I don't think I've seen anything about this posted on Dtoid yet, but I just read something about a certain level of gender bias in the Age of Conan and it got me thinking. It seems that the attack animation of a specific character class runs considerably slower (see video) for female characters than male ones.
The whole thing only seems to apply to assassins and Funcom has gone at least so far as to say it's not meant to be this way. But it raises a question for me. Not being too familiar with the modern state of MMO games (I haven't played in one since before WoW hit the scene), if the purpose of such a thing is to create a virtual world, should there be differences that separate men and women apart from engorged mammary glands?
It's a tricky subject, considering gender roles. If every playable character in a game world is meant to be a epic figure, does it then stand to reason that all manners of physical and mental prowess are up for grabs for either side of the sexual coin? Does it make sense for that lithe, nubile woman with D-cups to be able to swing an attack with the same force as a 400 lb mountain of a man? And, conversely, would it be acceptable to have that same man be more agile than the woman? Are avatars mere representations of a character or should they reflect ability as well?
I don't want to turn this into some kind of heated debate, but it does make me curious about how things like this might be handled as games of this sort become deeper. I'm not saying that there are things one gender is more competent at than another, but I do think limits exist for both. Solely at the most basic level of our humanity, the two genders often seek solutions in differing ways which play to their strengths. I wonder how, if ever, such thoughts will be appropriately reflected in gaming.
(via Terra Nova