Tag Archives: feminist rant

Weekly Wyrm ~ Another Step For Gender Equality

only you can prevent DLC

Just a quickie run-down of this week, with a few topics involving bears and fires.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 3: Finally A Femme!


I’ve never played Halo or Call of Duty, and I’ve stepped into Battlefield only briefly. I normally don’t enjoy male characters.

So when Activision announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 would feature a female playable character and a gender-neutral story this week, I was super-excited! I haven’t played a military-style shooter since Mass Effect 2.

And according to the devs, the Black Ops female character is inspired by the female Commander Shepherd. Unfortunately the game’s pre-order poster is male-only.

So. They still have a few miles to go before they’ve made all the mistakes made by Bioware with Mass Effect, and corrected them. Yes, feminazis will complain about everything.

The comments section to the announcement article is good reading. I’m 100% for a male option in the next Tomb Raider. Why? I really feel the Lara Croft character in Tomb Raider 2013 suffered from the male gaze, or male devs not connecting with her in some way.

I’d really like to see a bi-gender Tomb Raider just to eliminate Lara’s character being skewed by the male gaze. She’s skewed, I tell you!

Game development studios seem to be an arms race for more more ginormous guns, more massive battles, and more outrageous monster robots. All I want is a good story, and surely story will continue to be more of a distinguishing feature in action and stealth genres.

It’s hard to believe that big game developers are still launching big games with stories that suck by all accounts.

A lot more reviewers these days are pounding the table for better stories, including Angry Joe. Joe really highlights the importance of story in his reviews, like with his long, entertaining, expert review this week on Mortal Kombat X. He keeps going back to the shortage of story.

Angry Joe also shows in this review that he’s a strong critic of greedy at-launch DLC. Today I was thinking of replacing my sidebar comic with an activist strip on DLC. Only you can stop DLC–a new graphic coming soon to the Kitty sidebar.


Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns


The news is trickling out about the GW2 expansion, and I’ve been watching some videos this week. As highlighted by MMORPG.com, the Chronomancer profession looks crazy cool.

My Guardian profession in GW2 feels a little squishy, so I was having second thoughts about it this week while gaining two or three levels. Supposedly the new elite specialization for guardian uses a longbow though, which makes me feel much better.

I switched to Guardian from Hunter for two reasons, despite the new Druid spec coming for Hunter. The PvE play for Hunter seems to be bear pet and the rapid-fire bow skill (or whatever it is). I’m not super-fond of either of those, especially the semi-automatic bow. They don’t fit my character.

I had the same issue in LotRO with “Sic’Em”, the capstone Lore-Master skill for my preferred trait line, Keeper of Animals. When you never use your most powerful capstone skill because it’s a little silly, then it becomes a little issue.


Weekend Sale


In other news, Vampire: Bloodlines, is on sale this weekend on Steam for 4.99. If you’ve never tried it, now is your chance. It’s a worth at least a few hours just to play with it, even if it’s outdated. Thanks for reading this far. Happy gaming.

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Weekly Wyrm: Why More Male Companions?

pillars of eternityI get the concept of why games offer more playable males. More boys play video games.

I was leafing through a Seventeen magazine this morning, and it’s all about cosmetics, more cosmetics, your face, your hair, your eyelashes, your period, or the prom.

I’ve got a cute boy with lip gloss in the centerfold, but there’s no information on the proper handling of Sniper Rifles, submachine guns, or death spells.

I don’t get why most companions are male, though. Why do game developers keep the same male ratio with companions, mercenaries, or whatever?

Here are my quick counts of balls to boobs in recent RPGs. I’m using the internet, so I’m sorry if any numbers are significantly wrong.

*Recent RPG Companion Gender Ratios, Male To Female, DLC Not Included*

DA: Inquisition – 6:3
Dragon Age 2 – 5:4
DA:Origins – 4:3 (no Dog)
Pillars of Eternity – 5:3
Diablo 3 – 2:1
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced – 3:1 (only added companions)
Divinity: Original Sin – 2:2
Wasteland 2 – 9:6

As you can see, males seem favored. I picked these RPGs at random from the top of my head. This isn’t a feminist rant. I’m not demanding change. I’m just trying to understand why this is happening.

According to a poll, most players use the Enchantress in D3. You could argue that reasons for choosing a follower usually have nothing to do with gender, but no amount of anecdotal reporting can be accurate.

Do adventuring groups just seem more heroic with more men in them? I’d like to hear some opinions of some guys. Do you prefer male companions? Are girls annoying, so it’s nice to get away from them in a game?

Why are game developers designing like this?

Are game developers mostly male, so they are writing characters they can most relate to, expressing a part of themselves? This is the best argument I can think of. Is there data that shows players prefer a more capable man at their back?

I can’t find a preference poll for Divinity: Original Sin, the only game on my list with an equal ratio.


Pillars of Eternity : Re-incarnation Rampage


I keep starting Pillars over. So far, I’ve started the game over at least five times.

My first character was a wizard, but I found the wizard underwhelming, and the game hands you a wizard out of the gate anyway. I created a rogue hireling with my wizard to do traps and locks, and I ended up liking my rogue more than my main character.

So I started over with a monk, giving her points in mechanics.

I played a lot with my monk, and ended up making some evil choices. I decided I’d rather stick with the good choices, and I didn’t like how my conversation options were panning out with my character stats.

So I started over with a barbarian, so I could still roll at the front of the party and do some mechanics and tanking.

Once again, I managed to make a few choices that the game seemed to think were evil, but I didn’t interpret them that way. I created a druid hireling to go with the barbarian, and again I liked my hireling more than my main character.

So I started over on a druid with mechanics skill (not exactly thematic).

I made my first druid a wolf for knockdown, but I’m starting over one more time with the cat shifter. I’m just not a wolf fan, even if the wolf has cool perks. (The druid makes a great werewolf by the way, if you’re into the furry thing.)

The fun thing is that I’ve taken different choices with each re-run, mostly based on stats, and Pillars of Eternity has rewarded me with different events and outcomes. I’ve also played in Spanish, although the voice-overs are still English.

The druid is weak at the front of the group, but has good spells. More importantly, the druid’s primary attributes seem like the best so far for conversation choices (strength, intelligence, resolve).

I can be persistent and witty, or go for a strong paw to the face. A starting stat score of 16 seems like the perfect level for hitting those special conversation choices.

So I’m giving two opposable thumbs up for the Pillars of Eternity druid. I hope I’m finally good to go forward and explore new and more dangerous areas. Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing.


More Reading On Pillars:


F*ck Yeah, Pillars of Eternity
Using Custom Portraits In Pillars Of Eternity


Ubisoft Cans Female Assassin Plans

Sarah Leboeuf for The Escapist reported last week on Ubisoft’s announcement that they had planned until recently to have a female playable assassin in Assassin’s Creed: Unity, but according to technical director James Therien, they canned her because:

“A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes [inaudible]. It would have doubled the work on those things.”

This is an absurd statement from the Ubisoft representative. Once again, the press is calling out dev b.s., and that’s excellent. To quote Leboeuf:

“But let’s pretend for a second that the “it’s too hard” excuse wasn’t total bullshit. So what? That’s your problem, publishers; it’s time to do your jobs. Include women characters in your budget. Allocate resources to bring these characters to life. Just make it happen. By saying it’s too much work to put women in games, what you’re actually saying is women aren’t worth the effort, and that feels really, really shitty.”

Shitty. I wouldn’t normally use this word, especially with hyperbolic double adverbs before it, but maybe it’s le mot juste and worth a kitty signal boost.

For further reading, Robert Rath did a radically erudite supportive write-up on the historical case for a female French assassin. However, it seems more appropriate to focus on the case of why this really happened, which is always money.

Are female characters really still not saleable in video games? Supposedly Lara Croft barely pulled her weight in profit in the last Tomb Raider installment, but she made it eventually. It also bears noting that for games with a worldwide distribution, we are running into social mores that are far more traditional and male chauvinist than the U.S. and Europe gaming establishment.

Due to no female lead, I’ve never purchased an Assassin’s Creed game, but that just changed. I bought Assassin’s Creed: Liberation (the only installment offering a female protagonist, which quietly released this last January on PC and consoles via a sketchy PS Vita port) for 40% off today on Steam.

This is despite a disappointingly poor review from PC Gamer, in which the reviewer states:

Trouble is, donning alternative outfits just isn’t appealing. Who honestly wants to wear filthy rags or a frilly pink dress in an Assassin’s Creed game?

Fuck you, Ben Griffin. I do.

The above-mentioned Tomb Raider is also on sale today for a record low $4.99 on Steam, so if you haven’t yet, please take time to support female player characters in video games.