Will Warlords of Draenor Tone Down ‘The Boy’s Club’ Vibe?

warlords header

I expect that title says it all.

So I mentioned there were a lot of things I liked about the Warlords of Draenor announcement. But there was one big thing that I didn’t.

Yes, I am about to jump on the “Where the hell is Aggra?” train. An offhand comment about, “…the Honeymoon is over. This is more a boy’s trip” did not set well with me or many other women.

aggra and thrall

Aggra is a powerful shaman in her own right. She taught Thrall.

This isn’t because I particularly love Aggra as a character. While she managed to be interesting in books, her ingame portrayal was never handled as well. I can see why people who don’t read the books dislike her.

What annoyed me was the casual dismissal of Aggra as a relevant person. It really made it seem like her sole purpose in WoW was to bear Thrall’s child and now that she has done that…well she is done. Her story has ended. She was a strong independent woman who had her own life before she met Thrall, but all that was just tossed out as unimportant after she did her duty and had a kid. And that is really crappy!

If you aren’t a woman, you might not realize that this sort of ‘women just aren’t as important as men’ attitude is one we have to fight against every day. Some of Y’all might be lucky enough to have more enlightened working conditions. I deal with “The Old Boy’s Club” on a daily basis and it isn’t fun. I frequently have my ideas and thoughts looked down on because a male point of view is always more important to these people.

I don’t want that in my games!

I know there is a group of male gamers who look down on women. I don’t expect that to be magically fixed by Blizzard or any other game company. I do expect them to not actively enforce this attitude though.

That said, I don’t think this was a deliberate slap against female players. I think it was a thoughtless remark that unintentionally set things off.  I do think it shows that the main story writers aren’t always writing with all of their audience in mind though. Gamers stopped being ninety-nine percent white teenage males a long time ago, Y’all.

aggra preggers

Little did she know this cinematic was the kiss of…”And now your story ends.”

I hope Blizzard writes a good story for why Aggra is staying at home. She is the lady who went after her man when he was torn apart into self doubts and rage etc. by Fandrel Staghelm. All the Aspects basically said, “Welp…that sucks for Thrall. We can’t help.” Aggra refused to accept that answer. She went after him, put him back together, and saved his ass. I have trouble believing she’d be ok with Thrall traipsing through time without her to guard his back.

Logically, she would be a good person to go to Draenor. Aggra understands how the Orcs who live there think much better than Thrall does. I think she would also want to see her home world unbroken. Draenor is her home!

I want a better story than that she is just taking care of the baby. That smacks too much of, “Get in the kitchen, Woman, and make me a sammich!” Being a mother is important and taking care of children is also very important. But it is normal–at least from the books–for Orc women to take their children on the road and to keep being as active as their men.

I do think it is possible that she has an excellent reason for staying on Azeroth that wasn’t mentioned. I really hope that Blizzard tells a good story for her.

warlords 2

We are all so manly…RAWR!

The second obvious thing was that all the Warlords are dudes. The iconic shot of them is all these manly men with no ladies in sight.

Obviously this is because that is how they were originally created. I don’t have a problem with that, but I would have liked to see more than one reference to an important Draenei lady in the whole presentation. I feel like the game was marketed very strongly to a specific male audience that doesn’t accurately reflect who is actually playing the game.

I don’t think any of this means that Warlords of Draenor will be a bad game. I also think there could be some fabulous women come to the fore in storylines that weren’t shown in the teaser trailer. Maybe Sylvanas will have an awesome plot going while we aren’t there to monitor her. Perhaps Jaina will unleash hell on the Iron Horde. Hell, maybe Tyrande will kick Malfurion to the curb and stop being his arm candy.

It all could happen. I’m not going to say that the good stories I want will not be there. I bet that in the end I really end up liking the game no matter where Aggra ends up.

I felt like I had to say something about my initial reaction though. My feelings as a woman when I heard Aggra get casually dismissed are still relevant. I am not happy to see other women–even if they are fictional characters–get dismissed because they are female and therefore not as important as the men.

That is just icky.

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3 Responses to Will Warlords of Draenor Tone Down ‘The Boy’s Club’ Vibe?

  1. Laeleiweyn says:

    Agree with everything. :)

    About “I feel like the game was marketed very strongly to a specific male audience that doesn’t accurately reflect who is actually playing the game.”. There was a guy in one of the Q&A asking about the lack of women. I don’t remember if it was the same panel or another, but even the movie makers commented that they had insisted on bringing in more females. Perhaps the guys that made the game in the beginning have become a tiny bit off course with how their players view gender in 2013. :)

    I hope they fix things in the time coming; perhaps even hire someone that could give them advice about these sorts of things, because I don’t want to have negative thoughts about WoW at all, I’m very much in love with the game still and want to keep playing.

  2. ravyncat says:

    Me too.
    I think the way they market the game needs to change a bit though. The trailer of manly Orcs doing manly things with Draenei cameos would have slid by with a lot fewer negative comments without the offhand dismissal of Aggra. Calling it a ‘boy’s trip’ was bad. XD

    At the same time, I also saw them mention (in some panel, I don’t remember which now) that they are working on being more diverse and having more inclusive stories. I believe that is true and I’m going to hope for the best. :)

  3. R. says:

    They aren’t going to tone down the boys club vibe but then I guess we don’t have to pay for and play their game, right? It’s not like there aren’t other choices out there now (ESO being one – women are treated pretty decent overall there).

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