Men playing Witch Elves

Jalaar has an interesting thread on Warhammer Conflict about Men role-playing as Witch-Elves.

Fact is, most MMORPG servers are not designated as RP servers. So surely just rolling on a non-RP server would mean that everyone realises you aren’t RPing as a witch elf? But no, people feel the need to add explicitly, “I might play one but I won’t be playing as one.”

Here at the Book of Grudges we have no issues with people roleplaying (or just playing) characters of opposite genders: go play, have fun. But is there something about the highly sexualised witch-elves that makes guys just a little bit awkward ? Perhaps even the non-RPers identify with their characters more than they like to admit.

This reminded me of one of my funnier roleplaying experiences back on a RP MUSH. I was a staffer and I was playing a female character to run a scene for another player (who was male, but had a female character).

It was great, lots of conflict, good roleplaying all around. At the end of it, the other player sent me a whisper to say that he’d enjoyed the scene but he thought I needed more practice in playing women because my character wasn’t feminine enough.

What do you think? Can men RP females more convincingly than women? Would the idea of being represented online by a semi-naked ninja elf toon make you a bit uncomfortable?

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14 Responses

  1. What I want to know is why I never get the hassle some female players get from their fellow gamers? I never get stalkers, propositions, free stuff (well, not since DAoC when I was one of the only friars anyway!), etc. Am I really and truly not girly enough? Actually, I think some of it comes down to attitude and not being bothered that I’m female in a slightly more male world. Which comes with being old ;p

  2. I gave you free stuff! Once.

  3. Okay, since waiting on Warhammer has given me all this time, maybe this is a good time to discuss the world of RPing. I don’t want to offend anyone but this is a year that a African-American man was elected as a representative of a major political party in the U.S, so 2008 is about breaking through barriers, right?

    It seems to me there is a chasm between the world of people who play MMOs and RP and those that do not. I fall into the latter. Since my original MMO days back in EQ, I have been plagued by identity crisis. I like the depth of game that MMOs and RPGs offer, but feel crowded by those that roleplay.

    Most of the non-mmo-playing world thinks that people who play MMOs are roleplayers. It makes it very hard to enjoy the experience when you have to look over your shoulder to make sure no one is watching. According to Dr. Jerald Block, more people are ashamed of playing WoW than watching porn. Why should we have to feel this way?

    So, why do I care what other people think? No matter what anyone says, everyone cares. I know it’s bad, but if I may be completely honest, I wish roleplaying would go away.

  4. Looking at the WHA class poll, it seems that most men (assuming most voters are men) are indeed not inclined to play as a Witch Elf. It is the least popular Destruction class, and in fact, one of the least popular classes overall. The Witch Hunter mirror class, in contrast, is one of the most popular Order classes.

  5. @Controversial

    I’m curious as to why you feel crowded by roleplayers? From my experience, they are a minority in any typical player base, and even on dedicated roleplaying servers, it is a minority again that engage in anything other than infrequent and casual roleplay.

    I’m pretty sure that WAR will have RP and non-RP servers, so roll on a non-RP server and your problem is solved, right?

  6. I think perhaps Controversial is feeling that by playing MMOs they’re being viewed as a roleplayer by society, and that that’s not a tag they feel happy with since they don’t roleplay.

    I’m not entirely sure there is a solution to that as it’s all about societal perceptions except to be loud and proud about MMO gaming and to patiently explain the differences between RPers and non-RPers.

    I’m fairly light RP in MMOs, keeping most of my RPing to tabletop games. Sure, people at work think I’m a bit strange, but they actually tend to ask me about it and we all have a laugh about Balrog-killing on my friday nights 🙂

    I also uncovered 2 ex-D&D players amongst our staff, and one ex-Warhammer tabletop player. They were all a little ashamed of it, but willing to confide in me that they really enjoyed the games and gave them up to feel more ‘normal’.

  7. Ah ok, I guess I just find the concept of caring what Joe Bloggs thinks of my favourite pastime a little strange 🙂

  8. Now this really is an interesting topic and one to get my teeth in to.

    First of all to answer the posed question – I would definatly feel uncomfortable playing a female avatar akin to the witch-elf. I think you can make of that what you will. I have a tendency to play characters that represent aspects of my own character whether hidden in normal day to day or not.

    I think this opens up another question which is – Can we truely play a character that is nothing like our own personality? Save that one for another day though.

    Witch elves? Honestly I would assume while playing WAR that 90% of witch elves are male players. You’ll have the camp that argue – “If I have to look at an ass all day it might as well be sexy”. To those that argue “It allows me to get free stuff”. Either way it’s not me and will never be me. I do find it uncomfortable because I would rather not deal with certain situations it could potentially put me in to. That and the fact that they often look a bit wimpy! Give me a good dwarf lass I can hold on to on a cold night 😉

    To answer the other theme that runs through this. As a roleplayer I know there is “roleplayers” and roleplayers. The kind of “roleplay” that can go on in the dark streets of a city is not the kind of roleplay I go in for. Do I really have to spell it out for you? Roleplay is however an incredibly social event and that is often overlooked by the general public. I find it disheartening to think that people have a negative view of roleplayers.

    We don’t have negative views of church goers, or skaters or horse riders or football players? We don’t have negative view of actors (at least in principle) so roleplaying is not a million miles away from acting. I guess as a roleplayer who plays computer games and loves Star Trek I probably fit in to the VERY nerdy category. So what? If you have a problem with that then I probably don’t want to know you either so we’ll just coexist. That is my attitude because to be honest I shouldn’t have to apologise for the things I enjoy.

    I think half the people who knock our past times often have never tried it. At least have the conviction to try it before you pass judgement!

    So as you have guessed I could probably rant on about this for ages it really is quite close to my heart however I’ll save it for another time.

  9. While on the subject of Witch Elves first and foremost, I should state that I do intend to play a Witch Elf. The reason being fairly simple, I like rogue-type melee classes, and I like the ugly team. In WoW I played an Undead Rogue, in AoC I played a Stygian Assassin, so the most natural thing for me in WAR will be a Witch Elf.

    So what? It’s a chic. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality and gender identity to not be threaten by playing a class that only has female characters. Come on people… didn’t you play Tomb Raider?

    @Torvik, I DO have a negative view of church goers, lol, but that’s another topic for another thread, far away from this blog. I think bringing in things like that is a bit a derail anyway.

    As far as roleplaying hurting the social perception of MMORPG gamers, I tend to agree. When people compare WoW/EQ/DaoC to LARPing, there’s a problem.

    Having to explain to someone why PvP in these games is so much fun feels like a waste of breath, because at the end of my diatribe about PvP vs. PvE vs. RP, they generally still don’t see where the lines are drawn.

    But, I suppose it’s like anything else in this world, something exciting and attractive will always bring in the people that give it a negative stigma (though it might not necessarily be negative).

  10. Why take it upon yourself to educate the masses about the merits of PvP over other aspects of MMO play? If you aren’t able to break through their preconceptions, then perhaps it would be more appropriate to bemoan their ignorance rather than the habits of a minority of MMORPG players that choose to roleplay.

    There is only a problem with ‘the social perception of MMORPG gamers’ if you choose to care about the social perception of MMORPG gamers. When people compare WoW/EQ/DaoC to LARPing, the real problem is one of ignorance, of which humanity has a boundless capacity for.

  11. […] Book of Grudges debate whether a guy’s manhood is threatened by playing a Witch Elf. […]

  12. a friend of mine once commented “It just seems to me that the majorty of men who play female charicters are fat.” this amused me at first, but then I thought about it overnight and came to a simple conclusion. He has no real data to base that on, other then the fact that I play female charicters, and am fat. this got me to thinking, where does anyone have data on this? no one does, and it seems no one will for a while. I belive that for each person, their are diffrent reasons for doing any action, no matter how many people take the same action each has diffrent reasons. I create charicters in my mind, and build them like a little AI program, they have goals, and reasons to do things. The challange of creating a mind and basis for motivation so unrelated to my own holds my intrest.

  13. Hi umm please ignore the name… but in any case why would you even care about people who paly opposite gender characters? i mean if you dont play it why bother to care? I would play a Witch Elf because their viscous (sorry if I spelled that wrong..) but otherwise why care if that NE ur flirting with is actually a guy who is laughing at you with his friends for being so gullible? (yes yes I do laugh at people when they pay my NE rogue money for dancing naked in Goldshire…) Do you care because you want to defend your ego from further attacks by making sure no one else plays a female character when their not female? That would just take the fun away. (P.S. about 9/10 or all of the questions were rhetorical, I jsut liek question marks…)

  14. My 2cents,

    I personally believe that overthinking this topic or a respnse to it is dangerous enough to garble ones mind.(Well, mine anyway)

    I’m male and play female and male characters.

    I usualy pick a class first, then I close my eyes and imagine the character in action, add some scenary and then booom, all of a sudden the descition is made.

    Once I imagine the character in its role it becomes clear to me if I prefer the character to be female or male.

    For example, my personal favourite is the Rogue, which for some reason I always play as a female, even if a male verison is available, always done so; in Guild Wars, World Of Warcraft and now the witch Elf in WAR.

    Mages on the other hand I think of more as male, don;t ask me why, its juts what I see when I imagin the role in my head playing out.

    The influence is most likely movies I saw, or books I have read, thats why its different for everyone.

    Thats just me, and for you it might be completly the opposite off course, that the great thing about those games 🙂

    Byt the way, when I play a female character I do not chat like a woman, after all I’m a man and thus I shall act as one…… huh,..thinking about …this might even adds to my female Rogues persona 🙂

    Yes, that means I don’t RP….as such…..
    I believe my true self is already adding to the RP factor of my char and that’s plenty for me.

    Anyway, one should not get hung up on gender playing a game,..its just that..a game, enjoy it and play it the way you like and not the way you think someone else would like you to play it.

    Good Luck and have fun playing WAR Online 🙂
    Regards,
    Hawks

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