>Anatomy: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG (or: Body customization in Perfect World)o

>Perfect World is yet another Asian free-to-play MMO with a freemium subscription model, published by a Chinese game publisher. And the advertising is pretty much what you’d expect from a freemium MMO:

Wow. Passively posed female spellcaster chick in cheesecakey outfit. Yawn. But then you have things like this promotional wallpaper:

Okay, so you have the mascot, who is practically a fetish checklist. Girls with wings, check. Short skirt, check. Boobage, check. Thigh high stockings, check. Whatever, that’s pretty standard. What kind of blows my mind is the stuff they cram into the background. The catgirl with the “come hither” look is pretty standard until you consider the fact that right next to her is Chick With Random O-Face. I mean, what? Random cleavage is one thing, but random orgasms are something else entirely.And then just to make things even more confusing there’s Random Upskirt Tiger in the lower corner. Why is the tiger checking out Fetish Wing Girl’s ass? Why??

Hey, look! Seasonally appropriate cheesecake! They obviously didn’t spend a whole lot of effort on this, since the outfit is mainly just a color swap with some fur trim added, though I’m a bit distrubed by the reindeer antlers. I mean, catgirls are pretty standard, but reindeer girls? Brr.The thing is, none of this really seems at all out of the ordinary. Random orgasms aside, it’s pretty middle-of-the-road as far as cheesecake goes. No, Perfect World earns a special place on my shit list for its body customization options that can result in characters like this:

Holy shit! Not even ridiculous Ivy fanart can compete with those knockers! How is she even standing upright? Are those things full of helium? Surely this has to be some kind of disturbing hack…

Oh god! There’s more of them! I mean, these are so horrific that the bunny girl looks almost normal in comparison, and she’s really, really not. Even better if you click for the larger version you can see that the chick on the left is named “WhoreNi”. Um. Wow. So, evidence points to these characters being played by men…

So what the hell is going on here?

Well, it appears that in Perfect World there are body customization sliders, including – obviously – for breast size and waist size. What’s disturbing about this is that it results in characters that no longer even resemble humans:

The guy who created this character even posted on the official PW forums asking other users to rate his character for attractiveness. When called on the fact that she, uh, kind of looks like a freak show, he responded:

Good point, I think I got carried away with the boob bar. 😀

Um. Yeah. Just a bit, dude.

Perhaps an even more disturbing feature is the ability to customize your characters based on a picture, utilized here to creepy effect:

This is all very disturbing and creepy on so many levels. Body customization is not necessarily an evil thing in and of itself. It has the potential to be quite a positive feature, if used to allow for non-idealized body types. The problem here is that Perfect World uses its powers for evil, allowing its users to take it to such extremes that you can generate offensively freakish parodies of humanity, waifish women who resemble nothing so much as poles with two zeppelins tied to them. How any of these women would function in daily life, much less kill things with swords, is beyond me. I mean, just tying your shoes would be a challenge with those titanic ta-tas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting all of the onus on the publishers. Clearly the men creating these characters deserve a fair helping of blame. Any man who would create one of these characters just because they COULD clearly has some pretty skewed views of women. But the publishers of Perfect World are the ones programming the slider in the first place. They’re the ones deciding where to code the limits on breast size, which has equally off-putting implications.

>Click breast, er, buy now!

>Okay, so back in my post on porn as advertising, I talked about the growing prevalence of using porn to advertise free MMOs. Today I’m going to target a somewhat related phenomenon – the breast play now button. Cheesecake women with heaving bosoms and not enough clothing are a tried and true tactic in MMO advertising, but some advertisers (*cough*Evony*cough*) really go the extra mile with the “breast (or sometimes ass) now button”.

Here, I’ll show you what I mean with some examples:

All right. Now does anything strike you about the placement of this button? Like, say, that it’s right next to her luscious faerie ass? In order to look at the “Play for Free” button, you literally have to ogle this poor faerie’s backside.

In a fairly marketing shill piece on mmocrunch.com, an Allods marketing rep was asked why Allods is using such sexual advertisements. Response is as follows:

Allods Online: This ad actually only makes up around 2% of our ad spending, while 98% of our spending goes towards ads that rave about Allods’ graphics and award-winning gameplay. Sometimes these other ads just get lost in the marketplace and a different strategy is required to break out of the clutter.

Riiiiight. Clearly this ad is justified because it’s bringing something new to the world of MMO advertising. I mean no one else has ever used breasts to make their product stand out, right?

All sarcasm aside, this response is entirely disingenuous. He’s trying to make it sound like the boob-tacular advertisements are a very small part of their marketing portfolio, but notice the wording. “This ad”? Well if you consider that to mean that particular permutation of that ad, well he might be telling the truth. But wait! I’ve seen at least three different versions of the lesbian fairies on the internet. And how the hell does he explain this?

Oh my god! This is, like, the most clever ad EVAR. You see what they did there? It’s a quest for chests, right? And the word CHEST is over the hot chick’s mostly bare CHEST. OMG. You guys are like the best marketers ever.

Sweet! In order to download the game, I get to click on that fairy chick’s boobs! I totally understand now that your advertising is all about graphics and award-winning gameplay! I’m sorry, Allods Shill Guy. I was so wrong to doubt you!Okay, enough sarcasm. Let’s get back on topic. The Breast Now Button! This was actually emailed to me by a friend around the same time that I started noticing other ads for this game. Depressingly, it seems like YET ANOTHER game jumping on the Allods bandwagon:

Oh wow. Yet another boob related pun! I sure hope you fellas didn’t strain anything thinking up this work of genius. You’re like, the DaVinci of boobs.

Hey look, it’s right another giant “play” button right next to another pair of giant fake breasts. And what’s with the “feeling naughty?” slogan here? Do they want people to equate clicking the button with feeling this chick’s boobs, or what?
They just got lazy with this one. It looks like they ran out of shitty jokes and just said “eh, let’s just put the button on her boobs”.Now, if you own an MMO and you’re not comfortable with having this many Breast Now Buttons as part of your advertising campaign, don’t worry. It’s easy enough to add just one to your current mix. Consider the following:

“Oh, baby! That’s not all I’ll grab!”…sorry, I couldn’t resist. The possibilities are almost endless! I mean, look at the way she’s sticking those ta-ta’s out there. What else am I supposed to think?

“Anyone got a Sharpie? I’m going to sign up, all right. Sign up ALL OVER HER BREASTS. Woo! High five!”

Okay, this one is actually a Crotch Now Button instead of a Breast Now Button. See, it’s telling you to DIVE DEEP and CLAIM your TREASURE. And then there’s a TREASURE CHEST in front of her CROTCH. It’s almost like they’re telling you to dive RIGHT INTO HER PANTS!But I saved the best for last. It’s small, but check this out:

This is from Lords Online. Their button for buying game currency requires that you actually click on her breasts. I mean, come on, people. Could you be less subtle? Why don’t you tie your business card to a brick with “TITTIES” written on it and hit me in the face with it?


>Porn as advertising (really NSFW)

>Okay, so it turns out that I have stuff that I want to say about Evony, though I’ll be talking more about its advertising spin-offs than the game itself. Anyway, this blog isn’t really what I’d call SFW, but this entry is really, really NSFW. You’ve been warned…

For those of you who have somehow managed to avoid the horror that is Evony, Evony (formerly Civony) is a “free” browser-based MMO run by a company that is noteable for its connections to Chinese gold farming. They’re also pretty famous for intellectual property theft, having stolen its art from Age of Empires and its fonts and gameplay from the Civilization series. All of this is bad enough, but they decided to really go for the gold in classiness with their advertising campaign that can best be summarized as… well… this:

(Compilation taken from the Gallery of the Absurd.) And there’s more. So, so much more. Go to Google Image and search for “Evony ad” to see this and WORSE. (No, really.) Jeff Atwood summarized this advertising campaign best when he said:

“Thanks for showing us what it means to take advertising on the internet to the absolute rock bottom … then dig a sub-basement under that, and keep on digging until you reach the white-hot molten core of the Earth”.

So, there’s that. Evony has pretty quickly gained itself a reputation as “the most hated game on the web” because of it’s scummy advertising campaign – which makes you think that other developers would be hesitant to follow their lead. Right? Unfortunately, perhaps not…

What? What’s going on here? Come play my lord? Free to play? And look at the ad on the left! The “Start Game” button is right over the girl’s crotch! You’ve got to be kidding me!

But, oh wait… World of LordCraft is just the guys behind Evony again. This time, unsurprisingly, they’re ripping off WoW instead of Age of Empires and Civ. Shocker. Okay, I guess this is a false alarm. Surely no one else would be crass enough to use these same advertising ploys, right?

Hmm. Evony. Civony. And… Caesary? Caesary is another translated Chinese browser-based online strategy MMO. Coincidence? Maybe. The jury is still out on whether or not Caesary is by the same people who did Evony and Civony. So, I guess we’ll set aside Caesary for now.

Okay, what the heck. Civony, Evony, maybe Caesary, and now Kingory? What’s going on here? These ads don’t have the “my lord” in them, though they do have a hot cleavagey girl. Amusingly, Evony claims that Kingory is a copycat of Evony, which is kind of like Britney calling Kelly Clarkson a no-talent hack. (Takes one to know one?)

Hey, check it out! Here’s a free MMO that’s making fun of the Evony ads! And both of the characters in the ad are wearing clothes! That’s encouraging. Except…

Dammit, Fiesta. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I mean, okay. Yes this isn’t as bad as stealing girls from the covers of porn DVDs for your ads. But still, this is definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Still. All of this is sort of encouraging. Maybe it’s just the Evony spin-offs and copycats who are doing this porn as advertising thing? Maybe?

God dammit. So, there’s this. I haven’t been able to find anything suggesting that this might be the same people, and descriptions I’ve read of the gameplay suggest that this probably isn’t the same people. (It sounds more like a Korean free MMO than a Chinese Evony-type game.) How discouraging.

It really seems like the advertisers were looking at the Evony lesbians ad and thinking how to “improve” on it.

Determining Marketing Strategy: A Short Play in One Act

ALLODS EXEC: Boobs are great, but lesbians are better. Our new ad should have lesbians.
ALLODS MARKETER: Good choice, my lord. I mean, sir.
ALLODS EXEC: We need to make our lesbians more enticing than those Evony lesbians.
ALLODS MARKETER: Well, how about making them fairies? Wings make anything sexier.
ALLODS EXEC: I like where you’re going.
ALLDS MARKETER: Also, Evony’s lesbians seem pretty tame.
ALLODS EXEC: I agree. I think our lesbian fairies should be rubbing against each other. But not in a porn way, in a classy, sexy way. In a “I’m turned on that two fairy chicks are rubbing their fairy boobs all over each other” kind of way.
ALLODS MARKETER: I like the way you think, sir.

…Ugh. Okay. So maybe it’s just Allods? Maybe everyone else is just going to stick to cheesecake advertising?

GODDAMIT. I mean – “deep character skills”? Is that some kind of joke? But hey, at least these online MMOs can’t sink any lower. Right? …Right?

Wait. Wait – really?