WRUP: How is it time for PAX edition

Hooray for booking a hotel back in November.
Holy anything, next weekend it's time for my annual trip up to Boston for PAX East. This strikes me as intensely strange, and not just because it's taking place later than usual this year. It's going to be absolutely insane. I also don't have any major events surrounding me for the first time, so I'll hopefully be able to relax a little more. Seriously, I'm still not mentally done with January; I'm not ready for it to be this late in the year already.

This week's WRUP does not entirely focus on PAX, of course, mostly because that's not happening this weekend. But we do talk about our plans for the current weekend as well as our opinions on the pervasive shroud of muscled men that make up MMO beefcake. Take a look at what we'll be up to past the cut, and let us know what you're planning on playing over the weekend in the comments!

Beau Hindman, F2P and Mobile Columnist
@Beau_Hindman: I'll be switching to a game called Zandagort this weekend for the next Rise and Shiny. The developer was nice enough to tweak the UI so that it would be easier on my bad old eyes. I'll also be playing any number of games that I would like to give a shout-out to, but I can't possibly remember them all. I know Parallel Kingdoms is in there, along with RuneScape and some Illyriad, and there are others I'll be playing between window shopping for new hardware.

I sure am tired of MMO beefcake. Speaking for myself, I like to make a charcter that looks like me or reminds people of me. I'm small, fast, and thin; I don't want to be a big dude. Sometimes it is fun to play a larger giant, but mostly I prefer to be a little guy.

Bree Royce, Senior Editor
@nbrianna: I feel empty and alone without Guild Wars 2. Halp. :( Maybe I'll play some Guild Wars instead!

I almost don't want to answer my own question here because I don't actually have anything against meatheads IRL, and I definitely don't want to make big hulking guys feel bad. On the flip side, when that's the only option for male players, that bugs me as much as it bugs me when the only option for female players involves a 5" waist and boobs as big as my head. Just put in some realistic sliders so we can stop talking about this. Thanks.

Eliot Lefebvre, Columnist Extraordinaire and Senior Contributing Editor
This weekend is going to be busy amidst PAX preparations, but I'm going to fit in time for Final Fantasy XIV, a little Star Wars: The Old Republic, the big weekend event in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer, my playthrough of the Mass Effect series that's still on the first game, Final Fantasy XIII-2... OK, maybe not all of that after all. I'll try.

I'm not tired of huge guys in MMOs. I'm tired of huge guys being the only option in MMOs. I want options about body type -- I have characters that should be lithe, beefy, tall, short, plump, lean, and everything in between. It's not that Captain Muscles is a problem; it's the lack of competition.

Elisabeth Cardy, Guild Wars 2 Columnist
@elixabethclaire: Holy what, it's the weekend again? Looks like I'm warping back 250 years in Tyrian history to pal around in Guild Wars some more, hopefully dragging Matt Daniel along with me. I re-made my main character quite some time ago and railroaded her through the storylines; I think I'll be taking her back and doing all the tiny side quests I ignored. Next weekend is PAX East, which means I'm not going to have a lot of leisure time between now and then as I try to get all my ducks in a row.

I'm tired of most MMO character options, full stop. I don't see the point of gender differentiation there because it's equally annoying in both genders. Yes, there's an overabundance of beefcake, but that's made all the more tiresome because it seems like most characters that aren't super-sized monstrosities are equally off-putting scrawny dudes. I know that a lot of the purpose of fantasy worlds is exaggeration and the creation of characters and events that wouldn't be possible in the real world, but I think that's frequently taken too far where avatar models are concerned.

Jeremy Stratton, Contributing Editor
@Jeremy_Stratton: Oh. Gosh. I've widened my playing field so much lately. I'm still really enjoying the turn-based Atlantica Online with its quick but fun Free League ranked PvP. It's great for livestreaming, too, and I just earned a new mercenary that I want to take out to battle. I'm finally making headway with crafting in Vanguard. I've also gotten so intrigued by Beau's Second Life livestreams that I jumped in, and I'm discovering an awesome world of "digital" photography.

If you look at my main character in Runes of Magic, you won't see much of him under all the hulking shiny spiky armor, but I did create him to be as thin and frail-looking as I could. I wanted a sickly necromancer. It can be hard to get a truly unique (and skinny) avatar in a lot of MMOs, but I don't really mind. Most MMOs only need a modicum of immersion via character creation anyway unless you're trying to focus on a character-driven story, which most MMOs don't really do. Even SWTOR opts to have all the meat of its story in separate in-game movies. I would like more diversity like you see in Perfect World International, though.

Justin Olivetti, Columnist Extraordinaire and Senior Contributing Editor
@Sypster: This past week I attained Rear Admiral rank in Star Trek Online and am looking forward to test driving my new Trident-class starship. Those Borg won't know what him 'em, let me tells you! I expect I'll be skirmishing it up in Lord of the Rings Online and seeing what mischief my Bounty Hunter can get into in SWTOR.

I've never liked beefcake for characters. I sincerely do not relate to such avatars. When will devs make short, stocky Italians as options?

Matt Daniel, Contributing Editor
@mvmatt: My boyfriend has managed to get me thoroughly re-enthralled with World of Warcraft, so that's certainly on the agenda. That aside, I've been enjoying some nostalgia over the past few days with Anarchy Online and the original EverQuest, so those may get some playtime as well. I'm also in the Firefall beta (though I'm pretty sure that's about as much as I'm allowed to say on the topic), so I will maybe do things in that.
And for the bonus: Oh, sweet Cthulhu below am I ever tired of beefcake. Like... Damn. Don't get me wrong; I like a nicely muscled man as much as the next guy, but holy crap can we lay off the steroids for like five minutes guys? You don't even have wrists anymore! There is no width variance! And your bicep is as big around as my waist. Give me the option to play a scrawny little guy for a change, please?

MJ Guthrie, Aion and Sandbox Columnist
What to play, what to play... I think I will be popping into Vanguard again and maybe even keep up my search for an acceptable plot (since the last was lost in the last merge). Also, I'm almost done with one decorating project in EverQuest II, so I will finish that up and get some Bristlebane Day events completed. I want to get in on some sieges this weekend in Aion as well.

Personally I don't find the beefcake look appealing, so I always prefer more realistic-looking models. I agree with Bree -- give people options to make how they want. Forcing people to settle on a model they don't really like sucks and puts a damper on the game. More choice = better!

Patrick Mackey, League of Legends Columnist
@mackeypb: It's a bit of a surprise for me that it's the weekend too. Either way, more League of Legends for me. As usual, I'm totally unhappy with my skill level (I feel like I'm in sort of a rut) and want to improve. Sigh.

I do think that male character options in a lot of games suck. They should really take cues from male movie personalities; many of them are good-looking athletic guys but don't look like gigantic meatheads. I think that, by and large, most video games just can't make a good-looking Jet Li or Donnie Yen-type build, and it's even harder to do good-looking mature guys. I know the tech is there; it's just that MMOs don't want to invest in it because they're too busy making epic lightsaber crystals.

Terilynn Shull, Star Trek Online Columnist
@terilynns: Oh man, I'm going to be busy in Star Trek Online! I have two Klingon faction characters I need to use the XP bonus weekend on in order to get them prepared for Klingon Awareness Week! (Yes, KAW. I know, I know; when I see that acronym I can't help but hear Michael Palin's poor tortured character in A Fish Called Wanda.)

MMO beefcake? I guess it might be a bit different in STO. Sure the sliders allow for some awfully broad male chests and shoulders as well as female breasts that would bust the mightiest shelf bra in real life, but for the most part, it's not that bad in STO. All I can do is laugh out loud at the more ridiculous examples as they run by. I admit I have a character who is rather reminiscent of the The World's Most Interesting Man. I don't think he'd be considered "beefcake" by most others, however -- just to me.

At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!
This article was originally published on Massively.