though.

This has been changing though.


I have not encountered any gender roles really. Some perverted jokes but nothing drastic

Aisling encountering perversion? Perish the thought!

And certainly not from Daryn! Oh, no, never!

When trying to determine whether gender roles bleed into our MUDs, you also have to take into account that not every one plays a character of the same gender.


some of the best nurturing characters are played by males, some of the ruthless and commanding played by women..

Zuljin was super nurturing. Made sure his women, hound, and horses were taken care of.



That was just one word.





Yeah and sailing... ships put things into a whole other category.

Has little to do with the subject!

No matter how ugly you describe yourself... (I described myself having no boobs and being skinny and having an out of proportion body) men will STILL hit on you! WTF!

Welcome to the internet!

Well, if you call yourself toot, people will want to blow a tune...

And yeah, doesn't work.


It's worst with a new character though. Once I was established I didn't get much trouble.

Just tell them you are a guy


Still won't work...

it is good that Achaea is played by females, quite odd for a videgoame

Tons of women play videogames nowadays!





[LongRamble]I can't say that I've ever really seen anyone reprimanded for acting outside the stereotype of gender and I've always had a blast playing against them. My achaean main, for a while, was a flamboyent mhun that ran around in a feather trimmed tiger-print velvet frock coat and claimed that life was 'fabulous'. Now I play a female that lacks pretty much all maternal instinct, has absolutely no curves to speak of, and considers wrought iron to the most precious of metals.

This is not to say that you don't see the females that feel more at home in chiffon and gemstones or the men that beat their platemail-covered chests...they just aren't as common which is kind of amazing. It feels like people are less playing character types and more playing -people- with all the quirks and issues that come with them.

I will, however, agree regardless of what I end up playing..would not be played for very if there was less socializing involved in any game. Pure statistics and numbers, while exciting, do not make for a great waste of time. [/LongRamble]

Pure statistics and numbers, while exciting, do not make for a great waste of time?


I'd think that's exactly what they make?!

I just can't do it. I need my derpy moments of babbling about inane IC things to make my life complete :(

Me too, but its a good job we love our numbers or IRE wouldn't sell many credits! grin


Same for both really

Great Article!



i dont see how muds like achaea are bias, the ancient circle seems to have a lot of both when there is anyone around lol and they only accept druids

some people probaly have characters of different genders too which might dilute this effect.

Applies much more to the gender/orientation of the player than their characters.

That's kinda... yeah, no. Lesbians fight, gay guys don't? I beg to differ.

Makes sense to me

I haven't witnessed any obvious gender roles in the muds I've played, except for when females are less likely to concentrate on combat in some muds. There are several females in political and guild administrative roles, and a pretty good ratio of females to males in the guilds.

we need more women in politics, obviously.

i think the separation of char and player makes it more difficult for sexism to come into a MUD.  I don't think I can recall anytime whether in combat or politics that someone was overlooked or slighted because of their char's gender.


I think it is pretty balanced.

I don't really play any other games... But I play Aetolia (and before than Achaea).  I find the MUDs of IRE more engaging and interesting, so I suppose as a girl I have to agree with the article in so much as MUDs bring things to gaming that other types of games tend to fall flat on (at least for me).

Good Article.


I have yet to have a character in any IRE mud who has not been confused for the opposite gender multiple times, no matter how girly/manly I make them. Maybe it's just the names I choose?

without causing too much alt speculation I've ran into this problem on two of my characters, so I would say that yes it exists and it can be downright degrading even as a guy playing a girl


I've read a study once where analysis of written text could define the gender of the writer, based on the words used and how often they appear in the text. Feminine keywords would be "with", "if", "should", "me" and masculine keywords "around", "what", "more" and "is". I guess you could use this analysis to check whether a character is played by a male or female player.


When talking about foul language, I have experienced that more from male characters in Achaea than female. Is this because males are more verbally aggressive or more extrovert when frustrated?


Around what sort of time is more of these fancy words happenin'?

I see what you're doing there :D





That would be an intresting study to read.  I've never thought about it but, men and women dotalk differently.

More extrovert when frustrated.

Heh, I curse like a sailor when I am Not so much RL. And I'm a female RL, so I dunno.


Got a new mission


Whoa, never heard of that kind of study before. This requires some looking into, but what makes those words feminine and the other masculine, I wonder?

I agree

Or cross-gender MUD'ers?  You can never pinpoint who's playing whom.  Gender roles are fluid in a MUD.

true you never know if the gender a char is is the  gender behind the char. so any data might be skued.  though it'd be intresting to find out how many play the oposet  ender of themselves.  I think it'd be an intresting way to rp but, difficult too maybe.  still intresting.

which is why i find this article relatively moot.

My first character was male, I sort of figured learning an entirely new game was going to be hard enough, without having to fend off text advances as well.  I played him for a fair amount of time before retiring and then Lianca was born. I knew what to expect from the world with her so it was easier to deal with it all.

funny how it's an unspoken "requirement" to expect advances as a female character.

With MUDs being more forceably RP intensive, I think the player base that's attracted is quite different from the MMORP crowd. Even this small amount of forced intimacy can greatly affect how people will act.

I can agree that the forced in-character style that IRE takes greatly impacts how many people stay, I think it's also true that females still tend to gravitate toward 'feminine' professions in these games. I see more female alchemists, sylvans, druids, priests -- anything that could take the role of 'passive' over 'combative' tends to be more female dominated than roles like Knights. That's not to say there aren't female Knights. There are. They just aren't as numerous, or they have roles like 'Novice Head', which deals with the new incoming individuals.


There are rare exceptions of females who really go above and beyond to bust out of the stereotype, but maybe they prefer these roles because they're more RP intensive than the warrior who crushes skulls.


(Nafi's sexist regarding women -- she hates them and thinks they should stay in the proverbial kitchen.)


I hear skimpy armors have a protective field around them..

Ohhh... That how that works?  Everything is so clear now.

Balanced, more or less. Always wondering just how many female characters are actually women.

Me on these gender roles are looks like a duck, quacks like one, guess what they are one. Thats why I never ask about ooc stuff. Plus if you are looking for a partner inrl on a game. Ill leave that to whoever is the characters players as I try to keep ooc confidential to a degree.



Ferrous isn't so great at PvP anymore (used to be reasonable but is really rusty now) - but get me on a PC-based FPS, and I kick ass. When my family/friends LAN - my sister and I always get the top scores, and if we're on the same team... well... good luck to the rest of you, but don't expect to go far! I think some girls (like me) get tired of the "girls suck at computer games" attitude, and go out to prove we can be much better than the boys. =D

heh, skimpy armor..

There should be no gender roles, though there is a lot of skimpy female clothing.

With the hope that maybe a female will wear them.

The new sneaky serp role I have assumed is awesome fun!

That way you too can be a man.... hehe No seriously though, Achaea is very balanced.


I'd sat Achaea Is the most balanced I've seen yet. Then again, I never saw healing as a feminine thing

in lusternia there are women chars that can kick ass and take names when they want.  some that come to mind is kelly and malicia to mention the 2 I'm most fermilar with .  another is celina though I might not have spelled her name right.  I'm sure there are others.  talin.  others.  azula.  there are male healers that are good too. but, I can't think of one in resent times. I don't really think those gender roles that are assumed in real life really hold here of women being nurchurors and men being all agressive and combatents really hold here. 

You need some spellcheck o.O.

Lusternian women are baaaaaad. That's for sure.

Half of the chick characters are probably played by dudes.

I am a female in real life. I try playing a male and masculine role, but I end up deleting that character. I am too giggly and bubbly. I don't know of a guy who is bubbly. 


Players play the characters that interest them, so the real-world stereotypes or gender roles held by the players will invariably translate into the game's world.

I agree, although it's nice when folks break out of their box, for the better.

It can be fun. But sometimes playing something close to home can also be very educational as it gives you a third-person perspective on 'yourself' in a different kind of environment.

Can sexy armor be affective armor?

I agree with the article but also love the doversity of even the "female" classes within IronRealms games

yeah... Some of the "lines" between the gender roles is blurred, when you have a extremely butch woman, a.k.a. Amazon women, and the overly feminine male a.k.a the weasely back stabbing men

Gender for me is just a stat now