Chinese MMO Company Jumps on Gender Benders

As of a month ago, a Chinese MMO company has started banning accounts of male players that play female characters in their game. Only a few news sites outside of China have picked up on the ruling.

Aurora Technology, a subsidiary of MMO giant Shanda that publishes many MMOs in China, including AION, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Company of Heroes Online, started requiring players of their MMO King of the World, to start proving their gender via webcam. The rule, which was first announced in late September, seems to apply only to male players playing female characters and not the reverse.

There was no further explanation of the ruling, although the headline on the Pacific Epoch site says it is an attempt to rein in transsexuals in games.

In a more recent take on men playing women in video games, the author makes some broad generalizations, including that men like watching their lithe female avatars from behind, or that "a man would want to play a female character is often evidence enough for many in the online community to label someone a homosexual."

Do you male readers play women in your MMOs? If so, why? Should companies regulate how you play their game as long as your play does not infringe on other players? Maybe that was the reason for the ruling, the chance of deception, although it obviously isn’t made clear. Either way, the ruling seems a stretch, in this writers opinion, and one that seems destined to fall by the wayside, if it hasn’t already. 

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  1. Chamale says:

    In video games, the gender of my character is always an entirely practical decision. For example, in Fallout 3, I play as a female because of a perk that lets you get +10% damage against the opposite gender – the majority of enemy soldiers and mercenaries are male. In Left 4 Dead, there are only 4 characters, and I usually play as whatever character picks up the least useful weapon by default (so I can make them use a better one).


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  2. MrBounce says:

    Why is there a picture of a Night Elf from World of Warcraft on this article…? While I realize WoW is the poster boy (girl?) for MMO’s, this article is about some MMO called King of the World (it’s not even about AION, DDO or CHO… all prominent / well-known MMO’s). Shouldn’t there be a picture for King of the World instead?

  3. Neo_DrKefka says:

    I love women, god I love women but as for when I am playing a game I prefer my avatar being a male because I feel my avatar in game should represent me! In Final Fantasy VI which let me choose my main character and character to keep with me for the rest of the game, I got spoiled from there on I preferred my character in which ever game to best represent me being a male.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I love video games that have female leads but it makes me less likely to want to get that game for the simple fact the avatar really isn’t what I look for. Resident Evil 3 is one of the few games where I could play but in the end I would have preferred the choice between a male and female.

    I refuse to buy the new Grand Theft Auto Gay content simply because, I am not gay nor do I support having an homosexual or bisexual avatar. That is where the line between me and a male avatar exists. I don’t mind in game homosexual or transgender characters but I don’t like an agenda pushed on me that I don’t believe in.

    Some characters like Indigo Prophecy, and The Longest Journey’s gay characters fit in perfectly to the story.

    I like choice in a video game but I do feel it a little annoying that a good number of the male population rolls a female toon in WoW. Do I think they have closeted issues, I sure do!

  4. State says:

    I think you left out a "not" in the last phrase.

    Yes I did. Doesn’t make much sense without "not" in it.

  5. Ryno says:

    Excellent point which I was going to make. I think you left out a "not" in the last phrase.


    Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They’ve got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however…

  6. Orange Soda says:

    I don’t play any MMOs nowadays, but way back whenever ago, my brother installed Tribes on the family PC and I gave it a try. I played as a female character, largely for the hell of it.

    I remember one time I was playing in some level where if you touched the ground (rather than some man-made floor), you died for whatever reason. I hopped in the driver’s seat of some vehicle, and some male characters joined in, and I drove off to wherever (I didn’t know then either). Improper comments ensued. So, in the middle of nowhere, I jumped out, hit the ground, and died. The other characters yelled "YOU IDIOT".

    Most fun I ever had playing the game.

  7. hellfire7885 says:

    This is just asinine. I don’t play female characters regularly, but, it seems that China is getting desperate to force their populace back into the stresses of reality.

    Also of not,e they’ll have t oban Saints Row 2 and Mercenaries 2 as well ,and MAss Effect, and Elder Scrolls, and Fallout…

  8. TK n Happy Ness says:

    My guess is one of these morons tried to hit on a female character thinking the person playing them was female, then made themselves look stupid when they find out the person was really a guy.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  9. Cerabret100 says:

    Well i wanted a character of every horde race in wow, and lets face it, there are NO male blood elves.

  10. State says:

    So you can play as an elf, even though you’re not an elf in real-life, but you can’t play as a female because you’re a female in real life?

  11. strathmeyer says:

    "Do you male readers play women in your MMOs? If so, why?"

    Because I’ve already made twenty male characters?

    You’re right, this is insanity, next thing you know Disney movies will have female main characters.

  12. Icehawk says:

    Also the whole have to start proving their gender via webcam.

    So your telling me there are not ways around that?  And what of those without webcams?  Are all their Paying accounts going to be monitored with the ban hammer? 

    Thank the gods for over-reactive kneejerk actions. 

    (Also I agree on the Dranaei parts… the males are just.. odd)

  13. Bennett Beeny says:

    So let me get this straight – now online role-playing games are banning people because they’re role-playing?  LOL – yeah, that’ll be sure to bring in a shedload of revenue.

    So what happens when they realize that men playing men in 3rd person MMOs involves hours looking at a guy’s butt?

    I often play women in MMOs – mainly because a female character is usually more interesting for me.  Then there’s the fact that female avatars usually get more and better clothing options.  Also, call me a raging heterosexual, but I find the female form more attractive than the male form, so I prefer the screen to feature a pretty woman’s image rather than that of a man.  But I guess in the eyes of some nutters, that makes me a transsexual, LOL.

    Also, what about the women who signed up as guys so that they didn’t get harrassed so much, then chose female avatars?  Do they get banned too?

  14. Balance says:

    I play both male and female characters. It depends on the concept I come up with for the character, or even on ideas for a costume. When I roleplay those characters (rarely in MMO contexts, but steadily in tabletop RPGs), gender plays a part in it. The words and actions in the roleplay are the character’s, not mine, just as if they were characters in a story I was writing. (I draw the line at ERP, though. That skeeves me out regardless of the genders of the characters or players.)

    Aurora Tech’s actions, as described in this article, are not just wrong and abusive, they go over the line into lunacy.

  15. CaptainZM says:

    Everyone so busy staring at their characters asses must have sucked hard at actually playing the MMO. Tilt your eyes up and watch the fight, not how your charactes ass jiggles when you use a skill.

    "Don’t Run, You’ll Just Die Tired."

  16. cpt crunchie says:

    I must admit, the hours I spent staring at my characters’ butts did factor into which gender i chose to play, but the big factor was actually the hair. My necromancer in Guild Wars has some AWESOME hair. The males just didn’t have that many hair options.



    It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

  17. Arcanagos says:

    Hey, if this means the chinafarmer that used my guild leader’s female Blood Elf for mining under Wintergrasp will get IP banned from WoW, I’m all for it 😛

    (^^^Obvious joke, no flaming please >.>)

    "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson’ll justify it in the end." – nightwng2000

  18. vaminion says:

    I default to playing guy characters.  The only exception is if [race] is the only way to play [class] and I can’t stand the male voice set, then  I’ll play the female version.  I’m looking at you, draenei.



  19. Magic says:

    This is the exact point I was going to bring up – why does a player have to be their own gender? They’re role-playing games, not realistic virtual simulations of users.

    On LAG’s point, even then should it matter that it’s an MMO? What about almost any RPG with customisable characters? Tomb Raider? The Sims?

    I can usually see vaguely where the Chinese government is coming from on other issues, but this is beyond ridiculous.

  20. LAG - Law Abiding Gamer says:

    Interesting point…does this mean that guys can’t play Tomb Raider? 

    I know I know, it’s not an MMO.  Just messin’.

    ***Homicide-free video gaming since 1972!***

  21. gamegod25 says:

    To answer their questions; yes both genders and why not? Does playing as Samus Aran or Lara Croft make me a transsexual/homosexual? Why is it ok for women to play as male characters? As long as I’m not breaking the rules then what does it matter who/what my avatar is?

    To me it’s no different from picking a different hair, skin, or even race. Why not?

  22. Matthew says:

    Sometimes I’m a plumber who may or may not be insane, a bounty hunter, never-seen-close-up F1 driver, a pair of dragons with a crossbow, a single-celled organism, god knows how many varieties of space marine, an omnipotent superbeing, and last week I was freaking Batman. I do these things without destroying my delicate psyche and sense of self. From time to time I’m a female night elf with a pet dinosaur, and I don’t see that as anything different.

    It’s called role play.

  23. Monte says:

    me, i play as both male and female… my main reason is because i like to play with player customization and create characters; which is why i prefer mmo’s with more robust character creation like Aion. Hell sometimes i even use mmo’s as an excuse to create stock characters that i can through into my own writing 


    though i do think on some level males playing as females is actually helpful for female players… seriously i do not know how many times i have heard of female players getting annoyed by male players bothering in the past; hell i’ve heard some who said that’s one of the reasons they play as males. However once those same male players start to realize that many female avatars are actually guys, they become less likely to bother female players as they used to… Though they probably end up joining the group of guys that calls every male player that plays as a female gay… Granted i don’t see what’s so straight about watching a guy’s ass for hours on end and occasionally changing his clothing… so ya, possible less harassment from female players, but with a trade off of a possible increase in homophobia


  24. Beacon80 says:

    I’m male, but usually play as female characters.  I think a large part of it is that I really like strong female characters, and since they’re underrepresented, if given the choice, I’ll add one more to my list of games.

    Superhero RPGs are an exception.  It all depends on the character I come up with.

  25. wintermute says:

    1) It’s China, so I’m not surprised

    2) For the most part, it’s kinda easy to tell who’s male and who’s female in any voice chat system

    3) I’ve played both male and female characters, for a long list of reasons, and "watching a nicer behind" was never one of them

  26. Neeneko says:

    I have a feeling the real push is male playing wanting to know who to hit on without worrying about feeling gay.

  27. DarkSaber says:

    Female butt for hours Vs. Male butt for hours. I’ll let you decide which is gayer.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  28. Vinzent says:

    Yeah, i played female characters in WoW. I’d rather watch a female butt than a male butt for 8+ hours of playtime. There was never any real connection with my character in WoW. I never role-played her as a female, or tried to trick guys into giving me free stuff. I never role-played period. My avatar was just an icon that represented my position in the world.

    I think that has a lot to do with the lack of customization. In CoH and Star Wars, I played male characters and felt some investment in them because I know they didn’t look exactly the same as every other male/class that was running around.

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