I felt an odd sort of whiplash watching The Godmother’s #TBLIZ feed during the initial Warlords announcement. One minute, people were squealing in giddy delight, “look at all the ladies!”, while watching the trailer cinematic. The next minute, they were passing around this image –
— and complaining that it has no women in it.
Wait wait waitaminnit… first you’re glad that there will be many ladies in the new expansion, and now you’re sad that there aren’t enough? I R CONFUZZLED.
In retrospect, I suppose I can understand why, after seeing the trailer, they’d be disappointed that that image — or this one, for that matter –
— does not have any (let alone the same level of) female representatation.
In the days since BlizzCon, there’s been this implication in the blogosphere that the principal thought a Real Female Gamer “should” have upon seeing these images is where are all the women?
I don’t know if I would have thought that or not — I didn’t really get the chance. Because blogs and their associated Twitter feeds updated faster than the WoW Insider coverage did, I started seeing that first image with “why aren’t there any women?” commentary well before I saw the unmodified image in its original context. I did wonder why Draka was not alongside Durotan in the second image, though.
I recognize that this gal (Y’rel?) –
— is something of a “token female” in the Warlords of Draenor promotional material we’ve seen so far. I get that there are women who play WoW who feel left out and pushed aside by the emphasis on male characters in what we’ve seen of the upcoming storyline. I acknowledge that, for them, their concerns are real, legitimate, and deserve to be addressed… but I am not bothered much.
As long as the plot and the characters are engaging, and there are not any other aspects of the content that I find disagreeable, I have never particularly noticed or cared about gender balance in the stories I consume. If Harry Potter’s two best friends had been Ron and Neville, the series would have been a rather different story, but I think I still would have enjoyed it just as much. I hope that Blizzard will tell a cracking good story over the course of Warlords of Draenor, as they have during Mists of Pandaria, and I intend to enjoy it without worrying about exactly how many of the “badass people doing badass things” (to borrow a phrase from Anne Stickney) are male and how many are female.
The Aggra thing, however… yeah, that bothers me.
Although I have been culturally raised to believe that stay-at-home-motherhood is the most important and worthwhile lifestyle a woman can choose, I agree that it’s utterly ridiculous that Aggra should be left behind just because she’s had a baby. It’s just not consistent with her character at all. Until someone specifically asked the question about her, I’d been automatically assuming that she would be going along with Thrall, and it does seem, from what I’ve read, that the presenters’ way of answering that question was condescending and dismissive. Aggra is an awesome character in The Shattering novel, and I have been disappointed that her development in the game has not fully lived up to that potential. Akabeko, Anne Stickney and Rades have expounded upon this topic much more completely and eloquently than I could. It would be wonderful if the strong concerns that have been raised over Aggra result in the CDevs changing their minds and more fully including her in the Warlords story, just as the strong concerns that were raised about Ji Firepaw during the Mists beta resulted in positive changes to his character. If that doesn’t happen, though, I’m still going to play the expansion and enjoy the story it tells.