Playing a Girl Character in MMORPGs
Though RPG games are what I like to play the most, I'm a gamer girl at heart, and was always a bit of a tomboy. Because of this, I never liked that in most console games I could either be a scantily clad warrior, a girly healer, or a male warrior. Thankfully, IRE rpg games let me create my female role playing character however I like. However, gender expectations apply everywhere, and I've noticed certain pros and cons to playing a woman in online role playing games. So, for the woman wondering if she's alone, or for the curious man who might well take this as a 'feminist' article, rather then a comment on gender, here's a list of the top 5 pros and cons of playing a woman in role playing games.
5) A woman's place is …
Pro) Wherever she wants
As a woman in an online rpg, you can be whatever you want you be. You can be a badass warrior/politician, or you can have a husband, adopt some rpg kids, and be a caring homemaker, fighting only in self defense, and more interested in crafting and helping the young. Here's the bad part though; no matter what you do, someone is going to tell you that it's wrong. If you're a warrior or politician, some will say you're going against the roles of a woman in a rpg fantasy universe. If you're a simple homemaker, you're weak, and betraying your gender to the gender expectations of men. Simply put, you're either too strong, or too weak.
4) Men are big softies
Pro) men are much nicer to you
Con) because they think you're weak
If you're a young female novice, male leaders of rpg cities and guilds have a tendency to think of you as a little girl. As such, you're less likely to have men be as verbally/physically strict with you as they would be male novices. They're also willing to offer more help. However, this also means that they'll try to protect you. You want to do a little solo hunting? Some guy will come to protect you from being robbed, or attacked, or killed overall. Someone challenges you to a rpg duel? Some guy offers to take it in your place. This can be ok if you can't fight, or if you have trouble hunting, but if you're a capable warrior who keeps getting white-knighted, it's really annoying.
3) That time of the month
Pro) Unreasonable rages can be blamed on a natural phenomenon
Con) Reasonable rages will be blamed on a natural phenomenon
At some point, I think most women have blamed PMS for at least one big rage-out online. Maybe it's legit, maybe it's not, but saying "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, it was that time of the month," certainly helps you get forgiveness in the role playing game, at least if it's only a one time deal. However, if you use this or not, others, men and women alike, have the ability to brush off even reasonable anger by saying "Oh, it's her time of the month again." This way, even if everyone else knows you're being reasonable in your anger, the whole issue has been given a sudden sense of levity by the joke, and it gives the person who has earned your rage an excuse to ignore it.
2) I challenge you to a (verbal) duel!
Pro) Women have less arrows shot at them
Con) but have more verbal abuse shot at them.
Unless you've made yourself up to be a glorious warrior woman, you're less likely than men to be challenged to an online rpg duel over honor. This is especially true for rpg non-combatant women who hardly get challenged to duels. However, no matter what kind of woman you are, if you're a warrior, or not, you're very likely to have sexual innuendo poked at you. Men are accused of dishonour and cowardice. Women are accused of having too much sex, or too little sex. And if a man is stuck on how exactly to insult you, they sometimes fall back to " Stay in the Kitchen!" (Ideally, this is shouted as a command to your text game husband to keep you in the kitchen)
1) Tit for Tat
Pro) Men are more likely to give you free stuff
Con) For teh cybersecks.
When I first played an Iron Realms rpg game, I made friends with a smith/tailor who gave me money when I was first robbed, some neat clothes, and a really good shield. Now, I know there's people who will give any novice these things, but I've noticed that male players are more likely to give free stuff to female players. This is not limited to IRE role playing games. This is a widespread thing in a lot of games. The friend I made who gave me all the stuff in my first IRE rpg game eventually got mad at me, and stopped talking to me, since I wouldn't rpg cyber with him after he had given me so much. This kind of experience continued beyond my rpg novice years, and today I'm very hesitant to accept gifts from people in games. If anyone has played a female character for any period of time, you've probably been offered stuff for cyber.
So, for the female looking to play a character in an IRE role playing game, or a man choosing to play a woman for the first time, I hope this little list proves helpful, either in just giving you a warning as to what to expect, or a few things to be careful of, or avoid. Certainty useful, especially for other women, since we don't notice any of this stuff in our real lives. Right?
M.K. Barry is a role playing game enthusiast who enjoys the best online rpgs from Iron Realms!