World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft 9.1.5 Remains A Tone Deaf Response To Sexualization Concerns

When Victoria’s Secret Female asked Blizzard about female characters not looking like they stepped out of a lingerie catalog at Blizzcon 2010, she was met with mockery and an all-too typical male obliviousness to the sexualization of female representation in video games. To be clear, World of Warcraft did not invent sexualized content in fantasy. Sex has been an element of fantasy from Greek Mythology, through the Arthurian Legend, Robert E. Howard’s Conan series, to present day media. The difference now is Blizzard Entertainment apparently allowed their fantasy-fueled fascinations to spill into the real world, soiling their reputation and inspiring many creators and players to abandon the company and Azeroth.

Blizzard’s recent developer update outlined their new review and modification of World of Warcraft’s many assets to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment. I noted their damage control attempt in another article and while I welcome improving the player environment, I recommend they stop focusing on in-game painting cleavage, and return to the question from 2010 and update female character designs to make them equivalent to males.

Here are two ways Blizzard can move forward.

The Underwear Disparity

The underwear disparity is simple to explain and easy to rectify. Male characters all wear boxer briefs, the most comfortable of undergarments.

9.1.5 male Void Elf customization options

Female characters on the other hand all sport high leg French Cut panties.

9.1.5 female draenei customization options

What is the reasoning for showing digital ass cheeks? Give female characters comfy boxer briefs too and level the underwear playing field. Male and female gamers should not join WoW only to learn the developer’s baseline view of female champions is as pole dancers.

One Appearance For All Genders, Please

I was surprised to learn the gender gear difference was still active. For some reason, I thought Blizzard removed this a while ago. This coding encapsulates the problem with Blizzard’s treatment of female characters. Basically, armor pieces which look imposing and protective on male characters are transformed to minimalist lingerie on female characters.

Here is my blood elf paladin in a purple themed transmog I created.

Purple shorts are not optimal protection from plate armor.

The difference occurs when I visit a Barber Shop and change genders. This particular chest plate maintains the exposed mid-riff, however, now I am wearing full coverage plate pants.

Girl shorts become guy pants

The only reasoning I can fathom for this coding is Blizzard felt some armor pieces which looked sexy on female characters looked silly or effeminate on males. In a truly inclusive game, the developer’s personal viewpoint does not matter. Either leg gear are pants for both genders or shorts for both.

While I would like to see both of these issues included in 9.1.5, this statement from Blizzard’s article does not raise my hopes:

We also want players to be able to express themselves through their characters, so we don’t intend to change existing player looks or cosmetics. Instead, we want to ensure that we’re offering a wide range of options for players to represent themselves.

Blizzard is not allowing players to express themselves or providing a wide range of options if female characters continue to be based on teenage boy fantasies. The design philosophy of empowering male characters while sexualizing female characters is at the heart of 2010’s Blizzcon question and today’s controversies. Whether Blizzard recognizes this and makes meaningful changes to enrich the World of Warcraft for all players remains to be seen.

19 comments

  1. When I leave my house most young women are wearing sexy, often revealing clothes. All women I play with like to doll up their characters and make them look sexy and cute.
    These sexualization complaints are mostly made by insecure nerds who think all women are hardcore feminists

    1. I was going to Trash this comment for being troll bait, but decided to clarify my points instead. Let’s hope this helps your understanding of what I’m talking about.

      First, the insult. “insecure nerds”? I’m writing a blog article about a video game. I think my being a nerd is clear. I’ve probably been a nerd since before you were born. Why wouldn’t I be proud of being a nerd? I’m inquisitive, creative, and very intelligent. Works for me. Now, about being ‘insecure,’ Well, I am a decorated US Marine vet, with two degrees, and was a fireman in a nuclear power plant. I think I’m pretty secure with myself.

      I don’t understand what you mean by ‘hardcore feminists’. I believe women should be treated, paid, and recognized equal to men. There’s no reason for them to still be putting up with the brainless, sexist, bullshit that continues to exist.
      And I’m fine with any adult person wearing whatever they want. If a female player wants to dress sexy in the game and real life, great! It’s their choice.

      I’m speaking out against the choices made by male developers on how they represented women in the game. That may not sound like a big deal, but considering the amount of trouble Blizzard is in due to male staff treating their female peers like meaningless game characters, it is.
      WoW is also a teen rated game. It should not be instructing teen female players that thongs and French cut panties are standard underwear types, while guys sport boxer briefs. Likewise, armor appearance should not radically change only because of the player’s gender.

      These development decisions were inappropriate and not acceptable in the changing social environment. If believing this makes me a “woke warrior.” Cool. I’ll take it. Better that than a witless caveman.

      Thank you for your feedback. I understand we all have our own views on things, and that’s fine. You have presented yours, and I have elaborated on mine. You may respond, but this is not a conversation I wish to continue. Cheers and Happy New Year!

      1. James Pietromonico says:

        Jesus christ shut the fuck up you hypocrite. You are part of the problem. Seriously this woke shit is is nothing more than nonsensical ravings of an entitled fart.

      2. Interesting view. Please explain how I’m part of the problem, and this is entitled ravings.

    2. James Pietromonico says:

      Agreed. I’m so sick of these complaints about something that’s been in the game for years. Don’t change a thing Blizzard. You did enough damage already. And don’t listen to these people crying about over sexualized material. If they don’t like it, they can leave and stop playing the game. Don’t ruin it for the mature adults who remind themselves this is just a game and nothing more.

      This article was a complete waste of time to read. And these complaints are just irrelevant and ridiculous. I hope Blizzard sticks to their guns and leaves it alone.

      1. So you support Blizzard maintaining an outdated, sexist attitude towards its female players and staff? Got it. Thank you for proving my point.

    3. These articles are so stupid. Go to ANY owmens shop worldwide and there is sexy lingerie and no male clothes. Women WANT that and it’s absurd to keep pretending otherwise.

      1. Wow. Another totally clueless guy. You realize I’m discussing development choices made in a video game, and not women’s fashion, right? Thank you for justifying my view that things need to change.

  2. yea but wtf we aint out there wearin granny panties under our sexy clothes. Maybe women who don’t want to wear these things or are uncomfortable with them should look at themselves harder. I like the garments for women, I would never wear ugly ass boxers why should my wow toon? EW TERRIBLE IDEA this is just bitter fat bitches complaining

    1. I’m all for adding non-stat underwear to Tailoring, so players can craft and wear what they want. However, when there is no player choice then I think a more neutral approach is appropriate.

  3. Wait a sec tho… all the woke people saying that the women characters underwear is too sexualized and that it should be changed… but aren’t women the ones demanding that they shouldn’t need to dress conservatively and instead that men should be taught that they aren’t sexual objects? I’m just very confused with all this. I say let the women characters have sexy underwear and if you don’t like it then make your Nightborne wear a robe or dress with a respectable neckline.

    1. What if a player does not want to have their character wearing a thong? Shouldn’t they have the ability to change it, or not have the design like that at all, since it needs nothing to the game? Likewise, changing it removes nothing from the game.

  4. Wait a sec tho… all the woke people saying that the women characters underwear is too sexualized and that it should be changed… but aren’t women the ones demanding that they shouldn’t need to dress conservatively and instead that men should be taught that they aren’t sexual objects? I’m just very confused with all this. I say let the women characters have sexy underwear and if you don’t like it then make your Nightborne wear a robe or dress with a respectable neckline.

  5. Just give both sexes the choice to change to any underwear at the barber.

  6. Anonymous says:

    shut the fuck up lmfao

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: