TL;DR: Make all characters, equipment, and cosmetic elements gender-neutral.
"Gender" in MapleStory serves no gameplay purpose. Male and female characters have exactly the same stats, the same skills, and the same quests (rarely with minor dialog differences), with the exception of classes that are gender-locked due to story reasons (Mihile, Angelic Buster, and Zero).
A character's "gender" is also unrelated to the player's gender. Any player can make characters of both genders.
The only thing a character's gender does is restrict the player's cosmetic customization choices. You can only use half the hairstyles and half the faces, and there are many cash shop equipment items and in-game anvil choices that are blocked by the gender you are using. These restrictions don't even do a particularly good job at preventing people from dressing up as the "opposite" gender, because there are "April Fool's" hair and face styles, and there are such things as gender-neutral facial hair face accessories, or gender-neutral (or even outright Male) frilly dresses. So while people intent on cross-dressing their characters (which, I remind the reader, don't even have to have the same gender as their owners) can do so, ordinary players who simply like an item that happens to have the opposite gender to their character, can't use it. (For example, randomly looking at this week's Cash Shop Update, it shows the Paper Box and Ghost Uniform overall as Male. How are they male? The box is just a box and the ghost uniform is a black dress, but "female" characters can't wear it?). And the popular gender-neutral CRA top and bottom have very few Fusion Anvil choices, simply because most top and bottom items in the game, even basic T-shirts, have a gender.
Gender also restricts a character's ability to share "couples" cash items with other characters, or to "marry" them.
Despite these restrictions, the gender of a character does not actually affect how it it rendered. Anyone who has used BannedStory or any other character simulator knows that the game only has one shape for a head and body sprite, and that, graphically, you can put any hairstyle/face/equipment on any character, mixing and matching genders, without causing any hitch in its animation.
So, I suggest that the "gender" attribute simply be removed from the game. Make all characters, as well as all equipment, hairstyles, and faces, "gender neutral". Let the users customize their characters in any way they see fit. If a user wants to make a feminine-looking character, they can. If they want a masculine-looking one, they can. And if they want a character with a buzzcut and a dress, they can do that too. This will also enable any two characters to get married or share a couple ring/shirt/chair/etc.
As for the gender-restricted clases:
- Mihile has no better reason to be gender-locked than Phantom, really.
- Zero is both genders anyway. Its starting story can continue to be about a boy and a girl, but once that's done, let the players dress them as they please.
- Angelic Buster's story quests might seem to "require" that it be female (and its transformed form be extra feminine), but even right now AB players are allowed to customize their character and make it look quite a bit more "butch" than the story implies. The story can continue to be about a magical girl, while giving the players even more customization freedom.
and 3 others.
How do you "choose carefully before making a specific gender" when you can't guess what items will be available in the future?
And I don't think it would make everyone look alike. Do all male chars look the same? Do all females?
Yes, some people lack imagination, but by and large I don't see how giving more choice will lead to more uniformity.
It's like being told i cannot wear a male shirt in real life, because i have a female body... Like, what? Seriously, what?!
I think gender-locking is stupid. Nothing in real life is gender locked - so why make it a feature in a fantasy game?
I mean, a skirt is made for girls, sure. But nothing is restricting a male from wearing one...
Let us cross-dress!!!!!!!!! >:O
When I last played Maple, basically every guy decked out in NX had bedhead with bright eyes. After the future android event basically everyone had the oversized oxford on... A lot of people always choose the most popular NX items to wear anyway, so this wouldn't change that much in actuality.
Besides, a person is allowed to make their character look however they want even if it looks the same as a thousand others, what's wrong with that? Why force them to be more unique to appeal to who? Designing a character should make you happy not others. If you want your character to be unique, then okay, do that, but others are allowed to look however they please. It is their own character after all.
You'd be surprised how many "girls" in this game have Soprano hair and Bright Eyes in this game if you didn't notice already... And this is not including males who have april fools soprano hair and male version of bright eyes.
I also like the aspect of having genders in the game because it allows players to associate themselves with who they want to be (whether you want to be a girl, boy, or both (zero). If you want to be genderless you have the ability to opt as a PB though it's not permanent (would be kinda cool to have a genderless class as well though).
You could easily replicate this argument and replace the topic with merging all the explorer classes into just 1 job that allows you to switch between them because the only purpose of having 14 different classes is to block skill optimization for players and preventing them from having just 1 character that serves as all 14 different explorer classes rather than 5-14 individual characters (depending if u have 1 from each branch and just job change around to the other 1-2 classes). Though, while I'd like a free lance class, it's irrelevant and Phantom already serves this purpose yet you still see many people preferring to main a single explorer class than a class that can utilize some of all of the explorer skills.
Yes it definitely forces me to be creative when 99% of the selection for females are dresses. Almost all the dam shoes are heels. Even the tops and bottoms for girls are all frilly and pink. IRL, you'll never see me in a dress. On maple, I have very limited choices on the matter.
While I have nothing against dresses, heels, frilly stuff and pink, it would be nice if I could wear that male sparkling bluebird or choco boy --- two items that I haven't seen a male wear (yet). Instead of having my options limited to the female versions which I really do not find pretty.
I support this petition.
As I said before: Yes, some people lack imagination. But that doesn't justify restricting the choices of those people who are more creative.
That's not nearly the same.
Gender in this game is purely cosmetic, as I stated in my opening post.
Your freelance class has serious gameplay aspects that need careful consideration.
While it may be difficult to go back and change every piece of equipment into gender neutral, we can be more mindful with newly released items. Because gender specific equipment goes as far as standard non-NX cover outfits, a change of this caliber may be challenging.
This is a very interesting suggestion though. For many games you do see complaints of female characters lacking pants or
male characters lacking dresses
While the suggestion has always been to: "bring more pants!" This suggestion goes much deeper.
Of course, there's no harm in bringing this up as a suggestion to our developers though we can't make any promises that we'll see immediate change.
Thanks for the positive response
Let me clarify: I'm not talking about going and changing every item in the game.
I'm talking about a deeper change that is, perhaps paradoxically, a lot less tedious to implement: make "gender" not exist in the game. Just as "age" does not exist. Or "race". You can make your character look young or old, dark or pale, but you can change those things at any time and also mix and match (e.g., dark skin with blonde hair, or white beard with a pacifier) at will, right?
Same should happen for gender: When you create a character, you should not be asked whether it's male or female, just given a selection of hairstyles/faces/outfits. And throughout the game you may wear anything (level and class restrictions may apply, of course) or apply any hairstyle or face that takes your fancy.
But to see more gender neutral nx items from hoodies, tshirts, dresses, shorts, trousers, shoes, hats etc would be awesome to see.
Also a broader range of darker nx clothing, MORE PURPLE IS NEEDED, MAPLE !!! (Please make this happen!!!) more blues, yellows, reds, oranges too, most nx I see for girls are just pink...
FYI, those saying about the Soprano hair... WHAT is so wrong with it? It's my favourite style in-game.
It's not even political at this point since there are already clothes that are gender locked as Male/Female and even gender neutral already, that purposefully go against gender norms as novelty items in game. From a player's standpoint, is also seems like it would be more profitable for Nexon. There have been TONS of times where I wanted to try and possibly buy an item, but then disappointingly realize it's gender locked.
I personally feel it's a bit archaic for games to still gender lock marriages since same sex marriage has been legalized in many countries, or why restrictions were implemented in the first place. I've even played Asia based games, where it's not even legal, but you could marry same-sex characters. They didn't care. Why? I don't know, maybe because it's just a game? Like AKradian already mentioned, accounts aren't even gender locked, and it's pretty easy to crossdress if you did create a character unrelated to your own gender just to marry. So nothing's really stopping any guys or girls from marrying each other for fun or seriously besides inconveniencing your players, and just losing profit if they don't want to deal with them. Anyways, I doubt Maplestory would face backlash and I can only imagine positive publicity if they do in this day and age. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I also disagree with comments saying that doing so will only make customization less unique. Yes, there are particular faces and hair styles that are popular among the community, but Maple has gone a LONG way since Pre Big Bang era where everyone did look a like because Royals, Beauty Salon, or Perm NX didn't exist yet. Besides a lot of characters having similar hairstyles and faces (can't blame them because they're the nicer looking ones maybe done so on purpose because of Royal RNG), I find everyone's outfits pretty unique ever since Perm NX became implemented and more common.
Gender is not just a "social norm" or "politics", it's something scientifically unchangeable. To suggest otherwise WOULD be political, and is blatantly absurd. We have more than enough evidence that gender changes the way you think, the way you act, the way your body is, the choices you make... I could go on and on.
The entire purpose of MapleStory is not to drown yourself in as much customizability as possible. The very nature of games is not to make a hiding place from the real world so you never have to go there anymore. Gender is something you will have to live with. Dropping it from the game just for the purpose of being "socially acceptable" would kill Nexon. We've already seen it happen to Target - why would Nexon go there? Corporations who simply go along with cultural norms aren't praised - they're scoffed at. No one applauds companies who accepted slave trade, accepted Nazism, taught "duck and cover" during the Cold War, or praised the Vietnam War just because they were socially acceptable at the time.
Nexon has a chance to stand out from the rest of the corporations who just cater to whatever society thinks is right at the time. Don't judge them negatively just because of where they stand. You may find that they were right all along.
But what does gender contribute to in MapleStory? Are female characters really that different from male characters when you can do everything they can do, with the singular exception of marrying another female character?
All the characters look the same anyway and they usually get eyes and hairs that are exactly the same to one another (Bright eyes for male and females only changes very slightly, and metrosexual is the caspia hairstyle for men) and with the added bonus of april fools day allow females to get male styles and vice versa, nothing would change and Nexon would not be making a statement by removing the gender attribute for the game. I mean, men can already wear dresses in this game. Is that a statement?
It'd actually make their job easier, they wouldn't need to worry about male or female counterparts to items anymore.
This suggestion isn't what you think it is, it's obviously a neutral viewpoint saying "gender blocking in MapleStory is pointless and only makes things annoying" and in that sense, I agree. What's the point of blocking a guy from wearing one dress when he can wear a different one?
Also the Target situation is a whole different story from what we're asking for here...
You might have had a point if accounts were gender-locked to the gender of the player. But they're not. I can make both male and female characters, and I can dress them up to look like their gender or I can use April Fool's and other "novelty" items to make them appear the opposite of what they "are" (which, I repeat, is unrelated to what I am).
You might also have had a point if characters had stats based on gender. Some RPG's do that: males have more strength, females have more charm, etc. But in Maple, they don't. So "gender changes the way you think, the way you act, the way your body is, the choices you make" is true in the real world, but is not true in the Maple world.
And I have news for you: the purpose of an RPG is exactly "a hiding place from the real world." Maybe in the real world I'm a timid scrawny kid, but in Maple I can be a fearsome warrior swinging a two-handed axe around. Maybe in the real world I'm slow and clumsy, but in Maple I can be a nimble ninja throwing stars with pinpoint accuracy while dancing around my enemies. That's what Role Playing Games are all about: Be whatever you want to be, "because you can and it's free."
Even if that was the case, we've pointed out that there are already novelty items that go against social norms. I have one of my male characters wearing a maid outfit, and another set of characters, both male and female, "crossdressed" as the opposite gender from the April Fool coupons. Am I pretending that they are the opposite gender or out to trick some poor guy or girl? No, that's just how I wanted them to look.
I think AKradian's main point was that there are items that shouldn't even be gender locked in the first place like the Paper Box and Ghost Outfit, and brought up gender bender items to support the argument. So might as well get rid of the gender attribute as a whole if that's the case.
To claim games aren't an escape from reality is strange. Then why do you play and what's the point? We're killing monsters in a fake 2D pixel world. Honestly for me it's to relieve stress from the false sense of achievements from leveling, medals, etc. Obviously I hope no one is in a position or mental state where they feel to need to completely detach themselves from reality through video games.
Some games have a much bigger role for gender. Games intended for an older audience have males and females with completely different bodies. Some games have all classes gender locked, so a female magician and a male magician have an entirely different skillset.
Maple isn't like that. As I explained in my opening post. Males and females have the exact same body, which graphic elements are layered onto in the exact same way, and they have the exact same stats and skills.
As for heteronormative clothing - that is not the case in Maple right now.
The game contains plenty of "cross dressing" elements. You talk about girls with crew cuts? We had an event http://maplestory.nexon.net/news//4620/#mustache that encouraged girls (and boys) to wear mustaches and beards. They still can. So a girl can wear a beard, but a boy can't wear Freckles, because that particular cash item is marked "F"?
There are gender-neutral or even M dresses in the game right now. I have a buddy with a male char that is currently wearing one of those ballet-dancer sets (Odile, perhaps?), for example.
So, as things stand today, people who want to cross-dress or "trap", can do it. But people who just want to wear an item that, in the real world, would be perfectly "heteronormative" (like the aforementioned Freckles for a boy, or that black dress "Ghost Uniform" for a girl) are blocked. And people who want to anvil their CRA top and bottom to something more "heteronormative" can't do it! So a girl can make her CRA top look like the HT muscle shirt, which happens to be gender-neutral despite looking like a man's bare chest with prominent abs, but she can't make it look like any of the cute female tops in the game. How does that make any sense, or fit the target demographic?
As I said in my opening post, genderless characters would accomplish greater customization freedom.
The target audience doesn't care about sociological issues, you're right. They just want to look pretty. Or badass. Or cute. Or whatever look they're going for. And they don't want to be blocked by sometimes-silly gender assignments.
Can you tell me which of these two characters is male and which is female, and, more importantly, why?
I don't know why everyone's assuming my purpose is "cross dressing." It's not. Cross dressing is already possible in the game. In fact, my suggestion might take away the "thrill" of it.
My issue is just that too many items in this game are gender-locked for no good reason, even if one is very conservative. Why can't boys have Freckles? They do in the real world. Why can't girls wear Dragon Tail hair (the braid in the above picture)? They do in the real world.
One way to solve this would be to go over every cosmetic element in the game and re-evaluate its gender assignment. (In the case of hairstyles and faces, they'd have to be duplicated). But a much easier solution, relying on the fact that character sprites already have no gender, and gameplay does not take gender into account, is to simply remove the "does character's gender match item's gender?" test from the code.
dragontail is male