Guess what, BioWare? I have boobs
AND I know how to use a computer!
Credit: Petr Kratochvil,
publicdomainpictures.net

After watching my husband play through BioWare’s Mass Effect 2, I was completely excited to learn that they were responsible for crafting Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). Based on what I saw, BioWare gave plenty of interaction, gear, and romance options for both male and female characters.

This is not always so in SWTOR and I am seriously disappointed.

Wardrobe

I love the gear you can get in SWTOR. I like that you can purchase ‘social’ gear (i.e. things that just look cool) and place mods in it to make the gear battle-ready. Since I play my consular like a senator, I enjoy heading into PVP geared up in appropriate attire.

Then I saw the slave dancer outfit. The outfit itself doesn’t offend me. It makes sense (and is an homage to what Leia had to wear in the movie). I chose not to buy it only because I wanted to wear the beautiful muse vestments that my friends found for me.

My problem with the Republic slave dancer outfit is that there is no male equivalent. What if I want Tharan Cedrax to run around in next to nothing? Not possible unless I want him to take an armor penalty.

Locations

Hey! I’m like a faerie and I love shiny things! That means Nar Shadaa is a fun planet for me to explore, with all those flashy lights and all. Again, not so. Why? There are plenty of prostitutes everywhere. Makes sense.

…But why are none of them male?

This makes me want to retreat back to another ‘verse, you know, like one with boy whores.

I mean, seriously. If you’re going to show supple, nubile slave ‘dancers,’ why are they only female? Just look at shows like Spartacus. We know that’s not how it works in the real world.

Limited Romance Options

I hear about the many conquests of my male friends’ male characters. They get romance options all the time. My consular is seriously light side, but I’ve been ready for her to get some dark side points in the name of nookie.

Not so.

Because of course she has only one romance option, and so far she has to share him with a holographic girlfriend. That’s not kinky, it’s annoying. I’ve gotten the flirt option maybe three times so far, and all with the same person.

I figured maybe it’s due to my class. Most consulars (regardless of gender) would be more interested in saving the Republic via politics than in getting laid. But there it is–politics. Politicians are constantly involved in sex scandals. Why aren’t there any temptations for my consular?

Talyra (my character) is sage spec, currently spec’d out for healing. Clearly BioWare has forgotten heroines like shieldmaiden Eowyn. After kicking ass in battle, she meets her true love Faramir. She does this when she is healing him. So why wouldn’t Talyra have a similar opportunity?

Displeased Fans

On the SWTOR Forums, fans debate over whether there truly are more limited romance options for females. One female user articulately posted her dissatisfaction on the forums. (I had actually gone in there to make a similar post only to find this one already there.)

Some players even posted about playing the same class as a different gender–and receiving way less flirt options when playing the same quests as females.

And yes, BioWare, while it would be cool to have females able to romance females, that doesn’t mean the fix here is to go in and just make 100 flirt options for lesbian or bi characters and no more for straight characters.

Most of us female players/players of female characters feel jilted, not to mention disappointed in BioWare. My collector’s edition and monthly subscription costs just as much as my husband’s, but my gameplay experience isn’t as interesting because I play a female character.

It seems that most of the male players agree. They want women to have the same entertaining and humorous experience they get. There aren’t too many people calling foul on this accusation of unfairness.

I get that BioWare wanted more time to develop the game. I understand that most of the programmers and designers are probably male. However, women want a game experience equal and entertaining. I *like* companies such as BioWare because the story is engaging enough to attract players of either gender. SWTOR isn’t only about killing stuff or discovering a story–it’s about both.

Statistics keep pointing to a stereotype: women are interested in social games. Wouldn’t that mean that women are interested in MMOs like SWTOR, because of the social play aspect? I love playing the game partly because I get to interact with my husband and my friends while I’m playing.

I’m altogether disappointed in the lack of flirt options for female characters. Hopefully BioWare will improve and at least put something significant in for female characters after level 50.

BioWare, please fix this and don’t alienate your female players. We pay just as much for our gaming experience, and I heard that the male players kind of like us hanging around, anyway. Thanks!

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