Greedy Goblin

Monday, January 24, 2011

A strange list of females in WoW

Short business tip: do your minor and northrend inscription research, new glyphs in the game.

Females in popular culture content like WoW is a common research and argument point for feminists. There are lots of posts that the female leaders in WoW (save for Sylvanas) are the lovers of someone and this relationship defines them more than anything else. There are also lots of posts about how few they are and several posts welcoming 1-2 new dominant female NPCs.

Surprisingly all these feminists have missed a serious inbalance in male:female ratio on a very important field: raidbosses. Below I collected a list of raidbosses with their sexes (blue male, pink female). Lot of them have "N/A" next to them as they are mechanicals, elementals, old gods and such beings that do not seem to have sexual reproduction. I omitted those raids that no longer available to players.

In Molten core most bosses are "flamewakers", fire-nagas. There are several, mostly healer female NPCs, so we can assume different sexes:
  • Lucifron
  • Magmadar: core hound. While they are possibly sexually reproducing, they don't seem to have sexual dimorphism, therefore their sexes are unknown to us.
  • Gehennas
  • Garr, elemental
  • Baron Geddon, elemental
  • Shazzrah
  • Sulfuron
  • Golemagg, fire golem
  • Majordomo Executus
  • Ragnaros, fire elemental
Blackwing lair is mostly populated by dragonkin, a sexually reproducing species:
  • Razorgore
  • Grethok
  • Vaelastrasz
  • Lashlayer
  • Firemaw, always in drake form, so sex is unknown, despite surely has one
  • Ebonroc, always in drake form, so sex is unknown, despite surely has one
  • Flamegor, always in drake form, so sex is unknown, despite surely has on
  • Chromaggus, some strange corehound
  • Nefarian
Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj has 6 boss encounters, but they are obsidian golems, beasts and such beings without sexual reproduction. Temple of Ahn'Qiraj has 9 encounters, but only Sartura and the Twin Emperors are humanoids, the rests are bugs whose sex is unknown, even if they are arbitrarily called "general" or "princess".

Kharazan, the first BC instance is populated by mostly undead, but they were living once, so I found it OK to refer to their former sex. The dragons and eredar are also sexual species:
  • Attumen
  • Moroes
  • Maiden
  • Curator, consturct
  • Illhoof, demon
  • Aran
  • Netherspite
  • Nightbane
  • Prince Malchezaar
Zul-aman has 6 bosses, all are trolls or troll-loa fusions, and all 6 are male.

Gruul's lair features High King Maulgar and Gruul himself, ogre and gronn, both are sexually reproducing (lot of sons of Gruul around).

Magtheridon is a demon, they are hellspawn and not reproducing. No one have seen demon kids.

SSC has 6 bosses
  • Hydross the elemental
  • The Lurker Below, a beast, sex unknown, despite probably existing
  • Leotheras the Blind
  • Fathom-Lord Karathress
  • Morogrim Tidewalker, giant, they seem to have sexes
  • Lady Vashj
Tempest keep - The Eye has 4 bosses, a phoneix, a construct, Solarian and Kael'thas.

The Battle of mount hyjal features:
  • Rage Winterchill, who is a lich, but once was a human mage
  • Anetheron, demon
  • Kaz'rogal, demon
  • Azgalor, demon
  • Archimonde, eredar
Black Temple:
  • High Warlord Naj'entus, naga
  • Supremus: demon
  • Shade of Akama
  • Teron Gorefiend
  • Gurtogg Bloodboil
  • Reliquary of Souls, some demonic constuct
  • Mother Shahraz, demon. While have feminin curves, I did not classify her female, just as the masculin-looking Anatheron is not classified as male. She is a demon, with some familiarity to humanoid females.
  • Illidari Council, features both sexes
  • Illidan Stormrage
The final BC instance contains:
  • Kalecgos
  • Sathrovarr, demon
  • Brutallus, demon
  • Felmyst, undead and I classify undead after the sex of their past living form, this case Madrigosa, the dragon
  • Alythess and Sacrolash, eredar
  • M'uru, na'ru
  • Kil'Jaeden, eredar
Obsidian sanctum has Sartharion, Ruby Sanctum has Halion, both males. Their drakes have mixed sexes. Malygos is male too.

In WotLK we had several raids, starting with Naxxramas:
  • Anub'rekan is a nerubian, not a sexually dimorph race, their individual sexes are unknown
  • Faerlina
  • Maexxna, beast
  • Noth
  • Heigan
  • Loatheb, fungal monster
  • Razuvious
  • Gothik
  • 4 horsemen, mixed sexes
  • Patchwerk, abomination
  • Grobbulus, abomination
  • Gluth, abomination
  • Thaddius, abomination
  • Sapphiron, once male undead
  • Kel'thuzad, once male undead
  • Flame leviathan, construct
  • Razorscale, former broodmother
  • Ignis, magma giant
  • XT-002, construct
  • Kologarn, construct
  • Auriaya, she is a titanic watcher, a creation, so technically does not have sex, but the titans (and the developers) created her to exactly mimic a female, obviously on purpose
  • Assembly of iron, iron constructs
  • Mimiron, mechanical
  • Freya
  • Hodir
  • Thorim
  • Vezzax, faceless one
  • Yogg-Saron, Old God
  • Algalon, titanic creation
Onyxia was alone in her cave.

Trial of Crusader aka "the stable" has 5 encounters:
  • Beasts
  • Jaraxxus, eredar
  • Faction champions, a mixed-sex assembly
  • Twin Valkyr, 2 female undeads
  • Anub'arak, nerubian
The final WotLK instance is Icecrown Citadel, featuring:
  • Lord Marrowgar, construct
  • Lady Deathwhisper, once female lich
  • Gunship battle
  • Deathbringer Saurfang
  • Festergut, abomination
  • Rotface, abomination
  • Professor Putricide, once male undead
  • Blood prince council, all males
  • Blood queen Lana'thel
  • Valithria Dreamwalker
  • Sindragosa, once female undead dragon
  • The Lich King
Since Dec 7, we have 3 new raids. The throne of four winds has elementals. Blackwing Descent is starring
  • Magmaw, fire elemental
  • Omnitron defense system, mechanical
  • Chimaeron, beast
  • Atramedes, constuct of Maloriak
  • Maloriak, half human, half dragon abomination
  • Nefarian and Onyxia
In Bastion of Twilight there are
  • Halfus, the humanoid ettin, with male characteristics
  • Valiona and Theralion, the dragons
  • The ascendant council, elementals
  • Cho'gall, the ogre
  • Lady Sinestra, the bugfest dragon

Female %
Burning Crusade
Lich King

This chart shows, that despite feminist claims, Blizzard does improve female representation in the game. Please note that the raidboss is the only position where a female cannot be placed with the intent to support sexist-patriarchal views, as at the end, we will fight and attempt to kill her, just like a male or sex-less boss. Other figures (questgiver, faction leader) can be filled with females to have the quota, while serving the conservative views by making them mothers, lovers, supporting wives or eye-candies (Jaina-effect).


Anonymous said...

Could you link such a feminist claim? I have never heard this story before, and this topic seems somewhat far away from the topics of your other posts.

Twiliak said...

Nobody who knows the game well would seriously claim that Blizzard hasn't made an attempt to address the sexual imbalance in the game. Instead most would say that they haven't done enough.
Making female bosses is well and good however it doesn't absolve Blizzard from their lack of positive and strong female leaders in the game. Sure they exist, but in such small numbers that it's glaringly obvious to anyone who pays any sort of attention to issues like this whatsoever.
Blizzard has certainly made steps in the right direction, this is a perfect example of their awareness of the imbalance. It still doesn't change the fact that all of the strongest female characters in the game are evil (and almost always subservient to male characters) and the most positive female characters in the game are defined by their more powerful lovers. The problem hasn't been a lack of females in the game for a while, the problem is the way in which they are portrayed.

Mikrakov said...

Jaraxxus and Kil'Jaden are an Eredar, so if you count Archimonde & the eredar twins you have to count them. And your reasoning for not counting mother sharaz seems somewhat arbitrary, given that you are counting dragons, giants, naga and flamewalkers, and other demons (illhoof, eredars). Can't you still hit Onyxia in game too? Not sure whether you would include her under wrath or vanilla though. And nerubians are a sexualy dimorphic race. (see

Larísa said...

I think you're cheating when your definition of male/female is about pure sexual reproduction. Why can't an elemental have a perceived gender? The elemental I'm mostly assigned to in The throne of four winds looks clearly like a guy to me.

Aljabra said...

Technically, if you consider Archimonde male eredar, you should consider Kil'Jaeden one as well (or consider them both demons), as they are of the very same origin and status. Also, you marked Prince Malchezaar, Alythess and Sacrolash with gender (while they are of the same origin as well).

Gevlon said...

@Michael A: Onyxia, Jaraxxus, Illhoof fixed. Kil'Jaden is demon, not eredar (corrupted draenei)

@Anonymous: I can sometimes post random things that come to my mind. If you don't like it, feel free to unsubscribe.

@Larísa: "perceived sex" is strongly affected by our own biases, for example we see all harpies females, which makes no sense, they are either asexual, or simply the males have breast-like organs (since they have eggs, they don't have mammaries)

Breevok said...

You positive about your business tip? I do a research (minor and northrend) each reset, just in case. Havent seen a new glyph since Cata. Just did another just in case and other than some scrolls still nothing. What glyphs have you learnt recently Gevlon?

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see that Blizzard is working to improve the male/female ratio in the game, as its been a problem for a long time. In my mind however, the lack of strong asian characters is a much greater issue. Seems to be only one or two token npc's that are clearly asian and no (ZERO) raid bosses! It's hard to comprehend how this can be accidental as clearly a significant percentage of accounts on all servers are owned by asians.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I have trouble taking this "arguement" seriously. I don't think complaining about a computer game does the feminist movement much good in the long run, as it lessens the respect I have for the movement and makes it hard to take them seriously.

I agree with the idea of equality IRL, but when people get upset/annoyed/angry/emotional/whatever about the ratio of male/female characters in a game they lose a lot of credibility in my eyes.

Gevlon said...

@Aljabra: Archimonde is fixed, Kil'jaden is still demon.

@Breevok: glyph of treant and 2 more I forgot. It is possible that they were here since Cata and I missed them, but it's better if everyone makes some scrolls in vain than not having them.

Aljabra said...

"Kil'Jaden is demon, not eredar (corrupted draenei)"

There were 3 great eredar leaders - that was Archimonde, Kil'Jaeden and Velen.'jaeden
Also, eredar is not corrupted draenei, instead, draenei is exiled end therefore not corrupted eredar.

Gevlon said...

@Aljabra: true, Kil'jaden fixed

Lorenerd said...

Kil'jaeden is brother of Velen and Archimonde. Even if he's corrupted by demons, it's still a former draenei. If he's a demon, then Illidan is not male, he should be also demon, because of the same demonic corruption (Kil' from Sargeras and Illi from the skull of Guldan AND Sargeras before, in the war of the ancients)

Wowwiki defines both Archimonde and Kil'jaeden as "eredar demon lord", so they're still eredar. with sex, and other naughty stuff.

Anonymous said...

While this may be an unpopular opinion, and I will probably be heavily criticized for saying it, I want to ask: why do we need to have equality for NPCs in a video game?

Player characters are all treated equally, and quests and other things in game don't base anything on the sex of the character other than using the appropriate pronouns in quest text and such. Isn't that what's important?

So what if the warchief of the horde is a male? I don't even see him 99.99% of the time I'm playing the game. He doesn't stop me from killing raid bosses or accomplishing "great things" in the game. If the warchief was female, the only thing I would think is "that doesn't really fit the established history of orcs in the Warcraft universe, and it seems contrived at best," but it wouldn't change the way I play or think about the game.

The vast majority of the game is based on killing either creatures or other characters. Should Blizzard get rid of PvP because murder is illegal in most countries in the world? Why is there such a need to bring the real world into the game?

Setting aside such questions, take the playerbase of WoW itself. Is there a large enough percentage of female players to justify making an equal number of influential female NPCs to male NPCs in game? WoW is ultimately designed to make money for Blizzard. Would adding more female leaders increase their female playerbase and profits? Would the goodwill gained by making things more equal be worth it?

Sorry for the passionate comment, but I feel this issue is silly at best. In the real world, I agree completely that there should be more female leaders and role models, and that many things in the world still cater to males. WoW is not the real world, and is not a required activity for anyone. Why corrupt it with real world issues?

The idea that having more influential female leaders in game is important is about as ridiculous as a male complaining that gynecologists don't offer him treatment.

Unknown said...

Glyph of the Treant (minor research) is the only new glyph that got added in patch 4.0.3:;crs=1;crv=40003

Sylvanie - Ragnaros EU said...

@ the Anons: Well why NOT have equal representation of female/male leaders? When we create our characters, the males and females have equal base stats, no matter what class. Female warriors have equal strength as male warriors (provided the same gear), male rogues have equal agility to female rogues etc. etc.

So if the males and females are equally capable in WoW, then how come there aren't more female leaders? Why are the male npc's more influential than the females in World of Warcraft? This bothers me a bit, since to me it tells women "doesn't matter if men and women got the same 'stats', the men will still become the leaders".

But of course, some of this can be explained by Blizzard wanting to cater to the main body of their customers: men. However, female gamers are a HUGE untapped source for profit and I think Blizzard has realised this. At least I have noticed an improvement in the female representation in this expansion, with a bit more of strong female npc's.

I don't see how gender equality in a game would corrupt it at all.

Andru said...

I have to agree with Anyonymous.

Not against you Gevlon, your argument is sound if we assume that the male/female ratio is relevant. However, shouldn't you question the relevancy of that to begin with?

WoW is a mix of light humour with pop references, jabs at stereotypical high fantasy settings, and sarcastic jabs at real world issues.

Improving male/female ratio seems like an exercise in futility, really.

Of course, this is the point of view of a mostly rational human. I have a small point to make here.

When thinking about my faction I think "short BG queues and nice models to look at". It's not, however, the same for everyone it seems. When I read the forums and see that some people actually believe when they say "For the Horde." or other such silliness, and claim that some people have "no faction pride" I'm left awestruck and scratching my head. Why would anyone feel pride for picking a team? Did these people also felt pride for their team when they played football in the schoolyard? What happened if they were on the opposite team the following week?

It's entirely possible that such sentimental people would look to a faction leader and actually believe that they're 'strong' or 'weak' or 'defined by their lovers' or whatever other such atributed silliness.

For me a story is less about being PC and actually make sense in the context it's been set. I don't care if the story I'm reading is about a social utopia, or a social dystopia, as long as you don't get immersion-breaking constructs to appease RL group agendas. If a hero is male or female matters a lot less than what he/she does in the story, and whether it's actually relevant.

For this reason I was outraged when I found out that JK Rowling said that Dumbledore is gay. The moment I heard that, I *knew* that it was a marketing ploy intending to earn goodwill, since Harry Potter books would have made sense even if Dumbledore was secretly an asexual martian robot in a perfect human disguise.

Odd. It seems like social people not only like their group to include real people, it seems they feel good if their group starts attracting imaginary people too.

Andru said...

@ Sylvanie

Sorry, I just had to reply to this.

[]This bothers me a bit, since to me it tells women "doesn't matter if men and women got the same 'stats', the men will still become the leaders".[]

This way of thinking is absolute bollocks. As far as I know, no player was elected to be faction leader yet, male or female.

Despite that, on one of the threads I read on the WOW forums (or maybe here, it isn't the first time Gevlon discussed this) said : "Being sexist is nowadays a symptom of being a moron."

You think that someone who's sexist IRL will just see a strong female faction leader and go: "hang on, maybe being sexist is stupid, I should reconsider".

Or conversely, a fair non-sexist person IRL would go and say: "Wow, so many many male faction leaders. This is clear proof that men are superior! Time to change my way of thinking!"

If so, that's delusional.

To answer your question, no it wouldn't be such a bad idea. However, if it's done to appeasse RL political agendas, it's wrong, idiotic, ineffective and moronic.

I wouldn't care if new blood is written in the lore in such a way that it makes sense.

If however, they'll get rushed in to meet some kind of 'equality quota' then I will sceam bloody murder and will complain becaause a story I used to enjoy got ruined for political reasons.

I really don't want RL groups pushing Blizzard to include more of their imaginary people into their RL groups so that the social muppets inhabiting those groups to feel warm and fuzzy.

Imraith Dos Santos said...

Re gender issues in gaming: The games we play go right along with everything else our cultures throw at us in forming our RL values. If we tolerate sexism or any other isms in our gaming world, we are going to tolerate them in RL as well. Additionally, many people who play games are very young. Many of them will without question add the role models they receive from games into the accumulated concept of role models that they acquire other places to form and solidify their perceptions of gender roles. Where is the harm is balancing these appropriately in the WoW and other games?

Bernard said...

I'm not keen on the idea that you can 'petition' Blizzard for non-gameplay related changes.

Characters should be male/female according to the vision of the writers.

If people don't like the characters created by Blizzard, feel free to RP ones that they WOULD like to see. This is meant to be a MMORPG.

Gevlon said...

@Andru, Anonymous: I don't think that imaginary worlds should support real life stereotypes, so I'm strongly opposing positively picturing sexism or racism.

However you are right that being imaginary they allow complete omission of the problem: it's OK that there are no Asians in Azeroth, simply because there is no Asia either.

It would also be OK if we would roleplay some sex-less race that multiply via creation, like robots or zombies. Also we could roleplay a non-sexually dimporph race (wolves in Azeroth are the same, you can't tell if your hunterpet is male or female). But if a real-world aspect is present, it should be non-stereotypic.

Treeston said...

@Glotan: Atramedes was once a male dragon whelp, as shown in his introduction conversation between Lord Nefarius and Maloriak.

Mother Shahraz: Judging from her being the leader of the Black Temple's harem quarters and her mid-fight quotes I think it's fairly safe to say she could be counted as female.

Also, you mis-spelled a bunch:
"Twin Val'kyr"

Nat said...

@Andru "Why would anyone feel pride for picking a team? Did these people also felt pride for their team when they played football in the schoolyard? What happened if they were on the opposite team the following week?"
I find this statement as absurd as you find faction-pride. I'm by no means an RPer, in fact I hardly follow any lore at all unless it's a particularly engrossing quest line. WoW's appeal to me lies far more in character advancement and progression raiding. However, I also find enjoyment in belonging, that's a natural human attitude; to want to belong to some sort of collective - in this case faction and then guild. In terms of evolution it's safer and we've been hunting bison with sticks a lot longer than we've been playing MMOPRGs to shake that habit.

Ðesolate said...

In case of Sylvanas: She is "made" by the Lich King. Her Character was defined by her hatred against Arthas. Well at least this ends now, but even the most powerful female in WoW had a stronger lorewise dependency to a male character than any other. Oh yes and she was slain by a male (Lord Godfrey) and High Warlord Cromush had to order her resurrection by three Val'kyrs. Pretty dominated my men...

@faction Rulers:
we Have alliance:
Drenai: Velen (male), Human: Varian Wrynn (male), Dwarfs: Council of Three Hammers (2 male 1 female), Gnomes: Gelbin Mekkatorque (male), Nightelves: Tyrande Whisperwind (female) and Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage (male), Worgen: King Genn Greymane( male).

Orcs: Garrosh Hellscream (male), Trolls: Vol'jin (male), Tauren: Baine Bloodhoof (male), Forsaken: Sylvanas Windrunner (female), Bloodelves: Lor'themar Theron (male), Goblin: Trade Prince Gallywix (male).

So Silvanas is the ONLY female Faction-Leader who does not share her power with a male Leader as Tyrande 1 / 12. And there are only 3 Females of total 15 Leaders.

Nat said...

My previous comment was a little off topic and I'd like to bring it back around very briefly. I don't feel that women are, or should be, superior or inferior to men. A useless man is a useless man and a useless woman is a useless woman. In a game like WoW, as in the vast majority of professions, women have the capacity to excel in equal measure to men. In theory. Theory is all well and good but in reality it comes down to opportunity, and unfortunately there are still fewer for women. I don't think women necessarily do themselves any favours by acts such as pushing for more female leaders and creating female-only guilds though, I don't think that's the answer. I think the answer lies in more women playing and *making* more games, and the evolution will be natural and, because it's not forced, accepted as normal.

Treeston said...

While gender issues are legit and everything, I don't believe that having less/more male/female NPCs in leadership positions is not actually a sign of sexism.

An author should be able to create his characters however he would like them, without there having to be at least 50% females.

Some countries have laws that force companies to have at least 50% females in certain committees. It mostly leads to females getting jobs just because they are female and the quota needs to be fulfilled. It's gender inequality turned upside down.

Orenja said...

I have to again stretch and point out what Larisa already said: Your whole basing sex on sexual reproduction is missing one of the very points feminism is trying to make and about - that there is a) sex, as in biological male/female destinction, and b) gender, as in a differentiation transcending this very focus on biological factors.

Even though you're trying to say that you omitted it because of it being focused on bias you still can't discuss any feminist topic without acknowledging and taking it into account. I don't want to say that it makes your analysis useless, but you're barely touching the surface and it in no way would pass ANY discourse regarding feminist ideas.
I'm not saying that they're right, but the mentioned use of words such as "General" or "Princess" would NOT be ignored at all by any feminist argument, on the contrary.

So, all in all you simply can't base such an analysis on "sexual reproduction"; you can't today and you especially can't if you're in any way acknowleding feminist theories or even trying to counter their arguments. And you can't say they're wrong and try to prove it by numbers that are generated on completely different assumptions than what the other side is using.
Also - I haven't counted, but after a quick glance it seems to me there are a LOT of bosses you omit simply because they don't fall into your differentiation based on reproduction. That alone should show how very unfit it is for this case. (And that doesn't surprise me, given that we're talking about a fantasy game universe...)

Quicksilver said...

A better classification would be to use their in-game voice acting as a reference to their gender.

If the boss has a human-like voice (which most do with few exceptions like Sapphiron) then if the voice is male it means its a male figure and if the voice is female then its a female figure.

jouissance said...

Why is Alexstrasza omitted?

As the Aspect of Life, I feel she is the most successfully represented female character in the whole game: her lovers are Consorts, she has quite a few (meaning she does not represent the monogamous lifestyle as an imperative for women and our reproduction), she is a fierce fighter while simultaneously being the protector of Life - which is an unusual spin on the stereotypical role the women are "assigned".

Andru said...

@ Reala

Hold your horses. Wanting to belong to a group is fine, as long as it means something.

My guild means something to me because it is defined by who we are, what we do, and our in-guild interactions.

Faction means nothing to me because I have nothing in common with Arthásdk, just because he happened to roll a human DK.

Same with my gender. I have nothing in common with any moron who things women belong in the kitchen or whatever, and I feel rightfully pissed off when an entire gender is tarred with the same brush.

And Faction Leaders... I am absolutely apalled that Fandral Staghelm was just cast out (his interaction with Tyrande was a lot more honest and was as fair as one could get) and replaced with Malfurion, who is her lover.

Blech. Boring, flat, uninteresting. In my opinion, keeping Fandral would have been a more deserving lore move, than replacing him with Malfurion, despite they being the same gender.

Anyway, I agree with your second post Reala. Natural progression is so much better than forced meeting of quotas so RL militants can be happy that their group has enough imaginary people in it.

Anonymous said...

Determining the actual sex of a NPC is somewhat more complex. Take as example Chromie: his humanoid form is a female gnome, but "her" dragon name suggest "she" could actually be a male dragon.

In my opinion the "perceived" gender should be relevant, in example Therazane is elemental, thus should not have any gender, but it's clearly meant to be perceived as female.

Saithir said...

To be honest you shouldn't omit Zul Gurub, even though it's now removed - it was accessible in vanilla and so messes with the numbers and potentially the "Blizzard does improve" claim.

It had 4 male bosses, 3 female and 2 unknown (Hakkar/Gahz'ranka).

Ðesolate said...

@Anonymous: Usually WoW-Dragons appear to have their dragon-gender in humanoid form.

@Saithir: you have 3 female encounters and 2 male encounters at the standart-bosses (wouldn't count Hakkar he has no gender features).
Then you have 2 male Bosses in the optinonal encounters, Gahz'ranka as neutral and 4 male Bosses at the Edge of Madness (1 of 4 random)

you get 3 female and 5 male encounters when Edge of Madness counts as one Boss, when you sum up all Edge of Madness Bosses then you get 3 female and 8 male Bosses.

Tonus said...

It's interesting to see that one of the measures of progress and equality is that Blizzard is making sure to provide more female NPCs that players must attempt to kill.

I don't know what the breakdown is, but one example of a strong female leader who is neither evil nor defined by her relationship to a male is Zaela, the woman that you help to gain leadership of the Dragonmaw in Twilight Highlands. There is at least one other female in the Dragonmaw camp who is the tough, take-charge type and leads you through a quest line.

Then again, it's not the sort of thing I pay much attention to most of the time.

zenga said...

It's just a matter of time before the other *minorities* will feel underrepresented. If Blizzard takes them serious, we'll see next content patch the "Wheelchair boss", the "Male Boss Who Likes Men", the "Lesbian Twins", the "Black Beauty" and the "Yellow Dragon".

After those will be introduced; bosses should obviously get a religion followed by them getting a nationality.

Because after all we are equal opportunity players.

Rhivre said...

My issue with females in wow is the armour models, not lack or not of raidbosses.

Seriously, level a female warrior or paladin. For some reason, plate on females can sometimes resemble a bikini. Luckily we have tabards to cover it.

Having said that, I blame that more on Blizzard thinking "Teenage boys might like this"

Xaxziminrax II said...

>(since they have eggs, they don't have mammaries)

Logical deduction, I like it.

Regarding the draenei, eredar, broken:

The only two female eredar in the game is for one boss encounter. There are eredar (male) used in non-raid enouncters. It makes sense that since the adding of female eredar to the game, there should be female eredar in non-raid functions. There haven't been any!

There is also no female broken model. In Telaar this stands out particularly well, as the whole male town population is broken shamans and wisemen and even the blacksmith is a hobbled one. Yet the huntress there is draenei, even the innkeeper is female draenei.

There are also no female ogres. Ogres are as humanoid as draenei, tauren, goblins, so I don't see an excuse there!

Kenny said...

Despite not getting the lore of every single character right, (the community fixed that), point very well made.

I think wow is simply reflecting the world right now. Women leaders are appearing everywhere now. My country Australia has the Queen of England, then the Governor General (queen's representative in Australia), is a female as of 2 years ago, and now our Prime Minister is as well.

Brazil has a female president, Germany has Merkel (High Chancellor..?) and more.

That lists 18 currant female heads of state right this minute. If we assume there are 195, (exact number is debatable due to international tensions, Taiwan, Palestine ect), that means that about 1 in 10 countries has an elected or appointed, (not birthright), female head of state.

Some people worked out long ago that the key to reducing poverty is women's liberation. I think this trend in wow will only serve to help Blizzard as a business as well.

Kenny said...

"Xaxziminrax II said...
>(since they have eggs, they don't have mammaries)

Logical deduction, I like it."

Logical deduction it was, but when using logic, you have to get your facts right first.

"Treeston said...
Some countries have laws that force companies to have at least 50% females in certain committees. It mostly leads to females getting jobs just because they are female and the quota needs to be fulfilled. It's gender inequality turned upside down."

This is true, Norway is such a country. Take a look at how this has affected their economy over time. Economically speaking, it has been noticeably beneficial. Just a point to ponder.

Wilson said...

"Please note that the raidboss is the only position where a female cannot be placed with the intent to support sexist-patriarchal views, as at the end, we will fight and attempt to kill her, just like a male or sex-less boss."

What planet are you living on? The flip side of the nurturing virgin/mother character is the destroying slut/witch character. This pattern goes back for millennia. What is sexist is locking your female characters into one boring, one-dimensional, uninspiring role or the other.

How much effort does Blizzard put into developing its leading male characters, villian or hero? Entire books have been written starring Illidan and Arthas. These books examined their dreams, their aspirations, their weaknesses, their failures. They were villians, but they had depth. Major efforts were taken to make them interesting. Onyxia was an interesting character back in vanilla, but in Wrath she was turned into a simple vending machine - "insert adventurers here, loot epics there." No quests, no dialog, nothing. Sinestra has even less going for her - her goals can be summed up as "fulfill her husband's goal."

Do I think Blizzard is nothing but a den of knuckle-dragging sexist pigs? No, I think they really would like to have balance in the game between males and females. Unfortunately, they tend to be lazy and let their female characters default to stereotypes while putting most of the development into male characters.

Wilson said...

"(since they have eggs, they don't have mammaries)"

Say hello to my friend the platypus.

lissanna said...

Technically, in a video game, nothing reproduces. Every raid boss is marked with an IMPLIED gender. Some of those markers are titles, naming conventions, voices, LORE articles that mark their gender (on places like wowpedia).

Remaining MC & BWL bosses are ALL MALE.

There is NOTHING arbitrary in a lore-based game about having the AQ bugs labeled as masculine or feminine. Bugs have a gender.

You are excluding data points arbitrarily, and that skews your data to the point where your chart may include maybe half the bosses in the game.

Instead of randomly excluding things, you should actually take the time to look into each boss' lore (ie. the 3 bug encounter has a daddy, a mommy, and a baby bug based on how they are named, their size, & coloring).

Anonymous said...

While it is true that there are more male faction leaders, the following are often ignored:
Both the Earth Mother and Elune, two of the most worshipped entities are both female (assuming here that they aren't the same thing). Of the surviving 'good' Dragon Aspects, 66% (or 100%, depending on the unknown alignment of Nozdormu) are female.
Of the Elemental Lords, the only Lord with a distinguishable gender (Other than voice) is Therazane, female. Also, as far as I'm aware, 50% of the guadians of Tirisfal are female. Not to mention Jaina, who is pretty much described as being perfect in every way and good at everything with no downsides, as well as morally good, kind, beautiful, etc.

Also, what does this have to with economics? I mean, it's your blog, so you choose what to write, boviously, it just seems like quite an out of character thing to discuss.

Shannon Fowler said...

The gain in female representation in raid bosses is nice, but it's also relevant to point out that the few strong female characters we have outside that setting (and some inside, like the Eredar Twins) have also been sexualized and objectified to pander to a heterosexual male audience (Jaina, Alexstraza, and Sylvanas all now wear bellyshirts for no apparent reason).

Is sexual expression wrong? No, not at all. But I highly doubt that Jaina was reskinned to show how powerful and confidant she is based on how much useless crying she does in late LK.

Braille said...

What's the ratio of powerful women vs. powerful men in the real world, such as in places like the US Congress or big company CEO's? Does Blizzard have a ratio that's really that far off the mark from our real world experience?

According to

"Men and Women in the 111th Congress

While the partisan composition of the Congress is fairly close to that of the electorate, there are larger disparities between the Congress and the general citizenry in term of sex and race. In the House, there are currently 357 men and 78 women. In the Senate, there are 18 women and 82 men."

That's 18% ratio of women in the House and 18% in the Senate.

Pretty much no matter how you consider which raid boss is actually male or female or neither, you still get a better than 18% ratio.

So, is this argument being made so that the ratio of powerful males to females in WoW is "fair?" If so, why is "fair" given a higher priority than "realistic?" Isn't "fairness" a social construct, anyway?

Of course, realism can be side-stepped for some things in a fantasy world when magic is clearly involved, such as when you're considering things like reproduction. For instance, it's perfectly reasonable for a species like the harpies to have only females and still reproduce sexually. They just reproduce by getting it on with other races. The resulting children don't follow real-world laws of genetics, since it's a fantasy race in a fantasy realm, aka magic changes the physics and chemistry of the situation to fit their needs.

Mass Effect has an alien species that is specifically described as all-female and does reproduce by relations with other races. How they reproduced before meeting another sentient race similar to their own isn't addressed at all, it's just assumed that in this world, "alien" may as well be akin to "magic" for the purpose of understanding things that don't make sense in the context of human sciences.

Wayne said...


"And Faction Leaders... I am absolutely apalled that Fandral Staghelm was just cast out (his interaction with Tyrande was a lot more honest and was as fair as one could get) and replaced with Malfurion, who is her lover.

Blech. Boring, flat, uninteresting. In my opinion, keeping Fandral would have been a more deserving lore move, than replacing him with Malfurion, despite they being the same gender."

I think that if you have a chance to read "Stormrage" then you may change your opinion on Fandral. Not wanting to give anything away, I'll just say that he's not likely to be a nominee for the Mr. Mental Health Award 2010.

Also, Malfurion has just returned to the rightful place he occupied before being trapped in the Emerald Dream.

Maybe someone can confirm this but I think Malfurion trained Fandral. Malfurion is very much Fandral's superior as a druid.

Dàchéng said...

Twiliak noted:
"Making female bosses is well and good however it doesn't absolve Blizzard from their lack of positive and strong female leaders in the game."

Very true. But there's also a lack of positive and strong male leaders, as well! The only one I ever warmed to was King Magni Bronzebeard. My favourite leader is certainly Jaina.

Imraith Dos Santos made the point that "If we tolerate sexism or any other isms in our gaming world, we are going to tolerate them in RL as well. "

I certainly hope this is not true. I have murdered, maimed and mutilated my way from Northshire to Northrend and back. I hope to goodness it isn't going to make me tolerate murder in RL as well.

Anti said...

treant was added. Mage Armor, Long Word and Vanish were returned.

book of glyph mastery, 1x major research and 2x minor research was enough to get them all iirc.

Anonymous said...

I noticed you didn't include the now-removed Zul'Gurub which featured several female bosses such as Jeklik(Bat Boss) , Marli (Spider Boss) and the panther boss, which helps bring up the amount of females in Vanilla content.

Saithir said...

@Ðesolate - ah, you're right, forgot the Edge of Madness.

Anonymous said...

Monotremes have primitive mammary glands with no teats. They are the only mammary with eggs.

"Since they have eggs, they don`t have teats"
Should be true then!

Wilson said...


Since exactly 0% of the members of the current US Congress are dragons, two-headed ogres, or giant lava worms (now matter how much some of them may seem like it), are you arguing that such bosses should be gotten rid of in the name of being "realistic"?

Wilson said...

@Anon - ""Since they have eggs, they don`t have teats"
Should be true then!"

Fail. By that logic, they don't have wings either.

Harpies are not monotremes. The example of the monotreme merely shows that the presence of one biological feature does not automatically exclude or require a second, unrelated feature.

Anonymous said...

I'm sort of baffled every time this issue is brought up. No, it's hard to argue that there are gender equality in WoW, but this is a fantasy game set in what appears to be a psuedo-medieval age, abusing the tropes there for all it's worth. There's grey-haired wizards, battle-hardened warriors, knights in shining armor aplenty and all that. They're being used to tell a story, and not to reinforce gender roles or anything like that.

I don't want to step on anybody's toes, but to me this issue really appears to be nothing but some people seeing a problem where they want to see one, because if you want to open that can of worms there is what I'd call a far more pressing issue in WoW - it's brimming with all kinds of racial tension, and it's hard to not be aware of this even if you happen not to know that humans or orcs exists, but where are the complaints to Blizzard about this? Is racism somehow more OK if the races in question are imaginary? I know I'm abusing terminology here, but to me it's hard to ignore this while feeling outraged about Jaina wearing skimpy clothes.

Braille said...

@Wilson: The argument is about male vs. female. Race/species/fantasy origin/etc don't enter into the discussion at all, unless the species doesn't have a way to be classified as male or female.

Dragons, for instance, can be clearly one or the other, so the argument ignores the race and just looks at the sex or gender of the individual. Alexstraza is clearly a powerful female, as is Ysera, while Deathwing and Nozdormu are powerful males. Species doesn't enter into the argument at all.

The question is: Is it realistic to expect the fantasy realm of WoW to have a perfect balance of powerful males vs. powerful females, or should it be expected to be as imbalanced as real life.

Imposing equality on a fantasy realm is absurd on it's face, simply because it's created by a person or persons to be what they want it to be. Some fantasy worlds are created to have only powerful male figures (and belittle females), some have only powerful female figures (and ridicule males), and some have both.

WoW has both, in a ratio that seems fairly realistic, and with a huge spectrum of character traits from the respectable to the demeaning. Every character has strengths and flaws, even the powerful ones.

In short, the characters in WoW, regardless of sex/gender, are pretty human all-around.

Squishalot said...

As has been mentioned by others, you have missed the Vanilla raids that have been redone in Wrath. Not just Naxxramas, but also Onyxia existed in Vanilla, adding a couple of extra females to the list.

Also, of the four world dragons, two of them (Emeriss and Ysondre) are (were) female. Although not raid bosses, they share the same characteristics for the purposes of being included in your count.

Flex said...

Being concerned over sexism in WoW is ludicrous. This is, after all, the game in which you define another player as your enemy by their race.

Bith said...

To the Anon's:

Anthropologically speaking, products of culture (such as WoW) are called Secondary Institutions which reflect cultural values. In turn, these Secondary Institutions leave an effect on those who experience them, thus affecting what are called Primary Institutions (that is, child-rearing techniques) which in turn affect culture.

So according to anthropological and sociological theory (which has very strong evidence to support this), the games that we make affect our very culture.

It is not as though one would look at a female leader and go "wow they're right, sexism is dumb" but it's much more subconscious than that, just as we are trained by watching commercials to deviate to a specific product (this has also been proven in numerous studies).

TL;DR Yes, the ratio affects us "IRL". This makes it important.

Yagamoth said...

It's somewhat off topic but...

(wolves in Azeroth are the same, you can't tell if your hunterpet is male or female)

Before the Cataclysm there was a Ship in the Wetlands (The swamp Nort of Ironforge) where undead mobs cast a debuff on you, which turned you into an undead. When my pet-turtle got the debuff, it became a female undead.

I don't know about other pets though and I'm fairly sure that everything is simply female by default.

Satin Russell said...

Please see Keeva's blog post at TreeBarkJacket. She's responded better than I ever could.

I enjoy reading your blog if for no other reason than to get a different point of view from my own. However this post is way off base, imo.

Even just from a pure statistician's point of view, your numbers are skewed. You don't just throw out the "non-gendered" bosses from the overall total.

That's not even taking into account the somewhat debatable stance you have on assigning "non-gendered" bosses.

Nish said...

It's more interesting to discuss the details of the definitions than the actual issue, isn't it?

If elementals are asexual non-reproducers, how did Theradras give birth to the centaurs? You can't use real world logic, this is a fantasy world and apparently here even spirits can function as organisms simply because the writers decided so. Sure you can stick your fingers in your ears and sing "hearsay and gossip" until there's an official statement from Blizzard, but as far as elementals go, I think you will have to accept that they have genders.

Winter Seale said...

@Yagamoth: Actually, it was consistent by pet, but would produce both male and female results depending on the pet. It seems that somewhere Blizzard kept track of the sex of your pets, they just normally didn't show it to you. It wasn't "all female" or "all male" but randomly selected at some point (if that was when the mob spawned or when you tamed the pet, is impossible for us to know.)