So why are there no fat chicks in TOR?   1 comment

It’s a general video game paradigm that the female characters, particularly PCs, are commonly ‘conventionally attractive’.  For this piece, I’m focusing on the general worldview on these things. There’s no need to have a ton of defensive responses saying ‘but /I/ like big butts, and I cannot lie’.  I’m looking at what I see when I play TOR.  I can’t really focus on my other two MMOs, since neither of them let you pick a ‘body shape’ for your character.  Your character gets one body size/shape based on race in those, and you’re stuck with it, too bad.  That’s a game decision on the part of both LotRO and WoW.

Now, this is something that bugs me about TOR to some extent, the perception of female characters in the game.  You run across all kinds of male characters of varying races that are, quite frankly, /too/ fat.  Seriously.  We’re not talking ‘this guy is obviously channeling the Hulk’, but more like ‘how the hell can this guy even walk with a frame like that?’.

Granted, I haven’t explored every last nook of content, haven’t seen all the NPCs, but I’m noticing a distinct lack of female characters that really show a wide breadth of body styles.  I’ll happily be pointed to examples that I have sadly forgotten or more likely haven’t run across, but let’s look at some examples I do remember.

Even in chargen, the difference in perception is there right off the bat.  If you want to play a chick, you have three choices:  waif, slender, and linebacker.  Compare to the guys’ choices: regular skinny dude, buffed up dude, linebacker, fat guy.  Each of the female choices are curvy women, with the ‘slender’ body type displaying breasts that don’t often tend to wind up on bodies with waists that thin… well, not without enhancement. I pass no judgment on those who choose to enhance themselves that way, but it makes me a touch uncomfortable to see it as the default view, even in a video game.  It doesn’t feel natural to me.  The ‘plus-size’ female body type is still the closest we ever get to ‘fat chick’ in the game.  Still, even she’s pretty much just a larger-sized hourglass shape, like using the ‘stretch’ feature on your widescreen TV to make a show shot in 4:3 fit a 16:9 aspect ratio.  I hate to break it to folks, but where I live, there are very /few/ plus-sized women who resemble that. And there is no ‘fat chick’ counterpart to the male body selection in chargen and I cannot honestly recall any such NPCs out in the world.

I wonder why that is.

I mean, we all know the common joke in gaming that the only reason many games have a female avatar at all is so some male gamer can stare at a female character’s butt for hours on end as she runs around killing things.  I know several male gamers who freely and cheerfully admit this is why they prefer to play female toons.  I try to avoid the generalization that /most/ male gamers like that.  However, we know that a goodly percentage do.

That still doesn’t make 100% sense to me as to why as a general rule, TOR has chosen /not/ to show women of size who aren’t shaped like an hourglass, even as NPCs out in the wild.  I hate to break it to anyone who creates in-game models… we exist.  The reason there are character customization options in games is to allow players to have a bit of freedom with our avatars. In many cases, we want to make our avatars look like us, or what we consider to be ideal within the constraints, so we can better pretend that we are the ones having the adventure, not some random character.  TOR can’t even say ‘but a fat chick can’t ICly do all these athletic things, so that’s why’, cos they have the ‘fat guy’ avatar.  Many of us fat chicks are used to the fact that in most games, the closest we’ll ever get to something that’s ‘like us’ is hair color and eye color.

I do not exist in TOR.  Nothing even remotely like me exists in TOR.  Not as an avatar I can play.  Not as an NPC in the background.  TOR has no fat chicks in it.  We’re invisible.  We don’t exist in this particular iteration of the Star Wars universe, and that kinda makes it feel as if it means we don’t matter to the devs who decide these sorts of things.

Is it because society slags on fat chicks and goes to great lengths to shame us for being fat?  Is it because the devs thought somehow we’d be offended that there’s a fat chick in-game?  Is it because none of the male gamers who like looking at female asses in-game would like to see that much cellulite jiggling around?  (They don’t seem to mind it when it’s boobies, after all – Seriously, have you seen Fieler Dan’s boobs on Coruscant? They’re bigger than her face!)

And it’s not as if they can’t model reasonably-proportioned women.  Satele Shan’s model is reasonably proportioned, why not have used that for the ‘slender’ middle option for female avatars?  What’s with the top-heavy design?  Why isn’t there a counterpart to the 4th male body style available in chargen?  Why aren’t there NPCs out in the wild that have some meat on their bones?

Do I honestly think that TOR will make any changes on these matters?  Nope.  As responsive as many game companies are, I can’t honestly recall any of them that realized that they’re overlooking some segment of their playerbase in this fashion and making changes to level that particular playing field.  If anyone knows of one, I’d be happy to hear about it.


Posted October 25, 2012 by druidsfire in Uncategorized

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One response to “So why are there no fat chicks in TOR?

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  1. Pingback: Same-Gender Romance in TOR « Druidsfire's Gaming Blog

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