Monday, July 16, 2012

Dear Blizzard

Dear Blizzard,

As always, thanks for WOW.

Most of us care what our characters look like.  It's nice if their armor is a matching set and not a mismatched clown suit.  Since this is an RPG, we tend to have personalities and histories for our toons, and the armor they wear can hint at that.  Now that you've introduced transmogging (thanks!), we spend even more time and effort on our gear.

We can agree that armor's important.

I haven't been playing since 2004, so some of this is guesswork on my part.  It seems to me as if early in the game, you decided to design risque armor sets for women.  I say "for women" because I'm referring to the gear which looks like a bikini bottom on women characters and like long pants on men.  The very same piece of gear can look like a midriff-baring halter top on women and like a long shirt on men.

Either you decided to make a change on your own, or you listened to complaints from players, because there seems to be less of it than there was.  WOTLK gear, for example, doesn't seem (as far as I can tell) to have the same number of gender-based pieces.

Still, the problem persists.  The double standard is complete crap.  You're treating men like fully geared heroes and women like eye candy.  The men can run off and save the day, secure in the knowledge that their armor can actually protect them, while the women can stride around looking sexy, well aware that their armor is purely decorative and serves no practical function whatsoever.

It's not always an issue of the women looking sexier.  Consider the difference in priest tier 13 gear for men and for women, for example.  On one, the mask covers the man's face completely, leaving him looking very mysterious, even menacing and creepy.  On the other, the mask leaves half of the woman's face bare, which makes her look as if she's wearing a much more simple disguise.  The half-mask isn't as mysterious and the look isn't as effective.  Why not cover both men and women's faces entirely?  Why make the women's mask smaller?  Is this an issue of stereotypical sexist nonsense about women's vanity?  Is this an issue of liking powerful men but preferring your women to be weaker?

Peruse all of your relevant armor sets and decide whether you prefer the half-naked look or the fully-covered look.  Then tackle the work of redesigning it so that it appears the same on men and on women.  If it shows a lot of thigh, it should show a lot of thigh on both men and women.  If it leaves the back exposed, it should leave both men and women's spines vulnerable, not just the women's.  If it leaves men fully covered, it should leave women fully covered as well.

Some women want to show off their flesh.  Some women don't.  Some men do.  Some men don't.  Give us the tools to dress our characters how we prefer.  Broaden our choices and make full-coverage and skimpy sets for everyone.  If you want to make some half-naked gear, fine, then make it half-naked on all toons.  And fix tier 13 gear so that women get the full mask, too, please.  That mysterious chess piece look is terrific!

With love,
Frank Lee


  1. Yeah, I think Blizzard did listen to player and critical complaints that they didn't offer anything BUT revealing clothing for female characters in the early game. The change seems to have taken place in late Burning Crusade times; end-game content from BC seems to be more covering.

    You're right to notice that even after that, though, the clothing is still a little skimpier for female characters, a little closer-fitting, a little less bulky. For example, the Vicious Gladiator hunter set bares some midriff on female characters but not on male.

    Regrettably, they're probably not wrong that their player base mostly prefers it that way. Still, the option to choose would be welcome. If they're going to have two different models/skins for armor, why not give us a preference setting for which look to go for? I'm sure that the male and female character models attach clothing in the same way; some items don't vary based on character gender.

    A "revealing/covering" preference in settings would respect individual choice and preference a lot better.

    i'm thankful, at least, for transmogrification, which lets us have a lot more choice about how our characters look. The explosion of creativity in appearance has been wonderful to watch.

    1. Still, the option to choose would be welcome. If they're going to have two different models/skins for armor, why not give us a preference setting for which look to go for?

      It would be a great addition to the game.