Just finished reading a thread on the WoW forums (which I also participate in) and now here about the same issues, again.
People complain about how pointless female armor seems to be, and usually the ones who are *against* the generally scant and sexy types use the same arguments. I just want to point out some facts about those, in general. But first, remember that first and foremost a game's avatar is something for people to enjoy looking at for hours on end, and at the end of the day what the majority likes will be kept, due simply to marketing guidelines.
Knowing that a large portion of female characters are played by men, it's only natural that companies cater to the dominant fan base over a few that dislike said concepts. Also, sex sells.
Now that we got over the disclaimer, allow me to systematically debunk each argument I read over and over every single time.
Know that by no means am I saying I support the ultra-skimpy type, as I myself being a male find it rather distracting in some cases. (In cities I enjoy looking at them, but it grabs the eye too often in pvp. I do not play a female myself.)
It's not realistic:
This one is by far the most common. Here's the issue:
In a "realistic" setting, no woman could even hope to run around in full plate. This is a chart with bench pressing standards for males and female: http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLi...Standards.html
In terms of strength alone, pound for pound, a woman is less than half as capable as any man, even on elite athlete levels. Even men had trouble wearing those back in the middle ages. A knight needed several helpers to put it on, and would ride a horse to battle to avoid being flat out exhausted from just walking in it. A set of plate mail just 2mm thick weighed in excess of 100 lbs, not counting the sword/axe.
If you insist on realism, women are limited to leather or at best a single piece of light chain mail, no heavy weapons, and about half the stamina for running in it. Even as rogues or assassins, women would use seduction rather than force to deceive a target before the kill, and seldom take part in open conflict.
So please lay off the realism thing. It's a fantasy game. No man could hope to wave around a sword 2x their mass without tearing ligaments and tendons, yet nobody complains about that.
It objectifies women:
Yes and no. There is a double standard for looks and attractiveness in our society. A man who dresses in a way as to show off a "perfect" body is deemed gay, and there's a reason for that.
As a species, our courtship rituals were usually as follows: Females try to make themselves attractive to males in the hopes of gaining the favor of the strongest and most able among them. The biological reasoning is that the male would provide for her through hunting, gathering, and afford protection from beasts and other humans, in exchange for a female who could produce good offspring. The traits a male usually seeks in a female are also based on biological benefits: A wide hip means wider hipbones, which facilitates birth and reduces risk of miscarriage. Large breasts mean abundant milk for a newborn. A large butt means she has adipose stores (women usually store fat on thighs and hip first, as opposed to males who get the beer belly), and could survive famine for longer. Likewise, muscle definition meant a highly active male, who was likely able in combat and hunting.
As such, it was always, and will always be the general practice that women seek to entice men and offer themselves, and that men must be deemed worthy to actually claim the "prize" (back then it was through combat or hunting, now days its a personality / paycheck / charisma check).
In that light, it's natural for women to constantly try to draw male attention to themselves through various means.
Saying that dressing scantily objectifies women is a bit ******ed considering we were all naked to begin with, and women think nothing of putting on pounds of make up and shopping for expensive clothes to try and gain an edge on each other in social settings. It's the same concept. Nobody dresses up for themselves, they dress up (both men and women) for others to find them attractive.
That being said, it boils down to taste. Usually people who are not happy with the way their body looks and how others react to or judge them, tend to shy away from revealing clothes. In a virtual and anonymous setting this may translate in one of 2 ways: 1) They avoid it due to how they feel about it from past experience and / or mindset and opinions they were raised with. Or 2) They try to act out like they would not dare in real life by wearing the most provocative attire available.
In either case it's overcompensation for a previous experience. People who actually are ok with themselves and do not judge based on appearance usually do not care too much, and actually enjoy the art style that is usually elaborate and well made, if a bit over the top.
Case in point: One should not judge someone over what they wear. The fact that I wear camo pants does not make me military any more than a girl wearing a miniskirt or a bikini makes her a skank.
Well, that depends really. Some warrior clans in Japan, for example, wore only forearm plates and shin guards. Why? Mobility outweighs mitigation on most instances. Plate armor looks awesome, but it's not very hard to drive a thick knife through a car hood is it? Wearing a big helmet is intimidating, but it narrows vision, fatigues, and your neck will snap just as well if I mace your skull from the side with a 10 pound steel ball covered in spikes. Shock waves render solid armor useless, which is the whole idea behind blunt weapons to begin with. Broken bones are just as deadly in battle as a deep cut, because once you cant move, you're as good as dead.
Although we all know the g-strings are there for eye candy purposes, a rogue wearing such a garment will actually be a lot more agile than one in full leather. It's not useless to have, for example, armored arms and legs only, as those are usually put in front of the head and torso to defend against assault. Losing leg movement is also deadly in battle, since mobility dictates survival. In the army they'll tell you "your feet are your best friends", and it's true. Once you can't keep up you become a liability to the entire squad, and will likely condemn them all.
Someone posted that they "dont want a hero who has to work around her butt hanging out", well it would be more accurate to say she doesn't have to work around cumbersome armor. Let me remind you that nudity is the body's natural state. Our muscles were never designed to cope with restrictive steel plates, so I don't see how being able to move more freely could hinder her. Unless of course it's a psychological issue of being self conscious about your modesty, in which case the armor is not at fault, moralistic social prudery is.
To sum it up, it's just a matter of taste. I'm all for an appearance tab, since I firmly believe gear stats and looks should not be tied together. But please spare me the pragmatic preaching about facts that are both irrelevant and annoying. If you ever held a broad-axe in your hand, you know you have no right to evoke "realism" when mentioning women in combat, ever.
I say we could find balance by having 2 or 3 different graphics for each armor piece, with varying levels of skin exposure both for males and females.
All in all though, compared to Tera, most western mmo armor looks bland and tasteless, including the male versions, simply due to the level of detail and complexity. Give credit where credit is due, even if you don't like the style, you have to admit it they put a hell of a lot more creative effort into it.
This was my first post here, nice to meet you all.
- Have a nice day.