AoC Icon You Hit Like a Girl

The murmurs started early in beta – female characters were sluggish and slow at melee. They seemed to do less damage. Some claimed that it was intentional – women should be priestesses and slaves but not fighters. Most dismissed it as nonsense or at most, a visual trick. Then the rumor started gaining speed – girls were penalised in Age of Conan, the big tits were getting in the way, female characters swing slower and do less damage.

Could it be true? The owner of a female Herald of Xotli decided to test it. Jssa27 took two characters, both level 61 and naked, using the same sword and attacking the same mob. The result was clear – specific attacks varied as much as 11 seconds between the male and the female character doing the identical move.

My first test shows females do indeed swing much slower then males , as well as much slower combos depending on the attack directions used.

Jssa27 proceeded to check the damage output and found that over the course of 50 swings, the damage output between the male HoX and the female HoX was the same.

Result: Female Heralds of Xotli do substantially less damage over the same amount of time.

Sexist pigs! How dare they? Well, they didn’t intentionally set out to show that girls can’t fight. It appears that the culprit simply was an ill-thought through process within development. It would appear that the animators who lovingly and painstakingly designed every swing and twist of the hips during fighting might have indeed paid too much attention to the female form.

The animations on some of them are clearly that little bit slower – but the combat round itself is based on the timing of the animation – so although it may look a bit more graceful, it also means that the swing is slower and over time, there are less swings.

So the phrase “you hit like a girl” suddenly has real meaning.

Thread after thread was started about the subject on both the US and the European forums – asking if it was true, if the difference was intentional, whether the devs intended people to choose between boobs and dps. On the 11th of June there was a post stating that the difference, if it existed, was not intended.

There should of course be no difference between a male and a female character of the same class (other than the looks ). But we have gathered the feedback about this and are looking into it.

And then there was silence.

The fix-it-now crowd have been less adamant than one might expect. Everyone realises that animations are an expensive and time-consuming process, it seems clear that any fix would want to avoid dumping these. However, giving the characters in question a 25% damage boost would give a great advantage to female shape-shifters, who could return to normal base-level damage and then get 25% on top. The user-base is in agreement that it may be a complicated fix – but an acknowledgement of the issue and a statement of intention didn’t seem too much to ask.

A Funcom Developer finally made an appearance on the European Forums on one of the threads begging for an official response. Svein Erik “Sharum” Jenset responded repeatedly in the thread, saying that he would do his best to get an official response for the end of the week(end) and describing it as “a major issue that has involved several departments” as an effective confirmation of the issue.

The userbase showed a fair amount of frustration the following day – why the wait? Sharum tried dealing with it rationally:

So, to summarize: when I said that I hoped I would have an official reply ready and approved by the end of this week(end), I didn’t mean approved by marketing so we could put a PR spin on this; I meant approved by the other department (leads) that have been involved in the process. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but at least I can then say that I’ve done my utmost to ensure that both my co-workers and the community is pleased by the outcome, and that I don’t post any information that is incorrect.

As the evening went on, his temper began to fray:

Oh, I can just about feel the love on these boards at the moment…

Yes, I understand that a lot of you are frustrated about this issue. Yes, I understand the need to come up with all kinds of what I, at the lack of a better term, will dub “conspiracy theories”.

What I don’t understand however is your need to publicly attack me when I make a post promising that there will be a big update soon. For the sake of the community, which I care about and want to communicate/interact with, I will keep my promise. However I will honestly say that I’ve never been any closer to canceling a board account and never again visiting the forums of a game, be it released or still in beta, than I was directly after reading through a few replies in this thread.

And finally; no, this is not a threat about me leaving. Like I said above I care about the community, and I wish to interact with the community. However, there are people that seriously should re-think how they project themselves to the public. Being a paying customer gives you certain rights, but it does NOT give you the right to treat anyone like trash.

Meanwhile, the same-thread-only-different started up on the US forums, asking: Who else is waiting for the “Official” position on female attack speed? Famine, the US community manager, jumped in to say nothing much:

Well I was going to touch the original threads on this but we can start here for now. I had reviewed over some of the reports that the developers were working on for the update. This included a few issues where the attack speeds were indeed not on par with their counter-component. This of course did not make it in just yet but it’s very close to being addressed. So we will have some updates on these reports (combos included) very soon. I will keep my eye on it as we progress into the next update. Hopefully we can get some more info on this later this week.

The players informed him that Sharum was working on an update and he replied that he would speak to Sharum to find out if he could get an ETA.

Sharum, who gets to post on both the US and the Euro forums, cross-posted to state that his update was waiting on translations and expected to be on the boards early next week – sprouting a whole new set of grumbling on both sides of the Atlantic that Funcom were delivering PR spin rather than a fix. Then Sharum ended up in the same state again, reacting to US posters complaining that they shouldn’t need to wait for translation and that Europeans were receiving special treatment.

Sharum tried to stay calm:

I sent it off yesterday, and quite late in the day if you look at my post. Now, even if we were to assume that the translators are otherwise just sitting around and doing jack **** while just waiting for me personally to dump something in their lap for translation, and knowing that today is the last day of the work-week for many departments; it’s really quite literally NOT days until the beginning of next week.

This time, he limited himself to two posts rather than half a dozen – I think he’s getting the hang of dealing with forum trolls! Meanwhile, stay tuned for an update on why you shouldn’t hit girls this weekend early next week.

Posted by Taymar on


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