40 thoughts on “Why I don’t play Runes of Magic

  1. Yes, funnily it seems as if some kind of art/art style basically tells “this is a cheap and silly game”.

    And this has nothing to do with the cheap clichΓ© of men in armor and women in thongs that abounds in MMORPGs nowadays. It more seems like that the designers know, they have nothing else to captivate at least some players. πŸ˜‰

    On the other hand I have yet to find a better looking armor than the starter bikini in AoC. Despite the huge challenge the game poses to my hardware, most chainmails look like a chainmail texture on a shirt, too.

    • Robert E Howard and the Conan stories were blatently sexist and racist, tbh. So it’s pretty much unavoidable that a game about that setting will follow suit.

      I also think though that the character armour was generally ugly which is why the starting bikini looks so good in comparison.

      • Conan gets away with it because it’s all about the fundamental urges of man – violence, sex, greed etc. Plus REH was a complete nutcase who wrote his first Conan story because he couldn’t sleep at night as everytime he tried to he envisaged Conan standing over him, threatening to kill him. Gotta give the guy some slack for that πŸ™‚

      • Equal opportunity nakedness πŸ™‚ But it’s very much of its era.

        It’s fine that Conan as an IP doesn’t appeal to me, and equally fine that it does to other people.

  2. Oh, come on. That female warrior has plate on! Well, most of the suit, anyway. It’s not like there are any major blood vessels in the upper thigh region that could be cut or anything.

    Perhaps all enemies in the world are heterosexual and male, so a female warrior gets a distraction bonus to armor. Or something.

    Right. Carry on….

  3. The “men in full armour/ robes and women in thongs/ briefs” images disturb me too, but usually for another reason. I get so annoyed when my charcter DONT look like that. They build up hopes that are rarely fulfilled.

    I embark on a epic quest to become a great heroine!

    But I look like I am wearing whatever stuck to me while I walked through a blind mans secondhand shop…

    Sillyness aside, would be nice to see MMO imagery that didn’t rely tits and biceps.

  4. It makes me wonder about the process. Was there some time when a new armor set was created and the designer had gotten it to fit the female models but then upon showing to to his supervisor: “It looks nice but where’s the cleavage?” Seems like it could be an awkward conversation.

    But maybe it happens the other way around. Maybe the armor is first made revealing for males and females and then someone asks about the men’s armor: “What’s with all the cleavage?”

  5. And Night Elves and Blood Elves are the epitome of virtue, right? Right now Arthas is headlining the WoW site, but the WoW skank isn’t deeply hidden, or unusual.

    Mind, I’m not defending either, since I’m deeply annoyed with the skank factor, but you can’t vilify RoM and tell me WoW hasn’t relied on the same marketing technique.

    • They actually don’t do it in Wrath (if they do, I haven’t seen it). It has improved. And yes, I thought the odd occasions in the past where my character was wearing stupid stuff were very stupid.

      I also strongly disliked some aspects of that right from the start, but the game was fun and I could avoid them and (crucially) there weren’t really many choices. Now it’s much easier to say ‘You know, I’m actually quite sick of that imagery so I will play something else.’

      • And in the same way, people like Saylah who have jumped into RoM and played it have found it to be plenty of fun, stupid imagery aside.

        The industry is saturated with it. By all means, choose with your wallet and pick the good stuff, but double standards don’t help anyone.

      • Seeing as how Runes of Magic’s big selling point is that it’s like WoW but free, the fact that the website is trying to sell it as like WoW but skankier (and free) isn’t really doing it for me; especially since I’ve never been all that impressed with the level of skank in WoW either. You can decide for yourself if that’s double standards.

  6. You should also stop using all products that are advertised with/by ridiculously thin, unrealistically good-looking women.

    You won’t be buying much.

    • Straw man. I didn’t say that.

      But if I want to play a heavy plate wearing badass warrior chick, I don’t want it to be wearing a string bikini. To me, that’s an issue.

      More to the point, if I look at a website and see skanky girls and badass guys, what I actually think is “This product is not aimed at me,” and that’s the reason I move on. It’s not a particular feminist statement (more power to those women who like their characters skimpy! But it’s not for me.)

  7. You do pay for marketing as well. No reason to encourage their bad behavior.

    I could probably go into a long rant about fantasy armor, but not here, not now. Besides, it seems like the real problem is that their advertising themselves as, “play us! We’re skanky!”. Which is actually kind of a turn off.

  8. Don’t know if you listen to podcasts, Spinks, but there was a very interesting discussion of this here:

    The fantasy genre is an odd one. It was at one stage the primary genre, in the days when people labelled anywhere they hadn’t been to as Here Be Dragons. Things like the Odyssey and the Norse sagas.

    Adult culture then evolved away from it until the Romantic era with stories like Dracula and Frankenstein.

    Children’s culture stuck with fantasy and generally isn’t sexist. Little boy and little girl push evil witch into oven is far more equal than most adult stories, even modern ones like Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

    Then 20s and 30s pulp explored fantasy themes partly as Gordon said because REH had somewhat lunatic visions but mainly because they got paid very little, wrote huge amounts of prose and needed something new continually. So they did tough guy goes into hostile town in a western setting, next week did it in a Sci Fi setting then the week after were thinking how the hell can we use the same formula without actually writing the same story?

    So to Conan and the values of the book reflect the values of the day in an exaggerated way. Some villains are described as abhorrent or degenerate because of their race (although not all black guys are bad, there is an element of the Noble Savage idea). Women are adjunct to the male hero. They are basically contructed along the lines of if I were a superhero what chick would I want today? So there are the action heroic chicks like Valeria, too tough for any normal man but can’t resist Conan and the wilting princesses.

    As for Conan walking around with a loincloth making it somehow female-friendly I don’t think so. Conan is an idealised man, a fantasy self-image. Conan is not a contruct that some woman would think up and think this is what I’d like in a hot guy. Conan is a man’s fantasy, not a sexual fantasy just a I wish I was this superhero who solved problems with a sword and had a constant stream of women falling into his arms. And of course Conan’s women are men’s fantasy too.

    The genre became more polarised by the admittedly excellent cover art that Frank Frazetta did in the 50s. That to a large extent has established the woman chained to rock artistic motif in fantasy art and blurred the semantic distinction between the word fantasy as meaning a literary genre relating to fantastical and magical stories and fantasy meaning unusual sexual tastes.

    At the same time Sprague de Camp, Carter and Frazetta were popularising Howard JRR Tolkien was publishing Lord Of The Rings which while less blatant than REH is still lacking in appeal to many black people and women.

    In LOTR the orcs are black and they are stupid evil enemies. Almost all of the protagonists are either male or passive. Eowen is the only actionist female character and does it for rather drippy reasons (to get noticed by a hot guy).

    It’s a great pity that in a genre where children’s literature does it perfectly the adult material continues to alienate half its audience. Girls and black kids love fairy stories. Once those stories are written for an adult market all too often they shut people out.

    It can be done right. My top tip at the moment if you want to see what fantasy can be when it gets past the chain mail bikini stage is Empress by Karen Miller.

    • I completely understand and appreciate the context and historical impact of Frank Frazetta. I collected monster mags as a kid and I admire his style, the imagery depicted therein and still do. πŸ™‚

      The problem I have is when it’s used ad nauseum as a cheap way to promote video games. Enough already.

      I disagree with you about black people not liking Lord of the Rings. How do you know that? Is there any evidence to support that kind of claim? Seems to me inferring that Tolkien was a racist is old red herring that’s been around for a few years.

      You could make the same claim that Asian people don’t like Lord of the Rings because there are no Asian people in Middle-earth. I hope that fantasy authors don’t start including black skinned people or other victim groups du jour in their novels just for the sake of political correctness. The color of someone’s skin or their hat for that matter doesn’t really interest me. But when someone tells me that an author must start appealing to a segment of the population then I get concerned.

      To take what you are saying to it’s logical conclusion: if black people stopped reading books about non-black people then they’d be excluding 99.99% or more of the books ever written. That would be silly. With black teens in America having a 30% graduation rate as it is that would be nothing short of disastrous and put them at a disadvantage.

      With regard to children’s books I find them appallingly politically correct — those poor children will be in for a shock when they grow up and see the world the way it truly is. Give me the old classic fairy tales and fables any day of the week.

  9. PS fwiw I’m trying Runes of magic. Artwork is a tiny factor for me in games. I no more think something is a bad game because of what the loading screen looks like than I think a TV programme is bad because of what adverts are on. Loading screen is time to zone out.

  10. Did you catch any of the Tankspot debate about their new background? By now, both thong-ladies have been removed from the background by Ciderhelm. I am very glad about it, because as female tank, nothing about the half-nekkid night elf and blood elf related to anything I do at all.

  11. I find it deeply ironic that you would complain about this when you play an Undead female in WoW. They show the most flesh of any character in any MMO out there!

    Every single layer of flesh, all the way down to the bone!

    Flayed decaying flesh that hangs by stringy tendons and… sorry, I have a sudden urge for a KFC, brb.

  12. OMG… getting up in arms over cartoon drawings of scantily clad women! Have you seen the guys who work on computer programs? I’ve worked in the software industry for 15 years, and believe me… it’s no wonder they fantasize about skinny, large-breasted girls in bikinis. They are called “fantasy” games for a reason. πŸ˜‰

    Besides, as a man with a healthy breast-fetish myself, I rather enjoy it. Many are the times I’ve wished I could virtually jump my female warrior bank alt, as she parades around town in her “Lovely Black Dress”.

    By the way, my (male) Death Knight is hung like a Draenei.

    • Your male death knight is dead. Look down. It’s dead too πŸ™‚

      btw I’ve worked in the software industry for 20 years and I think you’re being a bit unfair with your assumptions there… they’d rather have fast cars.

      • No see that’s a common misconception. Some people think that the thing hanging off my Death Knight’s backside is a tail, but they just don’t understand the anatomy of Draenei reproductive organs. πŸ˜‰

        Only problem is it is pretty limp most of the time… I’ll have to talk to my alchemy friends and see if there’s an elixir for that.

        Oh, and the software guys only want fast cars because they think it will help them to get skinny, large-breasted girls in bikinis. Trust me, everything in the male programmer’s mind ultimately revolves around breasts. πŸ™‚

        (Though I think you could remove the word “programmer’s” from that sentence and it would be just as true.)

  13. I’ll never try that Novartis (Novaris? Ugh…can’t remember name!) game that’s often advertised on WoWWiki because of the horrible ad with the scantily clad female chained to the tree. In the snow.

    If that’s the best, most compelling image they can offer me then they’re not getting my time.

    • Does that mean there’s a drug somewhere that causes young ladies to strip down to their bikinis, chain themselves to rocks and pulsate their bosoms?

      Hmm, wonder if one can get it on prescription…

  14. Runes of Magic are about the worst company out there for the terrible off putting art. Most other free to play games are better (but not all).

    Their female outfits are just dreadful. I have no idea why they think this doing anything other than losing them money.

    If you haven’t taken a look at their cash shop outfits (its on the website) take a look. Most of the trousers are panties. I cant imagine anyone beyond a male player wearing them. Or more honestly any female gamer I know buying them for their toon.

    I’d look at any female toon with one as 1) a drama queen 2) a man 3) both.

    Its bizarre, because if they were not so bad I’d have bought an outfit for my tank. Instant more money.

    I’d also make a special mention for warhammers witch elves, pant less the whole way through the game. Another bad design choice by the company.

    • I don’t think WAR ever had much of a female playerbase, which is sad when you think that about 40% of WoW players are apparently female (can’t remember where I read that though) and WAR is really not a bad game.

      I think a lot of that is to do with the Warhammer IP being designed and marketed for 14 year old boys. Sometimes you have to work with what you have to work with, and the witch elves are part of that. I never really forgave Mythic for making their Chosen male-only though, even though there are examples of female chosen in the books. It meant that at the beginning, there were actually no options for female tanks on the destruction side.

      As far as the cash shop goes, I guess they know what sells. But it does seem odd not to give more choices. Maybe they just think it’s a core design aesthetic for the game or something?

  15. Ok I missed this one first time round, until Gevlon decided to link your post rant about why games should be purely about winning and have no social content whatsoever.

    I disagree with your view point on REH. I really don’t find Conan stories to be that sexist or racist, and remember, in the era when he wrote these stories his views would have been more mainstream than extreme. Things that were taken as ok back then might be seen as less acceptable these days.
    Read any of the Gor books, and there can be no doubt what sexist fantasy is!

    The whole ‘Conan in a loin cloth’ surrounded by scantily-clad women comes from the comics, and from artists like Boris Vallejo.
    Those sort of images are now seen as the norm for any fantasy-based story, either in film, comic or game, and WOW is no different in this respect.
    I don’t think it does the genre any favours, but I think that that is the way the media sees it and portrays fantasy.

  16. “Was there some time when a new armor set was created and the designer had gotten it to fit the female models but then upon showing to to his supervisor: β€œIt looks nice but where’s the cleavage?””
    I saw my wife’s then-70 Priest(ess) running around in what looked like thigh-highs and a thong. ‘Put some clothes on!’ I said. ‘What are you wearing, anyway?’ (I can’t remember what they were called, unfortunately).

    She linked me the leggings. For a laugh, I ctrl-clicked and saw…
    My male Paladin wearing blue pants with a yellow stripe (think Custer’s cavalry pants). I was amazed at how different they were.

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  18. Well said! I know where you are coming from. For years I avoided playing any NCSoft MMO because I was tired of seeing the perfectly endowed females on the cover of all of their products — especially the Guild Wars boxes.

    Displaying scantily clad females in video game cover and associated promotional materials is an insult to my intelligence. Surely there is enough of this on the Internet for those that care about those things.

    Is NCSoft and any other company that engages in this practice have the right to do that? Absolutely. But understand that while they employ these cheap tactics that I will not be very likely to buy their products.

  19. HAHAHAHA all of you are probably WoW fans who are mad that this game beat WoW on the top mmorpg list 2009! thats why your all talking about how bad this game is.its a good game, although i do have to admit that the nudity of the women is an excuse to get more people to play

    • Your right all the way,
      whether or not these people are WoW fans, you cant blame the company for trying to make it just like the game that makes millions. The nudity part is also true, because some horny boys may get turned on and join.

  20. The fact is, they are trying to sell their game. It’s all about money, and they know what attracts people. Everyone goes with the guarantee and not out on a limb. It’s all marketing and this will never go away. Cause the majority of those that play video games are teen/males. Though I will say more females are getting into the action these days. The amount of people who don’t like this is 100x less then the amount of people who do. LOL, no game I know of caters to non skippy armor except well FPS, and they still Always make their females attractive. Really, just except it and move on.

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