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Why she'll never be Akromah the Noble

April 27, 2009

Ah, Noblegarden – World of Warcraft’s version of Easter. A few weeks late this year due to 3.1, it features bunnies and painted eggs and candy and pretty dresses, just like the real-life version!

If you accomplish all of the achievements associated with the holiday, you’ll get the title “The Noble” which is a pretty sweet title. It’d be perfect for Akromah, who as a paladin has a slightly inflated view of herself.

Except I’m not going to do it.

It seems that Blizzard has decided to get cheeky and toss in an achievement called Shake your Bunny-Maker.

To earn that achievement, you cast a “Bunny Ears” spell on one female character of every race who is level 18 or above.

Bunny Ears. As in Playboy Bunny.
Level 18 or above. As in 18 years of age or older.

Yeaaaaah, no.

I’ve come to grips with the fact that if Akromah and a male blood elf wears the same plate chestpiece, he’ll be protected and she’ll have her midriff hanging out. Or if Embalmo puts on the Red Winter Clothing, he’ll look like a decayed Santa, but Akromah will look like she’s about to work the pole. And don’t get me started on how Thrall looks like a humanoid Panzer tank but Sylvanas was “upgraded” to a bikini top and low-riding leather pants.

You can’t say “no” to the bunny ears. You can be fighting on the front lines against the Scourge or training your blacksmithing and you’re tagged with them. In a second, a female character goes from a hero to a sexual punchline and a nameless conquest checked off of a list.

Last night in Dalaran, some Hordies were using trade chat to track down the location of a female dwarf in town. It’s disturbing to read. Even for trade chat.

Running around “tagging” women without their permission – in real life or in pixels – is wrong. Being rewarded for it is even worse. And to think that those who succeed are eligible for “The Noble” title is mind-boggling.

I’m very disappointed in Blizzard.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2009 9:50 am

    As a guy I can’t believe I actually missed some of that. The bunny ears thing I got, but the level 18 went right over my head.

    Either way, I thought it was kind of funny, but your post has me thinking differently now.

  2. April 28, 2009 12:55 pm

    I was making jokes about hunting for a midget to dress up like a Playboy Bunny, but the lvl 18 part slipped right past me as well. I thought it was just to prevent people from rolling lvl1 Trolls to help their guildies get the achievement. I must be getting old and missing the jokes. (But seriously, have you tried finding a female troll? Trade Chat was like a bunch of frat guys at the bar looking for the ugliest girl.)
    But, as with Kyrilean, your post has me looking at the event in a different light. I am sorry.

    • April 28, 2009 1:22 pm

      Hi, guys! Just want to clarify…I don’t want anyone apologizing for doing the achievement or feeling badly about it.

      I just wonder what kind of backlash Blizz would get if a holiday event had us targeting only Trolls.

  3. Derek (Darktyrael) permalink
    April 28, 2009 1:16 pm

    That is pretty funny, that they would do something like that. I never planned on doing anything for the event but now I will definitely not be doing anything. It was like the Winter on when you had to run around hitting people with snowballs. As a BE DK I was getting hit all the time, it got annoying after awhile.

  4. April 28, 2009 3:00 pm

    I am not a fan of the bunny ears. But note that they have already had achievements where you had to find characters of a specific race/class combination and do stuff to them (I had rose petals thrown over me a lot during valentine’s, for example).

  5. Liz permalink
    April 28, 2009 4:22 pm

    Whoa. Though my main (male human mage) gets RP’d as a skirtchaser, this gives me pause too. I saw the lvl18 requirement as a dodge against the lvl 1 rolled up just for the Achievement, as Rob said.

    What’s doubly sad is that I almost got your observations into my head last evening when this thought ran through my mind: “I’m glad they’re not asking us to pin a bunny tail on the girls instead of just bunny ears.” My phail.

  6. April 28, 2009 11:43 pm

    This is an interesting post about Noblegarden. My most recent blog post was celebrating the fact that Blizzard made Noblegarden so easy to achieve and that I loved it. I thought the bunny ears on level 18s was funny, not degrading. I love the bunny ears and because of my RL nickname, I got them on all of my characters.

    Anywho…definitely interesting to read a different take on things. Sorry to hear that you’re letting that one achievement stop you from getting the title. It’s pretty clear what demographic Blizzard was aiming for when they designed the game. πŸ˜‰

  7. April 29, 2009 8:02 am

    Thanks for all the comments! Just to note…I’ve been bunny-eared quite a few times. I just remove the buff and move on.

    @Spinks: Yeah…I know. But those previous achievements had all races targeted.

    @Liz: Bunny tails will probably be next year. You’ll pick up the quest at the Bunny Ranch outside of Goldshire/Bloodhoof Village. πŸ˜‰

    @AllianceGirl: It’s okay. Eventually when I get motivated she’ll be Akromah of Silvermoon. Right now she’s “of the Shattered Sun.” Yes, I paid a goodly amount of gold for that one. Wish I knew at the time I’d eventually be leveling an alt with enchanting!

  8. Liz permalink
    April 29, 2009 11:54 am

    I’ve also been pleased by a relatively easy meta-achievement and title that doesn’t require extensive PvPing, which I can do but don’t much enjoy. So after thinking on it quite a bit, I’ve decided to go for the title and all — but I do appreciate Kimberly’s consciousness-raising considerations.

    I’ll note that, although the perception is that WoW is a male’s game design, many more women play than you might think. I’m also a games researcher and have followed the demographics of the game closely. One thing Blizzard has accomplished with WoW is to bring women into gaming the MMORGs, and (depending on your study) somewhere between 30 and 40% of the WoW players are female. (The early years of the game, that percentage was much lower, around 15%.) So while the female Death Knights bare their midriffs wearing the same gear their male counterparts cover up with… we’re still enjoying it, regardless, and in ever greater numbers.

    If I may, Kimberly, I’ll note that my current research survey is still live for another couple days …. looking at skills acquired in WoW that translate to real life. There is the opt-in possibility to win a 60-day WoW timecard as a thank you for participation. It’s only open until May 1st; I have some genuinely amazing results already in. And since I brought it up — my respondents to date (about 1200 of them) are almost 32% female.

  9. Ziboo permalink
    April 30, 2009 1:38 am

    I thought the Shake Your Bunny Maker’s was a bit clever as a play on words with the over level 18, but it is a bit sexist.

    I can live with that but the oh look I’m a ‘ho costuming . . . that I get irritated about. Especially the Blood Elves seem to get the worst of it. Death Knight gear a midrift halter? WTF??? I can accept the blatant sexist trend in games like AoC as that is part of the lore/style (I don’t play for other reasons), but in WoW. Annoying at best.

  10. Clareion permalink
    May 1, 2009 7:45 pm

    Woooow are you butthurt about nothing.

  11. Rebecca permalink
    May 1, 2009 9:10 pm

    That post needed to be written and said out loud. I can only hope that someone actually points it out to Blizzard and maybe they’ll change another event so that it’ll be so that we have to tag all the guys instead to make it at least kind of “fair”. It’s really sexist and degrading (and even my boyfriend agrees… and he’s a GUY!).

    I wonder what could actually be done about it though? Do you think anyone would actually write up a petition to Blizzard about this?

  12. Liz permalink
    May 2, 2009 8:16 am

    Although I think a petition could be created, unless it were written very genially (as Kimberly’s initial post was) it would probably not be widely signed. The entire game has sexist overtones and this is not hugely different . While I think this post is valuable — view how many people said “hmmm, I didn’t think of that” — I also think many who’ve read this thread went ahead and took the title anyway.

    I wonder if people realize that one of the main holiday designers at Blizzard is female?

  13. May 2, 2009 10:42 am

    Wow, this post has staying power!

    I thought of writing a letter when I first heard murmurings about this achievement, but as some things we think are canon don’t seem to come to appear on patch day (Gorloc/Frenzyheart orphan pets) I waited it out.

    Now I will most certainly write one. If this has you guys bugged, even a little bit, then you should do the same. It’s going to be an actual snail-mail letter though, because even in this crazy digital age they seem to carry more weight.

  14. May 4, 2009 4:53 pm

    I, like so many others, regarded the > 18 requirement as a way for Blizzard to avoid the mass creation of alts to fullfill the requirements. It didn’t even dawn on me about the connection, but this post pointed it out.

    And I still find it funny.

    No one had anything negative to say about the fact that you have to wear a dress as a male for another of the achievements. Or go around kissing random people, dressed in guys clothes, for another.

    I don’t think it’s wrong for you to boy-cott something you disaggree with by refusing to do it, that’s everyone’s right. However, pushing to have it changed, when so many people obviously found it well-meaning fun, is kind of… I don’t know.

    It’s sad that so many of the games funnier moments were removed due to the “possibility” of offending someone. We play games for entertainment. A joke about a tauren’s 14 inches isn’t offensive. It’s rude and silly, but it’s a joke.

    Women in every game I’ve ever played have been hugely over “sexed”. As have men. Cartoons, games and movies are all done the same way. They promote the outrageous. We don’t want ordinary, every day things in our entertainment. That’s not entertaining. It’s real life.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong Kim. I’m just asking you to consider others entertainment when writing your letter, that’s all. πŸ™‚ As your post has helped me to consider others as well.

  15. May 12, 2009 8:29 pm

    Slight changes to the look of the heroes of both genders would not make the game less entertaining. Would anyone stop playing if the female characters’ armor was less revealing? I don’t think so. I mean, all the boys have to do if they want to see revealing female characters is doff their armor and run around town in just their underwear–oh wait, they do that already! πŸ™‚

    RPGs are full of sexist, comic-book-like imagery. I hope that as more women play and design games, their point of view will be taken into account more often. It’s not about censoring or ruining anyone’s fun; it’s just about being respectful. We don’t have a lot of racist overtones in the games we play (or do we, and they just go over my head?), yet somehow we all seem to make it through and enjoy playing.

    Until then, we should keep raising awareness of things that don’t seem right.

  16. Las permalink
    February 4, 2010 2:29 am

    QQ moar. If you really have a problem then why don’t you just become a shut in.

    • February 4, 2010 8:18 am

      A shut in life??? It’ll be horrible!!!

      The only thing worse would be posting comments on 9 month old blog posts! About old content!! OMG!

      Thanks for commenting. I always like looking at thoughtful posts that disagree with mine. Good thing there are other commenters here to read for that.


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