League of Legends: SO MUCH character design fail

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for quite a while, ever since a previous post in which my brother and I performed a silly experiment to see if a pose depicted in a LoL wallpaper was possible. (It is, but only if you have double-jointed shoulders.)

Anyway, I got curious about the design of other female characters and went looking to see how the awful design of Soraka compared to other female LoL characters since there have been repeated comments on this blog that LoL is not “as bad” as a lot of the other stuff I lampoon here. And the results… let’s just say that yes. Yes it really is “as bad”.

The fail

(Disclaimer: I got all of these from a list of LoL characters found on GiantBomb, so if any of my information is wrong I blame them. My only exposure to LoL is having watched my brother play a match one time, so I can’t say I’m too conversant with the game.)

First of all, the most important bit of fail worth mentioning is that out of the 79 champions that you can choose to play, less than a third are humanoid females. (I’m not including champions like Anivia, btw. Being a giant bird doesn’t count in my books.) Now that ratio, while disappointing, isn’t out of line with the typical representation that women can expect in most other video games, so I might not be so annoyed if there were at least a good variety of designs. Only, there’s really not. Female LoL champions tend to come in one flavor: breastacular. In fact, there were so many fail-worthy characters that I had to split them into two images:

CLICK FOR LARGE VIEW

So… many… sphere boobs… I mean, pretty much any one of these images wouldn’t be out of place on Boobs Don’t Work That Way, but some of them are especially egregious. Katarina and Morgana are pretty good examples of basketball-pinned-to-the-chest syndrome, Evelynn is a prime example of anti-gravity breasts, and Ashe… I don’t know what the fuck is going on there. Not only are they impossibly huge and gravity defying, but they’re also kind of pointy, which is just baffling.

The other thing that really stands out to me when I look at these character designs is how incredibly unoriginal they are. Soraka is just a boobular draenai with a horn, Nidalee is a rip-off of Pathfinder’s iconic sorceress Seoni, Leona looks like female warriors from just about every kMMO ever, and Evelynn is a total Starfire knockoff. She even has red hair!

I have to say that the lack of originality is another mark against the character designs. I mean, come on guys. If you’re going to have ridiculously fanservice-y designs, can you at least manage not to completely phone it in on the design process? Then again, when you ask LoL players what they think about boobs, these are some of the thought-provoking responses you get:

We need moar boobs. (comment here)

Too many boobs? I dont see why anyone would say that. There are only 2 boobs per female champ (comment here)

Complaining about boobs? Lol community is full of homos? (comment here)

…so really, maybe they don’t need to try all that hard. After all, it doesn’t sound like they have a particularly high-brow audience.

The meh

Thankfully, not all of the characters are as eye-searingly awful as the above. Some of them only cause mild aggravation rather than mouth-foaming rage and the desire to hit things:

Yes, Vayne is wearing almost nothing but spandex, but at least her skin is mostly covered. And yes Orianna has kind of freakily pointy boobs and an absurdly short “robo skirt”, but at least they’re mildly less sexualized than some of their compatriots. Still, putting these on the “meh” list makes me feel a little dirty since Vayne is wearing stilettos for gods sake and with Orianna we’re getting ROBOT UPSKIRT which is about fifteen different kinds of stupid.

I mean, give me a fucking break

Mixed bags: awesome characters, except for how they’re not

Some of the female champions are interesting in that they manage to have one good skin and one (or more) really awful one. Case in point, Irelia:

Now granted, even Irelia’s cleavagey outfits are still much, much better than other female champions. Unlike Leona, another “heavily armored” female champion, Irelia is at least wearing pants in all of her various looks! Still, two of these three outfits have inexplicable cleavage windows, which is – in my books – about the worst sin that can be committed in female character design for heavily armored characters. Honestly, it’s better to lose the armor altogether than to have armor that is only meant to accentuate the boobage.

Now the design in the middle would still be better if her waist wasn’t so impossibly tiny. Unless she’s got some kind of freaky chest-TARDIS, there’s no way she’s got room for organs in there. But compared to the vast amounts of fail the rest of the female champions display, I’m more than happy to give the middle Irelia a thumbs up, albeit with a small eye-roll for bad anatomy.

Lux is another great example of a character where one of the skins is so very, very good and the other is… not. Both of the designs on the left feature stupid poses, weird color choices, and yet more terrible anatomy. Guys, please. If you’re going to draw fanservicey outfits, please make sure you have the basics of female anatomy down, okay? Because when I put the two designs on the left next to the one on the right, they just plain suck.

Now, yes, the design on the right does have problems – the armor does accentuate the boobs at the cost of actual structural integrity. But she’s actually fully covered, and more importantly – has an actual waist. Her figure in this one reads as “athletic” and not “weirdly inhuman”. Even better, her pose looks more like an action pose and less like a “sexy pinup pose” like the other two designs. So, thumbs up. This is even better than the non-sexy Irelia.

I have mixed feelings about comparing these two designs for Karma, another magic-wielding character. On the one hand we have yet another mage with lots of skin. On the other hand, it looks like they were trying to model her costume after some specific cultural roots. Considering the sorts of outfits one often sees at Caribana in Toronto, I half think that the design on the right might not be quite as bad as some of the others.

Then again, context is important. If there was a decent mix of sexualized and non-sexualized women, I might be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, considering that boobular has been the overwhelming choice for the design of female LoL champions, I’m going to say that this has less to do with “cultural costume” and more with the artists wanting a “different flavor” of sexy.

Annie has come up in the comments before on this blog, but I thought I’d post her two designs side by side. The design on the right is fine. Evil little girls are the stuff horror films are made of. The Annie on the left? Is wrong, wrong, WRONG. Don’t put boobs on little girls ever. Ever. EVAR.

Yes some girls develop early, but she’s, like, 8 or 9. That’s just gross.

The win

It shouldn’t be too surprising that two out of the three totally awesome characters I found are gnome-types. I almost didn’t include Tristana and Poppy because they do look less human than even the WoW gnomes, but I did finally decide that they made the cut, if only because they look totally confident and totally badass. Also, it’s a relief not to see cleavagey armor like you see on WoW gnomes all the time; given that gnomish proportions are pretty much identical to human toddlers, I don’t want to see cleavage on a gnome EVER. So thanks for not inflicting that on us, at least.

That leaves us with Kayle who is, oh my god, one of my new favorite character designs EVAR EVAR EVAR. Can I talk about how much I love her breastplate? It allows room for breasts without having structurally unsound boob compartments like Lux’s armor. Plus it’s super bulky, much like the armor you see male WoW characters wearing. The fact that it hasn’t been slimmed down or de-bulked to suit a female character is completely awesome. And best of all, Kayle’s alternate design is also completely badass.

THIS. OH MY GOD THIS.

Seeing Kayle next to all of these other wannabes makes me so sad, because if characters like Kayle were the norm in gaming, you’d definitely see a lot more women joining the hobby. Kayle gets to be awesome, confident, badass, and female without being on display for anyone’s benefit. It makes my heart happy that LoL broke with the trend when they made her, and I hope that they’ll consider at the very least creating alternate looks for their older characters that emulate this non-sexualized mode of design. Until that happens, though, while I’m happy to say that Kayle is full of win, she doesn’t obviate the fact that LoL has so much gender fail that it practically has its own gravitational pull.

About wundergeek
In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, I am an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.

116 Responses to League of Legends: SO MUCH character design fail

  1. Ian says:

    As a big fan of LoL, I utterly agree that it needs a good thrashing in this department. Personally, as a male I’m a little insulted and annoyed by the pandering. My main issue with your post is just your selection of targets… which I suspect is mainly a consequence of you not playing the game, and just going off of promotional artwork. I think it’s also important to emphasize the default skin in any analysis, since the alternate ones have to be paid for and often don’t even attempt to fit in with the game’s fiction.

    First off: the “only a third of the characters are humanoid females” simply isn’t a fair criticism. There are a lot of bestial, otherworldly, etc sorts of characters in the game… I think about 14, if you’re being choosy about which ones count, of which only 1 is female. There remains a gender imbalance, yes, but it isn’t as egregious as you make it out to be… at least, if things like “giant bird” aren’t allowed to count.

    A lot of the art you’ve got in there either isn’t something I’ve seen or is hopelessly outdated. A lot of the early League of Legends artwork is just horrendous… the picture of Ashe you’ve got there being the prime example. They replaced that godawful portrait with this one (http://lol.garena.ph/guides/000game_data/1.0.0.118/content/champion/portraits/22.jpg) quite some time ago. A big culprit in a lot of the early league of legends are is that they just did a paint over of rendered models, which tend to have overly exaggerated (and low poly) silhouettes in order to make them readable from a distance. The newer Ashe portrait, while not perfect, is certainly a step forward… less giant, inexplicably pointy boobs, more badass.

    In my opinion, two of the best female character designs in LoL are Lux and Leona, and both of them seem to have had the pattern of two great skins and one ridiculous, laughable one. For Lux, of the pictures you display, the first one is simply flat out not a skin in the game (it may have been early concept art… the current version looks like this: http://i2.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/lens15028511_1288852509lux.jpg), and the second one is admittedly idiotic. Lux’s third skin (the one I bought and paid for because it is awesome) is this one (http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20101020113203/leagueoflegends/images/4/44/Lux_SpellthiefLoading.jpg), which I think you’ll agree is about as non-objectionable as they come.

    As for Leona, the skin you show here isn’t actually a huge problem for me. It’s an optional skin playing off the common depiction of a Valkyrie. It’s more skin than is necessary, yeah, and I suppose considering the pattern across their character designs as a whole, that’s a point of a concern, but in that particular image she still ends up coming off more as “badass” than “cheesecake”, and I’m prepared to give more leeway for “themed” skins than ones meant to be taken seriously in-universe. The other option skin for her is fantastic though (http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110708213138/leagueoflegends/images/d/d5/Leona_DefenderSkin.jpg). The main problem I have with her design is actually for her default skin (http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110708195332/leagueoflegends/images/archive/3/3e/20110708210102!Leona_OriginalSkin.jpg): purple spandex with boob plating, plus stiletto heels (mercifully cropped off in the portrait). WTF. Considering that they were specifically designing Leona so that they’d have a female “tank” character in the roster–ie, a character that recieves and deals a huge amount of punishment–it seems particularily egregious that they’d feel it was a good idea to go so overboard on the sexualization of her. Actually, what the hell is with the high heels on female characters in general? I don’t get why other guys find them at all attractive, let alone feel the need to shoehorn them onto ostensibly combat ready female fighters.

    Finally, I think you missed some fairly big targets. The skin you’ve got for Akali is actually an alternate skin, and one of her least objectional… more of a riff on Kill Bill than anything else. The standard skin is a case of ridiculous, comical side-boob/sphere-boob (http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100506204211/leagueoflegends/images/thumb/f/f7/Akali_OriginalSkin.jpg/640px-Akali_OriginalSkin.jpg), and Miss Fortune and Katarina are both blatantly fanservice in every. Single. Goddamned. Skin. I actually object to Vayne more than you do, since I figure that skintight spandex is honestly not that much better than showing a lot of skin instead in that respect.

    And yes, Kayle is fucking awesome.

    So, on the whole, I utterly agree that LoL has some copious gender fail, and not a lot of indications that it’s going to change. However, I think that there are some genuinely good female character designs in the game, which they deserve due credit for, and a lot of the bad stuff is a legacy from when their artists were just shit… they’ve gotten better over time. On the whole, I’ve actually got a lot of respect for League of Legends character designers: they obviously put a lot of thought into making sure their characters all look unique and are easy to read at a distance. That doesn’t excuse them when they pull off a lot of the horseshit that they do, and I utterly agree that they need MORE characters like Kayle… and less of the shoehorning in of “sexy” elements like they did with Irelia and Leona. All in all, I think the game has serious problems in this regard, though it’s not as bad as some of the worst offenders you’ve documented on this blog.

    Well, we can always help that they pull their heads out of their asses eventually, right?

    • wundergeek says:

      Re: the non-humans, I looked at those too and the non-humans are still overwhelmingly male. Alistair, Amumu, Blitzcrank, Brand, MaoKai, Mordekaiser, Nassus, Nocturne, Renekton, Twitch, Urgot, Rammus – they’re ALL MALE. The ONLY non-human female is Anivia, and she’s not gross like many of the others, she’s “pretty”. So even if you look at non-humans, female characters still VERY much the minority.

    • wundergeek says:

      Sorry, I realized that my comment didn’t do much to address the rest of your lengthy comment.

      Yes, not being familiar with the game enough to know which were default skins and which were optional was a problem, so thank you for taking the time to provide links. It’s nice to know that there is a skin for Leona that isn’t completely ridiculous too.

      One does hope that eventually the designers might at least partially remove their heads from their posteriors.

      • Ian says:

        I apologize for the length of the comment, I hadn’t realized that I’d gotten quite so verbose.

  2. Quatoria says:

    It really makes the fail stand out even more when you see it contrasted against something like that image of Kayle, and realize they’re capable of that. I mean, holy shit, she looks like she’s here to FUCK SOMETHING UP. That’s how she should be presented! So what the hell, devs? It honestly amazes me that time after time, you see the decision being made that providing cheesecake or cheap titillation is more important – and would be more rewarding – than just letting everyone be badass. I’m not even sure they even THINK about what they’re doing, anymore – the cheesecake is so deeply ingrained it has become the default. Fuck, I just depressed myself.

  3. Ikkin says:

    I kind of have to wonder whether the Kayle character was even drawn by the same people as the other images here. Not only is she far better designed, but she’s drawn in a significantly different style, as well (especially in terms of facial features). I wouldn’t be surprised if she was the work of a guest artist or something. =/

    • wundergeek says:

      Now that you point this out, it wouldn’t much surprise me either.

      • Mirasiel says:

        Um, maybe I’m seeing things but she seems an awful lot like a trace of Samus taking off her helmet…

        Seriously that picture of Kayle looks to similiar its freaky, dont fail me now google image search!

    • Ian says:

      Riot’s artists have been all over the map for years… literally, a lot of their early “portraits” were just thinly veiled and poorly done paintovers of the in-game models.

      Kayle, though, has always been ridiculously badass, regardless of artist. I think it’s because her armour was designed with so much bulk and large, broad shoulders, ala Samus’s power suit… it’s pretty hard to tart it up to emphasize certain… *ahem*… elements of the female physique without ruining the iconic visual elements and silhouette. I guess we get to thank Riot for being so conscious of their character readability. Even when they try and make obvious breast-shaped plates on her armour (http://www.tumblr.com/photo/1280/4578695600/1/tumblr_ljlcfrQXkL1qilva1) it still comes out miles ahead. Doesn’t mean you’ll want to slap them any less for the effort, but it is a bright spot.

  4. I wrote a post of my own on this topic, inspired after stumbling on your blog not too long ago. The League of Legends community on the whole is so awful. Woe to the person who doesn’t sink 30 hours a week into that game, lest they be called a sexist or homophobic slur.

    I think that some of the LoL designs are heading in a better direction, but then I see the new art for Leona, and I think maybe *not*.

    Here’s a link to what I wrote up. Naturally, yours is much better. :)

    http://www.geekywives.com/2011/league-of-well-endowed-fighting-chicks/

    • wundergeek says:

      Hey, thanks for coming by and sharing the link. I did read that post of yours and enjoyed it. The question of why people don’t care about these issues is one that needs to be asked!

      • Hazmat Sam says:

        I’ll tell you why: LoL’s userbase is directly descended from DoTA’s. That “30 hours a week” comment is an understatement. No one will take a god-damned thing you say seriously unless you’ve made LoL a full-time job. The sort of people that survive there are so horrible, even to straight white men, that Heroes of Newerth’s forum mods have specifically used them as an example of how not to post.

        Speaking of, it would be interesting to do a comparison with HoN characters and with LoL characters. On the one hand, HoN women have much better proportions and character designs (Moon queen and Andromeda are my favourites), but on the other, we still don’t have a female strength hero, so LoL comes ahead there.

  5. Alex F says:

    Hey, I’m a long time reader and first time poster here. I think I have something to share that would be useful in this discussion.

    I play a ton of League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth and have been bothered by the character designs in both for a long while. One time I posted a (very incoherent) rant about female character design in LoL on a League fansite, going through every female character and posting how bad they are. I actually had a Riot artist respond to me. This is what she said.

    http://runeterra.com/forums/index.php?topic=3456.msg37160#msg37160

    I think this is something to remember when looking at League’s character designs. At least one of Riot’s artists is just uninformed as opposed to apathetic. Clearly she’s thought about this kind of stuff before and just doesn’t understand the impact it has on the people that play the game. The last three paragraphs she writes show that off well, I feel.

    • depizan says:

      I think I’d feel better if she were apathetic. Holy internalized misogyny, Batman.

      • wundergeek says:

        Yeah, no shit.

      • Alex says:

        So this woman is on the inside, in the industry, and she has an intimate knowledge of the trade and the reasons for the decisions made. And she explains the very real fact about the hugely one sided demographic and that these aren’t realistic depictions, deliberately so…

        And it’s seen as misogynistic?

        More than that, there’s the subtext in your comment that she’s somehow been “brainwashed” into believing what she’s saying? That sounds like you don’t think she can make her own decisions as a woman. I find that confusing, to put it politely.

        She’s hardly “uninformed as opposed to apathetic”, in fact, she’s probably one of the more knowledgeable people to make a comment on the game. She is certainly in a better position to comment than many of the commentators here.

        And wundergeek please don’t use that Farmville argument anymore, yes there is a huge fan base of female CASUAL gamers out there, but they are more than a costume change away from jumping ship to a hugely hardcore franchise such as this.

        It’s like saying that people who love Lady Gaga would really appreciate Death Metal if the band just dressed in three piece suits a bit more. You can dress it up however you like, the content is the same, and the content is the thing that’s not attractive to these female casual gamers, not the “packaging”. It’s cause and effect, the two don’t exist independently.

        • Alex F says:

          When I spoke of her being uninformed I meant she was uninformed about the way the media can affect our perceptions of women, not about the way the game industry works.
          And yes, it is misogynistic to continue to draw sexualized women over and over at the expense of both the women and men that play this game and everyone they interact with, pandering to the hugely one-sided demographic and not making any effort to change things.

          I’m interested as to why you think more women wouldn’t get into the game if the art style was changed. The amount of male gaze in League is more off-putting than you think. There’s nothing about being a girl that keeps one away from “hardcore” gameplay, is there? Even then League of Legends is a very casual game.

          • Alex says:

            She wasn’t even uninformed about that. She’s an artist, knowing how her trade affects its viewer is a MASSIVE part of her process. She admitted that she could see how people would take issue with it, but then continued on to explain why changing it isn’t strictly up to the artists themselves, and as an artist she doesn’t want to anyway.

            These artists are taking a huge chance and putting themselves on the line by expressing themselves creatively, and they are getting completely assaulted for their less than godlike proportionate knowledge, and the designs that they don’t even have a whole lot of a say in. If they say no, they just don’t get the work.

            There’s certainly a chance that more women would get into the game if the art style changed, but it would have to be such a radical change that I’d need to use an analogy here to explain how the situation would play out:

            Employee: “Ok so we make cars, we have done for years, and our products are all aimed towards car enthusiasts, but how about… We aim for the boating market now? Stop making cars, and start making boats. There’s a whole lot of boat owners who aren’t buying our cars, so lets make boats instead of cars to get those boat owners on board!”
            Boss: “You’re fired.”

            You said in your own comment just then, it’s a hugely one sided demographic, surely you can see how it would be a crazy business decision to make designs that appeal to a tiny tiny minority of your fanbase at the expense of what most of it enjoys? It’s not right or wrong in an objective sense, it’s just business sense.

            Also, once women get into the game, you know what they can expect? The first game to ever create a player lead tribunal to deal with offensive behaviour in game.

            http://na.leagueoflegends.com/legal/tribunal

            That’s the extent of the abuse between players, there were so many incidences and complaints that they had to create a team of players and reward them for dealing with these issues.

            Now this is whilst it is almost entirely dominated by males, imagine if females entered the mix. If I was a woman I wouldn’t want to have to deal with that, hell I’m a man and I don’t want to deal with that! And yes while that’s a completely defeatist attitude and against everything I’m sure you stand for, staying away from this game is just a smart decision all round. To ignore that advice is like sticking your hand in a wasp nest because you don’t like the fact that you’re expected not to and then complaining about what happens next.

            I myself bought the game Viva Pinata in spite of everything about it being obvious that it was aimed towards children and to a lesser, more specific extent, girls. And I loved it. Did the cover sway me at first? Sure. Did I decide not to judge a book by its cover and appreciate the game for its own merits? You betcha.

            If want to actually play the game, I’m positive you’ll find a way to look past the depiction of the women in it, the 12 women who already play the game did. If you don’t want to play it, then I’m not sure why this is bothering you so much.

            Also, my brother tells me that if you get something like 10,000 reference links for League Of Legends, that is, if you get 10,000 people to sign up for the game with a link that you provide them, you can meet up with the developers and design your very own character, exactly how you’d like! I’m sure you could give feedback and suggestions for the further development of the game while you’re at it. It’s a pretty high number but if you’re as serious about this as you’re making it out to be, that’d be a damn good way to put your money where your mouth is and instigate some change for the better.

            I’ll even help by signing up with your link, that’s how much I want you to prove to me you’re committed to this.

            And here’s a link for that:

            http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=46093

            • Alex F says:

              It’s not a radical change to start making more Kayles and less Miss Fortunes. It’s a simple gesture that would make women more receptive to the game. Most men that play this game probably aren’t playing just to see sexy women, they’re playing for the game (like in your example with Viva Pinata), and the art Riot puts out doesn’t affect the gameplay at all. Do you really think men will stop playing the game because Riot artists start making more progressive portrayals of women? I don’t…. it doesn’t seem like a very dangerous business move at all to me. I think such a change can only bring in more players.

              I’m concerned about your advice to women. Stay away from the game because of the misogynistic attitudes of the players? Why place the blame on the women for daring to try out a game instead of the jerks that harass them? It’s not the victim’s fault, it’s the players that are being abusive. You say it’s a smart decision for women to just avoid the game altogether because of the players, but doing that just empowers the jerkish community, a kind of silent reinforcement of their existing attitudes (the attitude that women shouldn’t be playing or don’t belong in this game). It would be smarter overall to keep playing the game and report anyone that’s offensive.

              Lastly I’d just like to say I do play this game a lot and I’m aware of the referral awards. What I’m also aware of is that the reward for 10,000 referrals isn’t actually getting to design your own champion, it’s more like getting to work on a champion that Riot has already started working on. Besides, I wouldn’t want to draw more players into the game that might end up giving Riot money.

              • Alex says:

                Ok well think about it this way, if there are hypothetically 500,000 registered users on LoL (I am estimating low because the numbers aren’t easily discerned. I’d actually say it’d probably closer to at least 1,000,000), 10,000 signees is 2% of the install base. You could get women ONLY to register and that would be less than 2% of the players currently on the game. This way you wouldn’t be perpetuating the status quo through adding more male gamers and you could go a long way in showing there is a strong female fan-base that plays the game and wants a change. If you ever did get this many signees though it’d be interesting to what is deemed wholly acceptable by 10,000 DIFFERENT women (i’d assume it’d be surprising to say the least).

                However if you can’t get this many women to sign up, even sign up again to prove a point, then that goes a long way in showing that there’s too small a percentage to cater for effectively. And you’re right, there’s a huge amount of men who wouldn’t really mind if the designs became more balanced and conservative, but, like the women who hate the designs already, there’d be a small, angry and loud minority of male fan backlash (the ones that make them a huge percentage of their income).

                Don’t be concerned about my advice towards women, like I said, I see the defeatist facet to the argument. But like the wasp analogy, it gets to a point where there is less to gain than what you sacrifice. Playing this game even though it conflicts so gravely with your ideals doesn’t help anyone, if you can’t play it without compromising your values, it becomes a Pyrrhic victory. You’re not sticking it to anyone just playing it in spite of the abuse you may receive from the unsavoury types that overwhelm the fan-base.

                There’s one thing that motivates any company, and that’s cash dollars. If you aren’t making them enough money, you really aren’t high on their list of priorities. On the other hand if you cause them to lose money by withdrawing your support then that might just be a catalyst for change. But every move you make must occur with dollars and cents in mind. That’s the ONLY thing that will sway them. This isn’t Bioware we’re talking about, these guys operate on a Free-To-Play system. And you’re kidding yourself if you think Bioware aren’t making their decisions with the press release (and the fiscal implications of such) in mind.

                I always use the same three choices in my comments here;

                1) You enjoy these games in spite of what you disagree with (which is what you are clearly doing, as you play the game)
                2) You do something about it (10,000 signees, an opportunity not provided by any other developer I can think of, and the chance to open a dialogue with them directly)
                3) Or you remove the game from your life and as such are no longer affected by its values.

                Those are your three options, it’s really that simple. All are equally viable, you just have to want it enough.

              • Carina says:

                No no no no.

                All you’ve posted in with your three options there is “put up with it or shut it” – and that’s nothing more than a silencing tactic.

                Stuff the dissenting oppinions into the dark, lest you actually have to think about them. After all, a voice that isn’t heard will not matter and the crappy stuff can go unchallenged.

                But Talking about that crap, why it is wrong and why it shouldn’t happen – is an absolutly viable option to. It’s actually a *necessary* option, because it’s important to get out why this stuff is wrong and harmful. It’s talking about this shitty stuff that paves the way for change and if it’s just getting well meaning but unaware people to relalize why this isn’t kosher.

                Even if LoL will never change its way (and it’s unlikely) – it makes a fine example of What not to do.

              • Alex says:

                @Carina: There are three clear options actually. Please re-read. One is, as you put it so eloquently “put up with it” another is “do something about it (and read the above comments and links if you didn’t understand that one http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=46093)” and the last one is “don’t support it”. Please examine the comments thoroughly before you respond, otherwise we’ll just be repeating ourselves all day.

              • Carina says:

                And I am saying that option 4, the one wundergeek chose, is “make an example out of it so that others can see what’s wrong with it” is a valid and necessary option – because THAT’s how people learn and ideas are taught.

                Limiting it to only those three options you personally approve of, well, that’s a classical false-dilemma fallacy and yes, an attempt on silencing.

                But trotting out the whole “but you’re not agreeing with me, so clearly you must’ve not read it” never gets old, though, does it?

            • Alex says:

              It does get old Carina, I’m getting so sick of people not reading properly in the comments section of this blog.

              I don’t care if you talk about this til the cows come home frankly, and in no way am attempting to silence you.

              But I’ll go along with your fourth option for a second here and say ok, so she’s pointed out all the ways in which the game is “fail” (I really wish people would stop using that word as an interjection), and you’ve all noticed. But now what? What happens next? Yes, we’re all aware now but how does that help anybody? We’re just left waiting for the next case of sexism to appear so we can highlight that all over again.

              It turns out option 4 isn’t an option at all, but a stepping stone to one of the three options I listed. They say knowing is half the battle and they are right, I left out “option” 4 because it’s just common sense that to fix a problem one must have awareness of it.

              And before you read everything I write as “male oppression” consider for a second that I am actually completely in agreement that the depiction of women is not as good or accurate as it could be, but instead of highlighting it endlessly for all to see with no tangible resolution, I’m trying to encourage something actually being DONE about it.

              Me being a man is constantly getting in the way of my message and it’s immature and self-sabotaging. Nobody will listen to people who don’t behave like adults and are willing to accept advice and counter-arguments, it doesn’t matter what gender, profession or age you are. To believe that you are so informed on a topic that you can actively reject ANY advice or differing view points is a bold claim indeed.

              • Diane says:

                You’re asking how it helps anybody to speak out against sexism? Is that a serious question?

                Your argument seems to be. “Hey, folks, I see how you’re speaking out, educating, informing, changing minds, and otherwise fighting against sexism. It’s too bad you’re wasting time letting companies know that you won’t put up with sexism, providing support for and mobilizing those who are already against sexism, and enlightening those who are uninformed about sexism. Instead of all this work you do fighting sexism, you should really consider…doing something to fight sexism.”

                Do I need to wedge in a joke about how women’s work goes uncredited and remains invisible?

              • Alex says:

                @Diane: I am in NO way asking that question. I’m saying the job is only partially finished. Right now nothing has happened because you’re still in the process of making a change. It’s not worthless, like I said, it’s a stepping stone, one to continue on from, not finish at.

                You can’t just start the journey and then say it’s over once you’re half way done. Yes you’re informing, but nothing is changing. Think about it this way, the sort of women who would agree with these sentiments likely wouldn’t buy these games anyway. The sort of men who agree would probably end up buying them games and playing them because while it is an issue, it’s probably not a big enough one (to them) to make them not want to play the game itself.

                When it comes down to it, the change has to happen to the games themselves, rather than a tiny part of the audience. You want to get to the point where this blog has no purpose anymore. Where wundergeek has nothing left to write about. Right now it’s just a “look at this sexist thing” of the week sort of format. And once it’s covered it sort of descends slowly down the list of posts until it’s forgotten. What good does that do anyone?

                The consumers have all the power, yes, but when the consumer base is so one-sided, you need to be the change you want to see, and instigate improvements on a development level, rather than a consumer level. Petitions to developers are the sorts of things you should be doing, signatures and emails and organised movements. Or trying to make your own games, your own companies. The developers are the only ones in a position to do something that will lead to positive change.

                Right now it’s just a huddled group in the corner repeating themselves over and over and wondering why people keep trying to disgust them. It’s not that they are actively trying to, it’s just that you made the mistake of thinking you’re the center of their attention and are going to get noticed by the right people if you wait for THEM to notice YOU.

                MAKE them notice you.

        • wundergeek says:

          It’s not at all uncommon for women to internalize misogynistic viewpoints, just as its not at all uncommon for people in any minority to internalize oppressive views against their own group.

          And guess what, just because a woman plays casual games doesn’t mean she can’t ALSO be a hardcore gamer. I happen to be addicted to Bejeweled Blitz, as are many of my friends. I also happen to know a women who plays WoW 40 hours a week and does high-level raids and yet is also addicted to… you guessed it… FarmVille. FarmVille isn’t the gaming ghetto you want it to be, so buy a clue.

          • Alex says:

            Just because Farmville is a casual game doesn’t mean it’s played exclusively by casual gamers. That’s obvious, but we’re talking majorities and minorities here. In fact, that seems crazy that you’d say that because the whole basis of your website is trying to get people to realise women play these games aimed at males too!

            And what came first, your friend’s love of WOW or her love of Farmville. I bet I can guess, because casual gaming doesn’t often lead to hardcore gaming, but hardcore gaming almost always bleeds downwards. I play Tiny Wings but I also poured 300 hours into Oblivion.

            Hopefully i’ve proved that I’m all for the articles that make sense to write about, like the one I linked you from Kotaku, but at the same time, sometimes things aren’t as bad as you make them out to be. Or they are, but it’s for a valid reason. Also, I linked a really interesting opportunity to Alex F up there ^, certainly a great way for you to actually make a difference and improve these games. Go for it! You have my full support (not that it matters).

    • Diane says:

      In addition to the general facepalminess of that post, okay, so how many women are playing that game? She gives us some cryptic info to suggest that it’s a small number, but doesn’t tell us the actual percentage. How many lumberjacks are female? I googled and all I can find is an article saying that the number of female lumberjacks is growing fast.

      A handy way to find out rougly the demographics for a game is to look at the hit statistics for the game’s website. I couldn’t find any for leagueoflegends.com, but Quantcast does say that 28% of visitors to leaguecraft.com are female and 24% of visitors to leagueoflegends.wikia.com are female. Now bear in mind that a) Quantcast overestimates males and b) powergamers are more often male than female (probably because the average male has more leisure time) and so are more likely to be on those sites than the female LoL players.

      I find it very hard to believe that the number of female LoL players is tiny when a quarter of the people going to sites discussing LoL builds and such are female.

      • depizan says:

        Strangely, that seems to be about the same percentage as visit various WoW help sites. It’s beginning to look like the too-tiny-to-bother-with percentage of female gamers is more on the order of a quarter of gamers.

        Also, I can’t be the only one vaguely irritated by the entire hard-core/casual debate. Especially as it’s applied to both gamers and games in ways that make both terms fairly meaningless. (If you put in 30 hours a week at LoL or WoW, you’re theoretically hard-core, but not if you put in 30 hours a week at Farmville. Because Farmville is defined as a casual game. And yet, many, many people casually play WoW (which, I might add, is not a particularly difficult game, barring some end game content, perhaps, and maybe PvP). Perhaps it’s time to drop the whole silly debate and admit that gamers are gamers.

        • Diane says:

          The hard-core/casual thing is about a style of play. The hard cores are the ones who are willing to do hours of mind-numbing repetitive tasks if it gets them a badge, they must discover every single secret to get 100% completion, and they spend hours at a time poring over builds. The casual gamers just want to have some fun and don’t take it so seriously. The distinction is useful for game designers because you have to cater to both types of play if you want both types of gamer.

          There are some games that are only suited for one or the other type of play. I don’t know if Farmville is one of them, because I’ve never played it. But if a Farmville player spends ages maximizing out their score in a way that a casual player would find extremely boring, then I would definitely call them a hard core gamer.

          • depizan says:

            Except that the terms also get applied to games, which muddies the waters. Can one be a hard cord gamer in a casual game? I know the reverse is true. And does a hard core player have to do all three of the things you mention? Because in WoW, at least, the same people are not usually doing all of those. The hard core raider pours over builds, while a casual player farms rep for a cute pet, while an obsessive explorer tries to find little weird easter egg places. But that goes back to my issue with the concept – if what it means to be hard core varies from game to game and if both games and players can be (or not be) hard core, it rapidly becomes too non-specific to be useful.

            (I’ve no idea about Farmville either, as I’ve never played it. People certainly sink a lot of time into it, that’s about all I know.)

            • Diane says:

              The casual gamer farms rep to get the cute pet because they really want the cute pet. The hard core gamer does it because it’s there.

              There’s a spectrum, and this is all relative. You could argue about what details make a story sci-fi and what makes another story fantasy. This fantasy story has elves using technology, but isn’t that just for sci-fi? Star Trek is supposed to be sci-fi but that one episode had mind-reading, which implies magic. Just because some mixing and matching goes on, doesn’t mean that the genres of sci-fi and fantasy don’t exist.

              I’m not sure why this is even an issue? The purpose of the distinction is just to help game designers make broadly appealing games. So they can say “Hey, we better add in some difficult badges and high scores or the power gamers will get bored,” or “You can’t progress past this point without doing some arduous repetitive tasks, and that will turn off the casual gamers.”

              • depizan says:

                Inside the industry, the terms may be used that way, but outside of the industry, they’re mainly used to deem some gamers “not real gamers” and to dismiss the idea of games appealing to women, who everyone knows are casual gamers who only play casual games. (Which, of course is factually wrong, anyway.). Now, maybe the solution isn’t to get rid of the terms (never mind that they still seem poorly defined to me), but to stop allowing people to claim that sticking “casual” in front does not make someone not a real gamer or a game not a real game.

  6. Justin says:

    Hey, LoL player here, I only got a minute so I will be brief.

    A very real problem why they are designing the big boobs for game purposes. Because LoL is viewed from a bird eye’s view, you typically don’t see the front of the character. So how do you make a character model look like it is a female character viewing from a bird eye’s view? Add huge boobs on it. A good example is Kayle, a significant number of people thought she was male before Riot did the take off her helmet thing simply because she was fully armoured without large breastplate. It is really difficult to tell whether or not a character model is male or female without some kind of obvious hint, the easiest is boobs.

    Also the three comments made there are actually jokes, some LoL players have complained about this and others thought it is ridiculous people are making this kind of complaint so the comments are mostly trolls.

    Just so you know.

    • Alex F says:

      The problem here is why is it a necessity to know if a character is female or male from a bird’s eye view? There are no gameplay effects on being male or female. What’s important is a character being visually distinct and unique from every other character. Miss Fortune’s oversized guns and hat provide a better silhouette than her oversized boobs.

  7. Justin says:

    Oh and about the designs, Riot is going with designing characters with an archetype in mind. People asked for a female tank archetype, that is what they did. Nidalee is the typical huntress, Vayne is kind of female vampire hunter, Orianna is the robot girl etc. They are following the business practice of selling a famous archetype people can identify/recognize and it generally generate more sales. I mean if you really want to nitpick I can trace every single character in the entire gaming industry back somewhere and complain how they took so and so from that game.

    It usually leads to dungeons and dragons.

    • wundergeek says:

      d00d, don’t even quote the “it’s business” argument at me. Do you know how many women play Farmville? 48 MILLION. Any game that managed to capture even 2% of that market would make money hand over fist. As women approach 50% of gamers, companies need to accept that it just doesn’t make business sense to alienate half of its potential users.

      Look at companies like BioWare that produce games that are (comparatively) female-friendly. BioWare has a HUGE devoted female fanbase because of that exact reason. Riot stands to make WAY more money from making female-friendly designs than it will lose from the few mouth-breathing morons who will quit because they want moar bewbs.

      Selling recognizable archetypes is good business. Selling sexist cheesecake-based archetypes that alienate women is BAD business. It’s not that hard.

      • Joanna says:

        Harsh economic times/scared shitless/stick to what you know.

        I was one of two girls in a computer game development course and my jesus, about 70% of the guys had not a damn clue about how women work/think/communicate. These people, my dear, are making your computer games. They’re not misogynistic by any means, they’ve just never gotten laid. Bitch all you like, they will never understand women till they get with one. And that in itself is a lost cause. Trust me, I’ve rescued a few, but the rest… there’s no hope for them.

        • Diane says:

          The old “How can I not be sexist? It’s too difficult” excuse. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of blog or something where people could go to educate themselves and others about this sort of thing?

          • Joanna says:

            You can only please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

        • depizan says:

          Sex imparts more knowledge than talking to people? Who knew.

          • Joanna says:

            It’s a process…if you know how to charm the pants off a woman so to speak lol.

            • depizan says:

              Yes, pick-up artists are absolutely the go-to guys when it comes to women. How silly of me not to remember that.

              Seriously, what.

              • Joanna says:

                Lol. You’re confusing me too dude. I suppose if one has little experience or understanding of women in any sense, it’s going to be hard to create a game that appeals to women.

  8. shinobi42 says:

    T Hey actually just re did Morgana’s game art and it is EVEN WORSE. She’s got huge boobs with 2 little clam shells glued to them. Great for armed combat, no?

    You think the art is bad in LOL? Try the gamer community. An actual conversation I had in game last night with my own teammates:
    PugMoron1: I rape on Renekton
    MyPremadeBud: I hope not, That’s a felony
    Evenbiggerpugmoron: It’s not a felony if they want it
    Me: Well then it isn’t rape is it?

    I wish I’d thought to screenshot it. Conversations like this never end.

    • Ivan says:

      Which server are you on? American, Europe West or Europe Nordic and East?

        • Ivan says:

          I am on Europe Nordic and East, all we get is: you noob, fucking noob team, someone cursing in their native language(this one is rare: every 10 to 20 games I play, which is within a week or two, one person is doing it), report everybody or most of my team. And guess what? Most of the comments such as this come from the losing side of the game at the moment they are given. So maybe it is the US online game scene not the world or maybe I just got lucky and missed the rough stuff. What do you think?

          • Diane says:

            I’m on Nordic and East and I see that crap constantly. I can’t count how many times I’ve reported someone because their name was something like IRapeU. Whenever I play Annie, every time I kill someone or they kill me, they make pedophilia jokes.

            • Ivan says:

              OK thank you for telling me, I honestly did not know whether or not I was just lucky or whether that stuff was actually happening on EU Nordic and East. Again I get one guy in maybe a week or two insulting people constantly, of course there is the whole everybody/somebody is a noob on my team when i lose thing that I see everyday, but I just played a game with Annie as an opponent and there were no jokes when she got ganked or just plain killed. I have 900 and something rating on random 5vs5 ranked and I do not get that type of problems more then twice a month and I report such players. What is your ranking and which mode do you play the most when you get so many internet slimeballs and I do not get (almost) any?

              • Diane says:

                I never play ranked games, only regular match-made PVP or co-op against bots.

                Have you not seen any racial or sexual slurs? I see it so much.

              • Ivan says:

                I have not seen much in the way of racial and/or sexual slurs in a ranked match and the ones I did see I reported, but here is the thing I could be very very lucky and not have gotten one of those slimeballs or it could be that people with such a vocabulary burn out of ranked because they lack skill and/or effect on the people they are playing with or it could be that every ranked player reports such people because they disturb the flow of game and that is something nobody who is competing for a position on the ranked scoreboard wants or it could be that the aggressive attitude of players in ranked scares them shit less, the ranked players can be very aggressive in their game chat calling you a noob every time you make a mistake and treating you like you are worthless and should be banned from the game for a lack of skill (I do not get pedophilia jokes but I have yet to play a full week of ranked without someone making an in game suggestion to somebody else that they uninstall the game because of some mistake) or it could be all four of the above or two or more of them I do not know.

                But a word of warning even if the ranked games do not have racial or sexual slurs they still almost always have at least one player who starts screaming in game chat about how nooby everybody is at the first sing of a lack of skill by his and/or the enemies teammates.

  9. RA says:

    A note about the Lux pic, the design on the left was her original design, and the one on the right was made after community feedback, and is her default skin, the one on the left is no longer in the game.

    • wundergeek says:

      Hey, thanks for the input. It was hard to know which was which since nothing was labeled.

      • Alex F says:

        A lot of the images you decided to post here show the alternate or Chinese skin for a champion and some are outdated. The League of Leagends wiki has a page for each champion that shows everything up to date. The updated/default pieces for Morgana, Evelynn, Akali, and Sivir are particularly awful. I mean…. at least in Sivir’s old art she looked kind of fierce and battle-worn. In the new art she’s just got the same generic supermodel face as every other female champion.

        http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Sivir_the_Battle_Mistress/SkinsTrivia

  10. Afello says:

    With all do respect, but in my humble opinion there is a flaw in the “right” Lux design too; why would a female armor separate de breast plate in two parts? It’s just there to accentuate here big boobs. It also seems less protective and it doesn’t seem that comfortable either… Wouldn’t it in “reality” be more like the Kayle armor (Medievil Samus Aran)? Your somewhat confusing me in your criticism ;) Especially since you have mixed feelings about the Caribean/African Karma outfit which seems more respectful (and comfortable) then Lux’s armor!

    • Tanya says:

      League of Legends isn’t a realistic game, and it isn’t meant to be. Criticisms against the functionality of armour are invalid. That’s like saying that the Medigun in Team Fortress 2 is unrealistic. No shit, it’s a gun that shoots healing.

      • Afello says:

        Yesssss, I did somehow got that this game or Wundergeeks commentary had little to do with the realistic aspects of the game ;-) So maybe I did not got my point that clear (and I am willing to blame the language barrier for this)! I was more or less wondering why she gives thumbs up for the over accentuated boobs of Lux, but has mixed feelings about the reasonably appropriate Karma outfit… although I would have liked to see her “tshirt” somewhat more coherent with the traditional clothing it is based on. Nevermind, it was a dumb point and me trying to be smart. Wundergeek is doing terrific work and I hope she will attribute to some change within our industry cause I am getting quit tired of the oversexualization of female characters.

        • Afello says:

          Plus; Wundergeek made exact the same points about Lux her armour as I did but that aspect was somewhat lost the first read through.

      • wundergeek says:

        Whoops. I forgot that because it’s a fantasy game that no one can ever possibly be offended by it. Thanks for reminding me!

  11. Raelcun says:

    I do have to point out in the Kayle section of the post… She also lights her gigantic fucking sword on fire. Pretty badass

  12. Alex says:

    Just wondering, is there a costume/character design choice in any game that you think is good whilst still showing skin? I mean that as a serious question, not a rhetorical one.

    Because I mean that Irelia one on the left doesn’t even really show cleavage, it’s her chest that’s exposed not her breasts. Other than that she’s completely covered. And there’s still an issue with it? The one on the right barely reveals any skin either. Certainly not an amount that someone could find sexually appealing unless they have an underarm fetish i guess? Are you of the opinion that there can be no exposed flesh in female character designs?

    • Alex F says:

      I don’t know about anyone else here but I typically ask myself “would a male character look ridiculous wearing the same amount of clothing/showing the same amount of skin as this female character?” If the answer is yes then the skin being shown is probably meant to sex the character up.

      For example there’s an alternate avatar in Heroes of Newerth called Helga Hammerstorm, a female version of the normally male Hammerstorm character. http://i.imgur.com/2RfD9.jpg

      She shows an awful lot of skin but so does her male counterpart. She’s good as far as I’m concerned. Another good example would be the Barbarians from Diablo 3. http://us.blizzard.com/diablo3/characters/barbarian.xml

      So in the case of Irelia, would a male version of her rightmost costume be weird to you? Think of a man with everything above his pecs exposed and the sides of his torso uncovered. For the record I think Irelia is fine but wundergeek thinks otherwise.

      • Alex says:

        But surely you don’t expect this same scenario in real life, walking down the street? Men and women being exposed in the same fashion? Wearing the same outfits?

        But following your argument in regards to exact equality…

        You can see the exact same outfit Irelia is wearing on the left on the males of Final Fantasy XII, their armour has the same empty space, seemingly for no reason also.

        Another great example is Jacob/Miranda on Mass Effect, two characters wearing extremely tight clothing yet only one is seen as sexist/misogynistic/eye-candy. Have you ever seen how figure-hugging Jacob’s suit is? How does he even breathe in that thing? Where’s the outrage for that? He also has a perfect, jesus-on-the-cross unattainable body shape (the ever coveted “V” shape) but there’s no real outcry there?

        • Alex F says:

          Again, I’m fine with Irelia’s clothing.

          Jacob’s clothing is meant to show off his power and strength while Miranda’s is supposed to show off her curves. Also Jacob never has his butt/crotch in the camera while there is an abundance of butt-shots and boob-shots for Miranda, placing her in the category of something to be looked at while Jacob is something we should aspire to be.

          • Alex says:

            Actually the thing that made me notice Jacob’s outfit was a very obvious ass shot of him the first time you step onto the Normandy together and you’re on the bridge. I would love to find you a reference shot but searching “Mass Effect 2 Jacob Ass” in google images is a can of worms I don’t care to open.

          • Alex says:

            Also, one could argue their individual (aesthetically gender-specific) assets are both a form of power in their own way. A man’s power and strength are the aspects that are deemed stereotypically appealing sexually anyway. And Jacob is just as much there as eye-candy as Miranda is, his viability as a romantic choice (and his six-pack abs) is proof enough of that.

            And I actually did find a picture of a gratuitous shot of his backside by the way. http://i56.tinypic.com/nnmr2d.jpg

            • Ikkin says:

              Also, one could argue their individual (aesthetically gender-specific) assets are both a form of power in their own way. A man’s power and strength are the aspects that are deemed stereotypically appealing sexually anyway. And Jacob is just as much there as eye-candy as Miranda is, his viability as a romantic choice (and his six-pack abs) is proof enough of that.

              This is exactly the problem, though.

              Men think that power and sexual appeal are the same thing in guys, because that would be awfully convenient considering that power is much more useful to its owner than beauty ever could be. But while that might be how guys look at each other, it’s not necessarily a great way to draw in the hordes of screaming fangirls who would be the most profitable target of the female-targeted version of “sex sells” (who, like men, tend to be far more interested in beauty than strength).

              In any case, it’s immediately obvious in a visual comparison that Jacob is not the same thing as Miranda; his armor, while form-fitting, is still clearly armored rather than what looks like an absurdly skin-tight cleavage shirt, and being a romance option doesn’t change that. I certainly don’t consider it anywhere near a fair trade-off, especially since looks-wise he’s nothing but the Old Spice Guy with a less attractive face. =/

              • Alex says:

                This is where it gets difficult because we begin to project our own preferences in men and women onto the statements regarding men and women in games. For example, we’re BOTH assuming that Miranda and or Jacob are viewed as sex objects in these games, however there would be others who claim that they have no attraction to the depiction of these characters.

                It’s more about contextual comparisons. No Jacob’s suit doesn’t look exactly like Miranda’s. But should it? Should we give each newborn boy and girl the same suit of clothes as soon as they leave the hospital, to wear until they die? It’s an extreme analogy, I admit, but I would consider their outfits equal considering their differing genders. I’d love to see wundergeek do that thing she sometimes does when she superimposes one character’s costume onto another, and took Miranda’s and applied it to Jacob.

                Firstly, there would be a negligible amount of difference in the tightness of the suits, because Jacob’s is extremely tight for a male character. And secondly you’ll realise that it’s partially the natural shape of the female form (however exaggerated hers may be) that is the cause for her curves, regardless of the suit. Jacob’s level of armour is minimal compared to say, Shepard’s, and if anything, serves to highlight his well developed pectoral muscles through shape and lines that draw the eye where the plating actually is.

                Furthermore, there’s nothing about Jacob that exudes more or less power than Miranda, they are equally your second in command, neither one of which having more power over the other once they are in your squad. But if we go back to the start of the game, it becomes clear that Miranda herself seems to be in a higher position than Jacob does!

                When you see Jacob’s muscles and physical strength, it’s your projected subtext that perceives that as power. When I see Miranda’s curves and sexual appeal, it’s my projected subtext that perceives that as powerful. We’re both correct and we’re both incorrect, but the fact remains, neither one is in a higher leadership position than the other. The power they have is only as powerful as the viewer perceives it.

              • Ikkin says:

                This is where it gets difficult because we begin to project our own preferences in men and women onto the statements regarding men and women in games.

                You don’t necessarily need to project your own preferences to decide whether a character is created as fanservice or not — I no more need to be attracted to Jacob to know whether he’s fanservice than I need to be attracted to Miranda to know that she’s fanservice. It’s easy to see patterns if you actually look at how characters who are designed to appeal to women are drawn (and they don’t generally look like Jacob).

                It’s an extreme analogy, I admit, but I would consider their outfits equal considering their differing genders.

                Why should paint-on-clothes be equal to clothes that appear to have been created with plastic plating? They don’t seem very similar to me.

                Firstly, there would be a negligible amount of difference in the tightness of the suits, because Jacob’s is extremely tight for a male character. And secondly you’ll realise that it’s partially the natural shape of the female form (however exaggerated hers may be) that is the cause for her curves, regardless of the suit. Jacob’s level of armour is minimal compared to say, Shepard’s, and if anything, serves to highlight his well developed pectoral muscles through shape and lines that draw the eye where the plating actually is.

                We’re not comparing Jacob to other male characters; we’re comparing him to Miranda. Just because the set of other male characters, as a whole, are more modest than the set of female characters as a whole doesn’t make a less-suggestive male outfit equal to a more-suggestive female one. =P

                And partially-sculpted plastic plating is rather different from impossibly-tight spandex. If he looked like Terra, you might have a point, but he doesn’t. (Alternatively, you could model it on Terra’s armor, and make a plate version of his whole chest while covering the rest of him in body-paint spandex. That’s how you make fanservicey armor. ;) )

                Furthermore, there’s nothing about Jacob that exudes more or less power than Miranda, they are equally your second in command, neither one of which having more power over the other once they are in your squad. But if we go back to the start of the game, it becomes clear that Miranda herself seems to be in a higher position than Jacob does!

                The amount of power the characters are portrayed in-game has little to do with the appropriateness of their aesthetics.

                When you see Jacob’s muscles and physical strength, it’s your projected subtext that perceives that as power.

                No, physical strength is inherently powerful, for reasons that should be quite obvious if you think about it for more than a second. =P

              • Alex says:

                But can’t you see that you’re projecting your expectations by saying that men designed to appeal to women don’t look like Jacob? He looks like a normal man. In reality, if you knew him as an acquaintance, it’d be tough to argue that he isn’t a conventionally attractive individual. The same is true of Miranda, but at the same time, I could say that I don’t find her attractive and claim that her lack of exposed flesh doesn’t make her a fanservicey character. Your expectations and preferences are the things that are preventing you from seeing him as a fanservicey character, not the fact that he’s not designed to be.

                Only the top half of Jacob’s outfit doesn’t look “painted on” (although I find that to be a ridiculous saying), the bottom 65 – 70% is just as tight as Miranda’s. I’m looking at it right now and I can see, maybe load it up if you have the game to have a look as well. Part of that could simply be to keep his character interesting looking, he doesn’t have Miranda’s flowing hair for example to make his character stand out.

                And you can’t discount comparisons. Everything should be compared. Without a point of comparison we have no way to judge the extent to which something is true. For example finding an over exposed male character in a Final Fantasy game is finding one amongst a whole cast of mostly exposed characters (compared to whatever your definition of a normally dressed character is).

                Comparing Shepard to Jacob is a good way to see how he is clearly geared towards being a more viable romantic choice than say, the Turian, Garrus. And the reason why I was talking about the shape and form of his armour is that wundergeek often mentions how parts of the chest armour in these depictions of women sacrifices structural benefits to highlight the anatomy, and the same is true of Jacob. The main dot point I need to make here I guess is that men and women have these same discrepancies in real life as well. The most acceptably revealed men in a regular situation pale in comparison to what is accepted for a woman to wear. Whether you find that to be “right” or “wrong” isn’t so much the issue as to the fact that it highlights that there will always be differences in what’s acceptable depending on gender.

                Physical strength does equal power to a degree, you’re right. But at the same time, who has more power, a homeless man with an amazing physique, incredible physical strength, but nothing to his name and zero influence over the world? Or a physically weak man who owns a successful company worth millions of dollars and all the opportunites that come with it. You’re thinking of “power” too literally. The kind of power I’m talking about is the leverage that comes from wealth, or attractiveness, or influence. All of which tend to be interconnected for both genders.

                I’m enjoying this debate though, it’s good to see that you’re willing to discuss these issues with me. Sometimes people on here tend to not fully read my arguments because of my stance and gender, it can be frustrating to say the least.

              • Ikkin says:

                But can’t you see that you’re projecting your expectations by saying that men designed to appeal to women don’t look like Jacob? He looks like a normal man. In reality, if you knew him as an acquaintance, it’d be tough to argue that he isn’t a conventionally attractive individual. The same is true of Miranda, but at the same time, I could say that I don’t find her attractive and claim that her lack of exposed flesh doesn’t make her a fanservicey character. Your expectations and preferences are the things that are preventing you from seeing him as a fanservicey character, not the fact that he’s not designed to be.

                My expectations aren’t the only ones that I’m taking into consideration, though. You can’t exist in female-run fandoms without getting some idea of what fanservice looks like for other women/girls. ;)

                As for Jacob “look[ing] like a normal man,” that’s the problem. It’s not that he’s not used as fanservice in the game — it’s that, being much closer to a normal man, he’s just nowhere near as good at being fanservice as Miranda the supermodel is. =/

                Actually, let me repeat that: I understand that he has a fanservice purpose in the game. I just think that Miranda’s level of fanservice clearly trumps his, and that it’s disingenuous to say they’re the same thing.

                Only the top half of Jacob’s outfit doesn’t look “painted on” (although I find that to be a ridiculous saying), the bottom 65 – 70% is just as tight as Miranda’s. I’m looking at it right now and I can see, maybe load it up if you have the game to have a look as well. Part of that could simply be to keep his character interesting looking, he doesn’t have Miranda’s flowing hair for example to make his character stand out.

                I think it’s a perfectly good phrase to use to describe spandex that conforms perfectly to the details of the body in ways that spandex really ought not act. (Compare how Miranda’s “painted on shirt” clings to the underside of her bust to the latex Tron Legacy costumes which were grown in a vat, took hours to put on and still don’t do that. Or, in my male example, how the spandex conforms perfectly to every line of his musculature instead of stretching over creases and softening the lines)

                I don’t have the game, so I can’t do that, but I did find a nice full-body comparison of the both of them that confirms my suspicion that the bottom half of Jacob’s armor isn’t as problematic as Miranda’s. Miranda’s outfit notably creases at the crotch, creating that same “painted on” look as I was referring to before. Jacob’s looks more like the male version of the Tron suits, which are at least not physically impossible (for obvious reasons). Jacob is also allowed to have calves and feet, which is more than I can say for Miranda, who (if Google Image Search is to be believed) appears to have switched her lower legs with those of a horse.

                Even the Gratuitous Butt Shots are different, with Jacob’s outfit having a stitch down the back to take account of the way fabric works, while Miranda constantly appears to have a giant spandex wedgie.

                So, yeah, I still don’t think the costumes are the same, and I think “painted on” is a good way to explain the difference in two words.

                Comparing Shepard to Jacob is a good way to see how he is clearly geared towards being a more viable romantic choice than say, the Turian, Garrus. And the reason why I was talking about the shape and form of his armour is that wundergeek often mentions how parts of the chest armour in these depictions of women sacrifices structural benefits to highlight the anatomy, and the same is true of Jacob. The main dot point I need to make here I guess is that men and women have these same discrepancies in real life as well. The most acceptably revealed men in a regular situation pale in comparison to what is accepted for a woman to wear. Whether you find that to be “right” or “wrong” isn’t so much the issue as to the fact that it highlights that there will always be differences in what’s acceptable depending on gender.

                I don’t think Jacob’s armor sacrifices any structural benefits, though. It’s soft armor to begin with, which I guess is powered by some kind of sci-fi Phlebotinum or something, and it seems to have at least some level of padding (unlike Miranda’s). And he doesn’t have any unnecessary skin showing to tempt fate.

                And I’m still going to have to say that “men and women dress differently in real life” is a bad reason to give women more-suggestive armor in sci-fi/fantasy settings with completely different cultures.

                Physical strength does equal power to a degree, you’re right. But at the same time, who has more power, a homeless man with an amazing physique, incredible physical strength, but nothing to his name and zero influence over the world? Or a physically weak man who owns a successful company worth millions of dollars and all the opportunites that come with it. You’re thinking of “power” too literally. The kind of power I’m talking about is the leverage that comes from wealth, or attractiveness, or influence. All of which tend to be interconnected for both genders.

                There are different levels of power and influence, sure. But appearance is the most conditional of all of them, which creates some serious problems.

                First off, appearance is only powerful in individual terms. The effectiveness of physical strength is drawn from the laws of the universe; the effectiveness of talent and money come from the rules of society. But the usefulness of appearance only extends as far as the person in front of you lets it — there’s no guarantee it will have any effect whatsoever, and forces you to subject your looks to the desire of another person in order to use it.

                Even worse, appearance is inherently transient and is generally a terrible investment. Physical strength and talent can generally be improved (or at least preserved) by hard work; money and physical possessions tend to snowball in the hands of someone with enough resources to invest it. Appearance is more inborn than any of the rest, and it’s subject to a much greater degree of degradation over time no matter what you do to avoid it.

                Overall, while attractiveness might be a form of power, it’s a particularly lousy one. =/

                I’m enjoying this debate though, it’s good to see that you’re willing to discuss these issues with me. Sometimes people on here tend to not fully read my arguments because of my stance and gender, it can be frustrating to say the least.

                Well, I’m up for a debate now, so we’re on the same page in that regard at least. ;)

        • Ikkin says:

          You can see the exact same outfit Irelia is wearing on the left on the males of Final Fantasy XII, their armour has the same empty space, seemingly for no reason also.

          Final Fantasy XII is a different game, though. You have to compare like to like, not a standard female portrayal from one game with a more extreme male portrayal from another. (Comparing Basch to Fran or a female LoL character with a male one would be more fair, and there’s honestly no comparison there)

          It’s not that difficult to find one, out of context image that’s worse than the standard female portrayal, as bad as that is. But one image doesn’t really balance out a whole game’s worth of suggestive female portrayals.

          • Alex says:

            Lets just rule out every comparison we can make then, shall we? Nothing exists in a vacuum and every comparison in the same field is valid.

            These developers don’t live in a cave until the company is ready to make the game, they base all their decisions on the examples that came before them and either change or evolve them from there. But there’s always that influence there, even if it’s unconscious.

            • Ikkin says:

              I have no idea what you’re even trying to say there.

              Obviously, some comparisons are more valid than others. You can compare characters across games if the character could have reasonably shown up in that game.

              The point I was trying to make, though, is that Final Fantasy XII’s portrayal of male characters is a complete outlier, the same way that Vagrant Story’s protagonist’s exposed butt and (Final Fantasy IX) Kuja’s thong and thigh-highs are outliers.

              Those outfits might be from videogames, but they make terrible comparisons for stuff from games that would never in a million years include characters like that.

              • Alex says:

                What i’m saying is these developers didn’t say “oh i’m going to make games now” out of the blue, they are obviously fans of the medium, they play a lot of games, and they use their previous exposure to the archetypes as the basis for their creations. Every game is a valid comparison because every game is the product of its creators’ influences, small and large.

                You have characters like Voldo from Soul Calibur, which also includes many of its male characters in shirtless outfits. The lead character from Enslaved: Odyssey To The West, with his shirtlessness and extremely low-riding pants. Lost Odyssey’s main character also has inexplicable exposure of flesh in his design. Dante from Devil May Cry 3 is shirtless often, and even when he has his coat on his chest and stomach is generally exposed. The Prince of Persia is often shirtless in his games, sometimes taking more and more off as the game progresses. Final Fantasy is generally one of the best places to see exposed male flesh, you’re right, but I could go on and on with further examples. These are arguably outliers but at the same time, there sure is a hell of a lot of them out there. In our focus on the way that women are portrayed sometimes we can forget the way men are portrayed also.

                I could argue the same for these korean and japanese MMORPGs or even League Of Legends. That they are terrible comparisons. More mainstream releases are increasingly shying away from these ridiculous portrayals of women in their games. And creating more equal portrayals of both genders whilst still retaining the pseudo-reality that’s inherent in the fact that it’s fiction. It’s still terrible, don’t get me wrong. But it IS getting better.

              • Ikkin says:

                What i’m saying is these developers didn’t say “oh i’m going to make games now” out of the blue, they are obviously fans of the medium, they play a lot of games, and they use their previous exposure to the archetypes as the basis for their creations. Every game is a valid comparison because every game is the product of its creators’ influences, small and large.

                Oh, okay. I guess I kind of get that. I mean, you can compare anything, really… the question is whether it’s a fair comparison. =/ Even if a game is influenced by another, it’s not necessarily going to be a good comparison in all ways.

                You have characters like Voldo from Soul Calibur, which also includes many of its male characters in shirtless outfits. The lead character from Enslaved: Odyssey To The West, with his shirtlessness and extremely low-riding pants. Lost Odyssey’s main character also has inexplicable exposure of flesh in his design. Dante from Devil May Cry 3 is shirtless often, and even when he has his coat on his chest and stomach is generally exposed. The Prince of Persia is often shirtless in his games, sometimes taking more and more off as the game progresses. Final Fantasy is generally one of the best places to see exposed male flesh, you’re right, but I could go on and on with further examples. These are arguably outliers but at the same time, there sure is a hell of a lot of them out there. In our focus on the way that women are portrayed sometimes we can forget the way men are portrayed also.

                But the thing is, almost all of those games push the fanservice bar for women farther than they push the fanservice bar for men. =/ If balancing things out is the goal, they don’t really help at all.

                I could argue the same for these korean and japanese MMORPGs or even League Of Legends. That they are terrible comparisons. More mainstream releases are increasingly shying away from these ridiculous portrayals of women in their games. And creating more equal portrayals of both genders whilst still retaining the pseudo-reality that’s inherent in the fact that it’s fiction. It’s still terrible, don’t get me wrong. But it IS getting better.

                A significant amount of mainstream releases are just avoiding women altogether, which isn’t an improvement. =/

                (And I’m pretty sure it’s not just KMMOs and JMMOs, because a lot of it seems to be inspired by Western superhero art)

    • wundergeek says:

      If sexualized depictions are at least roughly balanced across gender lines, then I don’t have a problem with sexualized female characters. It’s when there is a gross gender imbalance that I have a problem.

      No I do not want to cover up all women ever. No I do not want all women to wear burkhas.

      • Alex says:

        wundergeek I’m not trying to attack you, your defensiveness is bordering on paranoia. What I was after is specific examples from you of characters that have skin exposed whilst still retaining acceptability in your eyes. I know you don’t want to cover all women up in burkhas but I don’t know what you DO want other than completely armoured or covered women (based on what you have shown as acceptable and unacceptable).

        • Ikkin says:

          I think the problem with asking that question is that it simply can’t be asked out of the context of what the men in the game wear.

          If she said, “this outfit is okay,” she’d be opening herself up to questioning every time she posted something with less skin shown that she had a problem with. And, in the context of the games she’s talking about, the imbalance is so huge to begin with that almost nothing is okay if it’s not meant to balance it out.

          A more productive suggestion is this: instead of asking for a model to shoot for in terms of less-than-covered female characters, aim for equivalent sets with male and female characters. If you’re going to create a fanservicey woman, figure out what the equivalent fanservicey guy looks like — and put it in the game. If you’re not willing to let the guy version be part of your game, the woman shouldn’t either.

          • Jeremy Mac Donald says:

            I agree with the sentiment but suspect that we still end up with issues. Presuming that I, as a game designer, decide that half my characters in some game are going to exist for fan service but, since I’m egalitarian, I want an equal number of males that are supposed to exist as fan service for the ladies as I have females that exist as fan service for the men

            My problem is that, when I start making my fan service for the ladies I’ll end up with diversity but fair number of figures that are along the lines of the Old Spice guy. The problem is the Old Spice guy – however sexy he might, be is still a very powerful figure, when I toss in his fan service female equivalent she’s going to be decked out in a near sheer bra and pantie set while possessing an improbably large bust. Some how these things don’t really seem to be the equal of each other despite that fact that I started out with the premise that I’d endeavour to give each gender the fan service they desired and intended to do the so in an egalitarian manner.

            A big part of the issue is that what is desired for fan service seems to depend a great deal on the gender of the viewer. To see this more starkly lets consider a subset of pornography. Specifically pornography where men are meant to be the subjects of the viewers gaze. I can (very roughly) divide the consumers of this pornography into heterosexual females and homosexual males. However once I do that I get two fairly different kinds of pornography – mass market pornography aimed at heterosexual females is significantly different in content then mass market pornography aimed at homosexual males. As a general rule what the heterosexual females audience desires in their pornography is a lot closer to soft core then what the homosexual males are looking for.

            If I bring this back to the games market and my attempts, as an egalitarian game designer, to provide the fans what they want I end up with practically naked females right left and centre but only one guy wearing nothing but cowboy boots and a thong meant to emphasize his ‘package’ – and that guy mostly exists to titillate my gay male fans…not my heterosexual female fans.

            • Ikkin says:

              The problem is the Old Spice guy – however sexy he might, be is still a very powerful figure, when I toss in his fan service female equivalent she’s going to be decked out in a near sheer bra and pantie set while possessing an improbably large bust. Some how these things don’t really seem to be the equal of each other despite that fact that I started out with the premise that I’d endeavour to give each gender the fan service they desired and intended to do the so in an egalitarian manner.

              The problem is, you’re not following the guidelines properly.

              The rule I suggested isn’t equal numbers of fanservicey characters. It’s equal types of fanservicey characters. =P

              The male equivalent of “bra and panty set” isn’t Old Spice Guy; it’s Kuja. And if you don’t want to make a bunch of Kujas, you’d better not make a bunch of women wearing bra and panty sets.

              And that’s the real point here — it’s less about providing fanservice for (mainstream) women and more for disincentivizing offensive fanservice in comparison to the distaff counterpart of Old Spice Guy (which most guys would probably still find attractive if you drew her right).

              • Jeremy Mac Donald says:

                And that’s the real point here — it’s less about providing fanservice for (mainstream) “women and more for disincentivizing offensive fanservice in comparison to the distaff counterpart of Old Spice Guy (which most guys would probably still find attractive if you drew her right).”

                So my goal is not to give the audience what it actually wants but to provide them equal amounts of what they mostly do not want?

                I mean if I write this into my business plan and walk into a powerful investors conference to make my pitch, even if this hypothetical investor is a powerful business woman, does she really hear this plan and then write me a cheque for a ½ a million with orders to make it happen? I’m seriously skeptical.

                Now I’m not arguing here there the games industry could not make a lot of improvements in presentation and diversity of options. What I am arguing is that a reasonably good company like BioWare may well have a lot less fail then what is being contended on GMMAS. In effect I’m saying BioWare looks a lot closer to where they actually should be despite the skewed gender representation because they are in fact delivering what it is the audience desires. Sure they could probably push things a little further – we don’t have many NPCs wearing sci-fi boots and sporting a ginormous cod piece for the gay male (and some subset of the heterosexual female) audience but they otherwise maybe well into the ball park of the correct position to take even though that position is not actually equal in terms of representation.

              • Ikkin says:

                So my goal is not to give the audience what it actually wants but to provide them equal amounts of what they mostly do not want?

                I mean if I write this into my business plan and walk into a powerful investors conference to make my pitch, even if this hypothetical investor is a powerful business woman, does she really hear this plan and then write me a cheque for a ½ a million with orders to make it happen? I’m seriously skeptical.

                No, your goal is to avoid creating female portrayals that will turn off your female audience. The designs that no one wants obviously shouldn’t actually make it into the game (and neither should their female equivalents).

                And if I had to make a business plan out if it, it would go something like this:
                1) Create attractive but non-exploitative male and female characters that appeal to fangirl audience
                2) Encourage cosplay and fanart to gain free advertising
                3) ???
                4) Profit

                I’m sure that would be more palatable from a business perspective. ;)

                In effect I’m saying BioWare looks a lot closer to where they actually should be despite the skewed gender representation because they are in fact delivering what it is the audience desires.

                But the makeup of the audience itself is part of the problem. =/

        • Grush says:

          Not to be facile, but I suspect–and wundergeek’s postings over time seem to support this–that stripping away gratuitous objectification of women would be a fair sight better than setting criteria for an acceptable dress code or even quota levels for showing skin. To summarize what has been said here many times before, when game characters are clearly designed with an eye (pardon the pun) toward the male gaze (in the feminist theory meaning of the term), you have a disparity that needs addressing. Character dress is, thus (as Ikkin mentions) contextual.

          In League of Legends, I hope it’s not the least bit controversial to say that the purpose of the visual design of the majority of the women is to incite (male/heterosexual) interest (or, as wundergeek puts it, “the titillation of male gamers”). I’d assert that, funnily enough, this really has no place in a real time strategy game.

          Also, http://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/just-for-the-record has more wundergeek commentary on the subject (though she’s since changed her views on the “skank” thing).

      • Lazukin says:

        This debate has taken place on the forums, where over two hundred female players voted for the “hottest male champion”. The majority of voters noted how seed up champions like Tryndamere and Garen were. Tryndamere is notorious for his enormous pecs (lol) while Garen.. I don’t know what is seen in him a whole lot to be honest, but he took second.

        If you look, the majority of male (human) champions do have skins that appeal to females.

        As said before though, the most notable is probably Tryndamere.

  13. Alex F says:

    For the record Alex I have been doing things about the aspects of the game I find disagreeable. I talk to my fellow players about the character designs and I’ve posted on the official League forums more than a few times about the same issue. Just yesterday I linked the artist that responded to me a few months ago this very article and asked her to join in on the discussion. I don’t give Riot Games any money, although I’ve heard the argument that just by playing I’m providing content for paying customers to use. I suppose you’re right that I could always do more to show my support for what I believe in, but I think the referral idea would just do more harm than good. There are 15 million League of Legends accounts (http://bit.ly/psM4F7) so I would need to find 30,000 women to sign up. I’m sure many of those referrals would draw in friends of their own that might give Riot money which kind of goes against what I stand for. It’s simply too risky.

    As a side note, when I sent that artist a link to this article over Twitter she had this to say…

    i’ll just say that i’ve been drawing sexy women my whole career, and the majority of people who watch my art are…WOMEN! so no, sexy art of women does not alienate women.

    I responded that I thought she was kind of missing the point. She said she sees what the article is getting at but she disagrees and thinks it’s silly. I asked if she or any of her fellow artists were willing to at least participate in a discussion but I was flatly rejected. I’m afraid I’ve just irritated her and possibly cemented her stance on her art…

    • Alex says:

      Yeah artists get touchy about their work, which is fair enough. Creative expression is a tough thing to talk about with others and she’s probably concerned that coming on here and repeating her views would just lead to unnecessary conflict and in a worst case scenario, abuse and judgement.

      You wouldn’t need 30,000 you’d just need 10,000. And yeah there’s always the chance that they’d bring more players in I guess but that number is going to increase naturally anyway.

      It’s just a matter of whether you like the game enough to make some small difference in your experience with it really. In my opinion your efforts are probably better spent suppporting the games that you don’t regard with such negativity (which is fairly justified) and instead looking for, or helping to develop, ones that do.

  14. Joanna says:

    Soraka: I kinda like her. She’s a cool fantasy character and her gravity defying boobs are obviously by magic.
    Sona: Doesn’t do a thing for me. She looks like she’s about to pop out any second.
    Sivir: Ugly, ugly whore. All kinds of design fail there.
    Nidalee: FAIL!
    Katarina: Actually kinda cool. Her boobs looks stupid though and I wish she at least had a shield.
    Akali: FAIL!
    Morgana: Her metal plated skirt thing doesn’t match her bikini top.
    Miss Fortune: Pirate Fail! Seriously! Worst. Pirate. Ever.
    Leona: Meh. At least she has a big fuck off shield.
    Leblanc: She’s cool ^_^
    Evelynn: Kinda Marvel-esque…
    Cassiopeia: Doesn’t do a thing for me.
    Janna: Generic
    Caitlyn: Kick ass! Super like! Her look is awesome!
    Ashe: I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she’s self conscious about her cup size so she wears padded breast plates.
    Vayne: Yeah…kinda looks like a lazy super villain…not too bad though.
    Orianna: Don’t much care about robot characters.
    Irelia: 1) Like. 2) Like. 3) Dislike, the armor design is just terrible.
    Lux: 1) I don’t even… 2) WTF! 3) Like! Super like! Amazing design. Simply stunning…
    Karma: Design fail. Humongous accessories look ridiculous.
    Annie: 1) Kinda cute but kinda creepy. Like those freaky Little Miss contestants… 2) Generic
    Tristanna: Steampunk elf thing = win!
    Poppy: Don’t like her face, but otherwise ok
    Kayle: Pretty awesome. More aesthetically pleasing than most though the shoulder plates are soooo 80’s.

  15. Diane says:

    I’m pretty sure women as a group are real. Do you seriously need it explained to you why it’s not okay to use sexual or racial slurs?

    • Joanna says:

      This character does not represent all women everywhere and if you believe that I feel sorry for you.

      • Diane says:

        I suspect you are trolling now, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt just in case you are genuinely confused and would like to understand. The video game character is irrelevant now. Slurs are words that exist to degrade and denigrate an oppressed group, which is why they are not okay to use. So if you use the N-word that degrades people of colour, the F-word that degrades gay people, the W-word that degrades women, or any other slur designed to keep a group oppressed, I will call you out on it. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with video game characters.

        It’s clear that you don’t know the basics of feminist theory, so if you want to educate yourself about it, Feminism 101 is a good place to start. Right now it’s like you’ve walked into a room where people are discussing calculus and arguing with them when you haven’t learned algebra yet. This forces everyone to stop what they’re discussing to sit down and explain algebra to you. Please take the time to educate yourself on the basics if you want to argue about feminism. You are free to criticize feminism as you like, but the criticism isn’t going to make any sense if you don’t understand what you’re criticizing.

        • Diane says:

          @Alex

          Petitions to developers are the sorts of things you should be doing, signatures and emails and organised movements. Or trying to make your own games, your own companies.

          I’m uncertain how to reply to these strange accusations. First, you are claiming that we don’t do these things, which is weird. I thought that game development was paying my bills, but apparently that was just a hallucination, so now I’m wondering where my paycheck is coming from. This business plan I’ve been working so hard on is apparently not real, either.

          Second, you are claiming that those who “only” educate, inform, and inspire are somehow not doing their part. So the professors who taught me CompSci are not in any way contributing to software development because they “only” teach people how to do it?

          • Diane says:

            Gah, I clicked reply in the wrong place and messed up the thread. Sorry, folks.

          • Alex says:

            I’m not accusing you of not doing these things? I don’t know you I have no idea what you do but you seem to think that I should which is strange and confusing to say the least. If you do these things then that’s awesome and it’s inspiring to see somebody putting their money where their mouth is in a meaningful way, I’d love to see the results of your hard work when it’s ready too.

            The professors are contributing to one stage of software development, but their teaching of the next generation is only one part. There is that saying that goes “Those who can’t do, teach.” and it does have some grounding in truth, but in the case of university professors, many of them have had extremely fruitful careers in the field before they became teachers, and hopefully you’ll agree with me when I say those ones are generally the best teachers because they speak with passion and experience.

            We can learn something from everyone, but everything you know is only theory until it’s tested. Plans can be foolproof from a distance, but when put into practice can come apart almost instantly if the minute is overlooked. My point is yes, you can educate, but it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re backing up what you are saying with knowledge and experience, otherwise you run the risk of teaching the wrong thing and perpetuating hate and sadness and misinterpretation, or even just bad execution.

        • Joanna says:

          If I have to nit-pick, I would say that the N-word was used as a pejorative towards people of a particular colour. This word referred to all people of this colour. The W-word however, was never used to describe all women, but only a small subset of women. It would actually be incorrect to say that it just described women as it can refer to men also. It was originally slang for the occupation of prostitution, which was not limited to women by any means. I actually consider the W-word to be gender neutral.

  16. Berry Caluroso says:

    I had breasts when I was 8-9-10-ish. Having breasts=/=being sexualized.

  17. Stu Pickles says:

    This whole conversation is nothing but horrid one sided nonsense .It’s a game. Enjoy and play.

  18. Lawrence says:

    http://www.stateoftheleague.com/home/2011/10/4/xerath-patch-skins.html

    Wow, now Caitlyn is completly fetishized with her new costume /facepalm.
    Her pose is also on par with “craping mage”, how can she shoot anything with such pose../doublefacepalm

  19. Pingback: Happy Birthday! Looking back at a year of GMMaS. | Go Make Me a Sandwich

  20. Bob says:

    First off, the prom queen Annie doesn’t have boobs. That’s how the dress design. Second, no Akali? She’s a good blend of non boob monster and boob monster skins. Third, Vayne has a nice skin, named vindicator. Should look it up some time. Same with LeBlanc and her “wicked” skin. Or even Miss Fortune’s road warrior skin, and Caitlyn’s Safari skin

    I am surprised that you have not gotten on their case about Ezreal, since she is a very sexualized titty monster like the others.

    • Mushii says:

      Have you ever even played the game?.. Prom Queen Annie (sadly) do have breast, very small ones, but they’re there.. On the art work, not ingame though.
      And Ezreal is a freaking dude..

    • Mushii says:

      Sorry for double posting (no edit button), but I just realized the irony. Sorry, tiredness xD

  21. Mushii says:

    Hey there.. So, I read the entire thing, but please note that I did NOT read all the comments.
    Well, I’m not quite sure wether I’m with you, or against you, so I’ll just say this without taking anyones side.
    I could easily spend all night writing what’s wrong and right about this, but I won’t.
    Instead I’ll say just one thing, which is the most important thing you’re forgetting..

    Male characters. Have you ever had a look at them? How often do you see a male character that is not designed to be physically attractive?
    Tall, muscular, rough looking, confident, etc.
    I mean.. Looking at Lee Sin almost makes me drool.
    In my honest opinion, I do NOT see why people only hate on female character design. Since a lot of male characters are closer to being completely naked than a lot of female ones..
    Tryndamere, why the **** isn’t he wearing any body armor? Why is Brand only wearing tight pants? And why the is Alistar wearing a freaking mini-skirt?!
    Regarding anatomy.. Have you seen Twisted Fate? He could wrap his hand all the way around his thight! Malzahar, he looks like he had his stomach removed.
    Besides, have you ever taken a step outside your own house? You know, looked at real women rather than just drawings? In case you haven’t, let me tell you something: Women come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Some have big breasts, some have small, some have almost none at all. (yes, I purposly made that rhyme.. Don’t judge me.)
    I’d say it’s pretty fair that not all female characters are completely flat chested.

    Now that we’re at the breast talk.. Orianna? Seriously? Take a good look at her, she’s a toy. Pointy breasts? Well, did you expect them to be perfectly round and soft, ready for you to grab? Why don’t YOU give ME a fucking break, huh?

    Sorry, I got a little mad there.. Returning to my point about male characters..

    Ryze is a caster type, yet he’s buff like a melee type.. Why? Oh right, to make him look good.
    No body wants to look at a chubby bastard. Wether you’re a guy or a girl, you want him to be a sexy beech! (to anyone who gets the refference.. Respect.)

    I think that concludes what I have to say, I would really like to hear from you personally, so that we can have a more indebt conversation about female vs. male character design, not just regarding LoL.
    At the same time I’d like to hear from the other readers aswell, as to their opinion on what I have just said about male characters, whether you agree or not, but please explain why in your comment, and not just say: “Fuck you, you just want to look at boobs!” ’cause really.. I couldn’t care less about wether my character has big er small breasts.

    • saobi says:

      They don’t have any argument. This whole thing revolves around women being drawn too sexily, as though that were a bad thing. If anything LoL’s North American art is nowhere as hot as the Chinese version art, not to mention you don’t see crap when it’s top-down in game.

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