Is Lost Ark A Sexist Video Game?

23 February 2022 at 19:14 in Gaming News with 2 comments

Female characters in video games are often the topic of debate, and recently, that conversation has risen once more after the release of Lost Ark.

By    Daniel

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Lost Ark was released on Steam to Overwhelmingly Positive reviews from players and critics, but one topic of conversation has arisen regarding the portrayal of women in the game.

But, to join in the conversation, we will look to answer three questions.



It’s no secret that video game developers often hypersexualize female characters to make them more appealing to males.

female characters in Lost Ark  

It may not sound surprising that most gamers are male, and in the past, developers attempted to hypersexualize their female characters to entice men to play them.

Female characters such as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider were commonly dressed in provocative clothing and given unrealistic body types to seduce men into buying the video game.

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However, let’s look at the recent Tomb Raider video games. It may be somewhat safe to assume that Lara Croft and similar female characters may be moving away from hypersexualization to create better role models for female gamers.

And that change may be the reason why the percentage of male to female gamers in the US is closer than ever.

A 2021 study by Statista puts the distribution of video gamers in the US to 55% male and 45% female.

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But what is also important to note is that the rise of mobile gaming and games such as Candy Crush and Farmville have helped increase the number of female gamers.

Candy Crush, for instance, had a 64% female-favored demographic in 2019, according to Statista.



When starting up a game for the first time and finding a character creator tool, most of us will attempt to create a character that closely resembles ourselves.

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Others may create a character that looks entirely different from themselves, including selecting the opposite gender.

Interestingly, recent studies suggest that when men choose to play a male character in an MMO, they are likely to choose aggressive types, such as warriors and berserkers.

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Those same studies reveal that men are likely to pick a female avatar when choosing to play as a healer or support character.

The reason for this seems to be that people find the female gender to be kinder, more tender, and supportive.

We naturally consider men to be more aggressive, fighters, and often more brutal as a gender.


Other studies also point out that when playing as a female character in an MMO, you are more likely to be invited to guilds, raids, and groups.



Now, let us look at the portrayal of female characters in the massively popular MMO.

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One recent article in Kotaku has reignited the debate, with Zack Zwiesen writing, “it seems as if the folks making this game just ignored the last decade or so of discussions and debates surrounding the representation of women and non-masculine characters in games.”

The article highlights the fact that after creating their female character in the game, their character was “stripped down to nearly nothing and plopped in some heels, and that was that.”

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Of course, running around, climbing walls, jumping off cliffs, and performing spinning kicks are challenging to do in heels.

Lost Ark also gender-locks some classes, meaning all warrior and paladin classes are male, and all mage and assassin characters are female.

Again, as we discussed earlier, it’s the idea that healers and protective avatars are female and the more aggressive are male.

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In recent surveys, it’s thought that up to 65% of MMO players are male, which is not bad when you think men make up 93% of FPS and 90% of MOBA players.

In South Korea, where Lost Ark is from, nearly 60% of all gamers are men, with a high percentage of those female players based on mobile games.

So, is Lost Ark sexist? I am going to say no. However, we need to acknowledge that although women account for nearly 50% of gamers, that doesn’t account for every genre.

So, although gaming has come a long way, and we can point to female characters overcoming hypersexualization, we must acknowledge that specific genres could do more.




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