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Nival MMO offering discounts to female players

Update: Developer responds, "we wanted to give gender-diverse teams some kind of an advantage"

Update

Sergey Galyonki of Nival has clarified the gender based incentives system for Prime World.

"Female players have discounts for female characters, not for all characters. Same for male players and male characters," he explained.

He explained Nival doesn't see female players as weaker ones, but recognised that often they face abuse from the hardcore community.

"We thought about giving gender-diverse team some kind of an advantage, hence optional gender bonus."

He also played down the significance of the discounts.

"You get discount for one hero but higher price for another one," he explained.

"And price difference is not that big, meaning you'll have to play two or three extra games to get that characters without a discount. It is more of a mechanic for new players, not people worried about this stuff enough to fake their own gender."

Original story

Russian developer Nival will offer female players discounts and incentives in its upcoming online strategy game, Prime World.

"The idea is to introduce the MOBA genre not only to hardcore players who already love it, but to their friends who might be more casual, and of course to their sisters and girlfriends who may not be as hardcore," producer Larisa Nuretdinova told Penny Arcade.

Players with ovaries will pay less for virtual characters, and teams formed of men and women will receive bonuses. The game requires a Facebook connection to play, lessening the chances of gender fraud.

"To do the very best, you'll want a female player on your team," continued Nuretdinova.

"When boys gather around to play games just with each other, it's not really social. When girls gather around just to chat, it's not very social. The social starts when they hang out together and play games together."

Nival was founded in 1996, and its previous titles include Silent Storm, Blitzkrieg and Heroes Of Might and Magic V.

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Latest comments (17)

Rachel Weber Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
Hey developers, it's appreciated and all, but I've been playing World Of Warcraft quite happily for years now without special treatment.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
Surely this should be illegal.
If it is against the law to have pubs in England with men only bars (a huge shame) then why is it OK for a video game to favour females?
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Dirk van Wijk Student - Computer Science (Master) 4 years ago
"When boys gather around to play games just with each other, it's not really social. When girls gather around just to chat, it's not very social. The social starts when they hang out together and play games together."

What? That made no sense at all.

So now people will just look for random girls (assuming they play this game less?), just so they're able to get some bonus. I doubt any sort of special treatment will make game communities any better.
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Show all comments (17)
Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH4 years ago
I'm not sure this will truly benefit female gamers in the game itself.

I mean, the girls i know who are interested in MOBA genre already play League of Legends or DOTA 2 without needing a discount for it. While the rest is unlikely to play this kind of game even with the discount.

On the other hand, if you point out, even if subtly, that your game is (unintentionally?) designed "to meet girls", not only i would expect a sausage-fest, but it would attract exactly that kind of audience that gives girls a lot of unwanted attention.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paolo Giunti on 3rd April 2012 10:18am

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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
Yep, I think this will fall foul of the sex discrimination laws, as it should - it's a half baked idea aimed at attracting publicity. Wasn't the Sheila's Wheels offering deemed to be illegal?

And Bruce, men only bars? Seriously?
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I agree with Paolo; women who want to play MOBAs will play MOBAs regardless of vaguely patronising and sexist incentives like this - and women who don't, won't.

Also, broadcasting a player's 'verified by Facebook' gender in an online game is just a really, really terrible idea.
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Thomas Bidaux CEO, ICO Partners4 years ago
You got the story slightly wrong.
You get a discount for heroes of your own gender. Men get discounts for male heroes.

Nival producer clarified this in the comments of the article.
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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios4 years ago
Rule of the internet... any female characters in mmo's... are men. (generally)

Oh wait a second you can't do that now! What? I personally like making female characters simply because if I'm going to be looking at the ass end of a virtual character for 80 levels... it might as well be a decent view.

Now I gotta pay extra for that?
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
If what Thomas says is true, it makes it a bit less offensive but makes less sense. Why would you want to encourage that? Don't lots of people play fantasy games to play as a character who's totally different from their real world self?
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Rachel Weber Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
Thanks Thomas, I've added his comments to the article to make it clearer.
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Rachel Weber Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
Agreed! Surely what matters is what the player wants, it's not anybody's job to try and coerce men and women into playing together.
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Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH4 years ago
Still sounds like a very bad idea to me.

Reminds me of a similar episode in a Chinese MMO, where they enforced that your character gender would match your own (with ID verification and all that jazz).

My first thought was: "so, anyone playing a female character is gonna be harassed to no end by the immature male population of the server, now that they know she's gotta be a girl for real."
Of course this sort of annoying behavior from other players may happen regardless, but i feel that highlighting a player real gender only encourages it.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
I suspect that's still illegal - you're saying you'll give a man a better price to play this character, simply on the basis of his being male, and a woman vice versa. I don't see how that can stand up. Having said that, it'll take someone to make a complaint about it, and I suspect anybody that annoyed about it will just avoid it.

I'd agree though, it's a stupid idea. And the idea that guys playing together, or girls playing together, can't somehow be social is, well, more than a little stupid:)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 3rd April 2012 3:16pm

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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios4 years ago
I've played female characters before in MMOs, been hit on too by what seemed like 12 year olds with an overdeveloped sex-drive. It's only after I kill them (I always play on PVP servers) That I tell them I'm a guy.

But back to the topic.

@Fran: You would think it's illegal, but think about Ladies night at night clubs... women drink half off or for free, or some crazy scheme to allow men to get women extremely drunk for little to no money. But regardless of the purpose, women still get a discount.

Now, this could fall under freedom of speech/expression. But even there it's borderlined because they're still allowing characters of a gender opposite your own, but at a higher rate.

But all this is only relevant if the game were being made in the US. Russia has different laws (all of which I have absolutely no clue about) and chances are any and all legal action against the company will take place under jurisdiction of Russian law. But we'd have to see the EULA to see that. So really it's up in the air.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
@ Joshua - the EU being the EU, I'm betting they'd claim to have jurisdiction as some players will be playing within the EU. They're like that:) I do see where you're coming from though:)
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Sergey Galyonkin Marketing Director, EMEA, Nival Network4 years ago
Hi

It was a little bit of misunderstanding actually. You don't get a special treatment as a lady in game. You get some discounts for some female characters, while men get discounts for some male heroes - five to be exact, representing five main classes in game. And those discounts are in in-game currency, we don't sell heroes for real money :)

Being female in Prime World doesn't give you advantage. Playing with people of other gender does.

We don't see female players as weaker ones. It just we often see female players being harassed by hardcore community, so they often have to hide the fact that they're female. We thought about giving gender-diverse team some kind of an advantage, hence optional gender bonus.

Gender bonus is symmetrical - so all-females team will benefit from male player the same way the all-male team from female player.

This talent is optional, you can switch it for something else when you decide on your build. So if you're going all-male pre-made you can choose instead something else. But the way our leveling works you never will have a chance to unlock all talents during course of a game, so it worth keeping it in your build just in case.
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Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH4 years ago
@Sergey

I understand the good intentions and approve of them.

However, I'm still doubtful about this being the right strategy. The way i see it, if you highlight the gender difference (even if there's no special treatment), I'm afraid that episodes of harassment are actually going to be more common.

More specifically, according to the mechanics you described, i would expect slightly less people to act like sexist jerks, but those who do to be a lot more daring and annoying.

But, let's hope I'm wrong and see how it plays out.
After all, this can be an interesting social experiment.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paolo Giunti on 5th April 2012 1:27pm

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