Tastes Like Hypocrisy

September 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 20 Comments
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Spirit here.  Hunter posted yesterday about some discussion he and I had had about the duelist armor a couple days ago, and I wanted to weigh in and share my feelings on the subject.

Part of what seriously irks me about the duelist armor is that the human female version I previewed for that article is strictly for humanoid races.  My female charr?  She gets the full coat Hunter’s male human gets.  It’s the same story with my female asura.  Only the human, norn, and sylvari ladies are cursed with that lacey, sexualized mess.  As Hunter said, I would much prefer the male version of the armor, its much more to my tastes in armor. I’m not terribly upset over it, I just had to cross it off my list of armors I might want.

I’m an avid skin hunter in Guild Wars.  Ever vigilant for shiny new armor skins, a guy wearing the tier three human cultural set caught my eye the other day. I was excited because it wasn’t quite a full trenchcoat, and there is an absolute overabundance of trenchcoats in the medium armored classes.  Best of all,  it was covered in daggers.  I get such a kick out of wearing armor more dangerous than my weapons.  It seemed to me like a wonderful throwback to the Assassins I so loved dearly in the original Guild Wars (I always felt as if thief was a downgrade in badassness). It added up to being what I thought would be the perfect armor set for me, so I popped over to Divinity’s Reach to preview it on my own character. I got quite a shock, because this is what I saw.

Tier 3 Human Cultural Armor Gender Comparison

My thief on the left, my engineer wearing the same set on the right.

I honestly believed at first glance there had been some sort of mistake. I thought (hoped) that there was a broken texture around my midriff and that I might be able to report the bug and see it fixed. Unfortunately, as Hunter pointed out to me, there is concept art for both the male and female sets is impeccably close to the in-game armor.

It’s not skin showing or bared breast that bothers me.  It’s not about my tastes in armor at all.  I actually like having armor that shows some skin;  I’m certainly not above low cut armor. It’s not that I think it’s a bad armor set, and I might even still buy it in all honesty.  It’s that if the male armor had had a gaping hole in the middle of it, I wouldn’t have even given it a second thought.  But the male version gets a full coat and I get a…honestly, what is that even trying to cover my chest? A tissue? I hope my thief doesn’t have to do anything even remotely acrobatic anytime soon or gravity will take what remaining modesty the poor girl has.

Sarcasm and jokes aside, what bothers me is this silly double standard.  I know ArenaNet cares about gender in MMO’s.  Historically they’ve been so good to female players and characters alike.  “None or six” anyone?  Their non-sexualization philosophy even shows in some of their other armor even in Guild Wars 2 itself.

From completely covered to barely armored, across both genders its the same for these heavy armors. What the heck happened with medium?

When I see these heavy armor sets side by side it even makes me think that perhaps the duelist and assassin’s armors are the exceptions that somehow slipped through the cracks.  I don’t think ArenaNet is terrible or sexist for doing this, I’m just disappointed that some of the armor I’m most passionate about didn’t get the same treatment that the heavy class armors did.

So what’s to be done? I’m no artist, but I think the partial coat on the assassin’s armor could be made to cover her body in imitation of the male’s armor with some cleverly placed textures. Duelist’s armor could be fixed by making an equivalent for the female of the male’s version, and a male equivalent of the female’s version, making them two separate sets, since they hardly resemble same set to begin with. If you want a skin-showing assassinesque set, make something akin to the Assassin’s exotic armor from Guild Wars.

But if you’re going to add more armor, can it pretty, pretty please not be a trenchcoat? Speaking a medium armor class enthusiast, we’ve got trenchcoats like butter up in here.



  1. A more eloquent and detailed take on the subject. Thanks for making this post Spirit.

    • Thank you for letting me spill words on your blog when I’ve had a spiritrage.

  2. I actually love the trenchcoats, kept looking at them with my Elem 😉
    this old tune is so old in MMOs that it’s sad to find it in GW2 to this extent. I’ve generally been lucky on my gear so far, finding plenty of srs gear to choose from while there are also the more skimpy outfits (which is fine as long as there’s variety). when it comes to the sets though you either have to love or leave them and transmutation isn’t really the point;
    it’s sad that they didn’t introduce more options for them or at least a shirt-function where you can always create your more personalized look with a piece of armor. I’m a little baffled that up to this day so many MMOs fail in this regard – or in GW2s case the whole approach is oddly inconsistent. I will look into this more actively for light armor.

    • Do you happen to have an example of something like the shirt-function? I’d be interested to know more and explore it as a possible option, but I’ve never heard of such a thing.

      • Well, WoW always had this. everbody who disliked bare midriffs and plate bikinis in wow would simply choose shirts to match the look and go underneath. its what I always did and it took some of the sting away about certain female sets.

  3. And with that skin tone and armor dye, the thief looks like she’s going commando. And not the April Fool’s kind, either.

    • I had not noticed it but thanks for pointing that out since I was still planning on purchasing that armor. >_>

  4. It sounds like you’re upset over the dashed expectations. Seeing the male armor, you had an idea of how it should look on your thief and you wanted *that*. When it wasn’t even close, you felt misled. Right. Totally. That’s not bashing ANet for sexism but for failing to follow through. It happens to have a gender basis here but that sort of thing can exist across any comparison.

    • More like annoyed by the inconsistency between what they say they’re doing and what they actually do.

  5. I see the differences as well … But have come to expect nothing less from MMOs. Female characters will always show more skin because sex sells. Charr and the Asura don’t count because their images don’t match what we think when we imagine sexy girls. Games will always cater to the little sexual deviant in all of us. I do, however, wish that you could choose to wear either armor as a female character.

    • Well I don’t know about spirit but I’m not willing to throw up my hands and give up on turning the video game industry into something that doesn’t pander to the hormones of 14 year old boys.

  6. Don’t forget the option of mixing and matching armor components. With a dark dye on the leggins, and some other blouse, you might still be able to salvage the look you are going for.

    • Good reminder, but that can be even more exasperating than just finding a single set that works.

  7. […] Hunter’s Insight — Tastes Like Hypocrisy. “Spirit here. Hunter posted yesterday about some discussion he and I had had about the duelist armor a couple days ago, and I wanted to weigh in and share my feelings on the subject.” […]

  8. The real problem is that the duelist and human cultural are your -only choices- if you want to avoid buttflappery.

    Enough with the super-hero capes on my character’s rear end. She might have a big behind, but it is not -that- epic…

    A -lot- of people choose those two for the sensual look. And that’s fine. But a lot of folks also choose it because they want pants on their character – and not a buttflap.

    But it is even worse for male characters. All male characters in GW2 on medium armor have super-hero rear ends… complete with their own personal capes…

    Or we’ll just call it a trenchcoat to be nice.

    Yes, jeans are a modern 19th century invention. Kind of like gun turrets and repeating rifles and revolvers were… ( 😀 )… but pants actually do predate the California Gold Rush and a guy named Levi moving the San Francisco to cash in on miners.

    I get that trenchcoats are cool and we all still haven’t gotten over The Matrix…
    – But not everyone needs one.

    What we need are a series of shirts, for both genders. And some harness looks for males to get that “barbarian” look going which would match the Duelist and Cultural look (a bit like norn males can get).

    The shirts could be leather vests, some with lacey/frilly sleeves and collars and some without (and anyone into Steampunk fantasy, which is arguably what Guild Wars 2 is, knows fills and lace look really stunning on a man’s Victorian-Era style outfit – so I’m not just talking a feminine cut here).

    • Yes. This. This so much.

  9. This is terribly disheartening. When I played my ranger in GW1, I bought her a full set of Canthan armor as soon as I found it and never let her out. It was beautiful and didn’t leave her exposed. I was hoping that ArenaNet wouldn’t fall into the old ways again.

    • Theres still plenty of armours that are completely acceptable, its just that these two examples are kind of ridiculous and stand out as bad examples of how to design an outfit for each gender.

  10. Meh that’s the reason why I won’t play Guild Wars 2. People kept going on and on about how progressive the Charr women were and totally ignored me when I asked about the outfuts.

    • I wouldn’t rule out the entire game on this basis. Its a minor gripe in a really great game. There are plenty of options so when they do something like this, it stands in particular.

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