She’ll never be a berserker

Horns-dilemma, meet Ysh. Ysh, horns. Or, as the lolcats would say: this is dilema. I are on it.

I have one character slot left on my second EQ2 account, and it’s eating away at me like sulfuric acid — or maybe like the sea on the shore. It’s not too painful, and I’ve been resisting, but that empty space where a character should be will eventually wear me down. So yes, dilemma — two, actually.

The first is probably something for which I just need to play Rock-Paper-Scissors with myself (I always lose!): do I make a berserker, a templar, or a wizard? The classes should be pretty clear even to those who don’t play EQ2, but in a nutshell: zerker hits things, templar heals things, wizard nukes things. My comfort-zone preference would be for the templar, because I really like healers in EQ2 and these guys get to wear plate. The DPS side of me says it would be fun to rampage around Norrath 2.0 as a berserker and go around quoting Erik the Viking at people. And yet… I’ve had so much fun nuking stuff with my nuke-biased Fury (who is really a healer, except when I’m playing her) that I suspect I might like playing the real thing in the form of the wizard. Except wizards are squishy. I don’t do squishy so well — I tend to get frustrated and rush things yelling AUUUUUGGHHHH! (shortly followed by SPLAT) and I’m usually not patient enough for the kind of play good wizarding needs.

Thing is, I’ve already played a templar and a zerker — both in 2005, admittedly, and the templar in particular has been altered somewhat (to actually do a little damage in combat instead of nearly none) — whereas I’ve never played a wizard. The sensible thing would be to make the wizard and play them for a bit, see how I like it. Which is probably what I’m going to do.


The second dilemma is a gender issue. Over the years, from tabletop gaming to the MMOs I play now, I have only ever played a male character if I was forced into it, notably by WAR. I’m trying to think if any other games had similar restrictions, and can’t come up with any off the top of my head.

Part of that is affirming my boob-independent identity in this male-dominated and ridiculously sexist entertainment industry corner of the world. Yeah I know, if you’re male, chances are you’ll be saying “Huh, wha?” — because you weren’t the one who immediately got handed the “girly” characters (I quote) when you went to gaming conventions, and you’re not the ones who have had to deal with comments over the years. If you don’t see any gender bias in the gaming and fantasy industry, good for you — keep those rose-tinted glasses on, you’ll be happier. Me, I see it, and I react to it.

Okay, and part of it is that in almost every single game out there, female models look a million times better than male ones. And part of it is habit: I’m female, and I tend to play characters who are to some extent like me, even in role-playing games, unlike some of my friends who could happily play characters who were nothing like them at all — disturbingly so, in some memorable cases.

And yet with this one remaining character, maybe I should take the opportunity to break down some of my own sexist prejudices and see how the other half lives. Make a male character and just play that character.  If nothing else, it’ll probably be educational for me.

Of course the question then is, how do I play it? I don’t roleplay much online, but I certainly don’t step on the toes of those who do and we are, after all, on an RP server in EQ2. But what about the rest? Do I pretend I’m a guy? Do I go around cheerfully assuring everyone I meet (whether they care or not) that I’m not really a guy, I’m a girl, but I prefer to stare at male avatar butts? Do I say nothing at all?

Most of the time I don’t particularly notice if the avatar of the person I’m talking to is male or female. Most of the time I’m not actually with the person I’m talking to, since a lot of interactions are via the meta-channels (like the crafting channel) or tells and the like — so my gender impressions are formed more from what people say and how they say it than from how their avatar looks. That said, I have gender biases and preconceptions as much as the next person, even if I try to be aware of them. Someone who *giggles* a lot (and oh man that irks me, don’t ask me why — grown people just should. not. giggle, especially not when they have to type it out) almost invariably screams female to me, and maybe that’s why it irks me. We are not all giggly and giddy. Similarly though, someone who swears gratuitously or excessively almost always comes across as male, and as a young male at that. Stereotypes, I has them.

So, yeah. The idea of playing a male char is mildly perturbing to me in the first place, since I almost never do it, and then there’s the question of how to play them and how to portray them in meta-situations, assuming anyone actually cares. (I don’t, as I just explained, so it’s highly likely a fair proportion of other players don’t care either.) I’d have more trouble with this if it were WoW and not EQ2, since in WOW the male avatar models are so ludicrously testosterone-overloaded it feels like I’m steering a roid-raged gorilla. Fortunately, the EQ2 models have more gender parity — the elven males are a little androdynous, and the barbarian & dwarven females are pretty built, so all in all it kind of evens out. None of the races have a huge visual gap between the male and female versions — except, interestingly, the sarnak, who are a reptilian (draconian) race and whose females, therefore, are taller and bigger than the males.

I’m going to ponder this some more. In any case, if I do make a male wizard, he will be wearing a dress. Evens out, right?

23 thoughts on “She’ll never be a berserker

  1. I think you should resist the urge to fill that slot until February, when you can try out the new Halas starting area!


  2. I’m holding off on all new EQ2 alts (actually, all EQ2 in general the way the calendar has worked out) until the racial trait revamp (slated for September), and I’m holding off on at least one alt (my planned Barbarian) until Halas arrives. Personally, my list of priorities is set heavily by “what DON’T I already have?”, which is why it’s a bit of an inconvenience when two of the three MMORPG’s I’m playing are both planning changes that could affect my future alt decisions down the line.

    Quoth Ysh: “in almost every single game out there, female models look a million times better than male ones”

    You know, I never really thought of it that way. I feel like it depends slightly on the race and the game. In WoW, I prefer one model (or voice!) of almost every race, but it’s different for different races. Now that I think about it, though, the female models in EQ2, and perhaps LOTRO, are a bit better.

  3. You know I always play male toons, because I always identify with being “male”

    I have some minor alts that are female, i get wierded out when i get virtually hit on though sometimes. I get over it when the trade window opens and theres 20 gold, then i “Giggle” my ass off.

    I know I’m a virtual whore

    1. The funny thing about that 20g though is that 99% of people who report being given gold when they’re playing female characters… are men. I’ve never, ever been given stuff in games just for being female, nor asked for it, and I certainly never expected it.

      Maybe men just go in with the underlying assumption that female characters get given stuff, which then affects how they play said female chars.

      If someone tried to give me stuff in game because I have virtual tits, I’d kick them in the virtual ‘nads. Nuff said.

  4. Go Wiz. Templars still don’t do much dps (they’re better than they were, but they’re still not very high — only defiler is lower, iirc). My zerk bored me so much I deleted it at level 40. I don’t have a wizard, but I do have an 80 warlock, and she’s a blast (no pun intended) to play. . . . .

  5. Oh and btw:

    “I have only ever played a male character if I was forced into it, notably by WAR. I’m trying to think if any other games had similar restrictions, and can’t come up with any off the top of my head.”

    Lots of eastern F2P MMOs have gender-specified classes.

  6. My chars tend to be about half male and half female. I don’t generally meta-rp so anyone who gets to know me in game knows I’m male IRL.

  7. I’d avoid the Templar. It’s a pretty defensive oriented healing class with little to no offensive output – at least it was when I played EQ2. That makes it a really awesome grouping class, but not so awesome soloing class. I know how much you like grouping…

    Wizards are pretty decent, you can solo well with them which should help you get to thost hard to reach harvesting nodes. Same with the Berserker, only you are a little more durable.

    1. There’s no such thing as a hard to reach harvesting node. 😀 I was harvesting T7 up in the Bonemire when Fairuza was still in her 20s. Having a few adv levels under one’s belt just makes it a little easier now and then.

      I’ve played a templar before, and I remember the low output — but remember, I’m not concerned with levelling speed in particular, and more with making a char I’ll enjoy playing. Some classes appeal to me more than others, and even the so-called “slow” level classes I don’t find too bad.

      Actually, when I made a defiler I kept wondering what everyone was on about when they were saying how slow they are to kill stuff. I only got to 20, but I didn’t notice it being particularly bad. Which probably means I don’t play enough higher level DPS classes to know the difference. 😉 (Also, in my book being able to heal *should* be balanced by doing less damage, or everyone would be a healing hybrid. Duh.)

  8. Gender is always tricky in MMOs and on the internet in general. Some folks try to use it for gains and others are just strange (like me).

    Most of my characters are female by default because I tend to only make one per MMO and I like to be Ferrel. Ferrel has been female since I wrote about her over a decade ago. It literally feels “wrong” to me if I make a male character and name it Ferrel.

    The same is true if I’m playing Aldest. Aldest is a male. He is in my IPs and he is in the MMOs I play. Every version of those two characters are based on my short stories. Each one just sort of represents an “alternate reality” I guess. Some times I probably think too much about it.

    Now, when it comes to playing the opposite gender it can be pretty funny I suppose. I’ve been doing it so long that I answer to Ferrel as much as Adam. Someone at work, who happens to read Epic Slant, called me Ferrel the other day and I didn’t even think about it. I answered and everyone else looked at us funny.

    The same is true with gender. As sad as this might sound my guild mates sometimes refer to me as he and sometimes as she. They know I’m male. They talk to me all the time. We’ve met in person but Ferrel is a she. I answer to either and never correct them. I simply don’t care. Of course sometimes that makes life hard for new members ^_~

    I suppose what I’m getting at is that it is just a character. Play a boy or a girl. If you’re not role-playing than it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to explain what gender you are. If someone asks, sure. Otherwise, just have fun. People do treat male characters different than female ones. I’ve found that to be true over the years. It sometimes still happens to me even after I explain I’m male.

    Let us know how it comes out though if you do!

  9. I play female characters almost exclusively even though I’m a guy. Rolling a male character actually feels strange to me now. I guess I have a thing for women who kick @$$. Of course, so does Joss Whedon, so I feel like I’m in good company.

  10. You know its so funny you bring up this gender issue. I recently found myself in a similiar predicament. I’ve always played female toons myself. I have always thought about creating a male toon, but like you, I had the same issues and concerns LOL.

    I recently created a DE warden and Cast asked why a male and honestly I couldnt answer him LOL! I knew I like the appearance of the character but other than that, nothing LOL! Then I quickly asked myself, how the hell am I going to jump into vent with a PUG playing a male character. I mean its not uncommon I suppose but I was finding myself in a state of bewilderment LOL So now my handsome dark elf warden sits at character select with an unknown future.

  11. For gender, I generally roll whatever strikes me at the moment I make the character. If I make a “Psychochild” character, it’s always been male, though, probably because that’s the character I most associate with. I have a few names I re-use, and they are gender-specific like Ferrel above. For example, I might use the M59-related name of “Shalille”, who is the goddess of healing and protection. She’s female, so I go with that gender for a healer type.

    In LotRO on my main server, I have 3 male characters, 2 females, and 2 Dwarves (which are forced to be male). Three of the names are M59-related (1 male, 1 female, 1 undetermined who I rolled as a male.)

    My better half only rolled female characters on LotRO. She’s a role-player, and generally took female characters back when we played D&D, etc. Her only male LotRO character is a Dwarf, which is forced to be male. So, she’s with Ysharros in that regard.

    I think it’s interesting to see how people treat a character according to gender. When I played a text MUD and rolled a female alt character, I got hit on (more accurately: pawed) by someone who I knew on my main character; it was a bit creepy, and I never told the guy. It was eye-opening to see how people can treat women as an object of desire instead of as just another fellow adventurer. I’ve also heard stories about women who only play male characters since they don’t have to deal with as many people hitting on them, and they say they appreciate being assumed to be capable instead of being “a weak female in need of protection”.

    So, since you’re a blogger, Ysharros, and you brought up the gender issue, I’d say role a male avatar and see if people treat you differently. Would make for interesting blog posts, I think.

    1. Dwarves in LotRO aren’t forced to be male – rather we’re not allowed to specify their gender in character creation, because the males and females are indistinguishable from each other (yes, even down to the beards). Only the dwarves know the difference. 😉

  12. I’ve got 5 male and 4 female characters in EQ2. But I’m playing on a non-RP server so gender doesn’t matter to me. If I were on AB I’d probably only role male characters because role-playing a female toon would be a little weird.

    I will have to say early on my female ranger did receive some gifts. What the heck, I needed the dress so when I crafted naked I wasn’t really naked. And if a guy is leaving the game, I’ll take his stuff 🙂

    I also had one guy (I’m assuming it was a guy) come up to me while I was camping out of the game and plant his toon’s groin right in my face! I was surprised and didn’t react until I had logged out of the game. I haven’t had anything like that happen in, oh, maybe 2 years now, but I think I’ve got a taste of the whole sexism thing in games.

  13. Actually I enjoy making hot evil females like witch elves in WAR, cause lets face it guys, we all know women are evil.

    HAHA I’m wearing my cup today!

  14. *shrug*
    I’ve always played as a male character. As a male m’self, it’s never interested me to do otherwise. That might make me a poor thespian, but I can live with that.

  15. I play male characters, I play female characters. Doesn’t both me either way since, in the end, they are all just pixels. I certainly don’t play either because of their virtual “hotness” but then I’m *cough* well past that adolescent stage of looking at an avatar and seeing BOOBS!!!

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