Sexist game-world balance
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    mudlab.org Forum Index -> Design
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Grem



Joined: 15 May 2005
Posts: 36
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:14 am    Post subject: Sexist game-world balance Reply with quote

I would like to hear some ideas on how various modifiers could be in place within a game world to create differences between playing a male and female character. Im not talking about social factors between players, but rather, statistical differences and NPC reactions to a player's sex.

Examples / Ideas:

- Females build strength slower, but dexterity faster.
- Males build strength faster, but dexterity slower.
- Some sexes receive social penalties in some societies. (females may not be able to receive certain social status or government position)
- Female PCs are ogled by male NPCs.
- Sometimes males and females are given different quests. (rites of passage?)
- Different clothing standards to receive favorable reactions from NPCs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Author Message
KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your mud uses randomly allocated stat points, you could (say) give males a slightly increased weighing towards Strength or Size - female characters would be able to be just as strong, and would have the same stat total, but on average their stat points would tend to be distributed more among the other stats. Or if you wanted to keep the other stats even, you could give females the same weighing towards magical stats (so female characters would typically be better spellcasters).

Or you could take the WoT approach, where males are typically better at Earth and Fire magic while females are typically better at Air and Water magic.

Another possibility would be to allow gender-specific roles/professions/classes - an amazon or drow priestess should always be female, while monk and barbarian might be male-only choices. You could also draw inspiration from the SoT novels for magic-using professions, where Wizards are male and Sorceresses are female, each possessing different styles of magic that the other gender is unable to learn.

The downside is that if one gender is always better at X and the other at Y, some players who dislike playing the opposite gender are going to have to choose between playing a character they don't feel comfortable with, or playing a less-than-optimal setup. However gender distinctions can also add quite a lot of flavour to the theme, particularly for roleplaying muds.

As far as NPC reactions are concerned, I'd just treat gender as yet another of the things to take into account. How the superstitious amazon tribe responded to my male PC would likely vary a lot depending on whether my character was a slave or servant (arrogance), a spoiled noble (disgust), a renowned barbarian warrior (respect) or a powerful shaman (fear).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Scandum



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: I'm in the TV

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Males have equal if not better dexterity, and slightly higher intelligence in adulthood as well.

Despite what some believe women have a lower pain tolerance.

From personal pseudo-scientific observations I've come to understand that large breasts has a negative influence on a woman's speed, which might explain from an evolutionairy viewpoint why human females have large breasts to begin with.

Men seem better at spatial orientation, which would give women a penalty on path finding. This explains why it's generally better to let the woman drive and let the man do the map reading.

I'd give some advantages of being female, but I can't remember any.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Jaruzel



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 13
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Despite what some believe women have a lower pain tolerance.


Care to back that up with scientific fact? Based on some of the ordeals that women go through (menstruation, childbirth), I'm sure you are wrong on that point.

The common split of strength vs. dexterity can be challenged also. As a male I am fairly strong compared to the average woman, however, any woman who works out, or takes steroids would be able to 'take me' in a wrestling match. You cannot just blanketly say 'Women are better than X, and Men are better at Y' as there are always exceptions. You should be prepared to code for these exceptions if you wish to implement gender differentiation.

Also for every downside of being one gender, you must incorporate a downside for the other gender. In the real world, in many places, women are considered the underclass. If you end up (albeit unintentionally) with a gender underclass in your MUD, then that gender will not be played, and all your hard work would have been for nothing.

Personally, I feel that genders should be treated equally in a game, because it is after all just a game. I prefer to play female characters (something to do with my X-Y chomosome inblance, but that's not for here Wink ) and I'd get pretty annoyed if I discovered after a few hours play, that I picked the 'handicapped' gender.

Balance is Everything, so much so, why bother with the differentiation in the first place?

-Jar.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Author Message
Scandum



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: I'm in the TV

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaruzel wrote:
Quote:
Despite what some believe women have a lower pain tolerance.


Care to back that up with scientific fact? Based on some of the ordeals that women go through (menstruation, childbirth), I'm sure you are wrong on that point.

You seem overly concerned with the political implications of gender differences, which is probably the reason most muds never bothered with it because it's likely to piss someone off Wink

The obvious explenation for the dominance of men over women in every society and culture is simply that men are the superior sex. The enforced equality between men and women might actually be the reason few women play muds, it doesn't create the environment they feel comfortable in.

Being a taboo subject it doesn't make for an easy thing to experiment with, but equality between the sexes automatically results in competition. Many women might not have the required drive or dominance to do well in such an environment.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Greggen



Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scandum wrote:
The obvious explenation for the dominance of men over women in every society and culture is simply that men are the superior sex.


That's not really a fair assumption. The obvious explanation is that they are, in general, physically superior to women. I am far from a politically correct person, but I don't think one gender is inately superior (though one is inately dominant). Apples and oranges if you ask me.

Having a female strength disadvantage in a game, whilst perhaps realistic, will probably not add much to the game. I think differences between the sexes could be in a good design, but only in an 'apples and oranges' sense. Different, not superior or inferior. Otherwise, why would you want to play an inferior gender?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Author Message
Maraz



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 13
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that any system you create has to be balanced in game terms, unless you want to discourage people from playing a certain sex. This creates a problem if your MUD is purely combat based, because in general terms men have more advantages in terms of strength and size.

However I remember reading about snipers and that often women made able snipers because they had the right qualities. This might not work if your MUD doesn't have some kind of sniping ability. Another advantage women might have is socially. I remember there was a thread about social combat, perhaps women could have advantages in social combat. I'm sure someone will disagree that women are superior in their social/manipulation skills - but my general knowledge from studying history is that even in societies where women's role was wife/mother they were often able to influence things behind scenes. Many emperors and kings were influenced by their wives and in the reformation I'm sure there are examples of women bringing their children up protestant/catholic against the wishes of their father.

Also this thread seems to be considering humans. Would other races have different situations? Perhaps dwarf women could be just as strong as dwarf men. If you have custom races then perhaps women could be the physically stronger sex - or perhaps a spider type race where the females eat the males after mating (am I right in thinking some spiders do this?).

I think that most MUDs ignore it because of the controversy it could cause.

Just a final point to add - I expect this has been done before - but has anyone considered that on creating characters choose their "build" so whether they are big and slow or agile but not so strong. This could then affect what skills could be gained etc. Perhaps using this system males could have a choice rangng from heavy to lightish and women have a range shifted towards the lighter end. This would allow men to be in general larger than women, but still allow individuals men to be smaller than women - like in real life. I'm hoping that makes sense.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message
Scandum



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: I'm in the TV

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greggen wrote:
Having a female strength disadvantage in a game, whilst perhaps realistic, will probably not add much to the game. I think differences between the sexes could be in a good design, but only in an 'apples and oranges' sense. Different, not superior or inferior. Otherwise, why would you want to play an inferior gender?

The human race sucks in most muds, yet you'll find an abnormal amount of female human players, my conclusion, most women don't care. I'm not sure what exactly is wrong with superiority, as I pointed out, it's the balance that might actually create imbalance. After all it are still human beings playing the characters, not the possibly political correct world view in the designer's head.

As KaVir pointed out, balanced gender differences might simply end up being restrictive.

The advantages of playing an inferior gender are sociologic. For male pkillers there is no honor in killing a character that is clearly inferior in combat. Making the genders equal basicly gives the perfect oportunity to slaughter females, they are "equal" opponents after all.

There are likely other implications. Anyways, this design would simply be different, not superior or inferior to other designs Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Pheralan



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen a decent implementation of gender differences on a game, not a Mud. In Morrowind, the female characters differ in STARTING stats than their male counterparts, thus showing a distinction between the different genders. However, as far as maximums go, they are the same, meaning that, should you wish to create a Dark Elf Mage, you're better off starting as a female, but you won't necessarily be any better than your friend's dark elf male mage, because, in the end, you have the same maximums.

This could alleviate some of the issue of a "handicapped" race. You really don't want to put the effort into something if people are just going to go "this sucks, I'm not doing that" especially if your Mud isn't an RP mud.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Author Message
Sandi



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 94
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
The downside is that if one gender is always better at X and the other at Y, some players who dislike playing the opposite gender are going to have to choose between playing a character they don't feel comfortable with, or playing a less-than-optimal setup.


For me, this is the issue. I've been considering make gender differences for some time. Serious ones, even, among the less anthropormorphic races. But for many players, maintaining their gender identity is as natural as wearing pink. I can't see penalizing them with a constant burden of differentiated stats. Making the differences "equal" does not equate to "fair".

For example, the suggested 'males have more Str, females more Dex' impacts playing style in a way I'm not sure is gender distinctive. Some women may prefer the more direct, 'brute force' approach to combat, some men may develop a defensive 'wear them down and trip them when they get careless' style.

Thing is, there are differences in the way male and female characters are perceived and treated by others. Aside from messing up the pronouns in an emote, I just don't present as a strong, robust male. Consequently, I get treated as a wimp, and I don't like it. I'd rather play a female role and get the shield of deferential respect I'm accustomed to. But, if I'm going to play a Warrior, I want to play a strong Warrior, because after all, this is fantasy. Wink

BTW, if you want to make gender differences, consider having females get more of a boost from things like 'berserk'. Fighting fairly is a male concept. Women tend not to fight for the fun of it, they have men to do that for them. When they fight, it's to protect their children, and they go right for the groin. Shocked
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Greggen



Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scandum wrote:
The human race sucks in most muds, yet you'll find an abnormal amount of female human players, my conclusion, most women don't care.

...

The advantages of playing an inferior gender are sociologic.


This has little to do with game mechanics though. As you say it's more of a social descision. I think there are better ways to accomadate this without making your game suck for those who want to play a combative female. Smile

I'll take this to two extremes for a moment:

You have two choices: an ugly brute of a troll, or a beautiful magical elf. The elf is very weak and the troll is very strong.

Many people are going to chose the elf over the troll because they don't want to play an ugly character for whatever reason, and they will play at a disadvantage. It's absolutely fine if you want to design your game this way, but I don't think it's very fun personally.

Next up, you have two choices: A or B. A is 500% stronger and more effective than B. Nobody will know if you are A or B. Who's going to choose B?

How about you make A good at combat type A, and B good at combat type B instead? Much better IMHO.

Why make your game suck when it can be fun? Smile


In summary: Let your players play an inferior character if they want to. Choice is good! Don't however, tie it down to specific gender -- there's no reason to. Make a little checkbox with 'Suckage!!' next to it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Author Message
Scandum



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: I'm in the TV

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greggen wrote:
This has little to do with game mechanics though. As you say it's more of a social descision. I think there are better ways to accomadate this without making your game suck for those who want to play a combative female. Smile

I don't think game mechanisms should ignore social issues.

As Sandi indicated, she doesn't find playing as a male enjoyable for social reasons. In the system I suggest she could still be a kick ass warrior, compared to other females that is. It's all about how others percieve you, not about the actual stats. I doubt many would bother to be the biggest boldest roughest and toughest character if the only thing people care about is collecting flowers that randomly spawn in field rooms.

Hence people would automatically have more respect for a very strong female character, even though she would be still weaker than the average male character.

Of course nothing stops a woman from playing a male character, but it's been my observation that most women have a hard time competing, even with equal stats.


Last edited by Scandum on Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Author Message
Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 86
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are some great oneliners in this Thread, just what I needed to get a good laugh off in the pre-coffee induced alertness mode.

But I agree with most of the posters, that trying to give a statistical difference to the players based on their gender is not going to work out the way that you want it too.

Quote:
- Some sexes receive social penalties in some societies. (females may not be able to receive certain social status or government position)


This comes out in the development of the social structure, and world building. If you want to bar men from becoming an amazon, then it's easily doable with code. If you want no woman to be able to have land in the world, it again is doable.

Quote:
- Female PCs are ogled by male NPCs.

Assuming that the Female PC's are attractive. And is really that often that you catch men openly ogling women? In a group of men probably.

Quote:
- Sometimes males and females are given different quests. (rites of passage?)

This would make a good distinction in game to highlight the differences between sexes. You will still get the players who are upset that they can't do the amazon quest, or the can't do the Akkenbrah (all male tribe from the Jaran Series) quest. Unless the rewards for the two are equal.

Quote:
- Different clothing standards to receive favorable reactions from NPCs.

Different Clothing is a great way to reward players, and allow them to customize their players. I think it's a tool that is underused in MUD's currently. Look at Fable and all the different outfits you had there. It was fun to run around trying to collect all of them.

The Real Issue that needs to be examined, is while you may want to create these differences between the sexes, I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile, or beneficial to create seperate playing experiences for each gender. You are probably better served making the gameplay between races different, and between classes different.

It seems to me to be too much realism, and not enough fun.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Author Message
Greggen



Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scandum wrote:
In the system I suggest she could still be a kick ass warrior, compared to other females that is.

...

Hence people would automatically have more respect for a very strong female character, even though she would be still weaker than the average male character.


But why do this?

If a woman plays your game, wants to play the gender she most associates with, and wants to compete -- she can't. She'll probably just get trounced by the first guy she comes across. Not fun if you ask me.

You say that women have problems competing, but why not let them if they want to? With your system, you're making descisions on behalf of the player.

Why not just give the option of being on equal terms?

What might be an interesting compromise, just as one example, is saying that if you want to play a strong character you have to have big muscles. Those who want warrior females can have them (and their huge, masculine muscles), and those who want to play it sweet n' twee can sacrifice a little strength and get all the social benefits.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Author Message
Kyuss



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Southern Hellinois

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya'all scare me. Razz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    mudlab.org Forum Index -> Design All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Page 1 of 6

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group
BBTech Template by © 2003-04 MDesign