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DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

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WoW Gender-Bending

23% of male players (N = 939) listed a character of the opposite gender as their most enjoyable character compared with 3% of female players (N = 184). In WoW, men are about 7-8 times as likely to gender-bend than women.

Given a hypothetical pool of 1000 players:
840 would be male players
160 would be female players

Of the 840 male players:
193 would be playing a female character
647 would be playing a male character

Of the 160 female players:
5 would be playing a male character
155 would be playing a female character

Thus, altogether there are 348 female characters of which 193 (55%) would be played by a male player.
And there are 652 male characters of which 5 (< 1%) would be played by a female player.

In other words:
about 1 out of every 2 female characters is played by a man
about 1 out of every 100 male characters is played by a woman

The RL gender distribution is 84% male vs. 16% female.
The in-game gender distribution is 65% male vs. 35% female.

Men over the age of 18 are more likely to gender-bend (25%) than men under the age of 18 (10%). Players who gender-bend score significantly higher on the Customization and Mechanics motivations than players who do not gender-bend. In other words, the two primary reasons why players gender-bend are to be able to be more stylish and to optimize their character (via gifts?).


I'm a 62 year old Grandfather who plays all Female characters. Their smaller size tends not to block your view as much as Male characters. The Female also tends to be more graceful in movement and I'm not aware whether this is planned by the developers or not. The Gifts also help as well as valient Males coming to your aid.

Posted by: Beau Sutherland on August 1, 2005 6:18 AM

My friend Andy summed this up with one quote "if I am going to stare at a butt all game it might as well be a butt I'd like to look at.

Posted by: Mike on August 1, 2005 8:29 AM

Mike's quote probably sums it up best. ;)

I'm a male playing primarily female characters, and I find that people notice me more often, remember me more, and some definately go out of their way to help me just because my avatar is female. The attention is a bit nice at times I suppose, but that's not the reason I chose that character's gender to begin with.

My warrior is a female nightelf, and I had someone comment to me that they hadn't seen a female nightelf warrior before. I pointed out someone by the name of "Serenity" whom I'd seen before, and the person responded "Well, besides her." I guess that indicates that's a rare gender / race / class combination.

Since there are no statistical differences in WoW between male and female characters, I'm not sure why a Mechanics-minded person (which I consider myself to be) would be more likely to choose a female character. Perhaps there's some other reasoning behind that correlation, but I think it would be interesting to look further into that point.

Posted by: SiG on August 1, 2005 12:52 PM

I'm a female who plays mostly female characters. Whether or not you get attention from male players who want to shower you with "gifts" depends, like rl, on if you act like a tramp or not. The sexier, flirtier, more helpless you act, the more you will attract that sort of organ-driven male player to give you things. I've been gaming since the early days of table-top and at 44 have been, or am in, almost every major game in the market and its the same in each and every single one.

Playing a female who does not need to be rescued, does not flirt, does not act all coquettish gets you precisely nothing and thats fine with me. So before you assume that every female character gets more stuff because of the sex of the character, know that it has nothing to do with the sexual representation of the toon, but on the flirty, slutty way males play those females.

I will also tell you that most women can tell which females are being played by males after hanging out with them even a short time because they play women the way their little pubescent little dreams WANT their women to act. Most women, women of any quality at all, do not act in RL the way most males play their female characters.

All that said... I do occassionally make a male character because I prefer to look at something a little more eye candy for me. Game designers do a horrible job at making males look decent. Most of the time, the females have huge tits with lots of cleavage and the males all look like sexless children. One exception to that was Anarchy Online who actually gave their male characters nice backsides and appealing packages.

Posted by: Jean on August 1, 2005 4:00 PM

I'm with Jean here. I'm a WoW player and almost all my characters are female. Why? Because the males are... well... kinda ugly. If the male designs were a little more on the pretty side, I'd likely have an equal balance of male and female. I'm a little odd like that. For now... well, I wanna look good, and its easiest to look good as a girl.

Posted by: Pam on August 1, 2005 7:09 PM

My husband plays female characters in WoW because he thinks all the male models are ugly and strangely proportioned. Playing an attractive character is more important to him than matching his gender.

Posted by: Laura on August 1, 2005 9:32 PM

I don't play WoW, but in the text-based MORPG that I frequent, I spend a lot of time doing corpse retrieval, rescue, and general helping out. The gender of the character never comes into play for me. I think it's a degree of maturity that transcends the petty "damsel in distress" syndrome most adolescent males suffer from.

Posted by: Michael on August 1, 2005 10:07 PM

In response to Laura:

That's the exact same reason I play female characters on WoW. If the boys were prettier, I would certainly play a male character, but I don't want to be staring at a weird-looking boy character when I could have a pretty female one. Same reason I don't play undead characters, orc females, or dwarves in general.

Posted by: Alicia on August 2, 2005 3:05 AM

When I created my wood elf rogue on Everquest 2 I chose a female character. I took time on creating and perfecting what my characters face, hair, height, and clothes were. But I did so because I have an idea in my mind what a wood elf rogue would look like, and that is female.
While playing WoW, I created one character in every race, each with a different class. I based my selection of female to male based on whether or not the race and class would have fit the gender. When it was all said and done, I ended up with more males than female.
But there was a flip side to knowing what race/class I was making.
While I agree with "if I am going to stare at a butt all game it might as well be a butt I'd like to look at", most of my decision depends on what race/class I'm making. I also noticed that I enjoy my EQ2 rogues... physical features more than any of my characters on WoW. But in EQ2 you get a MUCH more indepth creating table when making your character, and part of the reason that I went with a rogue is from how I made my character look. Going into the character creation I didn't know I wanted to make a rogue. I just wanted to play around with the character creation table, but after making my character it seemed obvious what it was. But the next time I create a character in EQ2 I'm fairly sure what I want to create, so I'll go back to my normal way of character creation.

Posted by: Giant_Squid on August 2, 2005 4:24 AM

I am female and choose to play female characters, since I just more identify with them (looks, voice, clothing). I'm not completely against playing a male, but it never seems appealing. Guess in some ways it's because I feel on some level, I am running around in the game. So perhaps it would feel a bit odd to be in a male body, not matter how cute it was. I would only play a male, if he uniquely had attributes that affected game play (i.e., class, skills, etc.). However in the MMOs I've played (SWG and WoW) that is never an issue.

I also agree with Jean's comments above, regarding how males play female characters in an over-the-top way. However I must say that even though I don't flirt, I sometimes get unwanted attention or harassment just because I have a female character... especially ones that are designed to be more sexy by game designers. [I refuse to dance my Night Elf in front of anyone except maybe my RL husband!]

It's quite interesting how many males who play games are rather homophobic (I'm gauging this by general chats and forum posts), but have no problems talking sexy with a female character driven by another guy. And of course, it's more disturbing that men will have their female characters act in a very slutty and flirty manner. I feel like it really is some warped reinforcement of negative thinking and behavior towards women in RL.

On a ligher note: I always think it's a bit funny that some men's reasoning for playing a female toons is "Well if I am going to stare at a butt all game..." What are you doing staring at your character's butt! Aren't you looking at what's going ahead of you? Stuff you have to kill or avoid :P I mean yes, you see your backside...but there's not that much time to be gazing at it!

Posted by: KC on August 2, 2005 3:04 PM

I play a female character in FF11, but am obviously really a guy, or else why would I bring this up. I do notice how much easier it is to get around as a female character in final fantasy, but whenever men come onto 'me', I promptly remind them that things arn't allways what they appaer to be. I love the offhanded comments.. "your cute".. "your sexy". They must not be talking about *me* then, how can you judge such things in a world based around fantasy and illusion? I like the character that I chose because she fits the job class I enjoy, dark knight. Dark smouldering sexy look, with that hint of 'man hater' additude. I like her in subligar. lol. I also have a gf in real life... and I noticed thoes who don't... seem to 'fall in love' with any unfortunate girl they happen across. I do notice that there are the occasional guys that dislike the fact that I play a female character... even throw the fag comment out now and again, as if thats even supposed to hurt anymore. I'm 21... and I guess the majority of them are 15-19.. and therefore somewhat lacking in mental capacity.. but I mean come on.
Maybe their masculity is threated by people who don't feel the need to flaunt it in the cyber world, but that doesn't mean they have to be idiots about it. I don't think I really have a point, just making small talk in the direction of the conversation, so yeah I better stop.

Posted by: "Aryanna" on August 2, 2005 10:18 PM

Honestly, I don't play any MMOs.But truthfully, I'll play as a female character from time to time for two reasons:

1. A slight paraphrase of Mike's earlier comment, ie "If I'm gonna be starin' at this loser the whole time I'm playing, I might as well enjoy lookin' at 'er."

2. I like to hurl vicious insults at he screen, and playing a female character allows me to use one of my all-time, if least accessable lines, "You just got your a** whipped by a girl."

That's one of the things I didn't like about Def Jams; FFNY. No custom females. But I do enjoy beating rich rapperfolk into a squishy pulp.

Posted by: 6_Qubed on August 3, 2005 10:35 PM

People have sex. Words have gender. Political Correctness is annoyingly inaccurate.

I tried playing a female for a couple of hours. I was immediately turned off by the constant male flirting. It was really uncomfortable to pretend to flirt with other men, or to even have them constantly flirt with me. Ick.

I've read some anecdotal reports that suggest male players who exclusively play female characters are doing so to act out homosexual fantasies. I actually found one serious study that suggested the same thing, but I can't find it now. I want to say that I found it linked up on Raph Koster's website, but it looks like the link to that essay is gone, now.

Posted by: Jaycen Rigger on August 4, 2005 8:59 AM

I always play female characters. In every game I've played so far, the female toons are just much more aesthetically pleasing than the male toons. I've never used being "female" to get anything from "male" characters. I don't flirt. I am not homosexual. I do like to dress my characters up and make them look pretty, but I like my wife to look pretty as well. I guess I just like looking at pretty women rather than unattractive ( all men are basicly unattracive to me ) men.

Posted by: M-squared on August 4, 2005 1:30 PM

I think that KC hit is right on the head above with the "I feel like it really is some warped reinforcement of negative thinking and behavior towards women in RL." Our society promotes that sick and sexist attitude. It is ingrained in our society to a ridiculous degree. While it has improved in recent decades it is still way too common. Being a guy, I hear the comments that >90% of the men out there make about women behind the backs and it makes me sick and ashamed to admit that I'm a man. And most of these men will pretend that they dont in front of women, but they still do it when only other men are around.

I tend to play male characters ~90% of the time, but will sometimes play a female character (having been an RPer since the late 70's, thus that low 10% has still been quite a few characters). I've had female characters in Eve Online, Anarchy Online, Asheron's Call, DAoC, World of Warcraft, etc. but never play them as flirty or try to make them stand out as "hot" by most guys standards, but then again as a guy, I don't care for women who act like that in RL either. There are way too many that do, and those that don't often are not treated very well by men because of it. Thus unfortunately a lot of women also unwittingly promote that same attitude by acting meek because they think thats what guys want to see. The simple fact of the matter is that our society is still very sexist and unfortunately the fact that roughly 40% of all the MMO players are teenage guys, it tends to make it look even worse due to their immature sexist attitudes.

I'm a firm believer in looking at the person inside (personality, skills, etc.) and not looking at appearances, as by their very nature appearances can be very deceiving. This is true both in RL and in MMO's. Thus when it comes to helping out others, I only help people that I know or that act like mature adults, but when it comes to friends or people that show maturity and treat others with respect, Ill go to great lengths to help.

Also have to agree on the comments about how the male characters in most MMOs look bad. This is way too true! Especially in WoW (even worse so than most other MMOs), and like someone else said AO was better than most in that respect (but is still pretty limiting due to the fact that you have a very limited number of faces to choose from). Most of the MMO boxes show on the cover a female character showing some cleavage, unfortunately sex appeal sells and that is why they are marketed the way that they are.

Posted by: wolfhound on August 4, 2005 7:24 PM

I find it interesting that so many posters here agree on the male models on WoW being less attractive. I am female and I see it the opposite way around. There are very few races in WoW which have female models appealing to me (I really only like undead and night-elf women), so the majority of my characters are male.

Another reason for me to play male avatars is that I absolutely dislike to be given the 'standard' male-versus-female treatment where some things are not to be talked about 'because we have female company' and all the other usual bias against women.

Posted by: Bez on August 5, 2005 2:24 AM

What's wrong with you guys...

Gnome Males are Sexy!

Posted by: Kel on August 5, 2005 2:32 AM

I remember once on Everquest I decided to make a female wood elf bard, just to see how quickly I could get stuff. I wasnt going to go over the top with it, or even to a high level, but I wanted to see the reception I got. There are two points I would like to make between the differences of a male and female character played on an MMO.

When you play a female character, not only are you getting more attention from men, but women treat you a lot differently as well. They are not as threatened by you, and thus when you ask them a question or for help, or even for a hunting partner, they dont assume its because you want to flirt with them or hit on them, or make them your "cyber wife". Do you know how many women called me "sister" or wanted to have me join a guild with them, or even make one! Women treated me a lot nicer than my main, which was a male wood elf druid. One individual and her husband bought me spells and power leveled me from 5-9 because she felt sympathy for "one of our own" trying to make it in this world.

you could argue that some of those women werent really women, and were hoping that on the other side of my avatar lied a girl. But some of them openly talked about themselves to me as well.

Its my humble opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the male helping female stereotype being sexist or even wrong. That is how we are ingrained to act in the real world. If you see a girl approaching the same door as you, you hold the door open for her. If you see her carrying something heavy and appearing to be struggling with it, you help her carry it. Girls short 20 cents in front of you at the 7-11, throw her 20 cents. tell me again whats wrong with this?

we live in a very visually and sexually oriented society. The character models in games today can be very realistic, so its no wonder we carry over the same mechanics we do in the real world.

When I was 16, and playing my main character (the druid). I hit on quite a few female characters. sometimes for the hell of it. sometimes because I just wanted to, and sometimes because the way they conveyed themselves truly was interesting. most of them were female, absolutely none of them "hated" me for it or told me not to. in fact I became friends with almost all of them. sometimes I even got the girls coming onto me a little bit too strong, (calling my house, sending me gifts) stuff like that. and the thing is, women dont get hit on in MMO's because they say "tee hee" and smile like this =) after every line. At least, whenever I did it was through talking on the chat handle and finding out about each other. At its core , all these games are just visually stimulated chat rooms. and what goes on in chat rooms? a whole lot of things that go on in EQ.

On my server in particular we had a swingers guild, where the players would meet with each other IRL, slam it, and then return to their regularly scheduled lives. There were women characters, played by women , that were known to be cyberers. I had more than one girl actually want to call me up and have phone sex. More than one naked photo sent to me.

So what am I trying to say? Through it all, MMO's are sometimes a very clear mirror of Real life. And like in real life, women get different attention than men. accept it. its not "more" because a guy is more likely to tell the truth and bullshit and respect a male character's combat ability than a female because their talking to "one of their own". and its not less because a female character is definitely taken better care of and helped out. its how we act in real life. mirrored as best as possible onto a fantasy setting.

Posted by: Mike on August 5, 2005 5:06 PM

I remember playing Everquest and having a female character which my brother had made. It was an enchanter and I was bored with my warrior (which, for reference, was a male). I soon found out as many people who have posted above me that you get treated differently. I personally hated being treated like I was an object and perceived as a "weakling" needing assistance. I am a hardcore gamer and I reached level 60 and joined an uber guild (pre-SOV). It was fun for a while but time and time again I just could not stand the stigma of being a male playing a female character. Too often I would be hit on and laughed at for being a "fag". It was truly a miserable aspect of the game. I, however, hit on a lot of female characters (hoping they were female, of course). I was young then, and now that I am in college I just want to be friends with people (be they male or female) and develop that relationship.

I hope in the future that MMO's orient the game to be more fast paced with less downtime (which breeds both good social interactions and the negative ones that these comments deal with) to create a more casual and friendly atmosphere. Right now I am enjoying my WoW guild because we raid hard and are a respectful, relaxed guild. Even in ventrilo we don't get overexcited and point fingers but calmly talk through our problems.

Posted by: MikeB on August 6, 2005 11:07 PM

I'm a male, but I tend to play female characters. In the beginning it was basically due to the fact that females are smaller than males thus giving me pvp advantages. In wow however I just continued playing females due to habit. I'd like to add one more potential reason why males (and females for that matter) choose to play males. Simple the joy of having the so-called-weaker sex kicking the buff of that big strong male warrior. In the name of equality (spelling?) I find that very pleasing.

Posted by: Slak on August 8, 2005 2:24 AM

"I'd like to add one more potential reason why males (and females for that matter) choose to play males."

That came out wrong.. the correct one is:

I'd like to add one more potential reason why males (and females for that matter) choose to play female characters."

Posted by: Slak on August 8, 2005 2:25 AM

I'd like to comment on gender bending in MMORPGs. I actually play UO rather than WOW ( I played a dwarf in WOW and had a lot of fun with it, but overall I think it is a shallow game ), so I risk not being appropos, but I think my comments are applicable to any MMORPG that I play. I have recently developed a female character in UO. Actually, I have had the character for some time, but had only used it in the past for resource gathering or using the "damsel" ploy to aquire small gifts from male players. Interestingly, the gifts were never much but I felt a sense of power in being able to aquire things pretty much at will from young ( And I say young judging on the way they spoke and what not )male players. I can understand the concept of a mechanic type player using a female character in UO. There is an item that is quite powerful for how easy it is get that is for female characters only. Furthermore, I like the idea of playing a character who is beautiful in the game.

Posted by: Gregor Lassant on August 8, 2005 3:39 PM

I play female characterd in WoW, and I played female characters in EQ and EQ2. I tried playing males, but just didn't like the male models, especially in WoW. Besides, being a grandma on the wrong side of 50, I think I'm more comfortable staying with my own gender. Two of my best gaming friends are a woman who played all male characters and a man who always has one female character in whatever game he plays.

Posted by: Moondancer on August 9, 2005 4:33 PM

I've played a female in a couple of MMO's(i'm a male) and it all pretty much come down to that the female characters i've made fittet into my perception of that race. As an example i wanted to make a NE druid in WoW that looked kinda like furion, with a large beard and a old looking body, but that simply wasnt an option. So the only other picture i had of an NE in my head was a female so i made one. But i must admit i've never recieved any gifts from male players or such things, and i can't imagine why anyone would do it. It's a virtual illusion and romance is sort of ridicules in a MMO.
On a sidenote though i think it could be interesting if males and females had different attributes as they have in real life.
Men are by natures hand stronger than women, and women are by natures hand more agile then women. Then some people speak of other differences(exept the obvius one of course :) ) but these or the indisputable ones. it could be fun if a game developer could introduce this to a game

Btw i'm sorry for my horrible english but i'm danish so english is not my native language

Posted by: Xmus on August 10, 2005 3:50 PM

The main reason I play a female character in WoW is because i play mostly night elves, and the animation of a male night elf casting hearthstone or Wrath(druids)is just not appealing, especially for hours at a time every day. Female characters have much more graceful casting animations, which is why my night elf druid and human mage are female. If i were to make a warrior or paladin it would most likely be male.

Posted by: Aloria on August 11, 2005 3:15 AM

I am a male that plays a female character as my main character in WoW. Additionally, with all videogames where I am given a choice, I play a female. The reason is because I like strong female characters. I am not doing it because for homosexual reasons, but saddly, quite the opposite. I also like to play (or cheer for) the underdog in any situation, which in terms of gender makes me play female because the female is less represented in the gaming world. It is also, as was stated above by Slak, extremely entertaining to "pwn" a male playing an extremely powerful looking male character because they tend to get really angry and cry.

When playing my female characters, although I do not flirt, occassionally I am hit on by male characters and sometimes given gifts. I usually just act shy, as my other friends (who also genderbend and group with me) make snide comments on the situation through private tells. I will however, get quite vocal if someone goes too far, as I feel it is behavior that should be stopped to make the game enjoyable for the female characters that are actually women.

Lastly, although many of my characters in MMOGs are women, I REFUSE to play a female nightelf because they are far too pretty, and get hit on way too much for a roleplayer like me. That's just like gender-bending suicide, in my opinion.

Posted by: Lord Disco on August 11, 2005 9:53 AM

I became disinterested with WoW for a number of reasons, but two of them were certainly their poor representation of males and the absolutely ridiculous outfits for many of the females (particularly at high levels).

When I play a female, I prefer attractive modesty over excessive flesh. I've had people refuse to believe I'm male ingame because I "don't dress skimpy enough" or my conduct "isn't trampy enough." Heck, I had one female tell me that she was convinced I was a girl IRL because I chose a small-breasted build in COH.

Posted by: Flatline on August 12, 2005 10:09 AM

I play a female as my main and secondary main because I like an attractive avatar. And yes I get hit on all the time. If I get hit on by someone in my guild or someone I am partied with I quickly let them know in tells that I'm a guy. They always thank me right off the bat for being honest and we all move on with out lives.

I'm happy, I get to look at my cute lil' mage's toosh and I don't have to roleplay flirting with other guys.

Posted by: ThatMattGuy on August 14, 2005 10:09 AM

My main in WoW is a female priest, and I'm a guy. The reason I chose the opposite sex was because this is my second toon, and the first was male. I haven't ever been hit on in the game yet, and I'm now 60 - but this may be because I'm pretty quiet and anti-social, and my priest is a troll that looks like she came out of a Mad Max flick ;). I couldn't imagine the hell female night elves must go through.

For the record, I mostly play WoW as a single player game, which is amazing for a priest - very little grouping until now (that I am 60).

Posted by: tyrus on August 14, 2005 11:25 PM

IMHO it would be nice if you could see one character and project a different one to the rest of the world.
That way All those "I want to stare at a pretty backside" folks would be as satisfied as the "I don't want unwelcome comments" people.

Posted by: zes on August 15, 2005 12:00 AM

I too am a male that plays almost exclusivly female characters. I'm now (1995) 30. I have played female since I played games that have attractive characters - before that I played male. Even games like FFVII I set my group up such that the focus was Tifa. If I'm gonna focus on a character (and all the requisite shallowness) I want one I want to look at.

Mostly the "stare at a butt" thing - that was almost verbatim of what I say. I usually have a "social" character that I make as close to me as possible (male, tall, blad, and overwieght if possible). But it is usally run to a place, powerlevelled, or whatever the specific game allows. It is used when I want to be me, or me be the character.

It has been interesting the reactions I have gotten over time. My name is normally strcpy in games that allow it. As such, I'm often seen as a geek girl (strcpy being "string copy" in the standard C language library - look it up on google if you do not understand), though recently in guild wars I didn't adopt that name. The last MMORPG I played (guild wars arguably isn't one) - DAOC - the attitude ranged from "OMG, grrl geek - everybody dogpile and harrass" to simply treating me as a person (one of the most amusing instances was watching me barely win a fight against a yellow opponent, bowing, and say "sprintf" - an alternate function to strcpy - I still think that is funny and tell that story to this day. There was no other interaction, the person left the game after that. OTOH I had a long conversation with someone who thought I was a girl and was aking advice in comp sci, was angry when he found out I wasn't. My advice was valid if I was female or not). It's given me a different outlook on geek girls and girls in general, both good and bad (being a geek when it was about as non-cool as possible the attention was good, though I didn't care about the non-caring of me. A mixed reaction. I understand both sides for the msot part).

I always treat online contacts as gender neutral. If someone feels like explicitly telling me thier gender I note it but have a tendancy to forget (what does gender matter if we are 2000 miles apart and all I see is text?), otherwise I do not care. I strive to do so in my real life, though that can be harder (females and thier shape are attractive and it's hard to keep that out of my thoughts).

Posted by: strcpy on August 15, 2005 12:50 AM

I think that in order to play a female in a role playing game, particularly a multiplayer one where you interact with others, you are playing out some kind of unconscious homosexual fantasy.

You are after all, "role playing" - playing the role of someone else. I don't think the argument of wanting to stare at an attractive female characters holds much water, unless perhaps you're a 12 year old, which is then equivalent to buying the Sun (UK tabloid paper) for its topless page 3 girls.

Posted by: chris on August 15, 2005 3:55 AM

Truthfully, the main reason that my secondary WoW character is a female Tauren is simple:

I really think the male Tauren character model is kinda ugly.

All of my Undead characters are Male, and I made a female Human paladin for another reason entirely:

"Paladin" is not normally a title associated with female characters, and I felt like changing that fact up a bit.

Posted by: Ariamaki on August 15, 2005 9:21 AM

I have to say that I play a female undead character because her look was appealing to me. In game, I actually run into people who are upset with me for being a real life female. I tend to skirt the issue if it's ever brought up in groups because I'm treated differently if people know which gender I am. WoW is a game, don't be silly!

Posted by: Mishy on August 15, 2005 12:47 PM

"IMHO it would be nice if you could see one character and project a different one to the rest of the world.
That way All those "I want to stare at a pretty backside" folks would be as satisfied as the "I don't want unwelcome comments" people."

Actually, you can, look into the reskinning and reshaping threads on WoW forums...

On to something "chris" said:

"I think that in order to play a female in a role playing game, particularly a multiplayer one where you interact with others, you are playing out some kind of unconscious homosexual fantasy."

You're talking out of your ass here, Chris. There's nothing "gay" subconcious or otherwise about playing a female character. What's more, you're making the horribly wrong mistake of confusing "feminine" with "homosexual," which is the kind of medieval thinking about sexuality which should have been left behind when we moved into the 21st century. (Hint: Transgenderism, or even rejection of standard sex roles, is not the same as attraction to the same gender.)

A gay man would NOT want to play a flirty female character. A gay man would want to play a flirty male character, and flirt with male characters. Why? Because he likes guys and wants to be liked by guys.



Posted by: Kynn Bartlett on August 16, 2005 5:46 PM

I have always played female characters in Games, why because they are a clearer image of who I am, gender really has no basis in my thought processes, in the same way the average person does. I have played, SWG and many many games from Tunnels of Dune, to the first D&D games on computers. I am the first to play a Female in Console games, because of Duality, if that makes sense. Duality is accepting the nature of both female and male in you. I am a real life male, I personally would not hold or withstand the ridicule if I went around cross dressing nor would I really want to. Do I have homosexual tendencies, no.

Acting or taking on a role in role play is taking on another role. Is Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes or John Leguizamo Gay, or actual Drag Queens? Nope not one little bit, they probably understand the role they played in that movie and gained a Female's perspective on many issues from the Experience. Now, do I say I am male in my gaming time, nope not on your life I want Immersion and can't get that if I am treated like the boys. I could go on, and on about this, just enjoy what you play and have fun, and immerse yourself in your favorite game.

Posted by: fuego on August 22, 2005 8:19 AM

I play a female character because I agree with Andy.

Seriously though, when I change into the Pirate Outfit, or the sweet little number with the Sarong and the Goggles...

The reaction from other players TOTALLY changes from when I'm in full armor.

Posted by: MaximGatling on August 22, 2005 11:59 AM

i made female characters to have a visual difference of the characters' class. this is when i played many characters at a time with more than one computer and clients on a computer.

Posted by: Anonymous on August 25, 2005 6:28 AM

In response to:
"I think that in order to play a female in a role playing game, particularly a multiplayer one where you interact with others, you are playing out some kind of unconscious homosexual fantasy."

I disagree with this entirely. I think if you were to run around and flirt with the male characters you met, then perhaps this might be true, but to run around and kill elves with one is an entirely different scenario.

Posted by: Lord Disco on August 25, 2005 8:56 AM

I don't mean to pull this thread off subject but some comments regarding the aesthetic value of the male and female 3D models used in the game deserve some kind of response.

I find the negative remarks directed at the attractiveness of the male characters in the game rather interesting. I won't argue which sex or sex/racial combination in WoW is more attractive but I will argue that the males in WoW look like they actually belong in the game! The male characters in WoW look far more appropriate to the setting and style of the Warcraft universe versus some of the than the female ones which stand out like sore thumbs. I think the male characters perfectly embody the visual style of the Warcraft universe that has been established over the years. In contrast just look at the female trolls and orcs in the game, they simply do not possess the hallmark physical and facial characteristics unique to their respective races and if they do, it is so muted as to be unnoticeable from a distance. They look more like muscular human females wearing ugly latex masks than orcs or trolls! Let's not even talk about gnome females who have a face and hairstyle that makes them look more like a pre-pubescent human girl than a mature female gnome with a typically 'gnomish' nose.

The models and/or facial textures used for many of the female characters seem deliberately toned down and more realistic which in my opinion, belies some kind of subconscious attempt on the part of the 3D modelers (or the art dept. heads) to create an ideal female form they'd prefer to be around in real life versus one that's supposed to fit into the WoW universe.

Sure, if WoW was supposed to be a realistic looking rpg like EQ2 then I could understand the pro-female aesthetic comments here but this game is anything but realistic! The Warcraft universe is decidedly colorful, exaggerated, large, loud and cartoonish and the male characters in the game perfectly represent this.

Posted by: Spino on August 26, 2005 12:30 PM

I may be in the minority here, being completely new to MMORPGS. I find WoW entertaining and a nice diversion from stressful RL. I don't really use it as social interaction. I prefer socializing with people whose real physical presences I can interact with. I mostly play the game solo. I am female and play a female dwarf. I chose to play a female 'cause I like to represent myself as I am. As for choosing a dwarf, the human and night elf females looked a little too much like playboy centerfolds or Barbies which annoyed me immensely. And the gnomes look like little Rainbowbrite dolls. That left me with a dwarf. As for people treating characters differently depending on how they are dressed or what gender/race they play: that just seems silly. The visual characters are just pixels and don't mean squat. Afterall, it's just a game and it isn't real. At the risk of being a bit offensive, I think that people who use this game as a forum for romantic/sexual interaction need to go out and meet some flesh-and-blood people and maybe even (gasp!) need to get laid. There. I probably pissed a bunch of people off. Sorry, that's just the way I see it.

Posted by: H T-W on September 2, 2005 6:10 PM

I have made alot of characters, some of which I have leveled to 60, and not one of them was a female. They are all muscular, melee specializing maniacs who wield massive axes and other monstrosities and beat the crap out of all my alliance opposition. I suppose female characters would look alright as mages and priests etc, but its just stupid seeing a skinny female holding some giant axe and swinging it like its a feather. Oh,and you just contradicted yourself before, you said that you chose to be a dwarf female because you were concerned about her appearance, but then you said appearance doesnt mean squat. ???

Posted by: Mataku on September 6, 2005 1:11 AM

in response to this...

I think that in order to play a female in a role playing game, particularly a multiplayer one where you interact with others, you are playing out some kind of unconscious homosexual fantasy.
You are after all, "role playing" - playing the role of someone else. I don't think the argument of wanting to stare at an attractive female characters holds much water, unless perhaps you're a 12 year old, which is then equivalent to buying the Sun (UK tabloid paper) for its topless page 3 girls.

Chris man... Are you sure you're not 12 yourself? Or perhaps, confused about your own sexuality to the extend that you needed to defend yourself even when nobody questioned it?

First off, I'm male, I'm 28, I've dated several women in the past, I'm married and definitely hetero. On the other hand I also have a gay male friend who also plays warcraft. I've known him since before he was out of the closet, and I've never had any sort of romantic relationship with him. Yet, I am mature and secure enough not let his sexual orientation effect our frienship. I wouldn't even have mentioned any of this, if not for the fact that I am expecting an extremely homphobic retalliation to this observation directed at me.
Anyway, my point is... He usually plays a male character. I don't know if that's because he's attracted to the character or if he identifies with it more, but it does kind of contradict your theory.

The rest of my friends who play are a mixture of straight men and women. the women almost always play women and the straight men are about a 50/50 mix.

I myself, prefer the males on the horde side because the seem appropriately big, grotesque, and ugly for their roles. the troll and orcish females conversely don't seem big, grotesque, or ugly enough.

On the alliance side I think the male and female Gnomes, Night Elves, and Dwarves seem pretty appropriately proprtioned for their roles... Or should I say disproportioned? The male night elves could be a tad less musclebound in my opinion, but tolerable. I think the dwarves are probably the closest to what I would expect to see on the Alliance side.

The female human characters are a obviously very idealized. I don't really mind that myself, but I'm sure there are a ton of not as well endowed women out there that might feel offended by this being the only body type offering. The males on the other hand look like block-headed, tree trunk necked, mutant hulks. I mean, Arnold in the Conan days wasn't even that meaty. They look like crazy growth hormone experiments gone terribly wrong. What happens if you want a mage? How many bookwormy guys do you no that look like they could bench 400 pounds? How does a stealthy nimble thief look like an effin' linebacker. What if you want to be a warrior that maybe lives by his critical hit skills and speed, rather than his shear bludgeoning power. The human male character is just way to girthy in my opinion. I really don't know what the art directors at Blizzard were thinking when the approved that design. If I go human, I'll definitely go with a female character.
Really, I think it would have been better to let each race have maybe 2 or 3 body type variations per race/gender. A lean, chubby, and ripped version of each would be pretty cool I think. Oh well, maybe in WOW 2...
I guess for me, it's just proportional character trait representation that makes me pick my character gender, rather than sexual orientation.

Posted by: Brett Shagen on September 6, 2005 10:33 PM

Everyone who has posted here has made some excellent points and comments about why they do or do not play male/female characters. Quick background I am 33 and married for 7 years. I have been RPing since the 80's with my first experience with D&D. Soon I was running games where Rping NPC males and females became important for my players to stay interested and focuse versus running the classic monty-hall campaign. I drew on experience from dating other women or women who were friends to role play situations and reactions of female npcs. I did the same with males though it is easier when you are the same sex. About 6 months ago I got into SWG (Didn't care for WOW...sorry) and I ended up playing a Twi'lek Female (think of oola from return of the jedi in jabba's throne room..the dancer ) mistake actually. Well as I wasn't an entertainer in the swg world just a tailor / warrior hybrid class I made male and female friends but never eluded to the fact I was a male. Roleplaying sex or roleplaying flirting was never my intension for my character unlike many people I met in the game. As many of you said you can tell a man playing a women (though I might be an exception) no one has come out point blank and asked me and I have never eluded to it..I even tried to make my character as realistic as I could...she is not top heavy and has some curves...(what the game will allow for).I never thought of developing a relationship for my character until I met another Twi'lek (female played by a female 99.9% sure of it) we hit it off and a relationship grew from there. (yes 2 what! love is love and soulmates are soulmates who cares what form it comes in) We are now married and enjoy our time together online it's like having a constant companion to rely on when things get rough in game (just like my marrage in real life my wife and I complement each other both strengths and weaknesses). As a gentleman I will not talk about the sex relation these characters have but again I draw from real life experience to infuse my character with the necessary experience. My character has taken on a "life" all her own joys sorrows pains and joy this is roleplaying at its finest in my opinion. I enjoyed playing her and "acting as a woman" you know some of you guys should really try it. You start to learn what its like being a woman in a mans game and better yet a mans world! What I have noticed in myself is a new appreciation for my wife and how I react towards her.....its like learning to speak venusian (men..mars...women...venus *wink) So my opinion, if you love to roleplay and serious role play try the opposite is not easy but very satisfying.

Posted by: rickmoo on September 7, 2005 6:06 AM

Ok, wtf is going on here. I think all of you are either friggin noobs to gaming or crackheads RPers. If you ever played Wow for more than 30 minutes you'd know that flirting is inexistant past like lvl 10. I mean damn at end-game and even before you're gonna have to get on vent in at some point and no one gives a shit weither your character is male or female. That is not even a real issue. As an experienced Wow player I can tell you that.

I have a human female rogue named Naomya.
"ZOMG you must be a fag or homophobic!!!11one"


Reasons why I created that character :
1- Human males look retarded.
2- Human males have a warrior shape, and fit rogues as much as tauren would.
3- Who would name a female character "Jerry" or "Bob"?

Thats it. It's that simple. Do not look further.

Posted by: Sylphid on September 13, 2005 5:40 AM


Does your real wife know about your virtual wife?

Posted by: Brian on September 13, 2005 9:04 AM

I think that the male characters are less attractive, is because they are supposed to appeal to the players who would rather look meen or tough, then care if they have something nice to look at.

Posted by: Clint on September 13, 2005 8:45 PM

ho hum, I'm a boi, 25 yrs old, and i play mostly girls whether its paper pencil or computer game or whatever. I mostly do this because i prefer the way the girls look over the way the boi's look. I also enjoy female clothes (scanty or not) to male clothes. CoH was my first mmo, then i played WoW for a bit, then i went back to CoH. Costume design is the main reason i keep playing CoH :P I am an altaholic, but i played mostly female night elfs on WoW (And no i didn't dance all the time) I love elves and faeries anyways and i thought the night elf design was very good. I also had a female orc ^^ I get hit on alot, maybe because i'm flirtatious. I don't go out of my way to be, i just act normal really. I get mistaken for a girl irl alot though and my friends say i'm very flirtatious, so whatever. The friends i make in game usually play female toons. I do not know if they are really girls or not, i'm pretty sure some are but who knows. Doesn't really matter much. I mostly friend with female toons because the players behind them have a greater tendency to not be powergaming farmers with no sense of humor. Also they don't constantly pm.

Thats all

Posted by: Melon on September 14, 2005 1:23 PM

I am just about to jump into WoW, but I've played many non-MMO games in the past that have allowed gender selection, such as Tribes and Tribes 2, Knights of the Old Republic I and II, etc.

In the Tribes series, MOST of the better players used Female avatars, but I knew a LOT of players, and I never once met a girl. I seriously doubt more than 1 in 500 (probably less) of the "females" were girls at all. It annoyed me quite a bit, but it not being a role-playing game, it didn't matter as much.

I'm going to be Male in WoW, but I'm joining a regular PvP server. it may or may not be unique, but I have a gaming philosophy I stick to of trying to be myself, because I LIKE my ideals and tastes and opinions and so on and wish to interact with a virtual world as if it's me. Some people would assume I'm a role-player, but I'm not in the sense you might think... why? Because I can't see getting into faking all this chatter. I want a REAL experience, and to me it's more real if we're all honest and open with eachother and admit this fantasy world is a secondary one, important too but not, in a sense, REAL. I like everything about the World, INCLUDING (in no small part) the social aspect of it... that's probably the biggest element for me. So to have people who gender-bend, especially with no clear way to see whether they're doing it or not, is EXTREMELY annoying to me, because it's a major obstacle to me trying to socialize in this new world. In real life, gender bende
rs would look very manly, but in the virtual world, it takes a while to figure it out I imagine. I'd rather not have to be skeptical with every "girl" I meet, but I'll have to be. The virtual world in a certain sense is as real as the real world, as you make relationships and such in it as well, so keeping it as... right as it can be, and as accessible, is a good thing.

Not only that, but it's even more unfair to the real girls who are playing, and I'm a HUGE proponent of girls increasing their presence in games, which gender-bending may stifle. I like to see a girl in game and know it's a girl, and I also like that a girl has certain tendencies and tastes, and a guy has certain tendencies and tastes, and that it will work in the virtual world, but this doesn't happen with gender bending.

On a side note, if someone really WERE homosexual, I wouldn't have a problem with them using a girl avatar, because I think you should be who you envision, and if they want that, ok. But I don't like people playing characters who they do not envision themselves as, because it makes them act unnatural, as they have to act in some foreign way, and not very well more than likely.

I wish there was something that could be done to help the situation, but companies don't dare even encourage sticking with your own perceived gender.

On a totally different topic (please e-mail me if you'd like to discuss it,, I don't understand why people have multiple characters. Am I the only one who looks at my character and thinks "That's Me!"? If the World is such a wonderful place to exist, no matter your level or the time you've spent there, why have more than one character? I'm not saying one shouldn't, necessarily, just asking (though it does seem that it should be one character per server...).

Anyhow, about the gender thing... I've heard every excuse in the world for using a female, and only good reason I've EVER heard is that in certain games the model is smaller and harder to hit. That is NOT the case in WoW, and actually, in Tribes, the damage model was the same between male and female, despite the look being different. It messes up role-playing in a big way, both "traditional" style role-playing and the "virtual me" style role-playing I do. For people who don't care about that social aspect whatsoever (as in, the perception of them by others and vice versa), I find it very strange that they would use a female avatar, who garners more attention than a male avatar.

Posted by: subnubilus on September 19, 2005 8:28 AM


All the gender benders saying they prefer the aesthetics of the girl, dressing her up and whatnot... that's normal! But seek it out in other characters, like you would in real life! You WANT a girl, you don't want to BE a girl... in game, you could be a tailor/fashion designer or just a guy that tries to pick up chicks, or whatever! I role-play as me, and I realize a lot of people don't do that, so I understand it's not a black-and-white issue, but it seems to me that the avatar is your character, but the World is what you're sticking around for, so you'd seek what you like in the World, not make it to begin with! You must admit, bender or not, it complicates things negatively to have most girls actually be guys, both for guys and more so girls.

Posted by: subnubilus on September 19, 2005 9:08 AM

I have almost the opposite view of just about everything you mentioned there, Subnubilus. I don't play games -- MMORPGS or otherwise -- in order to make a carbon copy of my real life self, so that I can look and say 'That's me!'. I look at the games and say 'Those are my characters!'. Because I'm already 'me' in real life, and while I am quite satisfied with who I am and how I look, why would I feel compelled to only play digital copies of exactly the same representation all the time? Especially when there is so much variety available?

That, at least for me, is the explanation behind both your questions -- why people don't play as an avatar that's exactly like their real life selves, and why the vast majority of MMORPG players do play multiple characters, or at least have 'alts' to their 'mains': because we can, and because in most of these games, no single choice allows you to experience everything that the game offers.

I am a human male in real life. Most of my characters in the MMORPGs are NOT human. Most of them ARE male, but not all of them are. I don't have to be an elf or wookiee in the real world in order to want to try playing a virtual one from time to time. It's about variety, and about enjoying what the games have to offer. By limiting yourself to only the race, gender, size, appearance, etc. that matches your real life self, you're cheating yourself out of a lot of possibilities -- not just different appearances, but different styles of play and even different content in many cases. I'm paying for everything the game offers me, I don't see any point in cheating myself out of a lot of it by limiting myself to a single character which duplicates who I am in real life.

I found some of your comments rather telling, regarding gender in games. Especially:

"So to have people who gender-bend, especially with no clear way to see whether they're doing it or not, is EXTREMELY annoying to me, because it's a major obstacle to me trying to socialize in this new world."

Just a thought, but maybe you should first be trying to socialize and relate to your fellow players as PEOPLE, not as 'is this a guy or a girl?'. You also say:

"I like to see a girl in game and know it's a girl, and I also like that a girl has certain tendencies and tastes, and a guy has certain tendencies and tastes, and that it will work in the virtual world, but this doesn't happen with gender bending."

And this, to me at least, points out part of your problem. Sounds like you're trying to carry over whatever stereotypical, preconceived notions (I stopped myself from saying 'prejudices') you have about gender roles from real life, into a game. And you're frustrated that other players -- both male and female -- aren't co-operating with your desire to pigeonhole everyone on sight like you do in real life. I have news for you: the evidence (including the polls cited here and elsewhere) shows that it's exactly attitudes like that which result in quite a few female players choosing MALE avatars in games, in order to avoid being treated differently by default.

In my experience, the people who have the greatest objections to players choosing avatars of a different gender are the people who are looking to, ahem, 'interact' with the opposite sex. They are less interested in just gaming or even roleplaying with the *characters* than they are in hooking up to one degree or another with the real *player* behind them, and they want to be able to make sure right off the bat that the girl they're hitting on really is a girl. Not saying there's anything inherently wrong with that, but a lot of players -- both male and female -- aren't in it for that.

Posted by: Zanzibarian on September 21, 2005 10:33 AM

Well, I play mmogs for PvP.
Females are much harder to target.
Also theres always the chance that enemy noobs will consider me less of a threat cause of the avatar.
Similarly, allied noobs may be more motivated to keep me alive.

I started playing female toons in D2 where I started noticing the trend. Sorcoresses were treated like royalty and everyone assumed that every sorc was a female IRL, and for some reason thought they could toy around with me, immediately preceeding their dirt nap complements of me. :>

Heres how simple it is. Noobs are everywhere. They make stupid assumptions about everything, including the gender of an avatar. If you can exploit it, then do so. If you can't identify the noob or their behavior, then you are probably one of them.

Posted by: MANMAN on September 21, 2005 10:39 AM

Zanzibarian, very nice reply. I really appreciate you responding in full like that instead of writing me off. I know some of my opinions might sound harsh (and I assure you, they sound much harsher than they are, and in practice I'm gentle and accepting when I can be). I'll respond in turn, to clear some points up.

The reason making a "carbon copy" of yourself might be appealing is because the World is different. It's kind of like travelling, which I enjoy more than anything else; you get to interact with new things, and are tested in ways you wouldn't be if you sat around at home. An ideal video game, to me, does many of those things put STILL lets me sit at home, because I don't have the money to travel full-time. I know it's not a totally unique view, but I can understand the appeal of seperating yourself from the character more. A little update, I'm probably not going to be jumping into WoW just yet, or possibly ever, but it does seem that WoW lends itself to "alting" and such. The thing about different races and all that is also a good point. What you said about already being satisfied with your real-life look and character and so forth, yes, me too, but that's one of the reasons I like to play as that. I'm not unimaginative, it's just that I choose to make that particular choice uniform.

As far as the stereotyping gender goes, that isn't true in the way I think you mean it. I happen to be all about gender equality, for one, and secondly, the preconceived notions about women I have... well, let me put it this way. Do you think, GENERALLY SPEAKING, that a 30-year-old girl playing a female and a 15-year-old boy playing a female will act very similarily? Now, compare two different 30-year-old girls, or many, many 30-year-old girls. Don't you think there will more than likely be some differences, as far as style of play, gameplay decisions, dialogue, and so forth, between the majority of 30-year-old women and the majority of 15-year-old players? Of course there will be. It doesn't mean we can make assumptions before we meet someone, AND I DON'T, but, in the end, how we act does affect others and vice versa. My wish that this could be emulated is not rooted in some sort of prejudice... I don't want all the female players to act like I want them to, but rather, how female players would act. And they do! But having half of the female avatars ACT like boys is what I wish could be eliminated.

And, so you know, I'm not in the game after a girl, but I am in it for the social experience mainly, so it's just a part of it. I don't think that in a game like WoW it destroys the fabric of the game or anything, and if I came across rashly about it, I apologize, but I do think in other online social situations (including future games, depending on what the online culture is like there), it could have some repercussions. I think I was taking WoW to have a slightly different atmosphere than it does, now that I've done more research.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say (in defense of myself), is that I wouldn't act differently to someone just because their female, but I would like for virtual females, regardless of how I act, to act like "themselves", which can't happen the way it is now, and I guess I have to accept that.

But also, a part of it is for the girls themselves... I think (and I could be totally wrong) that women would prefer most of the guys roleplaying them wouldn't, but mostly just because many boys roleplay women in a way that might not be... I don't know... right. I've read complaints from girls saying that guys roleplaying them take advantage of their virtual gender more than real girls tend to (because you are right, they do get treated differently by MOST people). However, you mention that quite a few females choose to play males, and yes, quite a few do, but it's a small percentage. I don't think that ends up being much of a problem, and I don't see it being abused.

You say that people who have these concerns have them because they want to hook up in real life, and that's only sort of true. I'm actually NOT looking to hook up anywhere at the moment, or even have some sort of relationship like that. IN FACT, I was mostly hoping to meet some cool friends (male, more than likely). However, I DO care about the person behind the avatar, because I'm a naturally social person. When I travel, I love meeting people. So in game, yes, I am not content just saying "oh, this here is a night elf who has been travelling the World looking for riches"; I am even more interested in who that is personifying. I don't see anything wrong with that, and I actually think it's healthy. I used to play competitively in Tribes and Tribes 2, and I was co-captain of a tribe, and the comaraderie we (the tribe) shared was a big part of the appeal, and why I stuck around so long. It wasn't IN ADDITION to the game, really, it was a vital PART of the game.

Thanks for the response, you're point about the game and others were all valid, but your points about me mostly were not, though I've cleared that up. If you'd like to discuss it (or anything else) further, please e-mail me at

Posted by: subnubilus on September 21, 2005 7:42 PM

Just like to make a quik observation. Love and sex makes the world (even rp-worlds) go round it appears.
It appears to me ppl are a finding the gender thing most important of all. Just look at the numeber of posts. Highest number on this site.
Forget age/faction balance/mechanic or other and so on. Life is about love (or sex if being shallow) and so is RPing.
Or is it? Well anyway it seems to get ppl worked up most on this forum. Politicians could use this as a means to get ppl more interested in RL issues. Vote for me, I'm a male! Or wait this is alrady the thing in RL...

ps. I'm a 25 y-old man playing females just to be not like 'all' males because i don't feel like identifying myself with RL white, rich, world wrecking males.

Posted by: Condar on September 22, 2005 6:28 AM

I am a male and have been playing MMOs since the opening of UO. I originally played a female toon there because my best friend ( a female) wanted to RP twin sisters. So I created my first female character Archer /Warrior. We actually roleplayed back then so it was fun. I was the bad sister she was the good one. Most of the people we met in game knew that I was male and she was female and were ok with it. I guess 8 years ago "gender-bending" wasn't an issue and all this "cyb0r" crap never really exsisted.

I play both male and female characters in all my games. Why? simple answer: because I want to. Now there is one game I play a female character of a specific race because the male avatars look like they have a stick up their arse when running ( Dark Age of Camelot - Lurikeens ) I think most people who have issue with the cross-gender playin in a "game" may have RL issues themselves

Posted by: Deven on September 22, 2005 8:03 AM

Perhaps some do have RL issues, but not all do, and I'd say a lot of people who it concerns are simply looking for different things than most people in these online games. If I was soley interested in combat and level advancement, for example, I wouldn't care. All the MMOs I've seen though center around this, though.

Posted by: subnubilus on September 22, 2005 10:35 AM

Wow, this is a cool discussion!

I'd just like to add my 2 cents. I think that if more women developers were involved in the making of female avatars, that males would be less likely to genderbend. After all, most women avatars in most games ive played are built to flaunt their sexuality. And as a female gamer, that really just runs all over me. A huge reason i stopped playing Guild Wars is because i didnt have any intereset in running around in armor that looked like lingerie. In wow, it annoys me how uncustomizeable and seemingly "wooden" the characters are, yet the females have these huge boobs that even bounce when you move! Wow! -_- I think that if more developers had their female games in mind when they created characters, you'd see less genderbending because females would be less sexual, there formore men wouldnt have any interesnt in playing a non sexual female. Whats the point of women anyways? ;)

I can *always* spot a female character played by a male. In swg, they are as skinny as possible, their boobs are as big as possible, and interestingly enough, their faces all look the same :D It actually makes me smile when someone tells me that my character is "ugly" or is wearing too much clothes.

Yes, it all goes back to real life issues with men seeing women as objects, and i think its partly the developers job to make sure those biases dont come out in the games they make. they wouldnt make overtly homosexual or stereotypical racial characters, why would they do this to women?

Posted by: Heata on September 22, 2005 1:54 PM

And before i sound sexist in the above comments, i know that some men dont play female characters because they are sexy or want things handed to them. The majority i have met, however, do. But im not silly enough to think that is the case with all.

Posted by: heata on September 22, 2005 2:02 PM

First of all, I'm deeply impressed with the maturity shown by nearly every poster on this potentially "charged" topic.

My comments are limited to the issue of the artwork. First, a brief search of my WoW box turned up two seperate lists of artists, neither of which had ANY female names listed (although there were a few foreign names whose gender I can't speak to).

Second, as was mentioned before, "sex sells" and, beyond the fact that the overwhelming majority of video-game players are male, market research clearly shows that sexy women have an attractive effect on both sexes. On that note, shareholders want to see a profit, and generally, engaging in social change is not profitable. Practically speaking, Blizzard's best option, if they were so inclined, would have been to allow more choice in body styles, not go for a more average look in the only body style given.

Finally, I don't have a link to it, but I read an article about the "UGLY Model Agency" in which the owner said that they frequently placed average-looking or unattractive male models, but for their female counterparts, their clients almost always prefered to make up beautiful models to look less attractive. This says to me that in our illusory worlds (TV, film, games, etc.) the human psyche can accept male "non-beauty", but tragically, humanity has psychologically devolved to the level that we can only accept "fake non-beauty" in women, at best. I'm suggesting the artists may have fallen into that trap. But maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Posted by: Tielby/Ileit on September 23, 2005 1:50 PM

I play as a male because that is what I am.

Posted by: DotFortune on September 25, 2005 2:04 AM

I honestly believe the reason is not for men seeing woman as objects (e.t.c), but that the choice is done subconciously. Maybe some people are bi who do it and just don't realise it? Maybe not. Or possibly most people do it to manipulate to receive gifts? Maybe, yet there are too many possibilities. So the simplest way to put it is this:

It appears that whether you like yourself, or not, subconciously you will judge and try to create an illusional perfect form of yourself (dreams, fantasies of what you wish you were, anything). With the aid of games, maybe we can all see what our "fantasies" really are. Then again, we may just be bored staring at an ugly butt the entire game, and thats why we play whichever gender character we do. Sure, we all dream, we all have wishes and desires, but do we truly no what they all are and mean? Definately not. We're human..well hopefully..

Lastly, I'll remain anonymous. Why? To leave the question of "judging people's gender by how they speak" open for discussion.

Posted by: Anonymous on September 27, 2005 7:00 PM

In WoW, I have both male and female characters. My main is male, but a few of my alts are female. Why? I'm not really sure why to be quite honest. I guess it comes down to the class and the race combination...For example, I have an male Undead priest because the males look more evil and fit the role of the Undead better IMO. At the same time, I rolled an female orc warrior...obviously not for the "good looks", but more to be as individual as possible. You don't see too many female orcs running around. Plus, I imagine female orcs as being pretty crazy and savage warriors...there is nothing scarier than an angry green woman with a sword. Anyway, I don't think gender-bending goes beyond aesthetic reasons most of the time...although I suppose RPers who want to gender-swap may be a bit different.

Posted by: Ryan on September 28, 2005 7:39 PM

I am a female, and I play a male as my main character, on a PvP server. About half of my characters in World of Warcraft are male.

Whenever I play a female character, the people that I group with, will sometimes ask me if I'm a female in real life. This question never comes up when I am playing a male.

Most guys call me "bro" and while I'm playing that character, I do not correct them. I just call them "bro" too.

Posted by: Tara on September 29, 2005 11:01 PM

I play WoW on a pvp server and don't genderbend at all. I've found that most of the people that I'm around don't either, but if they do they make it obvious to everyone. (Except those times where they make a joke out of it lol). I like playing a male character and he's the only character I have on WoW. I like the idea of just having one character because people will be able to identify you more and you build more of a reputation for yourself. I'll admit, I had a created a couple of female characters when I played EQ, but it never kept my interest. I just like being myself. I have gone around trying to flirt with the female avatars before, but I've been playing MMO's for 7 years and it's really easy to pick out the males playing the female characters. I always think it's funny when they try to manipulate the male characters. When they try and do the same to me, I always try and lie to them, saying that I'm really female playing this male character. Oh how quickly they change their way of speaking and acting! "You are? Woah! Wanna cyber?" That's a very common response. So to wrap up, I like people who act themselves in a game, whether that be on a male or female character. I just don't like when people go over the top in their gender bending.

Posted by: KC on October 2, 2005 11:01 AM

Personally, I don't care for females. I am a male in real life, and I am very sexist (though I try my hardest to stay mature and fair and not let any distaste for women ruin my life) so I never play as female characters. Even so, when I do mingle with women (I hate men too, so when I get close to people it's a rare event anyways) I like to do so with older women. There seems to be some limit in age, the younger you get the more likely to be offended by flirting until you reach sexual curiosity. I keep to the older ladies because they seem to know that it's not for real, it's just... my way of saying hello. It's not wrong to genderbend in my opinion, I'd kill you either way, but it's wrong to get offended. If somebody gives you an item because they have a case of puppy love for you, GOOD. Let it happen. Don't get scared because somebody shows you affection, just accept it for what it is. Maybe that person on the other end is some blind moron just looking for somebody, because they have nobody. Accept the pheremones and get on with your life. Who knows, that creep might even turn out to be a nice guy. Even so, if somebody is going to persist in harassing you, use your wonderful breasts (or man-chest, whatever you have) to lure some protectors up to make sure that offender understands. True, they may be lonely looking for somebody but that's not the way to do things, because it breeds fear and it breeds anger. Instead, let's just breed the old fashion way. Sex sells, life's short, and if you like female night elves... Good for you!

Posted by: Caius on October 3, 2005 1:17 AM

To brian does my wife know? no she does not. I keep my gaming world seperate from real life. never do the 2 interfere.

To heata,

You are correct most men who play characters will make those "top heavy" toons like anime characters and you are also right that there should be more female involvement in the design creation. Playing a female toon is fun sometimes it works to my advantage sometimes it doesn't but like in RL I have to work twice as hard in group combat to gain the respect of my male counterparts.

Interesting how RL always seeps into a fantasy world where you would think people are the same as there is no benefit of being female over male or vice-versa.

Posted by: rickmoo on October 3, 2005 11:35 AM

I believe one of the reasons one sex can be attracted to another is 'curiosity'. At first it was amusing to actually be in control of the object of my attraction, then I slowly started to become emphatic towards females, enjoying being one (as my characters)... slowly even developed bisexual fantasies, and disgust for shovinistic attitudes. Among other things I also enjoy watching my character take life with my RP and writting skills, and the beautiful/sexually attractive avatars developers create. (i.e. World of Warcraft)

Posted by: Roleplayer101 on October 3, 2005 4:46 PM

Oh, I forgot to mention. Gender Bending seems like a big issue on a society with very thick defining lines on genders, and sexual prefferences. a few hundred year old trend that started with judeo-christian influence. A more viable truth is that people are people, emotions, feelings, sexual consciousness, despite their sex, just are. In MMORPGs I really don't care much for who's behind the character as much as I care for the character itself. I've sexually flirted with female character (knowing they are probably men) just because they do it so well, and even have fullfilled some female-female fantasies this way. For one, male or female in real life, I'll probably never meet them, and I really don't care to. ( I have a GF in RL and quite happy out here to care and mix my Virtual life with my RL) and secondly, People are people, beautiful, imaginative, ugly or stupid, wether male or female. So, if a male does a good job creating a female character that is sexy, adorable, attractive... I'll gladly flirt with them with my chracters (which will usually be females).

Posted by: Roleplayer101 on October 3, 2005 4:59 PM

I'll gender-bend all I want! I have more female alts than I have male alts! 1 MALE Hunter, 1 female pally, 1 female rogue and 1 female priest!

Why? Cause they are sexy, I enjoy starring at my sexy toon. If a guy starts to flirt with me, I always write: "Don't get your hopes up buddy, I'm a guy in RL."

Posted by: John on October 4, 2005 8:44 AM

Prefererce for whether or not you choose a certain charecter gender just depends on how much a person identifies with it, the knowledge known, and what they're trying to attain. All of this is mostly to gain a sense of superiority, control, dominance (we all like to win, right?).

That is the addiction of MMORPGS. They stimulate a law of growth, and if you build and invest into it, enduring good times and bad times,and reap the benifits of growing the charecter, you tap into yourself 'fufilling' the drive of entertainment, superiority, etc. online, it tends to grow on you. It's a lot like crack. But less expensive.

If you knew that you could manipulate people into giving you free items if you're very "item-centered-look-what-I-have-its-better-than-yours" pereception, would you take it? If you knew you could potentially bash someones alter ego online, whatever the method, amusement at their expense, would you do it?

A lot of this is really is mental, and is based on how a person satisfies their desire. People sometimes play to manipulate others, some just use it to satisfy a drive of theirs. But all this is expected, because it is a game. Some people just play it as it is, but there are always those who seek to see more.

Thoughts are things. Fear and hatred for the gender-benders are usually people who just don't understand how action reflects their understanding of human nature. A lot of it comes from insecurity, and lack of knowledge of where to set boundaries. The 'I AM', portion of this, is violated to only those who see their avatars and ways of enforcing their view of reality within the game in conflict, rather than looking at the whole, or maybe playing it for more than the game that they themselves define it to be. And when they know more, or understand to seek to see a different branch of themselves upon stumbling into this knowledge, their conflict comes from the action of seeking. A lot of people who burn themselves by going into the fire do not even pay attention to where they are walking.

Society today repeats the same drama that took place centuries upon centuries ago, and sadly, continues on. Why? Maybe up in that collective consciousness of humanity, we all just happen to like it. We offer our own preference of how reality should be. When certain views of how to satisfy our drives clash, the amount of conflict that is created is directly related to how willing we are to adapt and learn (emphasis on learn). With that said, I AM RIGHT. YOU ARE WRONG. I WIN. LALALALA!

Posted by: Jestersage on October 4, 2005 6:22 PM


"I'll gender-bend all I want! I have more female alts than I have male alts! 1 MALE Hunter, 1 female pally, 1 female rogue and 1 female priest!

Why? Cause they are sexy, I enjoy starring at my sexy toon. If a guy starts to flirt with me, I always write: "Don't get your hopes up buddy, I'm a guy in RL."

- You are NOT gender bending, my dear friend. -

-That defeats the whole purpose of the perspective I posted on the message previously (above yours) regarding Gender Bending. However I understand not many roleplay - Since it's not easy to play pretend (or act). What I think is, you are just choosing an avatar and Chatting with it as you would in a regular IRC. Gender Bending (In my Opinion) Is actually to ROLEPLAY, roleplay your character, as the opposite sex, to indulge in it, to be that 'other sex'. Not just to pick a female Avatar (or male in case you are a female in the non-virtual life) and act as you would normally, in a tech support chat. In a superficial way you could say you are gender bending in appereance. but ... nah.

Leave your inhibitions behind and next time a 'guy' hits on you, if for whatever reason that disgusts you (homophobia will do that to you) then just say 'No Thank you... I am not interested' or 'I'm not into guys' That will make your character look a lot more real and interesting. And not disturb the lovely fantasy setting or enviroment. (( but then again, I am a frustrated roleplayer who wishes more people would actually play interestingly and ROLEPLAY ^^)) - Not jumping avatars yelling 'lolz dude I powned' ... *sighs* :)

Posted by: Roleplayer101 on October 5, 2005 3:28 PM

I've been an avid roleplayer for 20+ years. From tabletop to online. My first introduction to online gaming was Gemstone III from Simutronics which led to my first "beta" test with DragonRealms. I met a woman through this game and on and on, etc, etc. Eventually we became close and we decided for our own peace of minds we would roleplay characters of the opposite sex. IE I would roleplay a female, she a male. This worked out well and we both enjoyed taking on the aspects of the opposite sex. Eventually, as most romances do, we went our seperate ways.

To this day, all the RPGs that I play, I go with a female character just for the roleplaying aspect and to avoid the frustration of another relationship. Well guess what, I started WoW, started with a female character, migrated to a male character and bam! Right back where I started... hopefully this time with better results! ;)

Posted by: Roleplayer formely known as... on October 11, 2005 4:46 PM

I'm female and do enjoy video games in my spare time. Gender "bending" as this site calls it has always been an issue for me. My first MMO was FFXI. I would go around as my cute little Mithra and fight mobs with groups. The problem was that so many people thought I was a guy. It made me so outraged that everyone automatically assumed that I was playing a female character that I was automatically male. So I told people. If they called me "man" I would respond by saying "lady" or "woman."

A similar occurrence happened to me when I started playing WoW. I joined a guild on my server, and though I stated to the leader at least five times that I was female, he persisted in calling me a man. One day, I was messing around with a friend and kidding with this new person in the guild telling them the definition of a general MMO term "farming." They took this really seriously and whined to the guild leader. I got a message telling me to stop messing with the n00bs and decided that since the people couldn't take a joke my friend and I decided to leave. Apparently the next day my friend got a tell from the leader explaining why we were warned and calling me a man in the process. Well, this snapped me. I'm proud of my gender. Being a gamer girl is a cool thing in my opinion.

I have another story about gaming.

Later in time I started to date a guy, and we moved to Guild Wars together. One day I was standing around Droknar's Forge half-reading the messages going in my chat window, when I see two people arguing about America and who is better. Well, one guy from some other country stated, "All the women in America are fat." I felt the need to interject, "So, just because I live in America and I happen to be female, that makes me fat?" I hate stereotypes like, "Oh, just because that's a female avatar they're a guy" or "Oh, well, every female in America is fat."

Anyway, this was an extremely long post and a bit off topic, just really quick some main points:

1) "When you play a female character, not only are you getting more attention from men, but women treat you a lot differently as well. They are not as threatened by you, and thus when you ask them a question or for help, or even for a hunting partner, they dont assume its because you want to flirt with them or hit on them, or make them your "cyber wife". Do you know how many women called me "sister" or wanted to have me join a guild with them, or even make one! Women treated me a lot nicer than my main, which was a male wood elf druid. One individual and her husband bought me spells and power leveled me from 5-9 because she felt sympathy for "one of our own" trying to make it in this world."

Personally as a gamer girl, I have never treated anyone different because of gender. In fact, I have more male friends than female friends. When I see another female, I greet them as I would greet a guy. And to be honest, I am not threatened by males.. you guys are human too! I don't particularly get more attention from guys either.. More in FFXI I did, but not because they wanted to help me. I would help in FFXI. That's just the way it ran.

2) I'm not particularly against playing a character of the opposite gender, but I wish that other players wouldn't automatically assume because of the fact that they have only encountered males that every single person behind the avatar is going to be male.

3) It's okay. Learn 2 play. =3

Oh, if you have any comments or whatever.. send me an email at kthx! ^^

Posted by: Certo on October 12, 2005 7:43 PM

I play a female character mainly on WoW, for many of the reasons stated above...

1) Female characters generally look better

2) I too went for what i felt would be most appropriate for each class... I have a Dwarf Male Warrior for example, a gnome male rogue, a human male paladin, and a human female mage. Many of these are on the RPing server, and the one i currently play with most is the female mage...

3) I'm not a dwarf in real life but that does not stop me playing as one, so in the same way, i'm not a female in real life but why should that stop me playing as one...

To be honest, i find playing a female more interesting for some reason that i'm not entirely sure why... perhaps its just easier to get talking to people and become friends with them, also for the simple reason stated earlier that they look better...

To me, anything that happens in-game is purely that... its happening to my character, not to me personally... I enjoy seeing my characters develop on RPing servers... if she ends up flirting with the odd man along the way, its just my character learning some of the ways of life... At the end of the day, we're all watching the same things (roughly) happening in the world around us... the fact that i'm not quite watching through the same window that i would in real life is only a very minor fact in it.

Its a game... nothing more... nothing less...

Posted by: Male Gamer on October 17, 2005 12:38 PM

Hmm, I play Female/Male because of the Class im choosing, and some classes i cant see as female or male. as my druid. in WC3 they were males and have been in almost every story or game i have played and therefore i couldnt see a druid as female and thats why choose male. When i play my rogue its Ne female because rogues need to be light on the foot and be sneaky, lite females are =O). and true My female NE warrior was noticed as someone said in one of the first posts. And very nice to watch as well

Posted by: Chig on October 17, 2005 4:38 PM

I'm a 35 year old gay gamer in WoW. My main is a Human Male Warlock on a PvE server, though I do have one female and one male alt as well. For me--and I am speaking for myself, not for all gay men--I created a character I found physically attractive (complexion, hair and beard.) Like one of the posters above me, I joke that if I'm going to look at somebody's butt for hours, it might as well be one that I enjoy looking at. ;)

I have, in chat, joked about male characters' attractiveness ("Take it all off, Gnome boy! Wooo!") but have joked with female characters the same way. In general my gameplay experience is pretty gender- and sex-neutral. My personal sexuality doesn't come up in the game, generally, except with people I know IRL.

I regularly play with a straight male player who plays female characters exclusively, and his sister, who plays a mix of male and female characters. One of the most interesting things for me is how pronouns are used; we switch between real names (and pronouns) and character names (and pronouns) pretty fluidly.

I created a Female Gnome Warrior alt to purposely tweak traditional gender roles--I chose the smallest female in the game would be the massive-damage-dealing bruiser. (I found that I didn't like playing the class much; but the voice acting of the character wasn't much motivation to continue either.)

Posted by: Casey on October 21, 2005 6:45 PM

This is a rather difficult subject for some people because the issue doesn't just boil down to sexual orientation, so much as the concept of sexuality in general. 'Heterosexual', 'Homosexual', 'Bisexual'.. These terms mean very little, if not nothing to me and to other peers I've met over time.

Gender is seemingly non-existant and online, it really is obsolete. Gender is what I decide it is when I wake up each day, somewhat in life and certainly online. My real gender is irrelevant and often mistakenly guessed as the one I'm actually not, regardless of supposed 'giveaways'. How I express myself is my own, from how I type, how what visual representations I give myself to characters in general. In general chat I'm generally rather ambiguous and don't correct people unless I feel it's vital. Some people do form attachments they really shouldn't, afterall and my motives are not deception so much as they are personal.

I don't particularly feel like I'm either gender and thus, I play them on whim. Aesthetics are very important to me, as noted by some in prior posts so I try to get creative when the online game allows it. That's a bit of freedom that I'm not really given entirely in life offline. Overall, I think no one has particularly cared. I don't see myself getting treated differently based upon it too much, though oddly I must say I found myself under more attention and desire when I went from a female character to a male character among a group of peers. That's a bit of the inverse than expected by most, it seems.

Anyway, there's some of us who enjoy our freedom to do with ourselves as we please. I make it a point never to harm a single person with my activities switching between genders, but otherwise keep what I am in person my own business unless required. Most people find me fun, either way. Just thought I'd offer my own perspective.

Posted by: Hauhet on October 25, 2005 3:58 AM

I apologize for the editing and pacing of my initial post, as it was written before I was fully awake. However, another important point occured to me that I completely omitted and meant to include:

One bit of respect I give others is one I tend to want myself and it's the safest way to play these games without offending someone. When someone is playing a character, address those characters as their given gender at the moment. If you see a guy, it's a 'he', if it's a girl, it's a 'she', if it's alien and whatever.. hell, ask them what they prefer in that case. It's safer to assume this is what the player wants and be corrected to the contrary than to just refer to people as what you either assume or what you know. When I refer to other characters not present, I use their in-game gender over their RL gender. That's just courtesy and not just to 'guys playing as girls getting their jollies', mind you. Girls and guys both do their own thing for their own reason, be at least IC/RP respectful.

In a guild I was in WoW, some people had their genders known and regardless of what they desired, that was what they were referred to regardless of their character at the moment. It's a small bit of courtesy and it doesn't cost you much time or effort. I can understand this may be jarring when your long-time real life buddy or girl decides to play an opposite gendered character, but you can break the habit and go with what's on the screen unless they say otherwise. When in doubt, ask what's preferred when it comes up, if it comes up.

I realize this may sound strange to some, but some people take this semi-seriously enough that it's worth considering.

Posted by: Hauhet on October 25, 2005 4:54 AM

I play a female character on WoW and I am a weirdo-magnet as my sister puts it. It's mainly because I have a tendency be nice to ANY guy who gives me stuff (I know, my sister calls me greedy grabs =p). I'm really very greedy =( Thus I'm the prime candidate for all the weirdos as they're usually the desperate ones walking around looking for damsels in distress (which is usually me, cos I am really lousy at the game, although I enjoy playing it!).

I do notice that I get lots of help. I once played my fiance's character (male), and asked for a free enchant which the guy was advertising on the general channel, and the guy made me walk to him then made me wait ages before he did my enchant. However, when I logged on my character (female), he actually walked to me to give me the free enchant!!! I also get gifts of gold, equipment, help doing quests (like a level 50+ taking me through all my quests when I was level 15). So yes, I'm ashamed to say it, but I do take advantage of it, and love the attention! =)

So please, if anyone has any complaints about unwanted attention from hormonal crazy teenagers.. heck, just send all the crazy teenagers over here, and they can all spoil me rotten! Please sir, some more! =P

*signed* Missy-Greedy-Grabs

Posted by: Kimmy on October 26, 2005 12:31 AM

Wild idea alert!

Maybe girls are cooler than boys.

Posted by: Scandalizer on October 26, 2005 4:09 PM

Interesting take Kimmy. You are absolutly right, the "guys" will do more for you when your character is female. As a male playing a female character (See earlier post) offers for free stuff come up all the time, to be honest I don't take it if I do not need it. One thing I have tried is what my wife in RL does to me, hint at needing or wanting something. Usually within a short time those guys are bringing that item to me. Amazing what we will do. Now conversly I have a male character who has services everyone wants (smuggler) as well and I treat male and female characters equally as they are all customers. So I do not think your greedy. Remember "a fool and his/her money is soon parted".

Posted by: rickmoo on October 27, 2005 9:12 AM

Thank you for sharing your great ideas about the topic Hauhet, perfectly put.

1) Gender has no definition online, you have a freedom of choice, which unfortunately is not so iRL. People are people, regardless of gender, and are beautiful or ugly, regardless of gender, this is more evident online, and with good creative RP minds.

2) It's so completely annoying and out of context when Female/male characters are called by the opposite gender just because one knows/thinks the Real Life gender of the person. Spoils the magic of the character and the RP.

A fair priestess named Elynna walks into the Cathedral, and a jumping paladin starts saying 'Mike yo dude whazzap!' and likewise the other way around.

In short, thanks for the excellent post Hauhet, I posted a similar aproach regarding gender definitions on Mmorpgs.

Posted by: Roleplayer101 on October 27, 2005 4:22 PM

It depends on the game and what the character models look like for me. If the female character models have better hairstyles (think Guild Wars, female hairstyles definitely outmatch the males'), proportions (ala WoW, females look normal, males look like some sort of gorilla-creature with heads completely disproportionate to their bodies), customizing options etc. I play female characters when the models are more aesthetically pleasing (in general, not talking about have massive breasts or something), and/or when I'm roleplaying a female character. As far as males mistaking me for a female, it doesn't seem to happen so much, and I don't go around acting whorish with female characters anyway.

Posted by: Ross on October 28, 2005 1:01 PM

These posts are extremely interesting.
Just a quick question for all who have already posted, perhaps you can help me out:
what is your definition of "gender" anyway?

Thanks to all that respond!

Posted by: mev on November 13, 2005 1:15 PM

I totally agree, but it all really depends on the race too, for exaple all of my nightelves are wemon whereas i have no remeberance of choosing a female dwarf

Posted by: Jebowga on November 15, 2005 10:19 AM

Fighting games--females---faster & more combo-based if there's any difference.
FPS/TPS--no singleplayer pref--multi-player is a female in a color that blends (green or grey usually) so shes harder to see.
RPG--whatever has better stats for the class, then whatever looks better for the class

I, personally, have 4 males, 2 females in WoW. there really wasn't much of a choice in the matter for me: it was all based on race, which was based on class. Personally, I pick a class, then I pick a race that WORKS for the class, then I pick a gender that looks good for the combo.

Main: Female Human Priest: I wanted the 5% SP boost and I'm sorry but the male priest looks like a certain California governor.

ALT1: Male Human Warlock: Another case where I wanted that 5% SP boost and since locks are tougher I chose the bulky male (took a dark-skinned character model because it gives more accent to the awesome glowing eyes)

ALT2: Male Tauren Warrior: Started him when Moonrunner went down for a day. Not much male-female difference here, just the size.

ALT3: Female NightElf Hunter: M or F would work here but NE all the way, the dodge bonus, whisp form is kinda useful for wipes, shadowmeld, and good starting AGL. The starting area is absolutely awful though.

ALT5: Male Undead Rogue: Undead look nice and lean no matter what gender (maybe theyre underfed?) so either would really work, I just want to eventually get that awesome-looking mount.

ALT6: Male Gnome Mage: Eventually want to get him leveled for low-mid level cloth/herb farming, male gnomes are ugly and females look like young girls beaten with the ugly stick but that 5% INT is nice. Too bad green isnt a skin color for gnomes or I woulda had Yoda running around out there...

Anyway, I think its just best to pick what you want to play and then how you want him/her to look. Whether it will be a male/female doesnt factor in until just before I pick its features. Don't put so much emphasis on this subject.

My 2 coppers.

Posted by: brinebold on November 16, 2005 6:24 AM

So many posts and a topic most intelectually stimulating (I have a nephew who did a PhD on gender studies). Many people have touched on reasons they prefer to gender bend male RL --> female MMORPG.

When I started a female rogue half-elf in EQ1 many of the points above came into the equation... i.e. more pleasing pixels, people treating you more kindly in general, and I thought perhaps less likely to attack you when they could (I do not, and never will PvP, so the latter is probably a non issue).

Not long into EQ1 I realised it was rewarding for far more personal reasons and it became quite a labour of love. The main highlights were these:

* As a highly social player (often preferring to chat to friends for hours than raid) I find that people find you more approachable in game at the outset if you play the "gentler" sex. The fact that I am female in game is less threatening to other RL females and males alike. Hence they tend to open up more to me in conversation, and often find they are talking about things that really matter in their lives within minutes. I love having this connection with others, and I think a male toon would just be another hurdle to overcome in this endeavor.

* I find that slipping into Linolea (my avatar) is often associated with a shift in mind set to one that can only be described as more feminine. I like developing this side of my nature and the world of MMORPG's and feel it is of enomrous benefit in RL as well. In truth I find Linolea teaches me much about myself, as peculiar as that would sound to any but a serious MMORPGer.

While it is of no consequence whatsoever, I am male and quite open minded in RL, and straight to boot (never met a guy I wanted to... you get the picture). Despite that, I find one of the most rewarding things in game is when people comment "I had no idea you were male in real life." This is doubly so when it comes from a RL female :)

Gender roles are blurring in real life, and perhaps that charge is being lead in the on line world. I look forward to more of the same transition, for once we shed these preconceptions of what people "should be" and start to see them as they truly are, then perhaps equality will have been realised.

WoW - Silver Hand

Posted by: Linolea on November 20, 2005 10:05 PM

I usually play a female character for several reasons.

1) I like looking at women. You spend a lot of time with your character. Not an important reason, but a reason.

2) I like women more than I like men.

3) I like the way people react toward women more than I like the way people react toward men.

I don't think it has anything to do with homosexuality. Rather, I think it has to do with sexual roles. People don't treat men nicely. People don't accept men, people don't go up to men and start being friendly. The world is a hell of a lot nicer place for a woman, especially with the elimination of physical differences and the lack of trust issues inherent in games as opposed to real life.

Life is tough for ugly women, but I don't play an ugly woman.

Playing a female character, but just being yourself, is far more enjoyable to me than playing a man because of the attention.

If I stay around mature players and act in a mature fashion, the attention tends to be non-sexual but complimentary.

I find this to be the best of both worlds. I get the positive attention that women receive without the creepy juvenile come-on's. With no sexual physical disadvantages, all of the rest of the advantages, in regard to human interaction at least, belong to women.

Posted by: chad on November 29, 2005 1:50 PM

I'm a girl, and I used to play a girl on ROSE Online. But several times, guy characters ksed me, and claimed that they were "helping out a pretty girl", and then refused to believe me when I said I didn't needed any help. So anymore, I just play my male character. He gets more respect, and I don't have endure people being "helpful" in annoying ways.

Posted by: Libby on December 2, 2005 11:13 AM

I am a male and used to play almost exclusivly female toons in nearly every MMORPG I played(and never role-played one though). I found them more out of the ordinary then the males and a change from the normal brown haired light skinned male avatars in most games. In WoW I was doing the same thing, female human, gnome, nightelf, and even a dwarf. When i switched over to play some horde chars I realized the horde females are ugly as heck. I guess what would make me play a male more as if I could really customize it to look like what I do in RL. That would add a whole new aspect of the game to me, so I am not just an avatar, that could really be me in a differant life or something. I am probably the only one that thinks this though...

Posted by: Jack on December 6, 2005 5:02 AM

I am a male that has never played an interactive game like WoW before. I will tell you Im married and 50 years old. I have always loved computer games and that goes back to my first Atari 400 system lol. If I knew then what I know now about WoW I would have never rolled a girl player. In real life I cant heal people, cast spell or resurrect myself so I figured whats the big deal. Boy was I wrong! I rolled a night elf priest and I thought the female one was the way to go especially since I would be holy (dont flame me on stereotyping lol). Almost immediately I started getting hit on buy oversexed men or should I say boys. I just wanted to play the game. When I party/group I always treat everyone the same. I do joke but nothing sexual. I have found out there are a lot of players that expect to be talking to a girl when they see a female player. I felt uncomfortable in certain situations (thank god my wife was there to reply) but I would not lead anyone on and figured no one would ever know since I was in some unknown area of the world. Now as I get closer to level 60 Im finding out that game end raid parties use speech/sound software to communicate instead of typing. Because of this I now have to ditch this player and roll a male player so that I fit in with whats expected. Just a warning to anyone that may be thinking of gender bending, with this game as a diehard end of game instance player its not worth it!


Posted by: Mark on December 8, 2005 12:39 PM

How about female players who shower gifts and help upon male characters? I'm one of those. When I see a cute, low-level Troll or Orc guy, I can't help but give him at least a few good items and help him do some quests. Not that I don't do that for female characters as well, but I do have a soft spot for the dudes.

Posted by: Anna on December 22, 2005 12:45 AM

I am apparently a rare breed, according to statistics: I'm female, and I play as a night elf druid male. I play because 1) I wanted a druid and 2) my brothers and their friends, upon hearing this, decided I should be a night elf because 'they're sooo hot', and I decided to vex them by making an attractive male. lol.

I play partially because of aesthetics: I do like some of the configurations of the night elf males quite a bit, though it's obvious from his far-too-buff physique that he was made, like the night elf females, with fanboys in mind. The odd thing is, I'm very much a bisexual and I prefer women aesthetically. I would agree with the posters who say that the women have more grace to them. It's not surprising, though; nobody really bothers to make men pretty, least of all men (except the Japanese - god BLESS the Japanese). But, laughable biceps and all, my male is pretty damn pretty, so there you are... the night elves females, as the human females, are offputting: they're just... too perfect. Too thin. Too busty. Look, I'm not complaining too much, they're hot in a way, but it just feels really plastic and mainstream.

Furthermore: I feel a lot of gender tension RL; I'm feminine-looking but consider myself androgynous personality-wise, and being a male online is a way to express that side of my personality as well as have something nice to look at. I'm not fond of the competitiveness, but I like the lack of affectation I'm treated with as a calm, respectful, polite male.

I don't understand, furthermore, how having a female avatar needs to be a sign of latent homosexuality. First of all, that's equating male homosexuality with effeminancy, which is idiotic and misinformed; that's only one configuration of homosexuality. Second of all, we ALL have male and female qualities. Men in this thread seem to be so intent on objectifying - they can't relate to the female avatar or say that how she's supposed to act is an expression of themselves. You can be a dyed in the wool straight male and still enjoy acting feminine, guys - someone has to break it to you. You CAN want to BE someone and WANT someone at the same time. Admittedly, with my ambiguous sexuality, I'm an odd bird, but genderbending is, to me, about freedom to express something that's in everyone. Take advantage of it; this is the one place where gender doesn't have to matter unless you want it to.

(As laudable as Blizzard's intentions were in making the only differences between men and women in the game aesthetic, I kind of wish they'd made some slight but evenly distributed purely biological differences - men could be stronger and women more agile, or something. That way people might be more motivated to play the 'uglier' females.)

Posted by: Adrianne on December 28, 2005 12:46 AM

I'm a male player of WoW. I'm 21 years old, and I have roughly 37 characters, of them, I play FIVE of them regularly. MMORPG means "Massively Multiplayer Online ROLE PLAYING GAME". The roleplaying aspect is why I bought WoW. The game? Pfft. It's the medium I use to communicate with my roleplaying companions. To give you an idea, I've played my main character, a female human paladin, since the game -released-. She is level 43. For those of you that don't play the game, the level cap in the game is 60, which can be reached relatively quickly if you put an effort into it. (My best friend was level 60 within two weeks of the game being released. He's a die-hard gamer whom, I think, has an unhealthy addiction with it.)

I don't roleplay a character so much as tell a story and roleplay every character involved. That's one reason I play WoW. You can have up to ten characters on a server without paying anything extra. My character list on my Roleplaying server is full. I have a paladin / warrior (it took two "characters", but they're the same person. One is the real persona, one is her alter-ego), a mage, a priest, a hunter, and a rogue. Of them, the rogue and hunter are the only males.

I've roleplayed almost my entire life. It's been my hobby since before I was 13, and I have a lot of experience behind me on it. Almost every character I've roleplayed after the age of 17 was female. Once I hit that age, I'd been roleplaying long enough to take it seriously, and wanted to develop my characters into living, breathing individuals. An effectivly developed character comes as a suprise to the player as well as the others with whom he or she plays. The story writes itself, and we are simply along for the ride. However, the reasons I play a female as my main character are simple:

1) As a male roleplayer, it's a greater challenge. I take my roleplaying seriously. To roleplay a character of the opposite gender without giving them the indignity of falling into stereotypes you have to put -effort- into it. It requires thought and consideration; you almost literally are walking in someone else's shoes.

2) When I roleplay a male character, they almost always become a carbon copy of -me-. They talk like I do, they react to problems the way I do, and they tend to generally be all identical. There's no variance to them. If I wanted to be myself, I -would- do so instead roleplaying.

3) You can (generally) get away with more personality quirks with a female character than you can with a male character. Take my main story characters together as an example.

A)My main character, Kaeley, the paladin / warrior I mentioned earlier, is afraid of flying. She will -not- get on a gryphon or a hippogryph. (consequently, I've not taken any of her flight paths. I'm a VERY immersive roleplayer. Yes, this has caused some issues with my guild, but they all are as heavily devoted to their chars as I so we work around it. Thanks guys!) She's also a little queamish around spiders, but once a fight starts she's in there swingin' with the best of them.

2) Her cousin, a half-human half-highborne mage, is pyrophobic. I gave her that phobia because I wanted to see what it would be like. A mage afriad of fire? It's garnered me some comments (some good, some bad) from other roleplayers, but it's entertaining to roleplay. Consequently, her talent build is with Frost and Arcane. She uses no fire spells. Mages in WoW coalace their attacks on their hands then send them forth on their targets. She simply can't distract herself from the fire on her hands long enough to hold her concentration on channeling. She panics and has to stop. The exception is an instant-cast firespell that forms -on the target-. Even then, they have to be a relatively "safe" distance away.

C) My Priestess is mute. She never says anything, and communicates entirely through emotes. Consequently, her conversations in the guild channel consists entirely of "yes", "no" and "neutral" answers to questions, signified with single, double, or triple taps on her guildstone.

D) The Hunter is -very- absent minded, and has more of a Mother / Son relationship with his bear, Cerah, than a Pet / Master or a Best-Friend relationship.

E) The rogue, human male, is soft-spoken and quiet. He likes flowers and keeps a garden. Of course, he keeps that fact to himself, and only his most trusted friends have seen it. He has a loud-mouthed, over-aggresive younger sister he tends to yield to, but when she gets into more trouble than she can handle he plays Older Brother and helps get her out of it.

The male rogue was the FIRST male character that I was satisfied with since the game released. The dwarven hunter followed shortly thereafter. This only came about after almost a full year of playing WoW and roleplaying in the environment.

Scary or no?

Posted by: Joshua Hutcheson on December 28, 2005 7:14 PM

You know, a lot of the expressed frustrations over genderbending in games kind of make me chuckle. This evident obsession with females in games as sexual objects is just so silly. You never know what's sitting behind the avatar, really. Most people in WoW think I am male, and because of this mistake in gender identity, they treat me as they would another male. Why? Who knows? Perhaps my choice of horde females rather than enduring the bad drag queen ugly of alliance female avatars has something to do with it. It honestly perplexes and eludes me why anyone would think that alliance females are at all aestheticly pleasing.

And when it comes down to it, I actually find most avatar options in WoW to be less than attractive, regardless of their gender.

It is a joke between myself and my friends that the developers who came up with the female models in the game had to dislike females, as they renderred ALL of the female models in unflattering ways. Night elf females being the over-done drag queens of the gameworld, orc females being very butch, human females being little more than a pair of boobs on legs... you get the picture. This just seems more than a little silly when you look at player response defining human and night elf female avatars to be "beautiful" and seeking to in some way exploit this expressed opinion that these pixelated charicatures of femininity gone horribly wrong as attractive to EITHER gender of player.

Very few of us wish to identify an extension of ourselves as ugly or undesirable, because we are socially conditioned from a very early age to equate beauty with goodness even when all real experience shows us that one has nothing at all to do with the other. I also find it very telling that many associate the percieved condition of femaleness with helplessness -- saying quite openly that wearing a female face invites being underestimated in competetive undertakings, being judged as inferior in activities that require skill. Yet at the same time, many males will don a female mask and endure these attitudes because "people are nicer to females". I can only assume that nicer means that male players are more likely to give out freebies to females and less likely to mouth off to them (though I have found this is not always the case). So in essence they are trading off being treated as percieved equals for loot and buttkissing (even if this is some weak way of winning simualted sexual encounters on the part of the male players wearing male avatars). This isn't exactly a flattering picture of the gender bender's real life personality -- but then, the avatars we have to wear in WoW aren't very attractive either.

Bear in mind, these are not absolutes. I;ve interacted with many who gender bend in games, even WoW, who have no agenda and who find the female avatars to be the least ugly option of an unattractive lot -- and women are not the only ones who will choose an avatar on aesthetics.

Posted by: Azhrarn on December 30, 2005 4:43 AM

I'm male and usually play female characters in MM games - simply because I prefer to watch females on my screen :DD

Posted by: Zka on January 3, 2006 4:58 AM

i play female toons in wow and i am a male

this is not due to any other reseon other than they look better. i also play EVE and have a male charichter as that isnt seen but my ship is and i wouldnt fly an ugly ship in the same way i wouldnt choose an ugly toon :)

Posted by: spud man on January 5, 2006 6:46 AM

I am a 16 year old male IRL and I have 2 characters in WoW. One is a male night elf hunter named Nowend, and the other is a female night elf priest named Giada.

Nowend is my main and the character I enjoy raiding with. Giada is an alt and is currently level 48, everyone of my friends knows that she is my alt and that I am a male IRL. I enjoy using Giada after getting burnt out on Nowend mainly because I like the look of her avatar. I designed her to look like one of my first "friends" in the WoW becuase I used to be impressed by how "cool-looking" a female night elf is, when in combat.

I am annoyed by how every male character virtually looks the same. A male priest doesn't have a need for huge bulging muscles, so why do they have them? It just.. "irks" me that a character who rarely uses physical force in a video game has large muscles.

That pretty much sums up my reasons for gender-bending.

Yes, I am bored.

Posted by: Nowend on January 5, 2006 10:55 AM

I'm a guy, fitting the 20-ish demographic, the "prime target" of game designers.

I just don't like playing guys. I love playing a "kicks your a** girl" because its very awesome and MORE bragging rights to beat someone with a female avatar then with a male one. Yeah, its a big ego-trip. I've had a few people think I'm a girl, and I don't mind. I haven't had any guys come on to me. Guess I'm not that convincing, and I don't try to be *chuckles*. Even when I'm on forums ( and I post stuff, people think I'm a girl (though they added a clearly visible gender thing to each post recently). In some of the sigs of the old threads, girls had to put in their sig "I AM A GIRL". Its funny to see that.

Gender on the internet, has no meaning to me. Guys are guys, girls are girls, its the ultimate gender equality. Besides, if I meet a girl and I'm playing a female avatar then many times I get compliments on how awesome I look. Yes the female avatars look MUCH better then guy ones. I would much rather be looking at a female character then a male one.

It was suggested in the Escapist Magazine ( that playing a girl exclusively is homosexual, which I disagree with completely. I play games for fun, playing a girl is fun, especially online. Kick a** and look great doing it. ^_^ Some games like GUNZ Online even have specific clothing that's catered to women, so its awesome to grab clothes that look good. I see my female avatar as kinda like my virtual g/f in a sense, someone I can guide and cheer for. When I make a kill in the game, its not me doing it, its my g/f ^_^. Some of you think its pathetic, whatever. Its only a game, remember that.

I have had a few jerks hurl insults at me like "bitch/whore/slut" etc. I use those words for guys way too often, even in r/l, so for me it isn't an issue of gender. I just respond by kicking them in the groin when they look at the final scores of the match. =D

FragDolls, those would be the coolest g/fs a guy could have. Smart, funny, awesome personalities, and they look pretty great as well. The gaming interest is a wondrous bonus. *chuckles*

I don't hit on females online, I just make friends, whatever gender. I can easily tell a guy from a girl though, its something I've learned over the years. Age as well is somewhat recognizeable by how they act and what they say. There are jerks that make certain servers a pain, and I've just switched to another server, or I get revenge *smirks*. If I encounter a hacker/lamer online I just switch servers, I'm not tied down to anything. I maintain a buddy list of great friends, we game online and its fun to run your own server, no a**es allowed.

Gender-bender. Yeah, you can also tell everyone they should lighten up and take some Prozac/Zoloft or pop some pills for hyperactive kids. Psychologists = psychos with a degree. Bleck! :P

Till then.

Posted by: DarkWraith007 on February 7, 2006 8:28 AM

Ironically, I feel like an anomaly here a genetic male who is gender-dysphoric and thus plays female MMO characters as part of living out my own internalized self-image.

Although a small percentage of people do make the precarious journey of transitioning to the gender they feel they are or so badly want to be, I am middle-aged and in a situation where such a thing is not possible, nor would I easily pass as female in RL. MMOs allow me to portray myself for a time (in however limited a fashion) as the person I feel comfortable being or wish I could be.

I wish sometimes that character customization would allow more normal looking characters, rather than the exaggerations that are commonplace. (Its fun to try and pick out which female toons are men, simply by how they dress or what physical attributes they possess.) I would enjoy a more normal, more realistic appearance rather than the idealizations.

[Please dont take this as a bust on men who like to play women toons for other reasons besides mine. We all have very valid reasons and expectations for what we want to get out of our particular game experience.]

I have tried to play male toons in different games, and I dont dislike it, but they hold little interest for me because I suppose I identify so little with them. Usually they just sit in my account, barely developed and gathering dust.

I suppose some people would consider this more of a deception than other reasons for gender-bending, but I dont simply because for all intents and purposes I am who I am portraying myself to be. In the game world, reality is what it appears to be; and I would avoid anything that could hurt someone in Real Life (i.e., emotional entanglements, which I would then consider deceptive) or disclose myself, if necessary, to avoid that scenario.

Im not even sure why I am posting, or what I wanted to contribute, but I felt like this point of view was under-represented in the comments and the studies. I am sure there are others like me out there, and there is simply a big relief in being able to login and be seen the way I want to be seen and act in a way that is comfortable to me and finally feel as if I fit in.

Posted by: Sarah on February 9, 2006 1:27 PM

I'm a male IRL that plays a male character exclusively. Hey, if I'm gonna stare at a butt all day, it might as well be something I like to look at. And for the record, I'm not homosexual. I just like male asses.

Posted by: woot on February 14, 2006 6:18 AM

I'm gay and I play female characters chiefly because, well, they're so much more pleasing to look at in WoW. The male characters, except for the beardless night elves, are dorky looking. I do play a hot male night elf and he's very cute, i don't mind playing him, but mostly I enjoy playing females because I fit in nicely in the world and chiefly, it's all about the clothes and the armor.

Posted by: Jes on February 14, 2006 2:04 PM

This "comment forum" came up on a search for something totally unrelated to this subject, but since I'm here, I'm going to post anyway.

I'm a 27 YO RL male who plays some males but mostly female characters. The reason I play girl characters is because of the choice and I model these characters after friends I know in RL. I think its kind of fun when RL friends come in my room and I show them my games and the characters I made. Especially when I made a character about them.

However, I have some problems with this discussion. Why are people so concerned about what gender someone is? Everyone has a choice, don't judge or be cruel to them based on their choice. I don't want to feel guilty or be labelled as some homosexual just because I choose a guy or a girl. I have nothing against homosexuals but I don't want to be called one because I'm not a homosexual.

Another problem I have is this. Some people have already mentioned this and I want to restate it in my own words. Some have said that there are RL guys (or RL girls) who abuse their female character and use their female character to take advantage of other guys who are attracted to the female character of the abuser. This is the problem we should be focusing on, wether we are guys who play girl chars, or people who play chars the same gender as ourselves, we need to stop these abusers or at least be aware of them.

I have a problem with these RL guys (or RL girls) who make female characters and use it to take advantage of guy characters. Not only because they are gender bending, but because they are normally the type of people who would also ninja loot an item, rip you off in a trade, or down right crap on you and leave when its convenient for them and they don't care about you at all. They make you think they care about you, but they don't.

I have met a lot of RL girls and I can tell when I meet the ones who are guys like me. Most of them aren't as nice mannered or caring, but still fun to hang with. I tend to avoid the low level people because thats where you get a lot of the gender bender abusers that I described earlier. However, I met a level 50 night elf rogue (Mageangel on Dreanor, World of Warcraft. claims her RL name was Rahni ... That sounds like some random generated name) who I think is very much a gender bender abuser.

She was cool to hang with and I kind of got the message she was a guy from all the swearing, "egocentric, I'm better than you are" attitude, and impatience she demonstrated. However, she started to flirt with me and she knew I was a guy. I'll admit, I was dumb and fell in the seduction trap and this is where I really learned to hate the gender bender abusers. When I didn't do something her way, she whined and complained. I tried to be nice to her. After a couple of weeks she wanted me to take her level 45 paladin alt to the plaguelands for some free xp and loot. Then she wanted FFA loot turned on and started ninja looting everything. After several weeks and giving up several group invites from other friends, I got sick of her whining and threatened to put her on ignore. It was at this point that she pulled some kind of "I'm going to commit suicide in real life because you don't love me" guilt trip and my response was "Good, makes life easier for the rest of us..." and I never saw her again. By the way, she gave me her email and I sent her an email before we got in to that fight and she still has not replied. I still think she was a guy in RL. Oh and I met some other friends on the server who knew her too and said she did the same thing to them.

So if you meet a girl and she starts flirting with you, ask for her instant messenger, email address (not some lame hotmail address that matches their character name either, anyone can make those in a minute), and maybe even a live web cam. If they don't want to do it, put them on ignore list really fast because they dont care about you at all since they flirt with you and not open other forms of contact.

So my message to you all:
Free choice. Pick a gender that makes you happy. After all, why play a game if you are not happy? It's just a game. Be nice even if they are rude. Always say thank you. If you are going to gender bend, be honest about it. If your online friends don't like you gender bending, don't worry about it becuase they probably aren't your friends. If you gender bend, lie, and take advantage of people; please get lost and stop scamming everyone.

Posted by: on February 18, 2006 6:00 PM

I am a lvl 60 Human Male Warlock on the Eonar server. I am male in RL.

I figured since my toon would have a cape... it didn't matter what kind of butt I was staring at. Lol.

Posted by: xxS1THL0RDxx on March 23, 2006 10:35 AM

I am a 38 year old heterosexual male, and nearly all my characters have been female. Reading these comments has made me think about why that is. I don't think we can ever be completely sure of our motivations. However, I did not create female characters to get presents from the males on the pretence of being female. Similarly not because I like looking at the female avatar.

I think it is probably because this are role-playing games to some extent, and I think I like the opportunity to act in a more feminine way than I can often in real life as a male.

I believe both men and women have masculine and feminine sides to them. Of course, most males are more "masculine" than women and most women more "feminine" than men, however I know many women who have more masculine traits than the average man, and vice versa. It is a continuum where male and female meet in the middle.

I do display my "feminine" side in rl although I am aware that others (well, males rather than females) look down upon it as somehow wrong, and therefore there can be pressure to suppress it.

I wonder if women have similar pressure (from other women) to behave more "feminine" in rl if they display masculine traits?

In a mmorpg there is no such pressure, and I guess that is why I have made the choices I have.

Posted by: Azhura on March 26, 2006 12:39 PM

Like Sarah, I am a gender-dysphoric genetic male.

Some of the posters in this thread talked about male toons being ugly, and therefore they wouldn't want to play one. Although I think I'm considered a moderately good-looking man by most, I look at my real-life self and see an "ugly toon" that I don't want, and have never wanted, to "play".

I play MMORPGs almost exclusively as female characters. Games are a form of escape, and playing games like WoW not only lets me get away from the stresses of a tough day at the office, it also lets me escape from my male shell and "slip into something more comfortable". It doesn't completely satisfy by a long shot, but it's still refreshing.

In a way, playing as a female avatar is more truth than lie. When we log into a game, our bodies stay in our chairs, but our minds enter the game world. My body is male, but my mind isn't. It actually puts things right for a change.

It's important to me that no one realize that I'm a biological male. If they did, it would yank me right back to the reality of spending my life in a body that I loathe. As a result, I am forced to lie from time to time. That bothers me, particularly with guildmates, but I do what I feel I have to in order to maintain my illusion.

In reality, "passing" (i.e. being accepted as female by others) would be tough for me. In the game, however, I pass quite easily, because I'm just being me. I don't flirt, I don't do the night elf dance, and I keep all my clothes on at all times. I don't act helpless and I don't try to manipulate others into giving me things. I don't do this to act out a homosexual fantasy, nor do I do it to use others; I play a female in the game because that's who I am in my heart.

Posted by: LDD on March 28, 2006 2:29 AM

I'm gay, and I have an even mix of male and female characters. For me, it's part of the creation of a character, I play around in the character creation screen until a personality pops up, and then I go with it. I currently play a female dwarf simply because I hadn't seen many around.

Do I try to pass myself off as female in real life? I role-play a female, but if anyone asks an OOC question, I always answer truthfully.

I would have to say that my gender and my sexuality have NOTHING to do with my in-game gender.

Posted by: Marc on March 30, 2006 7:30 AM

I play female toons because im transgendered

Posted by: ipod on April 1, 2006 10:32 AM

I don't play WoW, but I've play a number of other MMO's out there. Since I discovered that I could CHOOSE my gender online, I've always played a male character. Mostly because I identify as male (being FTM myself).
I also don't have to deal with j*ck*sses coming onto me every other sentence, or the sexual harassment.
It also seems like it's more acceptable for a male character to play solo (as opposed to in a guild/group/etc). That obvservation comes from Runescape, though.

Since I discovered online gender choice, I've been male, and never gone back.

Posted by: Yahriel on April 3, 2006 5:00 PM

I'm a heterosexual guy and I tend to play female characters for the simple reason that AS a heterosexual male... if I'm going to be staring at the rear-end of an avatar for hours on end, I think I'd prefer to be staring at a female posterior. Honestly, it just depends on the race and my mood when I'm making the toon. For example I MUCH prefer Night Elf, Troll, and Human female models to the male ones - but every other race I tend to play male.

Posted by: Captain Ransom on April 4, 2006 10:38 AM

In my rp circle, it's rather well known that I'm the guy who plays a girl that is a guy. My Tauren character is a full time female impersonator. (Great rp reason.) I find male Tauren are too big and most male toons are too bulky with horrible posture. I'm short myself and like smaller toons. When I play DJ:FFNY, my guy is the shortest they let you be. Same with any character creation based game.

My character developed well. And when I rp, I let people know IC that my guy is in fact a guy. Eventually...

Playing an openly gay character, I find that many of the "males" that want to rp with me are in fact females. The ones that want to rp with me before they find out are usually male. Young and male.

I find this all pretty interesting. I also don't think that males play female toons to play out homosexual fantasy. If that was the case, they'd be guys and seek gay players. I think the ones that look to rp sex roll female because they know that a male is more likely to cyber with them than an actual female. Besides, if it looks like a woman, you can easily just assume it to be a woman. Don't think about it and it's all good.

I have an undead character that is a female toon. I have gotten asked a few times why I play a male and have a female toon. My answer... "Undead males are ugly as sin." I have to look at the thing for hours on end. May as well look decent.

I wish that character creation would have some smoother faces hordeside for males. Then I would be less oft to make female toons.

Posted by: Anon on April 4, 2006 6:31 PM

An added note: Thanks to flagRSP, people know before hand that my character is in fact a crossdresser. It cut out the boys looking for fun and opened the doors for individuals open enough to rp not knowing and finding out somehow later on.

It also keeps men from hitting on me when I'm playing my Undead character. There is no mention of any assumed femaleness in his flagRSP.

Posted by: Anon on April 4, 2006 6:34 PM

Mine's a female troll toon. I thought her tusks were cool and made up for her hideous feet. Also, she could be a Hunter, and eventually get a mount... I would have been Tauren otherwise. I always choose female; my RL persona is still important to me in an RPG setting. Basically, I like to see if I can do things better than the boys can, in RL and online. Without help. I'd like to see a new topic on this excellent site: Solo Gaming. I do have an online companion sometimes and a godsend he is, and I do briefly chat to people, but as a troll chick I'd prefer to get things done alone. The thought of having to pal up to finish a quest makes me want to slam my head in a car door. Some kindly gentleman bystander healed me yesterday without so much as a "by your leave", meaning well, no doubt, but implying that I was somehow not able to cope on my lonesome.
Aesthetics are also very important to me, but this is secondary to gender. One of the greatest achievements of my life was getting that effete ladyboy Valen Shadowbreath to fall in love with my butt-ugly female half-orc on NWN. I didn't think it could be done. She was foul.
It's a bit easier on WoW- I think the character modelling is good and biologically reasonable, for both sexes. I read an earlier complaint above that female orcs/trolls look like half-arsed attempts, too different from the males. I disagree completely. Ever heard of sexual dimorphism? Compared a bull elephant seal with a cow (elephant seal, that is)? A male proboscis monkey's shnozz with a female's? Peacock and peahen? A boy mandrill's size, face and butt with his good lady wife's? Tommy Lee with Pammy? I rest my case.

Posted by: Alison on May 2, 2006 9:06 AM

Originally, the reason I started playing female characters was because when I started playing MMOs, I lived in a small dorm room with 2 other guys. Naturally, when I'm playing I would wear headphones, so I wouldn't bother them. I originally played a male character, but all the male grunts and such going through my headphones really annoyed me, I also found that after that I could more easily hear if one of my roommates was trying to get my attention since I didn't have competing male voices coming out of my headphones.

I'm not a big RPer, and the few games I played where RP was pretty popular I always roll a male character. However, I mainly play MMOs for the game itself, RPing is something I've done, but it isn't really enough to keep me interested and playing.

Besides with all the character customization and flashy clothes usually present in MMOs, I find female characters more enjoyable for those sorts of things, since in general they tend to get nicer ones and just look better. I don't really care about the gender, just the style and the fact they look better.

Posted by: Matthew on May 6, 2006 4:46 AM

I'm a male in real life I just read a comment saying that men play female toons to act out Homosexual fantasies? Lol, I played a female toon in WoW and gained a real life girlfriend out of it. Maybe she's the one acting out fantasies!

Posted by: Exarch on May 7, 2006 6:14 PM

I have noticed tha t some people play female avatars in WoW to get free stuff from males in game [gold and armour].If you want a game full of idiots try guild wars some people buy it because its free and all the females are sexy.

Posted by: Blake on May 17, 2006 10:35 PM

The bad cases of gender bending should be blamed on the esrb . Kids aged from 10 to 15 are the offensive people.WoW should be rated mature.Unlike games like guild wars where only the gamers were offensive.Wow is a dirty game have you ever heard the male taurens voice emotes. If the game was given a mature rating that was enforced improper gender bending would go down.

Posted by: Blake on May 17, 2006 11:02 PM

Blake, how can you buy the game if its free?

Posted by: InTruder on May 18, 2006 1:32 AM

I don't play many MMOs, but when I'm on something like MapleStory or Dofus, I'll often play a guy.

Why? Well, for one thing, when I play male characters I seem to be able to "get away with more". Not that girls can't kick butt as well, but in a lot of situations there's the idea that "if you're a girl, you shouldn't be playing, because most girls don't know how to play video games". If I play a guy, I can just quietly go about my business. A lot of females frequent the kind of games that I play, but there are some people that have that idea.

Another thing is that it's kind of interesting to see how people react to you when you play the opposite gender. What they say and what they do around you seems to be different depending on what gender you play.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: Artemis on May 27, 2006 10:43 AM

To start off: I AM a male, and am in NO way homosexual.

I play almost exclusively female characters (Night Elf female Warrior in WoW, E/Mo female in Guild Wars). I do this because of what most people here have said: the guy models are ugly. In GW, they especially have too much bulk.

But sometimes, it gets ridiculous.

I am disgusted by the pre-Searing and mostly Ascalon-area (post-Searing) behavior in Guild Wars. Mostly men, I presume, make the "sexiest" female toons they can think up (I think the chars look stupid when they do that), and begin flirting, publicly stating the level of their sexual appeal, publicly having cybersex, making up the sluttiest names their minds can think up, and getting paid to sync-dance naked. Now, by the time you get mid-way through the Shiverpeaks, this behavior has died off. This is not only because, in their flirtations, they fail to move anywhere, but because, as many of you may agree, they probably don't even KNOW how to get out of pre-Searing Ascalon. Or what's on the other side of the fence, if they dare to.

What this means: Many guys buy the game to create slutty female chars, and stay in the same place, dancing naked, acting out their fantasies, and actually (true story: happened to me) joining others in privately instanced missions to ask to be a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Do that in the Crystal Desert, you will be rejected and thrown down the drain.

But, there still are a LOT of female chars later in the game, and I would think that they were being played by men, because, knowing the videogame market today (especially MMOs), players are mostly men. I applaud those who, like me, play female chars, and will actually play a serious game without flirtations, doing the job that their class has bestowed upon their shoulders.

The immature ones should stop the strip-dancing and go to a club. They might make friends there.

Posted by: nERVEcenter on June 1, 2006 5:11 PM

All my characters are female, and your analisys is correct , i play female chars because they look better, are smaller, cute and well I just love ladies... I don't identify me with my char, I give a life to my chars and I should be able to love them. They have to be beautyfull , i have to like them...
Also in wow male characters are often goofy and macho, and I don't like ...

Posted by: Mario on June 11, 2006 1:45 PM

I am a male who plays 100% males, and it never really occurred to me that so many players would want to "gender-bend". The thought kind of freaks me out. I'm not homophobic or anything like that, but I always thought people would gender-bend because they were gay, or just wanted to let out there feminine/masculine side. I on the other hand have no feminine side whatsoever to express. Point being said, I will never have a sexual/fantasizing thought about a virtual female ever again unless I know for a FACT they are truly females. *shivers* You cruel cruel sickos..

Posted by: Corrosive Brosive on July 20, 2006 2:03 PM


I'm a 30 year old guy who plays 100% female characters on WoW and other games. I don't hide behind the excuses of "oh, if I have to stare at a butt, it'll be a butt I like staring at" or "females have a smaller stature and can be seen around better"

Ffs, grab your pair and call it how it is! I play a female toon, find little adolescent l33t kids and just UNLOAD the "teehee's" and "blushes" and "batting eyelashes" and wtfever else can turn a tryst. Then they dump the cashflow and the ub3r gifts they've all been hoarding and I turn around 50 levels later and wtfpwn them in my 8-man cookie group. Still "teehee'ing" and "giggling" and wtfever comes to mind.

And guess what, they STILL keep coming back leaving messages of how great it was to get their rearends handed back to them by such a cute girl.

I'm here to profit off YOUR little-man's brain and urges. After all, I'm the one flipping the bill on my own 5 accounts, right? Might as well have the 800 plat in my DAoC accounts to show for it.

Posted by: salty on July 31, 2006 7:33 PM

i like it salty...

most player would really ask, private msg, to confirm if you really is really female when curiosity arise...

imho there's nothing wrong with guys using female chars if those chars gives gender specific attributes that the guy really a perfect ranger or thief build.

Posted by: mmorpgam on July 31, 2006 11:02 PM

I've always played female charicters. Many have mistaken me for a woman online and in real life. My mother has mistaken me for a woman before and didn't reconise me until I started to talk. FYI, I do not cross-dress, nor am I gay. I just look like a woman if your not paying atention (as I have hair thats over a foot and a half long, and my face is, what somewhat feminine) and I'm not standing (I'm 2 meters tall, but I'm 2/3s legs).

Anyways, back on topic. Many who haven't met me in RL consider me to be a grate RPer. However, if you've ever seen me RP in RL, it is not a prietty sight. I suck as I have a hard time getting into charicter. This is when I discovered that if I didn't try to act like a woman and just behave like I normaly would, my characters became very belivable.

However, many people ridcule and shun me because of the way I act. My younger brother always treatted me like an older sister (one of my best friends has also described me as a sister figure). This has always made relations between us uneasy. I personally belive that he senses me having a predominate anima (my brother is also a big fan of Jung phylosophy); and this leads towards a superiority complex between the two of us (me seeing my self as the oldest versus him being the self perseeved alfa male). Despite his knolage of Jungism, he scoffs at emotions and perseves them as weak and usless. So in the end the end, the joke's on him (as he is illequiped to deal with his emotions and anima).

I know this is a little of topic, but it's 2.40am in the morning and I'm venting; I'd like to make an observation: Macho men and people with predominate animus' in general are illequiped to deal with emotions in general. It has been my experiance that when a great emotional burden gets layed oppon them, they become irrational and lash out at others and/or try to make others feal guilty for them. The same is true when issues of self feminity appere within their minds.

I guess the reason I play as female characters is that I can connect to them on some level.

To all of the people talking about the clothing the female characters wear, I'd rather be wearing a red turtle neck (and forget the well endowed characters, as it is to my understanding that they become a pain to carry and can hurt when they get like that...) and tan / kahki skirt that comes down to mid shin levels. Conservitive dress is better. There's a lot less "what are you in RL?", or "lets cyber!!!". To the first question, I lie; and the second one is enough to make me log out.

And on a final note I wish John would stop calling me Mutsumi (Mutsumi is a Japanese girl's name. Its male counterpart is Mutsuo). It's getting rather anoying. I'd much rather be called Naomi (which is rather creapy as of 2 months ago, I found out that was what my grandmother always wanted to be named! Creapy).

Posted by: Conscript D on August 3, 2006 12:21 AM

I'm a male who always plays female characters in any game where the option exists. For me, the idea of a female adventurer is just more adventurous because it's rarer to see a strong woman in an action role in the media. Also, the scenery is a bit better when you're looking at a woman in the game. I dunno - looking at a man's butt all day seems kinda gay to me.

As for asking a player what gender he is in real life strikes me as inappropriate in the extreme. Why would anyone need to know? When it's a role playing game everyone is playing a role - that's the point. Asking a female character if she's a female in real life is like asking an elf if he's an elf in real life. It's completely ridiculous. Nobody should be making assumptions about a player's real life attributes based on a character he or she is playing in a game.

Posted by: Ian Cooper on August 3, 2006 5:10 AM

I have to respond to this:

"I like to see a girl in game and know it's a girl, and I also like that a girl has certain tendencies and tastes, and a guy has certain tendencies and tastes, and that it will work in the virtual world, but this doesn't happen with gender bending."

Yes it does. If a character in the game is a girl, it's a girl. The human running the character is irrelevant. Why do you like to know the female character is run by a female in real life. What difference does it make unless you want to stalk her or marry her? Either way it's kinda sick. You do realise that many real life players have characters that don't match their real life looks EVEN IF THEY'RE NOT GENDERBENDING. I mean there are slim characters being played by overweight people and young characters being played by grandmothers. Does that bother you? If so, then you have serious issues. If not, then why is a player's sexual identity any different? Also, you have wookiees and elves being played by non-wookiees and non-elves (eww gross!). Grow up!

"I don't like people playing characters who they do not envision themselves as, because it makes them act unnatural, as they have to act in some foreign way, and not very well more than likely."

EVERYONE in a role playing game acts a part. That's the whole point of roleplaying. If you're playing yourself you're not playing the game properly.

Posted by: Ian Cooper on August 3, 2006 5:54 AM

"Ironically, I feel like an anomaly here a genetic male who is gender-dysphoric and thus plays female MMO characters as part of living out my own internalized self-image."

Don't feel too out of place. I'm the same way to some extent. In real life I don't relate well to men. Most of my friends are women and usually the aggressive male attitude to just about everything, combined with all that (somewhat homoerotic) male bonding stuff that goes on, makes me cringe. I just prefer the company of women in all situations and I've never liked being around guys.

"I wish sometimes that character customization would allow more normal looking characters, rather than the exaggerations that are commonplace. (Its fun to try and pick out which female toons are men, simply by how they dress or what physical attributes they possess.) I would enjoy a more normal, more realistic appearance rather than the idealizations."

I'm with you all the way there. The enormous breasts on female avatars in many games are unbelievably grotesque. Those games that give players options in terms of breast size are better, although many guys choose the largest anyway. Personally, I usually choose small to medium-sized breasts and a slim to medium body type for my female avatars, and I usually dress pretty conservatively. For me, the avatar is a character who I respect, so why would I dress her like a slut, starve her, or give her breast implants?

Posted by: Ian Cooper on August 3, 2006 6:36 AM

If you play WoW long enough you will likely wind up playing both male and female characters. I am a mature female who has been gaming a very long time. (Kids always think nobody over 30 play these games which I find very amusing. I've probably been gaming longer than some of them have been on this planet.)

At any rate, I started out playing all female characters, but eventually I wanted to try other races and classes. Somehow I just can't get into playing the female Tauren. If I'm going to be a cow, then let me be the biggest and strongest! I enjoy my male Tauren druid very much, and especially when I'm partied with a bunch of males who assume I am male too and treat me like one of the guys. Players do relate to you differently when they view you as one gender or the other. It is really quite fascinating.

I still play mostly female characters, but I learned a long time ago that a good percentage of other females characters are really males. The first time I grouped with all female characters and we all got on Skype with our headsets, I was the only feminine voice in the entire group. Boy, was that an eye opener! I think they were just as surprised to hear a female voice from my end. I should have known though from their 'toon names. Women just don't name their characters "Blonde Bombshell" and "Prunejuice"... lol. Naming my character is as important to me as creating the right look.

Posted by: Dragoness on August 3, 2006 4:31 PM

95% of my MMO gaming experience I've played a male warrior character, this is due to self-pleasuring my male caveman instincts. It is quite obvious that society accepts men as strong war cultivators and women are, in contrast, generally concidered weak and helpless (reinforced by the 'damsel in distress' syndrome); if I'm playing a warrior who murders people and plays with their guts, I want to fit the 'killer-warrior' male archetype and exploit this to generate fear in those players that I dominate. Concider this; is 'corpse sitting' really that demeaning if it's a female character doing it?

I have been forced into playing some fem characters through class decisions and I've never experienced the shower of gifts or help that I have often heard about, perhaps my e-boobs were too small :(

For the most part I will hold the same values when interacting with either sex in the game world but will usually give females less patience , trust, and general tolerance when I detect they are trying to pull the 'female = special priviledge' strategy. I dislike this attitude in a video game and refuse to roleplay my male character this strongly, after all I had to slay 834 beasts to get this money and I'll be damned if im givin you any more than I have to because your e-TnA make you an overpriced cunt.

I believe one large reason people dislike genderbenders is because there is a deception/obsfuscation occuring, no one likes to be decieved or lied to and typically it is all that is necessary to piss someone off. This is why some people dislike genderbending, not because they want to fap to the knowledge there is a real woman on the other side of that female character!

Posted by: Destroyacon on August 4, 2006 7:12 AM

In this game I play female characters because the male characters look ugly.

Posted by: Queen Bee on August 5, 2006 2:53 PM

Well, I'm a gay guy in my 40s and I play both genders. My main is a female Night Elf hunter, and my original reason for playing a hunter as female is maybe a little unusual: the male avatars don't shoot bows right - I did archery when I was younger - and it just bugged the crap out of me. You don't fire a regular bow crosswise like a crossbow. You just don't.

I do enjoy dressing her up - not armour, I'm completely blind to what my hunting armour looks like, I go for the stats every time, I'm talking about city clothes - because there's more/better choices for females. Case in point, Festival Dress (gorgeous) vs. Festival Pant Suit (kinda dorky-looking, often). And yes, I have one outfit that involves a Swashbuckler's Shirt that is by nature startlingly lowcut, but the rest of her outfits are rather more modest.

I have not ONCE asked anybody for free ANYTHING, but - as her - I've been offered a few things, and Oh! My! God! have I been flirted with! Not only by male avatars, either - I'm astonished that humans manage to survive as a species with the number of human lesbians with elf fetishes running around Stormwind.

I've also definitely noticed that females are less guarded around another female. I've said the exact same things on my male character to females as I've said with my female character, and my female character gets friendliness and instant warmth, and my male gets wariness and an overtone of "Yeah, whatever, when are you going to start hitting on me?"

Now, like I said, I'm a gay guy. I have very little romantic experience *with* a woman and none at all *as* one. The thought of playing romance as a female feels very weird, the thought of having sex as one is flat-out deeply disturbing, no matter whether the other person is male or female. Eww. There's no way. So all those straight guys who are freaked out about RPing romance with "OMFG-it's-a-*guy*" can just relax around me - I'm as repelled by the notion as you are, trust me.

I play my female character as a lifelong virgin due to a vow made to Elune, and it works for me. She's very pretty and quite soft-spoken but has a core of steel.

My male character is a warrior, also a Night Elf, and he's gay (although in fact rather more closeted than I am in life, so not many people know; part of that's due to the double standard that says that girl-girl is d00d-so-hawt, guy-guy is you-f'in-faggot). I made him a warrrior because that's so un-stereotypical and I found it amusing. He's the inverse of my female hunter - all toughness on the outside but sweet and gentle and intellectual on the inside.

Yeah, I made him good-looking - as has been said, might as well be seeing the kind of ass I like if I'm gonna be seeing a lot of ass. He isn't romantic or sexual yet, but he will be - my RL partner and I are evolving a story between him and my partner's male character, their tragic separation and their eventual reunion (when my guy levels up to his guy's level).

Should be interesting...

Posted by: LingoMan on August 13, 2006 3:18 AM

I'm a guy and I play a Human Female Mage. Why?
Well what I want to achieve in this game is look cool.
I liked the description of a mage so I wanted to play one.
When I saw the character creation I saw all the male characters looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and since I didnt want to look like a bodybuilder in a dress I made a female.
If I had made a warrior which wears big metal armor I would make a male since it just looks cool having this buffed dude hauling some ass.

Posted by: Eilata on September 10, 2006 7:17 AM

Hahaha. Shims!

I played a shim in Star Wars Galaxies and in City of Villians. I'm heterosexual.

Number reasons I created a shim(She+Him, nickname for guy playing male toon.)

1. I get tells from pervs. I just think it's funny as hell when I get asked if I'm a girl in real life.

2. I can act like a dork with emotes.

3. Shims are idolized in my guild. Ladies love them. Back in galaxies when we were bored, we'd change the female characters looks and get them new clothing. Sounds a little gay..yeah.

4. It does look better to look at, and does look bit more graceful. Escpcially in games like WoW where customisation is little to nothing compared to CoV or SWG.

5. Also to add I still had a male alt character.

Posted by: Stevo on September 11, 2006 8:53 PM

I'm a 24 year old woman, and I use to play guys wherever possible, as long as they're costumizable and prefferably good looking ^_^ Some kind of heart is needed.

Naturally, I AM playing a woman in Wow :D (even though they're really not the prettiest either)

The difference with -some- guys playing gals (as it doesn't count for every genderbending man) is that I will never, ever, ridicule my avatar by dancing around naked or uttering slutty phrases. I won't hit on ladies or annoy them with ridiculous propositions, nor will I hit on guys, unless they specifically ask me too :D

I like playing guys because I like looking at guys and like to delve into male pschychology. After all I already know enough how a woman acts/feels/thinks.
I don't pretend to be better than guys choosing women for the visual reason. I do tend to give him a heart and soul though. Not tight pants or the like (ugh)
I'm a storyteller and a great lover of written rpgs as well. I just like creating characters and their stories very much, and guys prove the tougher challenge for me.

Posted by: on September 12, 2006 2:10 PM

Well..I didnt buy WoW to play a slutty looking female,And I'm playing a male character.Why? Because I want respect and honor, Which you dont get as a female character,I also find it hard to play female as I'm not one in real life and the act of wearing heavy armor(Plate,Mail) and such on a female character,I just can't stand that.

Posted by: Stonehammer on September 17, 2006 7:39 AM

Well, I quite enjoy playing female characters in mmo's, though the slutty thing is a bit disturbing agreed. In RL I get plenty of respect and am required to be tough on a regular basis, so it's a pleasant change of pace to be able to stick to the gentle stuff.

Posted by: Rob on September 22, 2006 9:59 AM

I play myself as female toons only in COH. Basically, if it looks like we're going to become friends, I come right out and tell people that I'm a 51 year old married female player with 3 kids, an ICU nurse, and that I live in Massachusetts. Takes ALL the edge off of things - and while I do get hit on occasionally, the correct perception that I'm an older woman usually produces polite, friendly responses. I'm a pretty happy player.

Posted by: Eveline on September 23, 2006 1:28 AM

I'm an eighteen year old male, been playing female characters since I was fourteen. Why? Because of an amusing mistake in an IRC roleplaying room. It stuck.
Since then, I've continued to play female characters in roleplaying environments and videogames alike. I actually find I'm slightly uncomfortable trying to play a male, likely due to inexperience.
I'd like to point out that I have /never/ catered to the 'damsel in distress', 'flirtacious gold-digger', or 'dumb newbie' roles, prefering a hard, in-charge, competent role above all else. But I've always been an iconoclast. I just wanted to add yet another positive MtF-roleplayer viewpoint that didn't involve ass-staring.

Posted by: Torn on October 10, 2006 10:50 PM

Hmmm, guess I'm one of the few female players that play a male character! One of the main reasons for me to do that is because for some reason, almost ALL MMORPGs I've played have females dress like sluts, or just have plain ugly clothes. The male versions of the clothing look MUCH better than the female version. Plus, you won't get sexually harassed by guys when you play a male character! Heh. Some friends in real life call me a tomboy, so I guess that counts for something.

Posted by: Name on October 28, 2006 11:02 PM

i myself attempt to be "the outcast yet modest and friendly" female in all roleplaying games.

reasons why:
1: i am not the most social of all people and frighten easily in areas with lots of people.

2: although i am male in mind has a gender of its own that reflects more females than males.

3: often the male caracters will be WAY to muscular. you only get those kinds of muscles using steroids [or else i am mistaken].

4: being a female alows my trust side to come out. meaning i don't have to act uncaring and lonley as my school sheild represents.

5: aside from the breast........the female body appeals more to me than very many male bodies ever could.

-----WoW classes and characters-----
my main for a long time [deleted last month] was a female night elf shadow priest.
i didn't get bored with her to my personal record of lv 24.
the majority of my other caracters have also been female casters of both hord and allience meaning that i seem to have steryotyped males in WoW to be WAY to masculene.

i myself seem to be of a small number who view others as people as a whole; not straights, lesbians, gays, bi-sex, males, females, etc.

i view all as friendly adrogenes [sp? never have gotten it right] to which i could meet and frolic with [unless they tell me that they ARE this, that, or the other thing and only want to be known as whatever].

one of the few things that irk me are that many carry around superstitions and predjudes such as if you see a female toon that cusses [honestly........what do parts of a body have to do with something gruesome, disgusting and/or SCARY?] at frequent intervals and behaves imaturley is a 12-15 year old male. other super/predj things such as all 13 1/2 males are rude, immature, mean also turn down my eyes.

i agree with what was mentioned perhaps 1 year privious to my untimly visit: sex sells. this is mainly due to the fact that the average [only looking at the statistics i have recieved meaning this could be false entirely] human is sexually oriented to the point that they will take every and every chance they get to see uncovered human flesh [i don't really see why however.....i performed a test on myself last augest. the tests goal was so that i could understand my schoolmates completly when it came to sexual longing. the test took 4-6 hours to complete. i had a notepad and pen in hand and searched the web for 5 things: naked human females, naked human males, male to female sex, female on female [lesbian] sex, and male on male [gay]. thus the expirement began. i measured my heart rate by 10 seconds, multipleyed that by 6, and took notes on sex, age, build, sexual organ size, head size. the final conclusion: the one to have turned my heart rate up to 145-153 [AKA my highest ever [by 30 heartbeats]} was a female, apperent age from 17-26, diminish yet perfectly proportiond build, small breasts, small prosterior, small sexual organs between the legs, equal head size to mine [medium and longish], not in very "sexy pose" according to the script next to it. in fact, she was given a rating of 1 out of 5 starts lol. seems like your average male prefers huge everything in a female [aside from girth]. it was a most interesting experiment and i found how to speak in front of others by holding that image in my mind of the nearly prefect body and using my imagination to creat the illusion that i am her. i one day would hope to meet her however the chances of that happening are 1 in a very high number. lol.

i may not yet have reached the point in my male growth spurt that makes me view every female as a toy built for my personal use but the thought of one day becoming a mindless orgasmic loving zombie is not a pleasent one.

it seems i have started rambleing once again so i must [for now] take my place among the humble humans and hope that one day my...........more..........plausable.....dreams come....true

see you all![or mabe not]

ps:i don't know about the rest of you guys but it's getting slightly chilly up in alaska......hope it doesnt git this cold down south. have a happy winter!


Posted by: Azhlyn [prefered name] on December 2, 2006 11:38 PM

I've been playing a female Gnome for nearly a year on an RP server. First time I got on vent with someone I had known in-game for a few months, she screamed and said she thought I was a woman the whole time.

It really freaked her out.

Posted by: Gren on December 5, 2006 1:42 PM

Im still wondering why its a big deal, anyways...

I mainly play City of Heroes, and i know a lot of people who play both CoH and Wow together, one even convinced me to try it out, so i went for it.

Ok after i got into a small talk conversation with a 60 gnome in the place where NightElves live, like the first few minutes im getting my bearings on the game, invited me to a trade, his reason was because i was fair.

after he traded me, he told me, be careful, guys in the game are real jerks when it comes to talking to girls...

i never really got that in CoH though. feels like a WoW thing to me, but it could be that the models really do seem to be geared towards attraction more than they should, iono, maybe its just me. of course its like that in CoH too, but i think guys go crazy over the female models with outrageous proportions, clad cover costumes, and overly flirtations come-ons... but its kinda rare in CoH alot... and i only played Wow for 2 weeks and was driven away by the sausage-festival

Posted by: Krazy-maid on December 6, 2006 2:46 PM

I am a guy who plays primarily female characters. I'll be completely honest, I started out because if I'm gonna stare at a butt all day, i want it to be attractive. But my playing evolved into a social experiment. I carefully made sure NOT to act flirty or anything, trying to act as much like a guy as I could without coming out and saying it. If someone asked, I was more than willing to tell them that I am a guy. And i still found a significant increase in how much people would help me, as well as people just randomly giving me things. If i was having a bit of trouble trying to get through a quest, some nice guy would usually help me out. From my experimentation, i would say that there is most definitely a difference in how you get treated between the two genders.

Posted by: Stephen on February 4, 2007 9:28 PM

Any little theories on personality presented here for males playing female characters are laughable.

Some RPGers will choose avatars that match how they see the character in the game universe. Some players will simply not think about it (advatar gender = their gender). Some players will take advantage of the visual aesthetics of the female form.

A few people with RL problems will just do whatever people with problems do.

I created a secondary female character (I'm male) in WoW just for the visual (female human rouge also fits the WoW universe well).

I usually ignore idle chat/emoting (for any character), occasionally respond in-character to one-liners for fun, and always let anyone know I'm male immediatley if they start getting social.

The bottom line is the only thing that can cause RL harm is RL deception. Otherwise it is just a game.

Posted by: Paul on February 7, 2007 4:01 PM

I have been playing MMORPGs for around 5 years now. Here are my thoughts:

1) I always play a female character. I am a female in RL. I do it for several reasons. First, I find it amusing that most of the female characters I see in game are in fact not female. I enjoy being one of the small percentage of folks that are not wearing as much of a mask. Second, I don't look at the game from a point of view of "this character is someone else and if I have to look at something, it better be eye-pleasing". I consider the character to be an extension and representation of myself (obviously stylized), and I identify more with females.

2) I have never experienced this "gift" stuff that many are talking about. People have never treated my character better or given me free stuff because I have a female avatar. Not in any game I have played -- EQ, EQ2, SWG, CoH, WoW. I wonder if this phenomenon exists more because those who play female characters *think* it does. By the same token, while I have noticed plenty of people shouting crude things in OOC or general chat, I have never had anyone I don't know say sexually harassing or provocative things to me in game.

3) Most of the men I know that play, do in fact play female characters, and their reasoning is that they want to look at something eye-pleasing.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: JA on February 20, 2007 7:48 AM

I'm a RL female, and it's very rare for me to play a man. People are nicer to you as a woman, and contrary to what Jean says, I don't act slutty or flirty. Backhanded sexism anyone?

I find that if I'm lost in an area or need some help, someone will actually answer me or try to help more often when I play a female character.

I know that on one of my male characters, I met people that wouldn't talk to me-- once they found out I was a RL girl, they admitted that they thought I had been coming on to them, which I of course hadn't been. There's a lot of tension between the sexes at the best of times.

In addition to that, female character models are better to look at. I don't like huge muscley guys IRL, and that's usually your only option for male characters-- in addition to those nasty box-shaped jaws that are so unappealing. I'd much rather be looking at a slender attractive woman than a nasty pixelated muscle-guy.

Lastly, I identify more with female characters, being a woman. I "feel" like less of a woman while I play a male character. I find myself trying to tone myself down, act more macho and male, because I'm a really "girly" person normally.

Posted by: ihavenomouth on March 21, 2007 1:40 PM

Oh, one added thing-- you get hit on a lot when you play a girl.

10% of the time, it's really frustrating. Some of these men have the absolute worst sense of "charm" and think treating you like an object is somehow enticing.

Then there are guys who practically stalk you. You've barely said 2 words to them and they start following you around, they put you on their friends list and send you messages all the time, and you're thinking, "Who -is- this guy, and why does he think he's my best friend?"

Most of the time, being hit on doesn't bother me-- it can in fact brighten up a boring day. I don't flirt back, I let them know I'm taken, but I feel a little bit more attractive. It's silly I suppose, but there it is.

Posted by: ihavenomouth on March 21, 2007 1:45 PM

I play WoW and i am a girl. It felt more natural for me to pick a female character seeing as i am one in RL. And i really havent had problems with players "stalking", flirting etc etc. On the other hand, if u WANT them to and act all goofy and flirty some certaintly will. But i have xperienced a decrease of interest f.eks. if i were in a group and the topic comes up and i tell them...some will suddenly start to get a bit more "chatty". But i dont go around announcing that i am a female in real life, i see no point in it. I got to know quite a lot of ppl and some of them know but they really havent treated me any different from when they didnt know. But i guess it depends on the ppl that u talk to.

Posted by: karolainen on March 25, 2007 10:15 AM

Male 46, who plays females here as well. Too much public school brainwashing, Jean. My gals are sweet, friendly (and stylishly dressed) and...

if i stop and chat for a while, the gifts do roll in :) i do find that ppl r intimidated if u r a high lvl char tho :)

therefore, my lower level characters do get more help, gifts and attention.

Posted by: curvycom on April 5, 2007 1:41 PM

I'm in the army, and a lot of the poeple I work with play WoW. We have a guild specifically for our company in real life. Since we are an infantry unit, we have no real life females in our guild, but over half of it are female characters. Its a small guild, only has 20 people in it, and 12 out of the 20 at the time were new to mmorpgs. of those 12, 11 played females because they liked thet way they looked.

We laughed as they were asking us more experienced players why they were getting hit on, and we had to explain that there was a lot of immaturity on these games. The people who call other people slut and fag are usually under 18. The ones who do that who are supposed to be more mature are just not worth talking to. Alot of people forget that there is an ignore button. I have an enjoyable experience because I just put anyone saying stupid or immature things on ignore, and thats the end of it. This whole post is bogus, because it shouldnt matter if you play a guy or a girl, what matters is having fun with it and communicating with people.

Posted by: Michael on April 11, 2007 4:09 PM

As a female gamer playing both MMORPG's and single player games, I always choose a female avatar over male. In fact, back in the days of single player games when there were no female characters, I likely wouldnt play the game at all and would lean towards boycotting and not buying into the franchise for not including a female playable character.

Online, even if the male characters are pretty or had a class that was male only (unusual) I would still play a female. I enjoy the idea of women being more prevalent in gaming than in the past, and its a small way of me to support this advance in female gamers.

As to people playing a female to get all the loot? Well it happens, its especially sickening to see someone milk it for all its worth. I prefer to be self sufficient in game, and would rather help someone else than the other way round.

Finally to comment, the one thing that continues to annoy me with games today is the overtly sexual makeup of female characters. Yeah its a fantasy world, but honestly what female who is predisposed to weilding swords and wearing armor, would be caught dead wearing a chain mail bikini?? And is all the cleavage and g-strings under the armor neccisary? I find it a decidedly male idea of what female avatars should look like. Apparently with all the advances in technology in some sense developers are still in the dark ages.

Posted by: Jerune on May 4, 2007 2:34 PM

My healers (priest, druid) are females. My hunter and warrior are males. My rogue is a female, but that was an Xmen choice.

I must be stereotyping gender roles.

Posted by: Steve on May 10, 2007 12:44 PM

I'm biologically male in real life. Online games helped me realize that I was in fact transsexual. I first played male characters because I was male and thought people would see me as weird for choosing a female character. Eventually I tried a female character and found that I preferred it.

Some people thought I was female and treated me as such (including the usual remarks from teenage boys). I liked when people considered me female, though the young boys were annoying.

Combined with earlier gender issues, this led to me finally realizing that I wanted to be a woman (or rather, that I was one in a mismatched body).

I refuse to play male characters because they remind me of mirrors. I get depressed when I see myself in a mirror and don't want to continue that when I'm playing games. Games relieve some emotional pressure on me that might otherwise eventually lead to suicide.

Posted by: anonymous on May 12, 2007 4:50 PM

Back when I used to play Korean MMOs such as Lineage and Ragnarok Online, all my toons were male. You trade social niceties, free loot, help, etc for a pretty avatar (girls like eye candy just as much as guys) that is not wearing a bikini, and not getting harassed. Plus, if you play a lot of single-player games, you get used to controlling the usually male protagonist as your character.

Then I started WoW, and most of my toons were female, because I play Horde, and, well, there's nothing eye-candy about either gender, and I'd rather have a model that looked decent than one that took up half my screen. The irony, of course, is that since I make no effort to be especially charming, most guys assume I'm a guy RL too.

A lot of the appearance-related issues seem due to the fact that a lot of MMOs have the target audience set to teen males, and what teen males like to see in their women isn't necessarily what female players like to see in their avatars. This is hardly the opinion of all female gamers, but personally, I'd play female characters more often if they'd quit it with the chainmail bikinis.

Posted by: Iris on May 15, 2007 5:25 AM

If you are a guy playing a chick in WoW, thats fine, but if your actualy flirting to get what you can? Thats perverted. I say play your sex. then it wouldnt be so... creepy. I hate the fact that every other alliance is a chick but more then %90 its some fat guy at his house THINKING he is good looking. Horde is MUCH easier, almost all females are females in RL, almost all guys are guys, and you know who is who.

Posted by: Rifro on June 7, 2007 6:17 PM

I'm a real life female who plays mainly female characters in-game, with the exception of a few low level alts - Bloodelf becaus ethe females are rediculously skinny and tauren because I think the male ones look cute.

I choose female characters because I've always been fairly tom-boyish in my tastes and so I'm used to male reactions when you step into what they see as their territory (or wider society does). I'm proud of being female and not ashamed of my personal interests, so I don't feel the need to hide my real gender behind a male character (not that I'm saying that other females with male characters are doing this, just that's how I;d feel about playing a male character.

Added to that I always pick a female character where possible in single player rpgs (leading to some disturbing story lines or chat excerpts occasionally) and didn't see any reason to change this for SWG or WoW.

I know a lot of people assume I'm male (most of my characters being alliance and night elves), but that doesn't bother me. I'll correct people if they explicitly refer to me as male (e.g. using 'he' not 'she'), but I don't make a big thing of announcing myself as female to everyone I meet, I'd rather they saw me as a person first and learned about my gender later.

I've only had a few experiences with unwanted comments. I tend to brush these off, in my opinion no different to getting cat-calls from builders and if anyone was really bugging me or using excessive language then I know I can always report or ignore them - shame that option isn't available in the real world.

Regarding men (or women) using flirty femal toons to get what they want (I've never done it), why not?

If you want things you can either a) get them yourself or b) get other people to get them for you. If you're the type of person who'd go for option b then why not make a female toon? you can try and scam people out of money through other means (shoddy trades etc) or make a female character and lay bait for some stupid sucker who's willing to pay up for a few lines of steamy chat.

If I didn't have a sense of fairness than I'd probably try it at least once just to see how much I could get from someone.

The thing with this tactic over normal trade scams is a) you are less likely to be found out, you have a wonderful (profitable) relationship with someone and then 'sorry, it's just not working for me anymore', you don't have to say anything about your real life gender in there. And people are less likely to report you (I'd imagine), firstly anything you gain from the other party would be through gifts, you can't really say someone scammed you because they said they'd be your gf, you sent them gold/items and then they later broke up with you. Even if your real gender is exposed, people probably aren't going to care, they will just think the person who got scammed is stupid for falling for it.

I'd never try and start a relationship with someone in-game so it really doesn't bother me who's actually controlling the avatar.

Posted by: Kel on June 14, 2007 4:19 AM

I've had rather mixed results with any sort of "gender stereotypes" in-game myself.
(I'm female IRL)

I usually prefer to play male characters, not because I want something "nice to look at" (although it's a bonus) but because I really am quite sick and tired of the exaggerations that most female video game characters are modeled with.

Although some games seem to force stereotypes on players anyways.
One trend I've noticed in some games (though those are more single player games than MMOs) is that they give female characters inherent "handicaps" for no particular reason.
(the Elder Scrolls games come to mind as just one example)
Male chars "must" be strong fighters or powerful magical destroyers, while female characters "must"
have a more passive/defensive role or be healers.
That sort of in-game mechanic doesn't exactly help to break down any sort of stereotypes.

No matter what gender I play though, most other players always assume I'm male, and seem quite shocked to find out otherwise.
I guess it's just my personality.

I've had people start to make come-ons or be "just a little *too* nice" for a few minutes while playing my few female chars.
Then after talking to me a few moments they accuse me of being a gender-bender.
Gets me laughing every time....

Just as a side note - I think more game companies ought to consider making male characters more attractive.
It's always baffled me why so many developers seem perplexed as to how to make their games more appealing to female gamers.
Gee... Maybe try *not* beating every last male character model over the head with the fugly stick? ;D
Sex sells indeed....

Aesthetically speaking, it really does look like some devs seem *so* concerned with making all the female chars look like cheap prostitutes that every other aspect of the game seems like an afterthought.
It's kind of disturbing really.

I think female gamers in general are a greatly under-appreciated, not to mention financially under-tapped resource.
Too bad most game developers are too distracted by overly jiggly pixelated bosoms to see it.
Or perhaps just to distracted to bother caring?

Posted by: Jen on July 7, 2007 9:12 PM

I play a female druid, but otherwise make no attempt to hide that im male. the only ways people treat me like a girl are using female pronouns and when some idiot called me "babycakes", where i pointed out my real gender and made him look stupider.

Posted by: geezer on August 5, 2007 4:30 PM

When my son was about 12 he started to play Runescape. He also learned at school that people will relate to girls differently than boys. He did not buy it so he created both a female character on Runescape and pretended to be a girl.

He learned a LOT about how differently he was treated as a 'girl' both in positive and negative ways. It was a great experience for him.

Now he plays WoW. He prefers to stick to his own gender. Other young players who did similar experiences were quite surprised by how differently they were treated.

Posted by: on August 16, 2007 5:25 PM

Being a female gamer is both disappointing and rewarding all in the same instance. I've played my share of MMO's (WoW, Starwars Galaxies, Lienage II, LOTR Online) and first-person shooters (Counter-Strike, all of the Battlesfields, Unreal Tournament 2004), and the reactions to my gender are both positive and negative.

In most cases where fellow males in game have found out I'm a girl, they reacted disrespectfully and threw out all kinds of harassment and sexual slangs. It's humiliating and irritating in the sense that most times female gamers are not looked at as an equal. The fact that bad stereotypes are made about women (i.e., ugly, overweight, no life, ect) is disgusting. Why does the gender difference put such a large gap between the acceptance of male gamers vs. female gamers? Why should their reasons for playing be so different? Why can't attractive women play videogames and be GOOD at it?

I will admit, I was lucky at an early age in my gaming career to find a tight-knit group of people who accepted me regardless of being a girl. They treat me equally, respectfully, and watch out for me when strangers step out of line.

Overall, my gaming experience as a female has been enjoyable. There have been times where I wonder if my gender exposure is worth it, but to hide and pretend to be a male just to fit in is only feeding the issue. Strong women are socially acceptable and looked up to in society and government now, the gaming world will catch up soon, I hope.

Posted by: Mackenzie on August 19, 2007 5:35 PM

I am a girl (age 17) and I find that not only do my male and female characters get treated differently but also the perception of my age tends to change as well. I make characters according to their class. I made a male berserker (EQ2) but a female fury and the classes that I view to be ambiguous I make two of each gender. When I'm playing a female char, I get more males willing to fawn over me for some reason. I avoid flirting at all costs but having a sense of humour inherited from my father is the nail in the coffin. I get gifts, constant tells and have many assume that I am in highschool (college freshman). Play my berserker and not only does the perceived age shoot up to 25ish but I suddenly gain a lot more responsibility in groups and strangely enough, more people willing to help me progress in game.

Posted by: Lovelace on October 27, 2007 4:40 PM

I'm a male to female transgender, thus why i play a female character, shocking!

Posted by: Seiku on November 15, 2007 4:17 AM

i am female(irl) WoW player, and i almost always play female characters (except for that one male belf i have, just for the hell of it).
i have never been hit on or treated differently.
but one of my male guildies who always plays male characters gets hit on all the time (both horde and alliance side) with dirty /emotes or /w harassment. its very strange and none of us can figure out why.
so it's not just the female avatars that get all the grief.

Posted by: on November 15, 2007 3:02 PM

I like how it feels to play as a girl. I'm heterosexual and find feminine power to be alluring and mysterious.

At the same time, I have a fantasy about being a girl and this allows me to live it out. My entire persona shifts in this context which is fun as well.

Posted by: Jay on November 19, 2007 8:55 AM

In most games i play a mix of male and female characters. I never act female, regardless.
Mostly i pick whatever I feel fits the class better. In Warcraft 3, all the archers were female. I made a female night elf archer because of that, and because the males look stupidly proportioned and they hold bows wrong.
My rogue is night elf F as well, again cause NE males look dumb. My warrior and priest are both male, because I like the look of the male humans better, and the warrior personality fits me well. My gnome warlock is a female because "that spell isnt ready yet!" in male gnome voice is insanity inducing so I rerolled. Draenie shaman is male, mage is female, paladin is dwarf male, cause dwarf female is ugly and sounds bad.

Also in general the females have much more fluid movement and animation. Just the way it is i guess. No gender issue for me :P

Posted by: Demerus on November 19, 2007 11:43 AM

24 Male irl, female Nelf hunter in game. might have been offered gifts on alts, if so nothing I remember. On main, well people ask me for stuff, but I don't get free gifts. Guess if I wanted free gifts I shouldn't walk around in S2 and equiv PvE gear.
Aesthetics is the primary reason my toon is female. Male night elf = fail, and I dislioke the dwarf model.

Posted by: Aethryl on November 21, 2007 4:14 PM

my mage is male cause mages are supposed to have a beard (most of the time) and it fits the class better. every one of my charecters are male. It also looks better when they have a beard:>

Posted by: danny on December 7, 2007 2:47 PM

I'm a male who sometimes plays female characters in WoW. I like playing female toons because I like being a cute character and I think women who kick ass are cool. Also, the race I like, the undead, has an ugly male model.

I prefer that other players think I'm actually female, because gender benders are generally regarded as being homosexual and weird.

When playing a female toon I don't talk in the general chats and I try not to talk too much in parties. I don't run around naked or flirt with people or act especially girly, as this is a dead giveaway that you're a dude. If someone asks me if I'm a girl in real life I say yes.

I guess I'm a closet freak, but it doesn't bother me too much.

Posted by: Jack Doe on January 11, 2008 5:01 PM

Hi, I'm a male and I play a female NE priest on World of Warcraft (Joon on Arthas server). Whith the idea of creating a priest, I've always wanted to help people out by healing.

This job isnt always noticed althought it is vital. Generally people arent appealed by it but still, someone's gotta do it ! In that way, I thought that a feminine character was a more fitting gender for my class.

The way I feel things, the feminine gender has more of a giving wouthout recieving nature. An exemple that comes to my mind is : like moms. Moms look after thier kids, they care and are always ready to help you. I don't feel like I'm being a mom when I play my chararcter, but I do feel like I have to watch over my group to keep it alive, and I also like to be one of those persons that are "always ready to help you out".

So this is why I choose a female character, because of the nature and personality of the class.

Posted by: Johny_B on January 14, 2008 12:27 PM

My warlock (70, Kul Tiras) is male, but my Paladin (58, Kul Tiras) is female. This is mostly due to the fact that I want to have a nice ass to look at when I'm staring at the screen for several hours.

I'm male, btw.

Posted by: Matthew on January 14, 2008 3:10 PM

WoW experience

Me: "Guys, I rolled an undead!"
Chorus: "Great! Cool! Man, they have great racials!"

Me: "Guys, I rolled a tauren!"
Chorus: "Pwnage! Go hunter! They rock!"

Me: "Guys, I rolled a human female!"
Chorus: "You f*ing pervert! Freak! Faggot!"

So it is ok to play a walking rotten corpse and that does not make me necrophiliac, it is also ok to play a two legged cow and it does not make ma zoophiliac. However playing an opposite gender to my own is gravest of sins.

I think lots of people need their heads examined.

I would also like to apologize to anyone who might be offended by derogatory words used in above post.

Posted by: wowdeserter on January 15, 2008 1:58 PM

I play a male undead warlock yet I am girl. Other players always seem so surprised when they find out about that. I can think of only one other person in my guild who is a girl but plays a male char ingame.

Posted by: Jackie on February 5, 2008 1:10 AM

Where did you find this numbers? All other sources operates with more equal gender distribution for mmorpgs, almost 50-50 % in 2006. So that makes me wonder who you asked to find the share of girls to be only 16 % in...2005. Sure you got the right numbers? And maybe its about time for a re-check of the stats?

Posted by: Daimonion on February 15, 2008 3:59 AM

I am a medium - heavy Roleplayer, and play both genders of any race, having said that; I enjoy playing Female characters more even though I'm a Male IRL, I feel that attempting to connect with a feminine psychology is so much more enjoyable and interesting - incidentally, everyone I've come across has told me that they really thought I was a female in real life - this response is exactly what I'm after; it simply means I role-played well.

When choosing a character, I don't immediately go for class or race or even gender first - I make the name, then the backstory for the character, and from that, visualise an appearance that I believe reflects the attitude of the name and course of events that they've been through (backstory), If I cannot choose on a particular thing, but most of the time it just comes to me.

My 'lock on the Emerald Dream (US, RP-PvP) Server for example, is a female Bloodelf; though I'm a Male in real life I didn't feel that "Leilen" suited an Undead or Dwarf; it's sounds more majestic than that.

In my opinion, a name is the most important thing in the life of your character; in Wrath of the Lich King we'll have the option to change certain to a character like hair colour and whatnot, but changing your name becomes problematic, and if your that desperate to pay the $20 (or so) the real struggle is trying to change your Roleplay around that, just pretending it was allways "Char name 2" from the start just doesn't seem right - there's alot of feeling in a name and "Char name 1" went through all the series of events, not the new one.

The criticism I get for playing a Female character is far beyond the truth, claiming I'm a pervert or just plain weird for doing so, no... it goes much deeper than that and sadly, most players I talk to about it don't seem to be able to grasp my viewpoint on playing a gender than isn't your own... shame, really.

It may surprise you to know that I am 15 years of age... yes, you heard me. A 15 year old role player, I simply enjoy what I do.

Posted by: Leilen, of Emerald Dream (US, RP-PvP) on April 27, 2008 5:12 AM

From: anonymous on May 12, 2007 4:50 PM:
I'm biologically male in real life. Online games helped me realize that I was in fact transsexual. I first played male characters because I was male and thought people would see me as weird for choosing a female character. Eventually I tried a female character and found that I preferred it.

I have to say that I feel similarly. I'm a guy, I'm 14, and I absolutely believe that I was meant to be a girl. Even at a young age I felt that I was truly meant to be a girl. So when I started MMORPGs, I chose female characters to reflect how I feel. I don't flirt with guys, because I believe that as long as I'm physically a guy, I should act straight. Who's to say that being a girl online is homosexual? But until I can find a way to change sex, I use MMOs to live the dream I've always had. And because I have and older sister, who happens to be about the same size as me, I tend to "borrow" her clothes when playing MMOs to feel like even more of a girl.

This little bit is off subject, but at halloween parties, I always go dressed as a girl. I wear a real wig so people think I'm real, and I'm apparently (quote) "God damn hot" when I'm in my costume. Guys do ask me out at these parties, but I turn them down telling them I'm taken, though I'm always single.

Posted by: Ian on May 17, 2008 9:40 PM

There have been more than a few comments along the lines of, "The way some male players of female characters act is dehumanizing and offensive." This is true, yes, and is occasionally deplorable, but it's also true that every group most demonizes the group that they are sexually attracted to. You'll never hear gay men bashed as strongly as among gay men, you'll never hear straight men bashed as strongly as among straight girls, you'll never hear straight girls bashed as strongly as among straight men, etc., etc. This is largely because the group we are sexually attracted to is SCARY. They're scary because they can turn us down, they can break our hearts, and they can, if they end up being malicious, can tear us to shreds. All that dehumanizing business, more often than not, is a sham, an easy way to try and take some of that power works. When it's a fantasy, when it's a joke, it's important, it's significant, and it's good.

It's only when that joke becomes how you really treat those that you are attracted to that it ends up dangerous.

My bisexual, male, two cents, anyway.

Posted by: Ikard on September 21, 2008 3:27 AM

I play males mostly and a female from time to time if I feel the males are either ugly, or do not fit the role. As I was reading the comments I noticed that some people were offended when they were called a male when they were a female playing a male character or a male playing a female character. In my opinion, if you do want to play a character of the opposite gender, you should not get offended when someone calls you that. Some people are forgetful so don't get offended when someone calls you the opposite gender when you already reminded them.

I believe my opinion comes from what I think about certain feminists that I've associated with. I am totally fine with being proud of your gender, but to frown upon men because of the sole reason, they are men, is really frustrating to me. I haven't seen a single male who is proud of their gender (Maleists?, Masculists?) who have not been called sexist and I believe that it should go both ways.

As far as WoW goes, play whatever you'd like, after all it is a "Role Playing Game" but don't get offended when someone calls you what you "Role play" and have a balanced relationship with males and females if possible.

Posted by: Brian on October 6, 2008 2:10 PM

A few things on this topic.
From my personal experience I have found that most of the characters I know in WoW are gender-bending or have done so at one point. I have narrowed it down to 2 basic principles.

#1: "If you have to look at it's backside for 70 levels, you might as well enjoy it."

#2: "IRL women don't like to be hassled by someone wanting hot cyborz all the time, and they don't being flashy and gaudy. Most women, that I associate with, roll male characters."

If you think about it, that makes sense. rule #1 gives an explanation why a lot of men decide to gender-bend. I have talked to several men who agree with that thought. And for rule#2, my wife will not roll a female character. most women I know won't roll female because they don't want to be harassed.

Posted by: Brent on October 10, 2008 6:53 AM

I like to play a male character on-line only to reflect myself in the game though it's usually a male Elf or some fantasy-type character that actually looks appealing but I would customize the character to what I think I would look like as a Elf or whatever race I might choose. I played with person who played as a male dwarf for two years (and I thought was a male in RL) before she finally told me that she was female in RL, ha ha!

Posted by: on October 10, 2008 8:20 AM

This may seem odd, but I am currently playing a male in WoW to avoid being accused of gender-bending. I am a female, but in game I am overly-agressive, asserive, vulgar and act more like a male than a female. In other MMOs I always had trouble getting people to believe that I was a girl even when playing female avatars (I have been called everything from a tranny to a masturbation addict) so I decided to just skip all the drama and roll a male. If I'm going to act like a guy, might as well play one.

Plus in my class we all had to play Horde, and most horde females just look plain creepy and don't make sense. I mean, an orc that's 3 times the size of a female? God, they deserve +5 con score from birthing all those giant male babies!

Posted by: kat on October 10, 2008 1:40 PM

Surely it does not matter to which gender your avatar's RL counterpart belongs? These are "role plays" and the characters should surely be played to their on-screen gender? Anything else is "breaking the 4th wall" and should not be allowed in game.

Posted by: Mentalist on October 20, 2008 8:07 AM

It seems to me that in the early days of WoW the gender-bending thing may have been perceived as weirder, but I've never run up against name calling because a guy is playing a female toon. It's ridiculously prevalent on my server. I pretty much always assume any toon of any gender is male until I hear them on vent or am told otherwise. I do try to keep my pronouns neutral but usually slip up and refer to toons as 'this guy', 'he', etc.

I play a male mage almost as much as my female paladin (I'm a girl.) people I know said "your mage is a DUDE?!" a couple times, but that's really it. any amount of "weirdness" is usually par for the course on our realm. plus, it's fun to cause trouble and talk crap on the realm forums using his profile. most people who are forum snoops know I'm a girl anyway.

I know several girls with male toons, but I've only met one girl who plays a male toon as her main.

Posted by: . on November 10, 2008 11:35 AM

First of all, I'd just like to point out that this conversation has been going on for over three years.

That having been said, I do not play MMORPGS. In real life I am a dedicated martial artist, and that is a hobby that can be equally time consuming. However, I'm not above a little tabletop and dice every odd week or so. I am a nineteen year old male, and have never played a female character. However, my characters could not be much more different than me regardless of gender. I am a quiet introspective creative individual. I am a practicing Mahayana Buddhist and frequently give blood and volunteer at soup kitchens. From January to June of 2008 I worked in a non-profit organization for $160 (US) a week.

Now, here are some of my characters:
Besouro- A human monk. Lawful neutral. Short, dark complexioned and excessively brutal. Once tripped a Druid in Leopard form down a flight of stairs and subdual damaged him into a coma. Then beat him up again when he woke up.

Monsu- A gnomish wizard. Chaotic good. Cheerful and benign but a little bit mad. Particularly fond of his inventory which included plenty of caltrops and other such inconveniences that made it incredibly difficult for melee fighters to get to him.

Weyland- Human cleric to the neutral god of war Harek. Chaotic neutral. A lugubrious halberd-toting force of nature. Calm precise and unstoppable. The least talkative of my characters and the only one with no sense of humor.

Although these fellas are all male, not one of them is anything like me. Besouro belongs in prison, Monsu is basically the love-child of Pippin and Gandalf and Weyland is pretty much just Rambo with the power to smite shit.

Honestly, I don't see them as me, but as characters in a story. A story where everyone telling it just gets to be one character's author. I didn't make these guys up to escape my life through them. I just enjoy the challenge of thinking what they would do next in a situation. The challenge of piloting a personality so alien to my own.

Posted by: Milo on November 29, 2008 2:48 AM

I'm a male and I play male characters.
Mostly an orc. That being said, it should be apparent that I don't care what my player looks like.
Also, I feel like playing a female character would be a lie... and weird.
Furthermore, I try not to hit on girls who play WOW. Although I do think I'm more likely to make friends with a female character simply because they tend to be less of idiots than male characters. Again it's not because they're females, people just play female characters differently... usually.. I have meant some real.. shall we say, "witches" in the game.

I'm level 26 or so though, so I have had a somewhat limited experience.

Posted by: Phillip on November 30, 2008 10:17 PM

Simply put, i thin Undead have the most interesting avatar of all the chars on WoW, i mean, what dude doesnt wanna be a badass skeleton who pops out of nowhere and kicks some random players ass? its just freakin great. i dont think i could play any other race other than undead, simply becuase no other class looks as badass

Posted by: Andy on December 1, 2008 6:48 PM

Simply put, i think Undead have the most interesting avatar of all the chars on WoW, i mean, what dude doesnt wanna be a badass skeleton who pops out of nowhere and kicks some random players ass? its just freakin great. i dont think i could play any other race other than undead, simply becuase no other class looks as badass

Posted by: Andy on December 1, 2008 6:48 PM

Male gamer with female WoW characters. Blood Elf female characters. I'm even an RPer. The reason I prefer female characters is because they are more interesting to RP as they tend to have more open personalities and can be more colourful and outgoing without appearing foolish. My main character IS a terrible flirt, but gives away far more gifts than she takes. No, I've never cybered in game and I don't intend to.

I've forgotten the point I was trying to make... -.-

Bah, it's a game! Get over it already!

Posted by: SomeOtherAndy on December 2, 2008 4:33 AM

Female gamer with mainly male WoW characters. =P I can't really say why, I just feel like you blend in more to the crowds as a male character. Also allows you to explore some interesting stereotypes in-game (male trolls, for instance, are great fun to play in RPs. =P)

Posted by: Zayda on December 2, 2008 10:39 PM

This thread is huge

Posted by: wowdude on December 3, 2008 1:06 AM

I'm a male who played as a male. Why? while I agree the females look better, and your going to be looking at them, it's just what I think of them. Call me sexist, but when I think of a brutal troll who kills everything is sight, I lean toward male characters. plus, with no real advantages, playing a female character would be like being a complete lie. That said, I do lie about personal information, but it's weird lying about something as blatant as gender (should) be. plus, with all my sex jokes, it would be obvious that I'm a guy playing a female character

Posted by: handsockpuppet on December 12, 2008 1:22 PM

I find this thread fascinating. I think it would be interesting to categorize the motivations chosen with 'gender-bending'. I think there could be several useful subgroups with which this data could be organized, and this data could be compared with some of Nick's articles. For instance, perhaps someone who plays MMO's for immersion and RP would consider gender and its reprecussions more in depth than an achievements-oriented player. As I've read through this thread, I've noticed several different grouping relating to gender, and I wonder if Nick either has or could create a survey exploring these trends.

Speaking for myself, I have played RPG's since FF3 for the SNES. WoW is the only MMO I have ever played, and I have played it for about year. The 1st character I chose was a Troll Priest mostly due to the fact that it was rarely chosen, filled a needed niche in PvE groups, had some nice lore (African tribal backdrop) and it had some idealized character traits. ( He is tall and lithe, I'm 6'0", 250 lbs., and have been described as 'buff with a gut'). My second character was a dwarf warrior. I still wanted to fulfill a need PvE role, but I wanted a character that mirrored me more closely. It should be noted that I've never spent more than 10 minutes creatinga a character (and 5 mins of that was spent cursing because the random name generator couldn't give me a name that wasn't taken).

However, I have several alts that follow no rhyme or reason. I've noticed that I'm a mix of whim and calculation (seems paradoxical). I find the chaos theory rampant in my playing. I didn't touch the barbershop for 55 lvls, but then I went twice in a week. Sometimes I want a serious looks; sometimes I want to be a clown. Whether I chose a male or female could depend upon serious philosophical reflection, forums, how I relate to my wife, or what I ate for breakfast. I'm glad that so many people have put great time and effort into their characters, and they deserve complimented. However, I just enjoy being spontaneous, perhaps as an alter-ego (I'm 1st born and repsonsible). Just as Nick was able to track a playing cycle in MMO's (ephoria to burnout to casual raiding), I wonder if a similar trajectory can be found in character creation.

In addition, I'm a 28 year old married male. I play the game for all apects of MMO's. I took the test available in the forums, and I scored a 45% on all areas (weird, huh?) I enjoy being a male, but I cook, do dishes, scub floors, and whatever else to help my wife. I love being a male, and I'm not ashamed of it. My toons are just me playing with a different skin. I don't RP, and sometimes I just make characters that look ridiculous. However, I'm serious in instances, but I only get mad if someone totally sucks or needs gear they don't need.

I know I'm not the typical poster in this thread, and I feel like I'm just reiterating the "normal 20's caucasian male" stereotype, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents. I've enjoyed reading this thread, and wanted to give a perspective from a more achievements oriented player who is trying to be as open minded as possible while embracing what I truly appreciate about MMO's.

Posted by: MattMc on December 15, 2008 1:13 PM

Back when I played WoW in the early days (Molten Core), there used to be this guy in my guild who played as a female Night Elf Rogue. He used to cyber with the guild leader on a regular basis and in return would get the BoE epics that dropped so he could sell them on the AH, now that was just wrong! He never used vent or told anyone else in the guild about his RL gender except for me, he just preferred misleading everyone for the perks it

I'm not in touch with him anymore, but they were still cybering by the time I quit playing soon after TBC came out. Our guild leader was a bit of a strange guy though, he was like in a constant state of denial about my friend's RL gender even though I had came out and told him he was a guy IRL lol, he just thought I was a liar :P

Posted by: Monkeyboy on December 16, 2008 3:31 PM

The females are much smaller making them less noticeable. I'm a primary rogue. The females seem to crouch down, becoming A LOT less noticeable when standing still. The females seem to be stronger period in PVP, maybe its just the way played but I'm wearing full T5 with a sucky lvl 60 mace and Mojo off-hand from ZA. I was fighting a nearly fully geared (T6 syphon mojo BT accessories), and he was barley touching me (45%-70% HP left) after each fight. This isn't entirely from the female char, but i do kill most other male rogues a lot easier then the females.

Posted by: ShiniGami on January 18, 2009 12:27 AM

I'm one of those rare 1 in 100, a women who plays male toons. And not the pretty males, either - give me my rotting undeads and spindly trolls!

I prefer to play male characters because in my experience, playing a female character lead to unwanted comments and attention. For example, if I had my human girl sitting down for a while, some random guy would run up, stand in front of me, and say something like, "hey as long as you're down there..." I really don't appreciate those types of comments. I am a very friendly person, and when I play as a female, "friendly" gets interpreted in all the wrong ways.

Playing a male is just more relaxing and enjoyable to me. And besides, when someone gives me help or gifts in-game, I like to think it's because I earned it, NOT because I stripped and emoted /dance.

Posted by: Tonton on January 20, 2009 10:15 AM

I am a male, but nearly all of my characters are female, except for my tauren. I think that race is the only one where the females dont look better then the males.

Posted by: Jeroen on February 17, 2009 11:53 PM

I am a 27 year old male who has been playing MMOs since 99 and has played almost every commercially available MMO in the USA. When I started playing I was just 18 and I had severe issues with homophobia. I would only play men because I thought gender-bending was something only 'weird' guys did. I had no desire to dupe other men into having cybersex with me.

My first female toon was in City of Heroes, only two years ago. I have grown a lot since 99 and so did not have the same reservations at gender-bending that I once had. I also am no longer homophobic.. having gained confidence in my heterosexuality while rejecting society's sexist male standards, I have enjoyed being 'just me' for years. The female toon I created was based around an idea--I wanted a teenaged character to roleplay in a particular supergroup, and a socially-awkward but good-hearted demonic imp female based on a webcomic I used to read sounded great.

What I discovered is that playing a female is both creepy and fun. Almost everyone reacts more favorably to a female - mistakes made are more easily forgiven and help is often more welcomed. I loved that. The flipside is the sexual harassment and/or just plain odd semisexual encounters. The creepiest was a demon in Club D who, upon discovering the petite purple girl before him was a teenager, insisted that she remove her boots and allow him to worship her feet.

I acted courteous throughout the encounter but was a little shaken; I had no idea that such off-the-wall encounters would be common to females (I had expected the misogynistic remarks, however). I believe the next character I devote time to being female will have to have some destination as well; a social group she can immediately join in order to find peers. Otherwise, rolling up a female toon feels something to me like walking into a dive on ladies night. I would like to be a female; I would not like to be a piece of meat.

Posted by: jrain on March 9, 2009 4:24 AM

I'm a guy that plays a Female Night elf Rogue. All my characters are female, the animations, the voices and well, the eye candy just make it more appealing to me. Dressing up and dancing in the Christmas outfit is always fun especially when you whip it out in the middle of a raid. However I never let anyone assume I'm a girl and if they think I am then I let them know otherwise :D That's not how I roll. /cast Vanish

Posted by: dcOblivEon on March 13, 2009 2:17 AM

I play a Draenei female on WOW. She was my first female character. I just really wanted to be a shaman and all my friends were Allies, so I rolled a female Draenei. I have no problems with it and sometimes I find myself smiling at how cute she can be. inb4 gay as hell.

Posted by: Howlingstar on March 31, 2009 5:48 AM

Female. Play a level 80 disc priest. And he's a male undead.

Here's my reason:
"If I am going to stare at a butt all day it might as well be a butt I'd like to look at."

inb4 necrophilia related comments :p

Posted by: Alice on April 7, 2009 3:40 PM

I'm a guy and I tend to pick my races based on which racials are the most beneficial for the class I'm rolling. I primarily play Alliance and PVE. Most of my Alliance toons are female because I think the male models for most of them, particularly Draenei, look goofy, ridiculous, and just plain bad to the extent I can't stand looking at them long enough to level them. Draenei are by far the worst and it's unfortunate they have the best PVE racials in the game.

Horde side I roll exclusively male since the character models for them are less awkward looking. This helps to avoid attention from lonely little boys who mistakenly, though not unreasonably, think I'm a chick based on my toon's gender. Suffice to say, there are definitely some odd, odd people out there and I've had a few even try to accuse me of lying and continue to hit on me when I told them I was a guy. I don't know how actual chicks put up with that crap.

Posted by: rckjms on April 18, 2009 5:47 PM

I usually picked a male character regardless of any benefits there might have because I take pride in being in my gender.

WoW happened to be the first game where I played a female Draenei for Alliance and the female Blood Elves when I played for Horde.

Perhaps that is due to the style WoW has for their male characters. It is frustrating to know that the only time your male character looks reasonable is when he is wearing a mask.

I guess graphical aesthetic plays a huge role to my choice...

Posted by: Crow on April 26, 2009 11:00 PM

I am a 22 year old straight male. In WoW, I simply prefer most of the female models, animations, hairstyles, and other aesthetic qualities over the awkward bulky male ones. Also, I create personalities and roles for my characters even though I don't roleplay. Sometimes females just fit better into certain roles in my opinion. I never pretend to be an actual girl, the same way I'm not "pretending" to be undead, or a warlock. They are characters in a game. I feel uncomfortable when guys hit on my characters, and I straighten them out right away, politely of course.

A guildie of mine (a RL girl) asked me if I was gay since I rolled a female rogue. Ridiculous. Even male Blood Elves were beefed up because people thought they looked "gay", and people still think they look "gay". I never understood what all of the homophobia was about with this sort of thing. In my opinion the "I just love starin' at dat fine booty" response from guys who play females is mostly just a defense against the homophobic cavemen who think playing a chick makes a guy gay. And it only perpetuates sexist homophobic idiocy. I find much of the WoW community to be very immature anyway.

Posted by: noname on July 12, 2009 5:25 AM

This is a very interesting debate. After reading the article, I counted up the characters on my main WoW server. 5 females, 4 males. One male, one female at 80. All the females are attractive races, night elves and blood elves. The males, on the other hand, have in common that they were of unattractive races: orcs, gnomes, dwarves, and trolls. This led me to conclude that although I had no particular attachment to gender association, I subconsciously made my toons associated with my own sexual preferences. If I made a character of an attractive race, I made them female; unattractive, male.

Posted by: Ryan on September 11, 2009 6:29 PM

IRL lady. My guildies thought i was a bloke for several months until i got a mic. Doesnt really bother me which gender i'm assigned (Tauren female not really that different from a boy anyway) because it shouldn't affect how people interact with me.
Its not homosexual to gender-bend and it's not a reflection of the player's preferences. People play female BEs, Human and NEs because the males look weird and a little gross.
Next expansion, as soon as i can i'm swapping to a male Troll druid. Because i think that trolls have some of the coolest attributes in game and are awesome looking.
its not about their butts! though they're not bad ;)

Posted by: Alleri on September 13, 2009 1:16 AM

I am a male, and play a female character. I do not accept gifts or respond to flirtation from male charachters. I like how the female avatar looks compared to the males. You can blather all the psychobabbel about what it means that you want, but in my opinion its a bunch of drivel. It just means I prefer the way they look. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Posted by: Eilana, Wood Elf Hunter on November 30, 2009 12:18 PM

wow! this discussion spans nearly 4 and a half years! anyway I have a male night elf druid. He's sort of ugly, but mostly because the eyepatch he has is sort of piercing his eyeball. Good thing I have kitty form! :3

I think the basic stuffs that goes through a gamer's head when creating a character is how they'll enjoy playing the character. I would not create a red haired-crazy-bearded dwarf because I can't see myself playing that. On the other side of the spectrum I CAN see myself playing a smiley, French-bearded gnome with a pink mohawk, because that's cool.

It can't be boiled down to specifics, as everyone is different, but certain characters look better than others. For example, compare female dwarves, trolls, and orcs to humans, night elves, and blood elves.

People design characters to appeal to them, whether it be in sexiness, coolness, hilarity, or whatever else it may be... or maybe, being a twilight fan, a worgen named jacob?

Everyone has their own reasons, and I respect them. Even if its an immature sex fantasy, because that's puberty, don't blame.

Posted by: Mythris (Male playing male Nelf druid) on December 3, 2009 2:15 AM

As a female I predominantly play female characters mostly because in my gaming experience people tended to not believe I was a girl (they aren't very prominent in FPSs.) When I began playing at release, my server (PvP) was heavily male populated. Having a female character generally did represent that you were a female in real life. With the growth of the game I've seen many more guys roll female characters to which people now, generally, assume that any character is played by a man. People are oft surprised when I inform them that I'm female, usually because I don't "act" like one.

With the release of Burning Crusade, I have made two blood elf male characters. Like so many have pointed out, they wish to play physically appealing characters, and until blood elves, the males weren't alluring to me.

Posted by: Troll Priest on January 19, 2010 9:57 AM

My first experience with playing against type was with an extremely tall male avatar in SWG. I let a female friend mod my avatar's appearance to level up her skills. Shortly thereafter, I was somewhat surprised when I started to attract a lot more attention from female players. It was at that point I became very interested in how avatar appearance impacted the way other players related to me in game. So in various games, I created a wide range of character appearances and after a while I became reasonably proficient at mirroring other players expectations as to what type of personality the avatar should translate into. I found that in the short term, I had to play in a manner strongly incongruous with expectations to overcome the impact of avatar appearance. Even more interesting is that my real life friends would refer to my character by my avatar's gender as opposed to mine during discussions of the game.

Posted by: Hayden on March 6, 2010 4:34 PM

I just saw your question re. why older males may play female avatars in larger numbers. In general, female avatars are treated more politely by males and more warmly by females. In that way, it's kind of like being on an RP server. On the downside, if you are playing a youthful female avatar, good luck getting the respect you should be given when it comes time to discuss raid tactics. Anyways, older males may be willing to exchange the greater technical credibility accorded to male avatars (important if you value achievement) in exchange for the greater personal warmth (and less in your face conflict) accorded female avatars (important if you value social connections and disfavor interpersonal competition and conflict).

Posted by: Hayden on March 6, 2010 5:16 PM

I am a 57y male, moved over from Nethack and other similar games, with all female characters, for the past 25y, now have 5 wow accounts and all 50 characters are female, in 10 squads of 5, for even questing purposes. I try to have a mix of all classes and skills. Each squad has all gathering skills. My girls are sometimes noticed as they form a line while moving. But that is due to the multiboxing than their sex. I am pretty much self contained, although, will drop a squad member to group with someone who needs help.

I feel more like Charlie, in Charlie's Angels, directing these deadly girls. I love the idea of female empowerment and in rl have intelligent, competent and sexy girlfriends. I envision my female characters with the type of women, in rl that I want to associate and have as friends. The characters are more like friends, daughters and sisters. In rl, I am a cook and work with a female crew and they get the job done without hassle, like I have had with male crews. I just prefer to work with women, than with men.

Posted by: williemm on April 12, 2010 6:57 AM

I'm male and I just make male characters. I don't care at all what my person looks like, so I make a character that's my own gender. To me, playing as the opposite gender would feel awkward. I'm not saying it's gay or anything, I just don't want to do it.

Posted by: on May 5, 2010 8:10 PM

I only play male characters. I'd kinda like to make a female character, because I feel that they just look better, but it seems kinda weird in my opinion. But hey, if anyone wants to make a different gender'd character, it's their decision, and no one should have a problem with that. It's not gay.

Posted by: Mick Freston on May 11, 2010 6:28 PM

I'm a male and i play male characters because that's how it should be. I don't know why but it annoys me when a male plays a female character. The female Night Elves and Blood Elves are attractive, but I'm not going to make one. It's kind of like an in-game sex change.

Posted by: Brian on May 14, 2010 10:35 AM

I'm a woman who plays WorldofWarcraft, and I play mostly female characters, as initially I never considered playing a male. However I did eventually make a male character simply because I felt like it one day, and he is one of my favourites. Most of the people I have met will at some point question my gender because they think I act slightly peculiar for a male, I suppose. I'm completely happy playing either gender, and it is nice to play as them sometimes because occasionally you will find males who inisist on treating you like the damsel in distress. Before I played as males, my friend told me he liked playing as girls, 'because I hate to have to watch some guy's butt all day!' Truer advice I have never been given. ;]

Posted by: Antoine on May 29, 2010 9:25 AM

On Runescape, the occasionally, its easier or more fun to swtich genders, or you have to do it for a quest. The first time I changed my character's gender, by the time I got to where I was going (a 2 minute run) a couple of guys tried to hit on me. I changed back into a guy right after the quest. I also had to be a female for a thing I did for my sister. I forgot to change back and ran a few dungeons. after one of them, the guy said "ur cute" before logging out. I felt odd.

On WoW, I never play females. I don't have a problem staring at my character's butt because: 1, i don't actually do that, and 2, I am a druid and rarely am in my normal form =P. Plus, with armour and robes, thats a weak point anyway.

Posted by: Beliir on June 16, 2010 2:11 PM

"Whether or not you get attention from male players who want to shower you with "gifts" depends, like rl, on if you act like a tramp or not."

False. False on WoW, false on other games too. I'm super quiet, I solo all the time and usually just chat for gameplay-related reasons. And yes, my character wears pants, even if that means a slight stats drop. I have still gotten guys following me around, asking if I want a boyfriend and trying to give me things on a number of different MMOs including WoW. This goes away when playing a male character. Incidentally, I've also experienced racial-based harassment when playing a character with dark skin, in other games that allow that option (I'm white IRL).

Posted by: Z on July 7, 2010 7:21 PM

Well I do not know what the fuss is all about when people draw the line of men using female characters?

I am male with male tastes and yes I like to see the female form more than I would like to see steroid bunnies.(which I do not see myself as)

I first played Unreal tournament and noticed that female characters not only were appealing in looks,but were in fact a smaller target that moved faster. Doesn't take a genius to figure out you were harder to hit in an fps.

So began my use of female characters.Other than chuckling that it is harder to hit me and the character moved much faster, I began to like the attraction when you keep yer mouth shut and watch guys go all soft in play. Maybe it is some psychology thing that guys seem to take it easy on something with a female form. Then I moved up to Jedi outcast and Jedi academy, this is where
to me it became almost eye candy to see grace in a jedi...It some how did not work with male jedi.

I don't know why but there is a certain attraction to having something that is perceived fragile,yet visually appealing.Something that even by "control" has your complete and utter trust.Some guys I know get a kick out of the CONTROL factor, the fact they control a female, others.. some sort of paternal or ideal girl that they'd trust,even if it is role play.
(okay call me sexist but sub consciously males seem to do this)

At first I Liked challenge if you will.I know in Wow your warlock or mage up and close gets chewed up pretty badly, but for a guy who likes looking at a female form, what would I like to see grow or nurture???

For me, it was a chance to experience what it is like based on women I knew intimately, and to make decisions that go against my better judgement knowing their actions,reactions and emotions.

At first I lost it,but later it started to grow on me.Sometimes in my mind the illogical,irresponsible and unpredictable
was almost liberating.

No I never considered being a woman,yet getting a glimpse of what it is like to be them,treated good and bad, disrespected or not, has given me new insight. Some things I did as a male individual or in a group that I never thought of
I started to find offensive, heck even over protection though meant well I understood as a hinderance.

I have almost developed a sort of mind set answering questions AS this character and have found that I could be the nurturing elder type at the same time if cheated ,the vindictive type.

Though I only emulate the extremes without as much subtleties, people bought into it. call it lying, but what is acting?

In wow I am both a healer and a head of a small guild and for some strange reason, people seem to empty out more of their thoughts on me.

Even personal problems.In a way I have become an surrogate doctor Phil.some of my life lessons I have managed to impart..

From typing to microphone, I was this character.
Why, I do not know,but I still am.

Since I am a real male, there are certain advantages that only men know. because of this
Some women have busted their REAL cheating partners in real life, to name but a few things i have fixed.

I still guild, but not as often and I have not come out, but I consider it a responsibility and honor to watch over people and give advice as this character.It seems fulfiling to say the least, though I would not trade my gender for the fairer sex.My wife is the only one that knows this
and Is mostly the base of my character.

(voice wise... she is my inpiration..)


Posted by: Rant on July 19, 2010 3:41 AM

I am a female playing WoW. I started gaming at a very young age, and I just remember how rare it was to even be able to play as a female. I don't mind playing as a male character in a game, but when I have the choice I always pick female - just because I'm so used to play a male in so many games... It's still rare for me to be able to play a female in the games I really want to play.

I've had some annoyances with guys who go out of their way to white-knight just because I have a female character - but also most people don't really assume I'm a female in real life unless I actually tell them (which I rarely do - I don't see the relevance).

Posted by: boojum on October 8, 2010 4:51 PM


Posted by: mrtesla on November 4, 2010 8:28 PM

My main and her sister are females for a lot of reasons. I have a few male characters here and there (I play on a few different servers. Or did; I haven't played in a few months due to lack of funds..bloody small town economy), though.

...I hate saying this, but is it just me or do WoW males look like rapists? No, really. Look through the Human males, not that I play Alliance, and tell me that none of them make your eye twitch.
I communicate in an either genderless or feminine fashion. Though I've learned how to "speak male" (and no, I'm not gay) I don't get along with males and don't understand them; I came out a good while ago as someone who very much dislikes a body he feels was an eff-up of nature. (Don't start, religious folk. I'm just stating my reasoning as fact.)
I've never been one to fit in with anyone, and since an early age I've looked to roleplaying games to fulfill desires and needs that I can't accomplish in life, like a sense of purpose. I'm one of those weird people with memories of a different life, and they're stronger than the memories I have of this one, and since I can't fulfill the desire to be the me that I remember, I trust my main character, Aurorane, to be my conduit through which to do that. So in a way, I suppose I fall under the roleplay mechanic in that sense, though it's partly just being the me that I can't be as well.
I'm not slutty or sexy in the modern world's fashion; even in my character's biography in those little roleplay addons they have now, I mention Aurorane's lack of incredibly attractive features and it tends to keep the horndogs off of my chat channel. I stick up for myself, I'm too brash, and too blunt, and have a will too strong to ever need rescued. I don't get special favours or presents in-game, though I've had an occasional lesbian or male hit on my character (oddly enough, not the males-who-play-women, but actual lesbians - not hard to tell often times) for her/my/our strength.

Though I doubt I'm in high supply in the demographics, I'm sure there are a decent amount of people that are like me in the regard that they play WoW as an escape or a conduit in which to be themselves. (Surgery is expensive, games are pretty cheap; and if you feel like you belong in a different place, what a good solution.)

Just wanted to pose the point-of-view of someone who likely has a very different one.

I appreciate some of the points-of-view on here. And I like that I didn't notice many bigoted comments on here about WoW players, or about females et cetera. : )


Posted by: Aurorane on February 7, 2011 1:35 PM

I play plenty of male AND female characters in WoW for the simple fact that I shape them out of people in my life. I have a male troll shaman that represents my son, a female blood elf hunter after my niece, and so on and so forth. I have almost the same amount of females and males and play no differently with either of them. I do occasionally get hit on as my niece's toon, but I am quick to tell them that it represents a five year old.

Posted by: Chris on March 27, 2011 5:17 PM

I play females cuz im gay. >_>

Posted by: Firess on June 2, 2011 3:06 AM

I normally play male because, well, that's what I am. I do on occasion make female characters just for kicks, but if I end up liking the character and begin to level it seriously, sometimes it gets awkward and I end up recycling it for a male model.

There is one notable exception to this rule ... PvP. I tend to play female characters in pvp because, at the risk of appearing sexist, they are perceived as less dangerous by an aggressive opponent, and I find that I am nearly always underestimated (at least once), by people I face in combat.

They will do one of two things. They come at me fast and wreckless, blowing all their best cooldowns as fast as they can hit the buttons in an attempt to flex their machismo, which means they're not fighting smart, and if I don't fall over dead instantly (I never do), then they have nothing left once lured into a long battle. This almost immediately gives me the advantage because I still have most of my "Oh S...!" buttons on reserve and can weather the storm.

The second scenario has them ignoring me completely, seeing my frail, female self as absolutely no threat, and a brilliant strategist doesn't expend resources on a non-threat when there are big, ugly male avatars with huge spaulders to contend with. This, of course, leaves me free to fire at will, and by the time it does click that I might have some teeth, after all, it's too late to recover.

So there you have it, the primary reason why I, personally, choose to play a female avatar in a virtual world, even though I am male.

And oh yea, I almost forgot to mention ... if I'm going to be staring at a virtual butt for hours on end, it might as well be one I like looking at.

Posted by: Will on September 18, 2011 9:19 PM

I play female characters because I'm male to female transgender. Playing a male character (even though they look good :D) feels kinda wrong and I can only enjoy a game if I can identify with my character.
I tried playing male characters, but I loose interest in them pretty quick. And it is strange to be asked if you are really a girl playing a male character because of you play style... It's nice to be seen as a girl, but gets awkward if your character is male, haha.
The only thing that really annoyed me was that guys tend act strange around female characters and giving you gifts, which I usually do not accept. Acting like a damsel in distress makes you one. ;)

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Posted by: cheshycox on December 4, 2011 7:43 PM

I like to fully immerse myself in the world of the game that I'm playing. If I'm playing in a body biologically foreign to my own, I find that a lot harder to do. Unlike other mediums, such as writing or drawing, in video games I see my characters as expys of myself. I just can't "get into" a character who doesn't share my gender. I was interested in playing as a dwarf in LotRO, but as it is impossible to be a female of that race, I just couldn't do it. There's no way that I could ever relate a burly, bearded male to myself. However, if the male and female character models look basically the same in a game (like in Fate, a single player where the player is a child), I find that gender doesn't matter.

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