In the classic RPG class types, we see a fairly even distribution. The stereotypical gender difference is also seen. Men prefer to be warriors while women prefer to be healers. There were no gender differences in the archer or mage classes.
In many games where there are warring factions, disparities between the faction populations typically arise. Given the choice, it was a little surprising to see that 80% of respondents would prefer the minority.
And finally, here's a classic trend we've seen before. When asked whether they would gender-bend, men were about 4 times as likely as women to create a character of the opposite gender.
I think I'm most fascinated by the Vampire vs. Vampire hunters one and the gender preferences. That's got to mean something. *grins*
Where's the "Rogue" architype in classic RPG?
The last time I saw your gender bending data was I think from maybe 5 years or so ago. As I remember, the male data matches what you show above, but the data for females was fairly differently, perhaps 1% wanted to gender bend. Am I remembering that correctly? Is it statistically significant? Do you have any thoughts on how that change has come about?
I found not only the class change to gender interesting but the fact that almost everyone wanted to play a minority.
And T "The Archer" was the classic "rogue" or "scout" class. Back in the late 1970's that was one of the four options in the original DnD game. Mage, Cleric, Warrior and Archer.
There are probably a fair amount of conclusions one could draw about the "minority" statistic, based on an overall profile of the typical individual who plays MMOs rather than, say, sports or other RL activities.
But I know from my own experience when I answered that question I was really thinking about my own Horde vs. Alliance rationale - at that time Horde was the minority and therefore you had much greater chance of getting into PvP etc. Same for GW's Luxon vs. Kurzick - Kurzicks stand around in the outpost waiting for the timer, while Luxons, being much less numerous, can have nearly constant PVP play.
For the sake of historical accuracy: In the original D&D rules (1973), there were three player classes - "fighting-men" (warriors), "magic-users" (mages), and "clerics" (priests). (Klunky terminology was the order of the day.)
Greyhawk (1975), the first rules supplement, introduced a new subclass of fighting-men - "paladins" - and a new class, "thieves" (rogues).
No archers. Not even in AD&D, at least in the first edition (1978). Perhaps they were introduced as a class in later editions. (I haven't kept up.)
I'd be really interested in a follow up story looking at the minority issue and Warhammer. If 80 percent of gamers want to play the underdog, why is Order outnumbered on so many servers? I think part of the answer is Warhammer revolves around open RVR where outnumbering the other guy gives you a distinct advantage. This is very different than instanced PVP like WOW's battlegrounds or GW's alliance battles, where essentially the waiting line is shorter on the less populated side.
@JD- it's actually very easy to explain. Obviously if 80% of players are shooting to be the underdog, they wouldn't be the underdog for long.
Realistically, the "population balance" issue is one of the lowest factors on which side a player will play.
Most of the time, that information isn't readily apparent until after the player has already invested some time into the game.
Additionally, Warhammer caters to a very specific sect of the MMO gamer market (KMAE?), who likely focus more heavily on cosmetic and thematic appeal (i.e.- playing classes that look and play powerful).
I have always found the "gender bending" issue very interesting. As a female, I think I might be more inclined to play a male char if there were advantages to it. However, in the games I've played, female chars can do everything a male char does; they just look different. I think the main reason I play as my real gender is I don't care to have to try to participate in "locker room" convos - you know - where half of the words start with "a", "b" or "c". Hah!
I have been told that males are more inclined to play as females because 1) They like the way the female avatars look 2) To take advantage of the generosity some guys have in giving stuffz to players perceived to be females.
The fact that more males want to play female characters than females playing male characters says something. Or does it?
Perhaps males like to get in touch with their feminine side more than females like to get in touch with their male side. Who knows. Or maybe its just that guys like looking at female characters more than girls like looking at male characters.
One thing I'll say about the male gender bending. Most of the males I met who did play a female character regretted the decision once they began raiding and the gender mismatch was revealed over the guild VOIP channel. I expect gender bending prevalence would vary from game to game and be found to be in proportion to the percentage of gamers in the game world who are raiding.
As an older female gamer (45 till next month...) the gender preference FOR ME is based almost purely on the fact that most of the books I enjoyed as a child had male heroes. I was thrilled to be able to be a female hero when the opportunity arose through computer games.
I guess it is a bit of rebellion on my part, my husband is perfectly comfortable with a female avatar if that suits his concept of the character, while I feel as if I am "wearing the wrong skin" playing a male. Yet I have more male friends than female, and tend to prefer them as "mates" (in the British vernacular) so it is not simply a matter of not identifying with the opposite gender.
As a male 16 year old strict MMO player I can say a few reasons as to why males like to play as females in-game.
1) men like how the avatar looks (usually ages 15-21, during that "special time")
2) Benefits of guys wanting an online gf to give stuff to
3) Guys are closer to their feminine side than girls ar to their masculine side (even the XY chromosome I learned about in biology proves guys are almost female :P)
That's all I got, and I personally use 2-3 avatars that are female, but i've never had a female main. It's weird when someone finds out you are a guy.
I have to disagree with you, Doc. :) From my experience, both personal and observed, there are more women in touch with their masculine side, than vice versa. I know I tend to be told that I act like a guy sometimes. >.
There's a whole stigma, especially in the younger generation about men or boys, acting too effeminate. Which is exactly why, as other people have pointed out, if certain men/boys get found out that they are indeed male in real life, they feel awkward about playing female characters in-game.
Personally, I don't see the whole big deal. It's a character, it's not real, and you're entitled to play the game any way you deem fit. :)
I am female and almost always play female characters. Just never had an interest in playing male characters.
As for men feeling awkward, I know so many men that play female characters (My personal perception is that over 50 percent of visually female characters are men) that I don't understand the awkwardness.
Funny thing about that...
I'm a male, and I usually play as a female character. Not sure why I did it at first, maybe it really was that she looked nice or something. I wasn't trying to get any favors or anything, though, and I don't think I got any.
But you know, the more I played with that character, it indeed becomes more an identification with the self, and less eye-candy, if it ever was in the first place. To the point that when some random other males in the game started attacking her for her style of dress (not my fault, the game's highest level armor for her class at the moment was a little skimpy) that I wanted to defend her honor. Or, well, let her defend her own honor. Haha. I guess I probably would have been offended either way, so it doesn't really prove anything.
The awkwardness part, for me, really comes in where people directly ask if I'm a guy or girl in real life. Obviously, I'm a guy, and I'm not about to lie to them about it. But since I assume that they've always thought of me as a female, it feels a little weird to confirm their new suspicions that I'm not. Almost like betrayal after lying by omission.