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Love, raiding, and everything in between: how women are taking charge in WoW

Kelly Aarons

A recent article in the UK Times has shed a rare, positive light of an undeniable facet of online gaming -- finding that special someone via an MMO. It also mentions the undeniable fact that when you get a bunch of socially awkward guys on Vent, then throw a girl or two in, it might lead to a few problems.

So, here we have it, folks -- in this new age of gaming, more and more women are picking up the controller, or sporting a mean WASD. What do the guys think?

They think it's perfectly okay.

Now, I'm not writing this to be sensationalist or to seek drama. I'm a bit of a feminist myself and having been a gamer since I was nine years old; I've seen my fair share of guys who "don't think you've got it." Or just because I have two X chromosomes I somehow can't pull some sweet DPS on a random heroic 5-man.

The times, they are a'changing. From the report:

"A Nielsen report published in 2009 found that women aged 25 and older make up the largest block of gamers in the United States, accounting for 54.6 per cent of all game play minutes in December 2008. For WoW, the male/female ratio is fairly balanced, with 428,621 women between 25 and 54 playing in December 2008 versus 675,713 men in the same age group.Another report suggests that in Britain women make up 48 per cent of total gamers who play online once a week."
It's believed that women have more fun with social gaming for the sheer fact that it's social. If you're running a 25-man, you need to be able to work together -- there's no room for ego or swinging your 'epeen' around. You need to be able to drop the macho-ism, smarten up and listen to your teammates.

Women also connect in ways when things are quiet. A thriving US guild, Got Girls, has bonded over everything from child-rearing, birthdays, relationships, and everything in between. Says member ShawnAnne Dixon:
"We celebrated a guild member's 21st birthday and a wedding recently. One of our members has a son getting ready to deploy to Iraq -- Got Girls has become a big part of her support system. We have truly become a family."
It's not always easy being a female gamer, especially in a very male-dominated gaming culture. I have heard of much less-forgiving people and guilds who make comments regarding our monthly cycles, certain body parts, personalities and the like. I think it's great that more women are playing the game -- giving some balance to the testosterone-laden playing field.

At this point, sometimes the best thing to do is to beat the guys at their own game.

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