I think GuildMag has the take I agree most with regarding the very much talked about PvP armor post, which was supposed to be about PvP armor and somehow became a thousand-word dissertation on the place of women and their clothing in video games.
I’ve found the response to this very interesting, especially since most of the outcry seems to be coming from either people who feel everyone’s making too big a deal out of the matter (but are throwing in their two cents anyway) or those who are in defense of the right of women everywhere to have virtual avatars wear as little as the the game will let them. This, despite the fact that these two groups are the ones whose positions are being represented by default.
As someone who has written blog posts only semi-mocking the initial deluge of innocent questions newcomers have regarding Guild Wars 2, I’m familiar with the notion that someone can come across an article or picture and not know the history behind it; the famous (among GW2 fans) “six or none!” quote by Kristen Perry, the article in which ANet’s armor design philosophy is laid out, the examples of variety among even Elementalist armor art in Guild Wars 1. With TERA looming on the MMO landscape and the controversies regarding its portrayals of Castanic armor and caster gyrations, I’m not surprised when someone happens by late in the game and wonders if Guild Wars 2 is any different. It’s really no different from when someone asks if they can still be a healer, what the raiding endgame is like, or if, indeed, you can jump.
But this matter, this matter was somehow so different. Unlike the many fans of GW2 who remain confident that raids as we know them won’t be added to console the gear treadmill junkies (no offense, some of my best friends are gear treadmill junkies and they told me it was okay to call them that), or who confidently create Youtube videos explaining how GW2 can exist without dedicated healers, the responses to concerns expressed about the featured PvP armor seemed to take the position that any concern was an attempt to lobby for the removal of that and any other armor that exposed the delectable female form.
Oh, there were informative links posted about how transmutation stones can be used to customize armor looks as well, but while inquiries about raids are occasionally peppered with a suggestion to “go back to WoW (or insert MMO here),” an alarming number of these responses just wanted the concerned parties to go away entirely (because there really aren’t MMOs where female avatars don’t have skimpy armor at all. Not that anyone was really asking for that, of course – it was a strawman to be knocked down – but it’s worth noting that there isn’t an MMO for such proponents to go to, if those people existed).
And therein lay the amusement for me. So many people were so worried that their option to clothe their female avatars (person behind the screen’s gender not relevant) as skimpily as they like would be taken away, that the fact that there is no alternative vision made their arguments all the more absurd. In what universe has anyone ever successfully lobbied to have skimpy armors removed from a game? None? Then why so serious? Really, look at the percentage of arguments out there in favor and defense of the featured PvP armor (especially the ones accusing others of being sex-negative or white knights) and tell me the vehemence of that response is warranted.
So, yes, check out the article. I really can’t recommend it enough.