Mapjabbit Run

Exploring the Spaces Between Wildstar and Feminism

The Lives of Women NPCs

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Screenshot of datacube lore about the Falkrin and their women leaders.

It all began by questing in Galeras, though I suspect that this idea had been percolating away in my brain for quite some time. I came across a datacube called “Female Leadership” and it stated thus:

I find it interesting that the Falkrin females have been chosen as the voice of their new god, especially given how dominant the males were designed. That being said, the females are far more intelligent and inherently skilled than their male counterparts. This, of course, is not surprising at all.

How often do you see something like that blatantly written into a video game? In my limited travels, never. Here it was stated in black and white (or rather blue and darker blue) that there was a species on Nexus that had female leadership (versus a player race like the Aurin)! More importantly than that, was the snarky little comment at the end from Aviel underlining that it was not surprising that the women were the leaders. In two sentences, it underlines a bit of lore about the Falkrin and how Osiric, the god of the Falkrin and primevil of the Focus of Air made them his prophets, due to how dominant the men were. In short, the men were too aggressive to lead anyone and certainly not keep the race in contact with a powerful being. It’s putting a lot of gaming tropes of male leadership over on it’s head. It’s also prizing intellect and skill over brute force when it comes to leadership.

My feelings snapped back when I realized that maybe like other games, Wildstar wouldn’t include the Falkrin women, as important as they were, as NPCs. I’ve grown too used to a particular MMORPG not taking the time or resources to model women of NPC races unless they were duplicates of player races. Up until this point in my questing, all I had seen were male models. Continue my surprise when I battled deeper into the Falkrin fortress and found tons of women NPCs, mostly casters, with the major figures being called Brides of Osiric. An interesting choice to be sure and the Wiki on Falkrin eludes to the fact that the Brides are the ruling class that report directly to Osiric and also guide the Falkrin spiritually. Basically, these high-ranking female Falkrin are nuns. They rule over and advice the male broodlords, which literally rule the roosts of the Falkrin. However, there’s non-Bride Falkin peppered throughout this fortress.

A Falkrin woman stands at the ready.

A Falkrin woman stands at the ready. Remind me again why bird people need boobs?

It was really interesting to see women having their own models and to be organized in a leadership role. What stood out to me though, especially after starting to quest further in the zone, is how scantily clad some of these women are. Granted, it seems to not be horribly different from how the men are dressed. Both males and females seem suited for the warmer climate of Galeras and only wear a small loincloth and some chest garb.

An Osun woman attacking a player.

An Osun woman casts a flame spell at a player.

It’s when i moved to quests with the Osun that i noticed the trend of the big-chested battle bikini. It’s cartoony in a way, much like the rest of Wildstar but it makes me wonder if I’m going to keep seeing it occur in later zones with humanoid NPC races. In the case of a race like the Torine, I don’t even think there are men, let alone scantily clad ones (Animalistic races like the Lopp seem to be exempt from this.)

A granok woman flexes for her audience.

The reason I bring this up at all is because it stands largely in opposition from how the rest of Nexus is populated. It’s hard not to run around the areas full of player race NPCs and not notice that there are women everywhere. They are doing everything from military positions, trainers, newbies and veterans. There’s women taking to either, working on things and overreacting with you in quests, holocoms and keeping the daily fictional world of our factions going.

An interesting intersection between these two disparate groups seems to occur in Whitevale’s Thermock Hold, where other players regarding my last post pointed out the granok lady who is dancing for patrons. Or should I say flexing? She’s fully clothed and showing off her generous muscle mass in a haughty, confident way. It turns the whole premise of a strip club in this seedy town on it’s head and pokes fun at the concept.

So why are the races native to the Nexus seem to different? I can’t tell if it’s a conscious decision or not, but if I had to guess it seems like a demonstrated effort to imbue the foreign with sci-fi sexiness, much like the pulp comic books we’ve seen from the 1950’s, maybe save for fem-bots (sorry, Mechari!) It’s obvious that aesthetic is an influence if you’ve been paying attention to the Tales from Beyond the Fringe books in-game.

Still, I think maybe the reason I don’t seem to mind as much is probably due to the fact that it’s largely restrained to NPC mobs and not our factions. It’s a blow that’s softened by the plethora of women out in the world, being kick-ass and doing many more things than just standing around wearing metal thongs. It strikes a balance between objectification and merely an homage to some other non-video game genres and overall, the feeling I’ve gotten while walking around the world is that women are here in force, in multitudes. I will keep track of this as I progress further in the game, make no mistake.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve really been enjoying tucking into the lore of WildStar and have found I can really resonate with the Aurin. It’s lovely!

    And I came across that Granok lady last night – I think my favourite part was the male Aurin’s response of, “I don’t get it.” While the male Granok’s going, “Look at the biceps on her biceps!” So funny.

  2. Pingback: Wildstar: Monday Link Love | To Boldly Nerd...

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