Monday, June 02, 2014

Cosmetic Gear and Player Gender

This thought was inspired by a post by Njessi of Hawtpants of the Old Republic.

With the increasing amount of cosmetic gear and options like transmogrification in MMOs, has it become easier to guess at the gender of the player behind a character?

It's a total stereotype, but maybe women are more likely to put effort into making aesthetically pleasing costumes for their characters. Especially some of the more subtle outfits.

Certainly, the vast majority of female characters wearing bikinis and outfits that show a lot of skin are probably being played by men. So merely not wearing a bikini shifts the odds of a female character being played by a woman. And maybe men are more likely to wear "achievement" gear or martial gear, like items with a lot of spikes, or Sith armor. Or maybe not.

I just found this idea interesting because it doesn't appear before cosmetic gear. Before cosmetic gear, a character wears her most powerful gear. Gear at that point tells you more about what the character has achieved than anything about the player.

Cosmetic gear, on the other hand, is a window into the tastes of the player. Thus it says a lot about the player, and maybe more than some would want.

3 comments:

Imakulata said...

People used to say you could know a woman in Ragnarok by the amount of cosmetic headgear she had. Men had cosmetic headgear too but (on average) less of it, usually one or two favorite ones they wore in the cities or on their vending alts.

I'm not sure how much truth there is to the claim; I saw men with more than just a few sets but most of them went for shocking or ugly ones.

Redbeard said...

Well, one thing I can pretty much guarantee is that any cosmetic gear --or, more properly, lack thereof-- being worn by female toons in Age of Conan are going to have a male player at the keyboard.

Perhaps it's my own experience influencing my statement, because I know almost no female exhibitionists who would operate in a public space like that.

Translating that into SWTOR is a pretty safe bet, but the slave Leia costume might actually have more female players behind the toon than we might realize.

Pallais said...

The casual guild I was a member of in swtor had more female players with the scanty clothes than male players. Not that you didn't see the guys dress skimpy or, more often, had their female companions be skimpy, but it was interesting to see a number of women comfortable enough with a guild to dress that way.

This bit of gender research was interesting http://www.gamepolitics.com/2014/05/13/research-26-percent-men-use-opposite-gender-avatars-mmos. Anecdotally, I'd say the bit about jumping is spot on.