I’m too sexy for my shirt.

The latest ArenaNet blog post on designing Humans in Guild Wars 2 has an interesting section, especially when cast in the light of our post from yesterday:

“I would like to say a quick word about where we stand when it comes to the “sexiness” of our armors and costumes.”

“Phwoar!”    ?

“This is a controversial subject that I encounter frequently on forums and message boards—not just about Guild Wars, but about a lot of games. I understand that many players feel that armor should be practical, realistic, and shouldn’t leave skin exposed to attack.”

I think you’ll find most people who wear armour think this too. Mainly because, well, y’know…
   Armour
   — n
   1. any defensive covering, esp that of metal, chain mail, etc,
    worn by medieval warriors to prevent injury to the body in battle

not

   Armour
   — n
   1. any defensive covering, esp that of metal, chain mail, etc,
   worn by women to show their perfectly formed voluptuous bodies
   to maximum effect in order to ‘sex up’ the enemy.

“When coming up with ideas for armor, the character and concept department try to balance the practical with the

fact that they’re a bunch of randy marmots?

fantasy.”

Oh.

“We make armor that looks protective and functional, but we also make armor that looks sexy and shows a generous level of strategically placed skin.”

Translating…
   ‘generous level’ = Giant
   ‘strategically placed skin’ = Tits

I’m sure a strategically placed arrow will look very sexy sticking out of those generous levels of strategically placed skin. Puncture Repair Kits can be bought from local NPC vendors, and your generous levels of strategically placed skin can be re-inflated using the pump at the resurrection shrine.

“We recognize the “fantasy” aspect of our game;”

We recognise that most people these days seem to equate “fantasy” with “nymphomaniac bisexual female fleshbots”

“if you are able to rain down balls of fire from the sky, your clothing should”

Really show off your breasts and bikini line?

“not be a factor when it comes to body temperature,”

Oh. I assume that’s because everyone is already STEAMING HOT due to looking like cyborg pornstars.

“whether you are wearing your underwear”

I’m not wearing any underwear while writing this. Welcome to my fantasy, people.

“or a fur coat.”

Great point, here’s mine:
If you are able to run into the middle of a horde of angry centaurs, your armour should not be a factor when it comes to protection, whether you are wearing your underwear or a set of full plate.

“We’ve always intended to create outfits for male and female characters that are appealing and attractive without making our players feel uncomfortable about what their character or other player-characters are wearing.”

Translating…
   Men wear armour. Woman wear as little as possible.
   If you feel uncomfortable, it’s because you’re a prude.

“I think that Guild Wars has been very successful in this regard, and we will continue to make outfits that adhere to this philosophy.”

Well at least the outfits will adhere to something, because it sure as hell isn’t going to be your character’s body.

27 thoughts on “I’m too sexy for my shirt.

  1. Nils

    Love that. Thanks you ;)

    Seriously: Allow me to take off my armor and look sexy, but don’t force me to look sexy when in a fight to the death.

  2. Melmoth Post author

    Indeed. The thing is, why is ‘sexy’ equated with showing flesh in many MMOs? Perhaps it’s just a reflection on modern society.

    But what the hell happened to lead us to the situation in many MMOs where we can’t just have elegant armour for female avatars, which would allow the expression of femininity without the need to look like a lascivious harlot.

    Or another way: when did people decide that the vacuous consumerist bints from Sex in the City should be the role model for female avatars in fantasy MMOs?

  3. Caspian

    “I’m not wearing any underwear while writing this. Welcome to my fantasy, people.”

    Erk, now I need a mind enema – thanks for that mental image! The new title for the blog should be ‘Bloggers Going Commando’.

  4. Ravious

    Lol, that was awesome. I agree that it was dumber for them to even take this “stance” than to simply show that they are just going along with fantasy/Vallejo norms.

    Good post!

  5. Melmoth Post author

    It’s just such a curiosity and stands out like a sore thumb in the midst of a report on designing Humans.

    Their marketing has been very slick up until now and (putting my ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ scepticism aside) I think this is the first thing I’ve heard from them that sounds quite awkward.

  6. ffox

    i think you guys read too much into that message :)

    my google translate form arenanetish actually puts the official stance statement into “we read the guru forums wink-wink! go nuts now!”

  7. Chilli-con-Carnage

    I would like to point out that although traditional armour was used to protect you in battle, I’m pretty sure that medieval blacksmiths never forged armour that would increase your ability to wield a sword or make you stronger for example. As such we can assume that the armour in MMOs is magical, so the amount of skin on show would be completely irrelevant if you have a magic suit of armour that is protecting you (as well as buffing your stats).

    That said it would seem that Arena net seem to think that all MMO players have the libidos of sex starved 12 year olds and that we somehow find that vast exspances of skin will make us more likely to buy their game.

  8. Caspian

    @Chilli-con-Carnage

    I fear you’ve misquoted yourself, I have corrected below… ;)

    “That said it would seem that Arena net seem to think that all *men* have the libidos of sex starved 12 year olds and that we somehow find that vast exspances of skin will make us more likely to buy their game.”

  9. ffox

    guys – a frank question here, because i’m really puzzled:

    are you really having problems with how they styled that armor and the dresses, or are you just enjoying a good opportunity for criticism?

    because i personally am from the to-be-offended (better) part of humanity and really don’t see nothing scandalous here? if anything, ANet is handling their chainmail bikini pretty stylish and tasteful in comparison to pretty much all the rest there is (especially if we count asian games; i almost see how GW2 will be criticized of being too prude in asia)

  10. Randomessa

    To be completely fair here, in GW1 there is a wide array of armor choices that can be worn, from cloth to heavy plate, that vary from scandolous to neck-to-ankles. My elementalist is in no way forced to bare her midriff, and in fact has two sets of armor that cover her from neck to toe (Ancient and Tyrian), not to mention Obsidian which I could never afford; Norn armor shows about as much chest as some of my business blouses do.

    You’ll find comparable sets among Ranger and Warrior armor as well; Gladiator’s and Druid’s are not the only options available for female characters. I expect no less from Guild Wars 2, and in fact the screenshots included in the article illustrated as much.

    So the assertion that one is forced to enter combat in their skivvies is a bit of a misrepresentation of the armor philosophy. I don’t quite get the fervor, here.

  11. Krabat

    The fact that the MMOs are build around the other part of “sex and violence” doesn’t help either. I demand a hippie MMO with the violence part removed.

  12. Zoso

    I think Melmoth may still have been slightly under the influence of TERA, GW2 obviously isn’t like that in its marketing focus, and there’s an awful lot of really great looking clothes and armour in the screenshots we’ve seen so far, but every so often… hello boys, it’s the Combat Wonderbra and fishnets! Still, y’know what Megadeth said, Sex Sells (But Who’s Buying?) Or maybe that was Oscar Wilde…

  13. Zoso

    @Krabat Too right, I was terribly disappointed that Love turned out to be all fighting and everything rather than a lovely commune.

  14. Eliot

    I’m going to have to save this and nod back to it when I write up a long, rambling diatribe about gender in MMOs (say, in about a month’s time). It’s the casualness that really sticks in my craw, the idea that people who complain about these sorts of armor are somehow spoiling the fun for everyone.

    @Randomessa: Very true, a lady Elementalist does not need to bare her midriff. But out of the thirty-odd armor styles available for the class, only five of them feature any covering for the legs, and none features a full skirt that reaches lower than the knees.

  15. Melmoth Post author

    @Chilli-con-Carnage: Okay, let’s concede magical armour as a point. But then why is female magical armour always a great deal more revealing than male magical armour? It is meant for combat after all, not a night out on the town. For example, even when considering ceremony, I believe the general etiquette is not to flash one’s cleavage while Trooping The Colour.

    @ffox, @Randomessa: Think of it not as a commentary on the actual armour of Guild Wars 2, because it isn’t.

    Think of it more as a commentary on an incongruous block statement, made in the middle of a developer diary that was supposed to be talking about designing the world of Humans in Guild Wars 2, which attempted to justify skimpy armour sets and used curious phrases such as “shows a generous level of strategically placed skin”.

    Hopefully it could also be seen as an opportunity for a more general commentary on outfits in MMOs.

    @Krabat: “You can’t win, but there are alternatives to fighting.” Okay, it was said by a senile old Jedi who went on to have a pointless one-sided fight against a dark lord of the Sith at the height of his power, but… I’m sure I had a point here somewhere.

    @Eliot: Glad to see that it hit the right (and intended) note with you.

  16. nugget

    Agree wif Randomessa. One of the things I love about GW is I can choose exactly how skanky I want to look.

    I have no interest in policing how skanky OTHER people look.

    So while I won’t put my warrior woman in the Kurzick fishnet G-string (lol! I like skank but that’s just too… TOO silly even for me, when combined with plate armour!) – I am perfectly happy to have other people around happy to have THEIR warrior women in Kurzick fishnet G-strings. XD

    So yes, I think there’s a bit of spillover going on here.

    The issue has never really been skank for me. It’s been *choice* or the lack thereof.

    I remember being sad when my tanks got upgrades in WoW in BC because zomg… they’re so ugly, and this one, this one has *grey nipples* on the plate for God’s sake! (Hm, Grey Nipples on Plate, food meets art.) But I had to wear it because it was the best tanking chest for my content level.

    So yus, lovely rant as always, hilarious, as always, but perhaps there are more skankily clad targets out there than GW / GW2 / ArenaNet. XD

  17. Melmoth Post author

    Do bear in mind, again, that this is not aimed at Guild Wars(2)’s armour sets, it’s aimed at the comment from the developer blog that appears to be an attempt to justify slutty armour. A comment which just seems odd and out of sorts, to me at least.

    I don’t have a problem with slutty armour, per se; I have an issue with the fact that these days slutty armour in many MMOs seems to be considered the norm, and it’s generally a choice between that or, as you put it, looking like a skank.

    Give me the option to look slutty by all means, as long as you give me the option to look elegant and dignified too.

    What I’m trying to say is that on the scale of

    Reserved < -> Slutty < -> Skanky

    there seems to be a distinct lack of options towards the left hand edge of the scale in many MMOs, from my experience.

    What I am, in part, trying to say in this post is that developers could perhaps, instead of trying to justify slutty armour, offer the argument that they’ve created a wide variety of choice across the scale, and as such what the character looks like is as much an expression of the player’s taste as it is the developer’s art direction.

    As an example, Lord of the Rings Online offers a great many options in armour style, some revealing, some very reserved/traditional, and combines that with a customisable outfit system that allows one to create a look that is entirely to one’s own taste.

    To emphasise: this is not to say Guild Wars 2 won’t do this – I have no evidence one way or the other. My original point was that it was strange to attempt to justify slutty armour, rather than perhaps address the situation by simply saying that they will be giving the players more choice in how their character will look.

    It’s a bugbear with me, because giving players a choice seems to be one of those oft-raised notions against which MMO developers have a great deal of resistance. See Clerics only being able to wield a mace, for another (albeit trivial) example.

  18. Melmoth Post author

    Heh heh! Well, Massively are usually quite good with the hat-tips, so I can only imagine that if it was inspired by us then one of the writers who reads KiaSA, rather than Jef Reahard, raised it as a topic initially, so he probably didn’t know. However, it’s an awfully retrod topic and so, like all MMO topics, it could just be doing the rounds once again – probably the more likely explanation.

    Or maybe they weren’t able to hat-tip because they’ve turned off the ugly head armour via the user interface.

  19. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Wonderful article, Melmoth. I didn’t get around to reading the comments until now, but I completely agree with your point that this seems like an odd bit to push in the middle of a developer post.

    One thing I really liked about LotRO was that the armors actually looked like armor most of the time. My female Elven Champion looks like she’s wearing armor, not a plate-mail bikini. Okay, sure, you had people abusing the cosmetics systems to have their dwarf Guardians wearing dresses, but for the most part the armors fit in the world. ;)

Comments are closed.