The Angel Translator

February 9, 2009

Ok, one of the things I very very rarely touch upon (leaving it to others to do a great job of it) is what it means to be a female MMO Gamer. And one who isn’t very ‘casual’ about completing quests, instances, raids etc. I’m not sure I’d call myself hardcore, but on the hardcore-casual scale I’m a lot nearer the hardcore players in outlook, if not always in time. I’m lucky, my husband can’t play MMOs due to their addictive nature, and he exercises amazing restraint every time I offer him the chance to come play an MMO with me. Seriously, he can play 24h straight if he’s really into a game, so we’ve found it much easier to have him play stand-alone games to scratch that itch. How does that make me lucky? Well, I have someone who understands my socialising and gaming. Who will happily rustle up dinner if I have a raid, and not moan at me for it taking up my time and energy. I also don’t have dependents, like many female gamers of my age – well, except two cats who make their views on gaming while it’s mealtime very loudly understood.

Every so often though something crops up that reminds me that I am not the norm. And that being female does make some kind of difference.

This week, it’s been brought to my attention because of some guild drama, that I’m not going to go into the details about. Suffice it to say that I usually play in a very tight-knight group with 4 friends that I met while playing LotRO, and sometimes that becomes an issue. I really won’t go into any further details, we all know that semi-fixed groups can cause tension in guilds, and every so often it flares up. So, what does that have to do with being female? Nothing – so far.

What happens when things flare up? Well, there’s usually some to-ing and fro-ing on guild forums, some chatting in-game and then things are smoothed over. It seems that the guild perceives members of our ‘group’ quite differently. We have two female players, myself and another. We are very rarely villified as often as the male players, especially the two that are seen as the more hardcore of the ‘group’. And I’m beginning to find that quite frustrating. I want to be heard. In my own words. I don’t want every sentiment passed through the ‘Angel Translator’ (as I termed it yesterday in a moment of exasperation). I don’t want to be misunderstood, but sometimes I’m flummoxed by how someone can read what I know was a fairly stroppy post by myself (I recognise my own emotional outbursts!) and still not think of me as childish and a bit uppity. Or worse.

If I was feeling more cynical I’d make nastier posts and comments just to judge the full effect of this. But truthfully, I like my kin in LotRO. I really really do, or I wouldn’t have stayed around so long. I just wish I could bang a few heads together sometimes and get everyone to sit in the same room and just get to know one another.

But mostly, I want the freedom of my words being taken as they were meant and not softened because people have had good experiences playing with me (that sounds SO wrong, but you know what I mean, so I’m not re-writing it), or of not wanting to go all-out because I’m a girl. Girl, heh.. I’m way too old for that.


  1. Nature of the beast, eh!

    Guilds/Kins will always have vey different people in them with most wanting to be heared rather than listen – you get this on all types of forums too.

    Am a little unsure about the social aspects of Kins in LotRO, I want to take part in role-playing but I also want an element of randomness in my encounters…this may also mean that I join a Kinship in an unexpected way too.

  2. Let me make sure I’m getting this straight: people who know you’re a woman read your comments and complaints as innocent, or excusable, because you’re of the fairer sex? Or they don’t pay as much attention to them, sort of ignoring you and listening instead to what the men in your group have to say?

    Either way, this is a vastly different experience from what I have gotten in MMOs. People who know my gender typically throw any comment I make out of proportion. If it’s a comment designed to gently poke fun at someone, I’m apparently robbing the person of his masculinity and injuring his pride. If I complain about something or get very upset, it’s obviously “that time of the month.”

    Good luck with your guild drama. 🙂 It’s tough when close groups like that clash. The sort of thing happens for my little group but we have the added complication of being real-life friends. If something happens in-game, then not only are we not playing together, we’re also not hanging out or speaking to each other.

  3. It may also be that some of the guys actually are more aggressive in the way they put their arguments.

  4. Sorry that’s happening to you. It’s a crappy situation but, like Jennifer, when I’ve seen it it’s usually on the other side of the spectrum. Even as a guy, it upsets me when guys go masogonist like we’re not living in the 21st century or something. I can’t say what it’s like to be in that position but I’d tell people how you feel. Maybe they don’t realize what they’re doing or don’t understand the implications of their actions.

  5. Heh @Jennifer and @Raegn – really, we don’t get that kind of response at all.. I’ve never been accused of it ‘being that time of the month’ though I’m sure people have perhaps thought it at times. We do have quite a high percentage of female players in our guild, and we’re also quite a mature guild – I think everyone is mid-20s and upwards, with loads of us in our 30s. So it just seems it’s a different experience.

    And yeah Spinks, perhaps that’s it, but if anyone knows you do just how aggressively I can make my point when my mind is set on it, and even then it’s kind of brushed off as not really what I mean!

  6. I agree with arbitrary :
    The negative / skewed perception of female communications by male counterparts is largely due to age (or lack thereof). I’ve been in a dozen different guilds/kinships and I’ve witnessed that kind of stuff in the groups with younger players. Ofcourse, there is the occasional older guy with “issues” that can produce the same kind of effect, but luckily it’s much rarer with mature groups. I feel your pain (i’ve been called arrogant/megolomaniac a time or two (deserved? i don’t know, don’t think so) but yeah it just seemed like I was labeled that as an excuse to brush me and my opinion away. As a guild leader, I have a habit of ‘head-hunting’ the immature players when rosters start to get a little big, which can be very tricky depending on the inter-personal relations in a large group.

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