Bringing Women to the Game
Women are essential to the health and growth of any
excellent role-playing game, for they enhance the romantic
elements of any fantasy game. In addition, they can be a
strong stabilizing force in any guild, clan, or religion.
What attracts women to a game? The answer of that question,
of course, also depends on the woman. For me, there a few
key factors I look for nowadays.
Religious customized windows.
Potential for Growth
Most women love to nurture and build something intangible
but vital to the game. I always look for a clan or a
religion that I can throw my character into supporting and
building. It is, thus, important for me to find a game that
Many games have clans, religions, or class structures, but
most of them are in stasis. For example, one of the games
that I have played has deities, but there is no difference
or animosity between them. The result is that no one ever
role plays following any particular deity. Since no one
bothers with the religions, the clerics become little more
than self-healing fighting machines. I must note that
approximately 80% of the cleric's guild in this particular
game are male.
My home mud has an extremely advanced religion system that
provides for instant enemies and allies. They each have
their set of beliefs that can be likened to the ancient
myths of Greece and Rome. Joining a religion has definite
consequences, and thus, religion creates definitive groups
that can be nurtured and groomed. The efforts a player makes
in the religion actually helps the growth of the group, and
that is something that appeals to be greatly as a woman. A
cleric in this game has the ability to guide, support, and
strengthen a given religion. It is no surprise that more
than half the guild is played by women. We have a standard
joke in the guild that if a given religion is not run by a
woman, it can expect a lot of trouble.
Home and Hearth
Many women enjoy having a place they can call "home" in the
mud, be that a clan abode, a castle, or a simple house- as
long as they can call it "mine". This would be a place that
they can develop and personalize on their own. It can be as
simple as a room in which they can write their own
descriptions or a place they can have coded for them.
My second mud has very little that can be personalized. In
fact, the most "personalized" anything can become is to have
a player's name put onto a mug of ale. It is not surprising
that I have run into probably ten women total on the mud. On
the other hand, my home mud is approximately 40-45% women.
There are tons of things to personalize: the character
description, houses, clan abodes, and clothing items to name
just a few.
Women also love to find food items on the mud that amuse
them, appeal to them, or irritate them. It also allows them
to role play, "OOOO, I love apples!" or "YUCK! I hate pickled
toad toes!" Never under estimate the wooing power of a
favorite piece of food!
Most women enjoy a community environment such as
iVillage.com. A mud with a strong feel of a community will
appeal greatly to women. This means that they have a place
to vent if there is trouble, and a place to rejoice if there
is success. Several muds create forums on their web pages or
ICQ/AIM listings for players. Others, such as my secondary
mud, have a mud photo album. They keep a web site of pictures
of their players, and people can then put a face to the
Encouraging a mud to bond as a community will give everyone
a more stable place to play regardless of gender.
These factors are not all that women look for, and it is not
every woman that looks for them. Some men look for the same
sort of things, and some women look for other things. This
article is based on three and a half years of observation of
the mudding community from a woman's perspective.
June 2001 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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