Does Dragon's Prophet Have an Issue with Women?

The Amazon takes a peek at how S.O.E.'s game handles female avatars and feels a little uncomfy in chainmail booty shorts.

Nothing New

Yes, I know that a lot of video games objectify women or use women as props. God knows they all use hot female avatars as selling points (See artwork above).

But for the most part, one of the reasons I like MMORPGs is that the female characters are active participants, not damsels. You can customize your avatar to be as realistic or overly vampish as you want. A good game should give the player a wide variety of options on that part. This Amazon tends to dress down, but practical.

So, I was fairly troubled by what I saw trying to create myself in Sony Online Entertainment's new game - Dragon's Prophet. There are already criticisms being leveled at the game on several fronts, but this issue leaped right out at me from the jump.

Is My Chest Size Really THAT Critical?

When creating a female avatar in some games, just like a male character, you have the options to customize body parts. Usually this entails height, weight, muscle tone, arm and leg length and thickness, and the thickness and length of the torso.

But, Dragon's Prophet goes beyond 'measure' in one department - the female chest.

A male character has 3 torso size options. A female has 7. And what is up with that costume option? They definitely make sure you can mold things EXACTLY how you want them. Maybe too exact.

Don't misunderstand me, I understand need for detail but this is over the top. I mean you can't tweak the angle of a dude's pecs. You can't. I checked. 

My Feet Are Killing Me

Something else that struck me during just creation process. All of the female footwear were high-heels. Nothing a female adventurer likes more when walking around on unsteady and possibly slippery or soft ground is 4" inch pumps.

As a pirate, I'd often gone barefoot. So I removed the thigh-highs only to find this!

Since the developers have already pre-formed the female foot into a high heel angle, removing my boots in the game put these transparent pumps on me! 

Really? Transparent shoes? You know who else wears transparent pumps?

Here's a hint, they work for singles.

This Amazon doesn't work for singles.

My Kingdom for Some Armor

Women's armor in most games goes from the impractical to the laughable. Dragon's Prophet leans more to the humorous side in its usefulness.

After battling some initial enemies, I had earned enough coin to upgrade a few bits of my wardrobe and saw that I could pick up some better leg armor. Perfect, I thought. This new armor has nearly double to damage resistance and a higher health than the leggings I started with. 

Then, I put them on.

They're booty shorts. And by booty shorts, I mean that if you were standing behind my avatar, her cheeks are peeking out. And honestly, this is pretty conservative considering what my options are.

I kept the booty shorts on. Yes, I look like a Hooter's waitress but they somehow help protect me from the bad guys.

Life is Just a Fantasy...

Sword and sorcery games are supposed to have those colorful, whimsical and unrealistic elements as well as dark creatures and nightmarish enemies, yes. And I understand this is a game about catching and riding dragons while battling monsters. But, does it have to insult women? Does it have to sexualize even the character creation process? Do I have to feel embarrassed walking around a village with my avatar's behind partially showing?

Some would prefer to be adventurers, heroes and bad-asses first. Object of desire is not always a priority. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm getting back into my loose-fitting pirate blouse, trousers and taking off these God-forsaken heels.

Published Jun. 5th 2013
  • caro _4807
    No. They don't have a problem. I was ecstatic to see I could finally fully customize all of me. Decide of i want large breast or don't. It's high time women finally got to have control over sensitive areas instead of nose eyes and shoulders. I don't find it troubling and or sexist at all.
  • Rahcooun
    As a female, I personally like the option to make my game character look skimpy. What isn't socially acceptable in the real world is, for the most part, acceptable in the game world. I don't find it offensive whatsoever. This opinion goes for men characters too. I would totally run around in underwear as a guy if I that's what the 'armour' looked like!
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - I fully agree, luv. My issue is having few other options or logical choices beyond the skimpy. One of the reasons I enjoy Guild Wars 2 is the sheer volume of clothing choices and the ability to swap attributes I want the better protection on a nicer frock. But this games options when I reviewed it had outfits getting smaller as the armor value went up. 😃
  • Nivaliss
    oh good im so glad im not alone on this topic.

    i have played most games outthere and i love being the slim sexy woman that can kick ass. though i think this game is waayyyyy over the top.i could not agree more to all that is being said. and i udnerstand that this is a fantasy game and nothing of this game is realistic. but com on. high heels ? and lingerie armour ? oh yea im just gonna jump on my scaled dragon with bare thighs ride across the world and jump of in my pumps on whatever surface there is.... this game is made by developers that forgot to watch some porn and jerk off before hand.!

    lets threat the male characters the same shall we ? dress them in full plate armour and cut a holw for their ass cheeks so they can feel what its like to run around being ridiculed. not to mention the NPCs . lets all dress them this way and see how it feels in the long run.

    i too was glad i could customize my breats cuz what another wrote too was i could then make my boobs realistic. and what i instantly found was ingame it was EASY to see who was men IRL and who was women. solely by this fact! another thing... why is it that when im standing still... my breats are able to jiggle and spin around seperate from eachother?? standing still i wonder do the mens penis do the same ? what an amezing little trait in the bedroom but in a online game? hell no.

    game is fun. but the degrading feeling im getting when playing is getting too much for me.
  • Lanfairya
    Actions speak louder than words and any of the above comments you have made. Your words say you want choices to not be sexualized and when the opportunity presents itself, I don't really see you not sexualizing yourself. I took the time to see if I was perhaps being a bit judgmental so I did take a moment to peruse your facebook profile pics and what I saw there was a lot of sexualized avatars that you not only choose to play but then choose to portray as your online self. So why would game designers bother giving us choices we don't actually want and waste resources? Games are expensive to produce especially mmo's. What I'd like you to see from this is that if we want them to reflect us, we need to stop reflecting them and it starts with the places we do have choices.
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - I'm glad you took the time to examine my Facebook profile. I also have an album of myself in other games (Star Wars, Guild Wars 2, etc) but I'm guessing the comment reflected screenshots I've taken from Pirates Online as well as female pirate images I've gathered to occasionally rotate my icon.

    You might have also noted the wide variety of garb I sported over the 5 years I played Pirates Online. My favorite outfit was a black long-sleeved shirt with silver details and long black pants with buckles and straps. It was very steampunk looking. I will fully admit to wearing corsets on occasion and on rare occasion a skirt. I was never a fan of shorts, even if it was the Caribbean.

    I was pretty much barefoot in Pirates 80% of the time, but that was personal preference but there is historical precedent that sailors most often went without shoes due to slippery ship decks and the need to climb rope rigging. The game offered a nice variety actually but I made the CHOICE not to wear them.

    Again... my point has always been about choice. I never said that players shouldn't have the freedom to express themselves or delight in daring garb. My three primary issues with Dragon's Prophet (at the time of the review) was the lack of modest options without sacrificing ability, lack of practical armor and footwear, and amount of options dedicated to enhance female attributes. I'm not a nun. But, is it so bad to not want to constantly be dressed like a stripper?

    PS - Look up the term Ad Hominem
  • Lanfairya
    So, you spend your entire post complaining about being overly sexualized via your avatar and yet you choose a picture of a pirate with her breasts popping out as your avatar for this site?
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    did you read the other comments above?

    My issue was mostly about choice or lack there of. In the case of Dragons Prophet almost no pragmatic or more modest options existed for women. Nothing that wasn't revealing. No shoe that didn't have huge heels. Even barefoot my foot was shaped like I'm wearing slutty heels.

    Yes the icon I have now shows little cleavage and I used some that show more or less. It's not about what I'm choosing to be. It's about having those choices at all.

    I was asked to review this game last year and beta test it. Which I did. I could have kissed ass in an attempt to earn a trip to Vegas and be part of an event. I chose to speak my mind.

    This whole issue of tropes in MMOs isn't about removing sexuality but rather leave other options on the table.
  • Ron_7043
    How the hell did I find this blog...

    Regardless, not sure if you didn't notice this, but the men are just as overly sexualized in video games as the women are. Of course, nobody seems to notice this fact because nobody actually cares. Only the women care that women look sexy in a video game. It's the same reason movies have sexy actresses too though. And it isn't just the women that are sexy; it's the men too. Just like movies, both the men and the women have every feature that's found attractive to have a ton of focus on. For the men, it's the rippling biceps and the extremely handsome features. For the women it's the big tits, slender body and all that.

    If you don't want to play a game with sexualized characters then don't play it.
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - I don't play it. I was asked to beta test and review. I've already mentioned that I play Guild Wars 2 and am looking forward to Arche Age.

    I've tried Lord of the Rings online and Star Wars. I got tired of SW because it has issues with their social system and group missions.

    Defiance got boring. I'm considering Elder Scrolls possibly. Few games have replicated the Pirates Online system of crewing and sailing
  • Laura_9580
    i agree with you in that i think games now days are over doing it with making female characters super sexy, but i actually like this game because its MORE conservative than the game i was just playing! yes the armor was so extreme that i couldn't enjoy the game, that game is TERA (no offense to the multitude of fans) but as a girl gamer i don't enjoy watching castanics running around in 5 inch heals with their asses in the air in thongs. every.single.day. seriously if you think this game is bad then you havn't seen tera, even the elins (perpetual little anime girls with animal tails and ears) wear skimpy outfits, but obviously tera isn't the only game with stuff like this. i played perfect world international before that and the character creation is 10x more detailed than dragon's prophet, along with boob size adjustment. go there and everyone plays a female character with huge boobs and tiny waists, they look like barbie with plastic surgery, but hey at least their boobs don't jiggle unrealisticly like tera and dragons prophet. just be glad that in dragons prophet, you can make your character look like a nun with the cloth dresses and can turn ANY piece of armor into a costume.
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - you should play Guild Wars 2. I love it.
  • Jam_2468
    Pretty ironic article considering the site has ad's for Scarlet Blade running alongside it.
  • Choobeast
    I agree with you entirely concerning the heels. The breast sliders, not so much. I feel that the breast sliders are part of the solution, not the problem. Because of those sliders I was able to make a tomboyish lady who, with the right clothing, is difficult to tell from some of the more slender men in the game. Women and men come in a large number of shapes, and while I wish the men had larger customization available, the women having more allows for everything from the anime-style over the top floating giant breasts, to someone who looks boyish without completely lacking breasts. The same goes for the hip angle sliders, which allowed me to adjust the curve of the back to buttocks transition in such a way that gender was ambiguous.

    I 100% agree concerning the armor though, and am hoping that later I find some armor that allows me to look battle-ready, and not bed-ready.
  • MisterKeal
    You go girl! It is about time some gals objectify men as some negligible plot element like prince charming, the hunter in the woods, or some other disposable hero. It is about damn time some women make some Disney classics or video games that objectify men!! It is about time men be reduced to a throw away story character that never gets developed past that first kiss! Who cares what the physical characteristics of the man are and what type of personality and moral compass he has... let's just throw the towel in now and get that lucky moment! For all women pertinent in getting that one single moment and not giving a flying damn about story development and only caring about what happens in the now regarding men, I raise my silver chalice to you all, damn those men-run industries!
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - LOL. So true, especially with classic Disney. Look at the Prince in Snow White. Who is this dude that wanders around forests and kisses dead girls under glass? Though I don't think giving female characters some dignity has to come with sacrificing anything else.
  • Ecobahn
    Contributor
    This article raises a lot of great points. In the games I play I find myself always choosing female characters as the character select options are generally triple the amount than male characters have, and the actual hair and facial features have a lot more attention to detail to them. Armours look so much better, and the vanity clothings that some games have seem to be designed just for female characters despite being even in an unisex style. Let it be said now, that as a gay male the aesthetic of the female form does nothing for me, so for me to choose a female character it's solely based on the fact it looks better than a male character - who always look like they are about to attend an angry Mr Universe bodybuilding competition, with disfigured facial and bodily features. And again, I agree it seems ridiculous for the male characters to be so heavily laden with armour that it's a wonder they are even able to walk, and yet a female character for the same defensive capabilities can wear essentially a bikini against an undead horde and recieve the same amount of damage.

    The main problem is of course, the main gaming demographic is the straight male - as players and as developers. Although I agree with you, for game companies to sell their games they have to appeal with their audience. Players who want attractive males are still a minority -- ALTHOUGH attractive male characters are being brought more into the foreground (See Nathan Drake as a male alter ego of Lara Croft) Given time perhaps this will hopefully also filter into the online MMORPG games, and give them a lot more balance.

    HOWEVER, although I agree with you on a lot of levels I find that my overal opinion about this subject is the following: video games are fantasy. I think the whole point is to make heroes look as stunning as they are deadly - that's their whole charm. They can wreak all that havoc and yet not even break a nail, kinda thing. That male characters are so much like The Hulk that they can wield a hammer three times their own size, and can still jump 50 feet in the air. And that when both jump from a great height instead of dying or breaking bones, the ground almost gives way beneath them because they are just "that awesome!" But I think for male characters, game developers should be able to keep them that masculine, awesome fantasy look, with muscles if need be, but not so much they look like overheated popcorn.

    The only thing I wish, is that they would extend their attention to detail and options on looks more to the male characters too. Allow the player to decide how they want their character to look - it helps makes "the world" I think a lot more realistic, and your character more unique. I don't want to traverse the lands and find hundreds of duplicates of myself everywhere I go.

    That's my 2 cents at least.
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - You raise a very good and valid point. With so many games allowing same-sex character relationships etc., it would seem that developers in the future should take into consideration how same-sex players might wish to customize their avatars to appeal to their own gender as well. Also, you're right that some games do seem to offer more hair and clothing options for female avatars.
  • WongWangchao
    Stupid feminist, morons strike again...
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - Oh the things I could say. But the simplicity of your comment says more than enough.
  • Sybs
    I normally stay away from these but... Really. I only see the men in this game in muscle magazines and play girl. There is the SAME level of objectified men then women.

    Secondly this is FANTASY. Not real life. In a magical world where I can be healed by a simple spell or regen my life by drinking a small red bottle you bet I'd Wear the most revealing armor I could get my hands on.

    The problem with the article is that she ( or he...Think it could be a guy) Thinks that a fantasy world with dragons, magic spells and revives is that there is some level of realism tied to the real world. I'd call this a psychological problem if someone cant disconnect reality from fantasy. Kids understand that bugs bunny and elmer fud can get hit with anvils but adults cant accept that magic spells can heal someone wearing cloth and skimpy armor.

    This article unfortunately also points out what a pack of liars, teases and manipulators we female sex is full of. If the writer is a girl I am sure she has gone swimming and if she has I am sure she has worn something that shows more skin then that armor. She will wear that to the beach in broad daylight and have no quams about it, but have her fantasy character in a video game where other players can't even hear her voice and she throws a fit about being objectified. Sadly this is the mentality that is keeping women in other parts of the world as no better then slaves. When was the last time you spent half a minute or an extra dollar on helping women have equal rights in places where they routinely get shot in the head for wanting to go to school past grade 3? Grow up and get some priorities.

    P.S. Please show your support for women's rights in Egypt right now! The government was forced out there for wanting to enforce sharia law! This is a positive thing and we need to have our politicians support the Egyptian military for refusing to allow this debase practice to take root. My best friend was brought out of that barbaric practice by a father who wanted his daughters to be more then slaves! She is now becoming a doctor!
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - Wow. This is some great stuff. I was hoping my sarcasm would carry over that despite the range of clothing options in Dragon's Prophet I still play it. And my priorities were to report what I experienced playing this game in comparison to say Star Wars: The Old Republic or Defiance etc.

    I haven't told people not to play it, just pointed out the options presented for creating and playing a female avatar, while not treating their male avatars in the same fashion.

    And I definitely support your cause for women in Islamic cultures and those countries that are trying to throw off those old shackles. Saudi Arabia is still one of the worst, but they remain a political ally of this country so we turn a blind eye.
  • Camille_3615
    A lot of games are like this, sadly. It's why I sometimes play as a male because I want pants and boots. I mean, sure, I do swing that way, it's gotten ridiculous.
  • hentaiojosama
    So, not sure how accurate this is, but I didn't think it was too revealing.

    http://nebulaluben.deviantart.com/art/Dragon-s-Prophet-II-380313603

    It is weak that you cannot go barefoot, but if there are no armors you find appropriate, vote with your $ and let SOE know why! I play another SOE title, Planetside 2, and their reddit is almost all directed at the developers, and SOE posts responses plenty.

    Not to be a dick, but do you want to wear a sack like the peasant NPCs? The "hero" or player should stand out from the crowd, right? Should the savior of the known world really look like a commoner? And I agree that this does not mean you have to look like a stripper or sex worker, still I say the more customization options the better. And yes, it is not fair that male characters do not have an equal amount of sliders to adjust their appearance. We need a slider for their crotch bulge, right?!?

    As a man who spent many hours in Blender converting sexy outfits for Oblivion to have bouncing boobs, I know my opinion is not valid, but check out some of my old pics at the Nexus before you judge me.

    http://oblivion.nexusmods.com/users/1238449/?tb=images&pUp=1

    In Oblivion I actually modded my character to have smaller boobs. Sure, D and H cup were the most popular, but I wanted to role-play as a less-endowed lady. And with user created content, classy kimonos can fit all body types.

    And don't worry, unless you are a Nexus member you won't get to see any adults-only content.

    Sorry to ramble, I was looking at cos-play girls and remembered this article, feel free to ignore me.

    Love and Peace!
  • Eliza_Creststeel
    the pic is cool and more practical than anything I've seen in game so far for women. And no I don't want to look like gunny sack. But. I don't want to look like a joke. Things can be form fitting and suggestive without looking useless or impossible to wear. I would be fine with thigh high boots but I don't need 6" do me heels.
  • Verve_6823
    The 'skimpy' armor thing isn't new, hell, even WoW, the most touted MMO out there has its fair share of it.

    Go take a look at the MMO called "Scarlet Blade".

    Now there's an MMO much more deserving of any ire directed towards it for it's portrayal of women, seeing as you literally cannot play as a male character and as for the females... well, it's all kinds of wrong and pathetic.
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - oh, I've seen Scarlet Blade all right. And you're very much on target. I was very surprised to find out their company is not based in Asia considering the art style and attitude toward women.
  • Ida_3046
    "What's the issue with sexualizing women?"

    Take a moment and think about what message this sends us, the people who play these games and are subject to sexualization by media every day.

    What this particular game is telling us, is that men should be aiming to be the Arnold-type you've been describing below.. praised for his muscle, strength, cunning, intelligence... the hero who saves the day and also gets the woman.

    At the same time, the women in this game are blatantly objectified. A woman here is praised not for personal characteristics such as bravery or intelligence, but the one thing that seems to be important in this world is good looks and big breasts.

    The gender roles depicted in the media, such as games, tell us a great deal about what traits we find important and desirable. Men are appreciated for their actions and their accomplishments while women are appreciated for their beauty.

    You may enjoy imagining to be arnold riding a bad-ass dragon, but I'm not quite relating to my dominatrix in high heels waving her arms to the side of her hips like a ballerina as she runs, or leans on one leg while doing her hair...

    I was very much looking forward to playing this game, but the way women are represented in this game I'm already put off.

    Great post Eliza!
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - sorry I neglected to reply. I love what you said. If you can demo Dragon's Prophet, you might still give it a try. Though practical and modest garb is not very common, it does exist. One thing I would recommend to Sony is to have a default outfit so there aren't females running around in the tiny two-piece default string bikini.
  • You Successfully Trolled Me
    It gives you the option to have the manly female avatar you seek while allowing others to customize it further. Please just stop trying to force EVERYBODY into ugly man-style women because you have something against hot avatars=/
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Contributor
    - You can be HOT without looking like a joke though.
  • DemonicSkies
    Correspondent
    It's hard for me to see why people wouldn't get why this is insulting. I'm offended that a game would pay so much attention to female physique when there are a billion other things more significant. Like traits or skills. This is not Sims, this is a damn fantasy game and survival is key.

    Yes, guys are objectified BUT NOWHERE NEAR as much as women in gaming. I've encountered plenty of non-buff male characters and when I play male characters, I don't make them look like a less-buff version of the Hulk. That's not why I play games.

    Apparently the gaming industry believes the only reason guys play female characters is because they can recreate some fantasy girl.

    One reason I'm extremely excited for TESO coming out this year is because Skyrim was one of the few fantasy games where my character didn't resemble a classy whore. I know there are downloadable female costumes just like the Hooters getup up there, but I'm glad the game itself game me the option to focus on my character's skills and NOT their physique.

    On another interesting note, most Skyrim players seem to play as female characters. There was a whole discussion on Steam about this. I wonder how many of them use those clothing mods.
  • Spr1nk3ls
    Featured Contributor
    Thanks for your article, I see alot of men that think there is no problem. That is fine, I respect what you are saying. But I agree with the OP, it is the only part of the game that makes me uncomfortable. I made my character with very small, very low cleavage. However I think the point here is that we want the choice to wear some large, silvery (fully covering) bad ass armor. To me? Bad-ass armor is not high heeled boots and booty shorts TO ME. It may be to you...but I would like the option to wear full armor -- just like when the rage hit for WoW to transmorg you COULD go out and find teeny beeny bikini armor...OR you could wear full armor....what I believe the OP and what I would like to see is OPTIONS.
  • aterriblecat
    Yeah, we got a start on those options with being able to customize our breasts and even our butt size (i actually laughed about the butt thing. "I CAN PLAY WITH MY BUTT'S SIZE THIS MAKES ME HAPPY"), but why couldn't they have gone even further to allow that same level of customization with clothing or armor options? If I want to wear something skimpy, I'll do it. But the majority of the time... I want my armor to look badass + functional. The guys seem to have better choices for how armor fits them (at least from what I've seen of other players... I don't have a male character of my own.)... but all the armor for the women isn't of the same quality.

    I really hope they eventually address it later on. It won't stop me from playing the game (I find the game fun and I do like the look of most of the monsters I've come across, as well as the dragons I've seen.), but it does make me disappointed.

    Options are everything, and that would make it far more balanced in the long run and possibly even make it appeal to a larger playerbase.
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