Leveling Bayloore: The Male Character Experiment

I’m not one of *those* chicks.  We all know them….the girl gamers who are attention whores.  They flirt with male players to get gold, items, powerleveling – who dance without their armor on mailboxes or city streets to get attention – who get on Vent and blah, blah, blah in their obviously fake “cute” voice so that all of the basement virgins drool and give them a spot in raids that they don’t deserve.  That said, I have never kept it a secret that I am a girl outside of Azeroth and while I have the option to make a male character, I choose not to.

In fact, whenever I found out that a girl in real life played a male character in the game, it boggled my mind.  I wasn’t intolerant of their choice – I mean ultimately, it’s their $15 per month to play whatever they want – but I just couldn’t wrap my brain around why they would want to play a male character.

My inability to understand or relate to their decision is probably born from my own inability to play a male character.  I’ve made a few in the past because their animations and armor look cooler than their female counterparts, but after about level 5, it just feels wrong to me.  I feel like I’m lying about who I am and that I have nothing in common with my in-game avatar.  Once I feel like I can’t relate to the character,  I am totally disconnected from the experience and I wind up typing d-e-l-e-t-e.

Normally, I then make a female of the same class and race to level because it feels “right” to me.  But, of course, with leveling a female toon comes the inevitable unwanted (and sometimes gross) interactions that we don’t seek out, but that somehow seem to find us…

nasty1

This was one of about a hundred that I’ve received over the course of the last four years – and one that I actually screen-capped for this article.   I’ve received many that have been worse before I started blogging that I never thought to capture.

Even if you successfully dodge this type of interaction while you’re leveling, you’re bound to run into something down the road while you’re playing with people who don’t know you.  You’re a girl gamer, not an attention whore, you play a female toon and you join a PUG for some instance or raid.  While you’re doing whatever in the group, someone says, “Hey Bro – sap that dude” or “Hey Man, where did you get that gear?”  While I’m not looking for an apology, special treatment, or attention – I do feel the need to correct the person when they assume that I’m a guy in real life.  If I just let it slide that someone thinks I’m a guy outside of Azeroth, it bugs me.

Is the grass greener on the other side?  Why not combine two things that I haven’t been able to successfully stick with since I started playing this game…playing Horde and playing a male character.

That said, I’ve decided to create a Male Horde Rogue named Bayloore and see how the leveling/playing experience differs while playing a different gender.  I’ll be switching Bayloore to a female at level 80 – if I make it that far – but until then, it will be interesting to see if I lose interest with the character or if I’m treated differently.

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~ by Boombaloo on 29 January 2009.

11 Responses to “Leveling Bayloore: The Male Character Experiment”

  1. I, like every other female playing this game, have experienced that too. Although I’ve noticed as my character has gotten “older” in levels, the stupid comments and tells like that have stopped. (It could be because I run around with a male pally, but I don’t know.)

    While I can understand why you feel the need to correct someone when they call you “bro” or “man” I don’t – just for the reasons that you put down for this article. Maybe I am being weak in my feminism here, but I think that it’s just better to let sleeping dogs lie. However, that is just for random encounters in the game – I don’t hide it from guild members, for example.

    I hope that your experiment goes well – I tried rolling a male character once (twice, I think, actually) and none of those worked out. Because it felt wrong to me too – not because I was pretending to be something that I wasn’t (because really, are we priests or paladins in real life, either? This game is just all about pretend) but because I identified with a female more.

    So, I would ask you this: if your experiment is to see if you can level as a male, see if the experience is different – why change when he’s 80?

    • @Anea: I think I will be changing the gender of Bayloore at 80 if (and that’s a BIG if) I make it that far with him because I really do prefer to play a female character. 🙂

      The experiment for me is to see how different it might be to level a male character when I’ve leveled a handful of female characters. Will I get treated differently in tells/party chat/raid chat? What happens the first time I have to use Vent for a PUG raid or something along those lines? I’m curious to see if I can stick with it and see how it goes…but I really don’t want to even consider changing the gender until Level 80.

      Thanks again for stopping by! 😀

  2. Looking at it from the other perspective, I just can’t seem to create a female character. There are many male guildees that have female characters (better to look at from behind is their reasoning), but something about it doesn’t seem right to me. I understand it’s all pretend (playing a gnome and being 6’2″ in real life. lol Now for the magic part, well that’s up for debate.), but I guess I prefer some realism. Besides, I wouldn’t want to put up with all the comments females get in game. I have no idea how you ladies do it. 🙂

    • @Markus: I hear that brother! I’ve signed off of the game before just because of some kind of ridiculous person stalking me in-game or sending me lewd tells that I neither initiated or find acceptable. I figure that most dudes who act like that to me are 14 year olds who are trying to act older than they are – at least that’s what I’m hoping – I think my faith in humanity would really take a dive if 20-30 something players were talking to me like that, lol. Ugh. That’s funny that you play a gnome – I know another person in my guild that is really tall IRL and plays a dwarf. 😀

  3. O good luck with the experiment girl! I’ve never even attempted to make a male character (not an attn *&%@# either). I try to let a lot of the “man” comments slide, but if the same person keeps repeatedly calling me “man” or “bro” I have to correct it. Actually the word “bro” I normally correct the first time… for some reason it bugs me a LOT more than “man”.

    • @Raivyne: Hi there, welcome! And thanks for stopping by! 😀 I totally hear what you’re saying. There are certain nicknames that bother me more – and now that I thought about your comment I think “Bro” is definitely one of them. I can deal with “Dude” just fine. But “Bro” or “Man” and I have to speak up and say, “I’m not a bro/man. Just call me “Boom”. Thanks. :)”

  4. I was speaking with “alliancegirl” in game about this topic, and I thought I would relay my thoughts on the issue here as well. I’m a guy gamer, and I roll an undead male rogue. I have tried this experiment on multiple games, and have noticed the same thing almost every time. I roll a female, dont talk to anyone, and just level up my character. All the way up, I get group invites, hand-outs such as gold and gear, guild invites, and the like. Just by walking around and leveling, no talking or anything. On the flip side, when I was leveling my main and other male characters, I had to do everything myself, and socialise with other players in order to get help.

    Its quite an interesting thing. But in a male-dominated fantasy world where ethics aren’t an issue, it is bound to happen. When you log in, nobody sees your face, figure, or actions, they only see a toon and text. So people feel more free to do whatever they like.

    On top of that, what are the reprecussions for your actions? Nothing. You might get reported, and if very unlucky, you might get banned, from a fantasy world. So mmo’s are a free-for-all for all the sicko’s out there in the internet world. On top of that, what happens in mmo’s aren’t trackable like emails, message boards, and the like.

    Which brings up another topic. If I had a daughter, I doubt I would allow her to play online games or hang elsewhere on the internet for extended periods of time until I felt that she was old enough and mature enough to handle herself. How do you feel? Would that make me a bad and/or overbearing parent?

    • @Faru: Those are great points. 🙂 And things that I agree with totally. If I have a daughter, she won’t be hanging out online or in a place like WoW until she’s mature enough to handle it…I don’t plan to be an overbearing parent – I plan to be informed and protective enough that we don’t have problems. 🙂

      On another note – I’ve never been handed gold or offered extra help or goods just because I’m a girl IRL. Then again, I don’t flirt with everyone or act like an attention whore, either. So only my friends (the ones I run with most often in the game) know that I’m a female in Azeroth as well as out. 🙂

  5. Don’t correct people that you’re female and then in the same breath say, ‘but i’m not expecting special attention.’ By drawing attention to the fact that you are female, you are asking for special attention just by doing so. If you don’t care that someone is male or female, why does it matter whatsoever in the slightest that they think you are one or the other gender?

    If you don’t make an issue of your gender, other people won’t do the same to you. However, if you make an issue of it, then everyone else will treat you that way as well.

    The biggest rule of thumb i have found in my 18 years of gaming (I’m 27), 10 of those in FPSs and 3 more of those in MMOs, is that if you don’t care about gender in regards to video games, other people won’t either. The people who do, you won’t run into them.

    I don’t know anyone that I game with closely that has an issue with gender and I like it that way. There are plenty of hardcore guilds out there that do make an issue of it so attention-seekers like yourself and whatnot are drawn to those people – solely because they choose to make an issue out of something that just out and out doesn’t matter online.

    Anyways, that’s why i find your actions pretty hypocritical. I find it even funnier that you didn’t post what conversation sparked the ‘she wants my dwarf balls’ part. You probably took that entire conversation out of context for the purposes of this article, i would wager.

  6. If you want to be treated just like everyone else, you have to let others think what they want about who you are. There’s nothing wrong with that but don’t expect to be treated equal when you are running around correcting people on ‘i’m female look at me treat me equal but don’t call me bro or man cause that offends me,’ lol.

    If they call their friends ‘man’ or ‘bro’ in any random sentence and you expect to be treated differently, how are they supposed to treat you equally when you are demanding more attention be paid to you, just by virtue of asking said players to call you something other than what they call the rest of their friends?

    I’ll tell you, I’m female and i will refer to my friends if i am calling out to them, ‘HEY GUYS’ and it is genderless, and any of my friends that have a problem with it, well, LOL…i really don’t care about anyone who would get offended so easily, seriously. There are MANY MANY MANY worse gender-crimes to be upset about than someone referring to a group of people as ‘HEY GUYS’ or an online buddy calling someone ‘HEY BRO.’

  7. @ailetha,
    I think it is you that is taking this whole post and comments out of context. The post isn’t really in regards to players saying “Bro” or “Dude”, it was about the fact that if you play a female toon, the first impression and mannerisms of other players is alot different than what you recieve when playing a male toon.

    My “Personal Experiences”, ie. what I have actually witnessed myself, is that you do notice a difference. If the other player believes you are female, I have found 2 seneraios. 1.Male players are over-friendly, trying to talk to you, giving you handouts, helping you level/grind, even when you dont even say a word to them to START that behavior by providing them any stimulus to react to other than the fact that your toon has breasts, or 2.They are sexually demeaning. Either lewed comments, or comments/conversations regarding “That player is a chick, she will suck, we dont want to play with her because girls suck@gaming and fail to L2Play.

    @your whole comment about being an “Attention whore”, or an “Attention seeker”. I have seen girls who play off my first example above. AND, I have seen guy gamers that play female toons just so that they can play off that example themselves. But trust me on this one, I know AG irl, she is far from an “Attention whore”, and quite the opposite. When she told me that she started this blog so long ago, I was dumbfounded because she is usually really shy. So please, learn to stop making accusations that you dont have any personal and prior knowledge to base your opinions upon. I know that “Everyone is entitled to thier own opinion”, however, that doesnt mean that everyone’s opinions aren’t lacking intelligence, thought, consideration, and common sence.

    And when it comes to correcting somone about your sex. That comes to personal preference. If you want to be treated like a guy instead of a girl, fine. There’s tons of people on the internet that seek to be treated as something they aren’t. Some people act as if they are younger than they really are on the internet so that they can try to trick them into meeting IRL. Heck, they made a TV show about it, its called “To Catch a Predator”.

    But really, as I said, personal preference. If I was playing a female toon and was mistaken for a male player, I would make a quick comment saying that i’m actually a girl. I wouldn’t be offended, I would just be letting them know that i’m actually a girl. What’s wrong with that? I dont see anything wrong with it at all.

    But your thoughtless post above actually supports the true meaning of this post. That hypothetical thought processes and reactions to girl gamers are completely and utterly different than those about guy gamers. You brought up another point, that it is not only guy gamers that act differently, girl gamers actually act differently to thier own kin. Since AG is a girl gamer and blogging about the topic, you automatically thought, “ZOMG, STFU, YOU ARE JUST AN ATTENTION WHORE”, even though AG is completely opposite of your opinion, and hasn’t given you any stimulus to believe that she is an “Attention Whore”, you just made an assumption. And i’m sure you have heard the “Ass-U-Me” cliche’ about assumptions. That is the true meaning and intent of this whole post/conversation.

    Thank you for providing a wonderful example. 😉

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