Last week we ran a couple of posts surveying how you guys felt about the gender of each class in Diablo 3. Did you strongly prefer, mildly prefer, or have no preference? The polls are still open and you can vote if you haven’t already, but here are the current results, with plenty enough votes to draw some conclusions.
BarbarianThe male Barb seemed a clear preference going into the vote, and sure enough, 77% of you guys strongly/mildly preferred the male version. The female barb only totaled 15%, and “no preference” came in 4th in the vote, ahead of mildly prefer female.
The deck was stacked on this one, with the long history of Conan-style warriors, the male Barbarian from Diablo 2 (even if the D3 guy isn’t actually the same individual), the word “barbarian” basically synonymous with savage male warriors, etc.
What’s your gender preference for the Barbarian?
1) Strongly prefer the male Barbarian. (64%, 926 Votes) 2) Mildly prefer the male Barbarian. (13%, 187 Votes) 5) Strongly prefer the female Barbarian. (9%, 137 Votes) 3) No gender preference for the Barbarian. (8%, 118 Votes) 4) Mildly prefer the female Barbarian. (6%, 84 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,452
The Crusader probably has the least in-game connection to one gender in particular. The class was added in Reaper of Souls without much fanfare (RoS promotion focused mostly on Malthael and new game systems with little on the Crusader and almost nothing on *his* backstory), and didn’t get a class cinematic intro like the (female) Wizard, (male) Monk, and (female) Demon Hunter, and Monk did back in the pre-Diablo 3 days.
That said, the class is basically an update of the male Diablo 2 Paladin and the whole “knight in not-shining armor” thing is a male-gendered archetype. Even so, the female option did quite well in the vote with this one as close to even as any of the six classes. If this was an election we’d have to have a runoff, since no one achieved a majority. The current figures are 43% for the male, 37% for the female, and 20% without a gender preference.
What’s your gender preference for the Crusader?
1) Strongly prefer the male Crusader. (30%, 429 Votes) 5) Strongly prefer the female Crusader. (23%, 320 Votes) 3) No gender preference for the Crusader. (20%, 279 Votes) 4) Mildly prefer the female Crusader. (14%, 199 Votes) 2) Mildly prefer the male Crusader. (13%, 193 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,420
Demon HunterThe female Demon Hunter destroyed the male version, with 78% supporting the female and only 13% of the voters having such poor taste as to prefer the male and his goofy running animation. I have to think sex appeal plays a role here, with most Diablo gamers and most of this site’s traffic male, and the female DH a very sultry, Kate Beckinsale-echoing black leather temptress. The irony is the male DH is much more closely modeled after a movie character, namely Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing, who wore essentially the same wardrobe and even wielded machine gun crossbows against Succubi.
Ironically, all the concept art and early design of the Archer class was male, so you’ve got to wonder how Bliz would have spun the gender if they’d stuck with their early desert/forest archer themes for the bow-users. Still a female archer as the first revealed? Remember, this was well before The Hobbit part two, so they couldn’t have just copied their character design from Tauriel.
What’s your gender preference for the Demon Hunter?
5) Strongly prefer the female Demon Hunter. (67%, 1,200 Votes) 4) Mildly prefer the female Demon Hunter. (11%, 193 Votes) 1) Strongly prefer the male Demon Hunter. (9%, 161 Votes) 3) No gender preference for the Demon Hunter. (9%, 153 Votes) 2) Mildly prefer the male Demon Hunter. (4%, 91 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,800
The Monk was male in his intro cinematic and even the word “Monk” is almost exclusively gendered to men. Hence all those “is the a Nun?” jokes about the female Monk, whose character artwork wasn’t even revealed for months after the class debuted. So why was the vote so close, with the female coming out on top?
The Nun pulled the most votes for strongly prefer and tied on mildly-preferred, with a total of 42% to the Male’s 38%, and a strong 20% without gender preference.
Maybe it’s better female Monk in-game dialogue, or a general sort of beard-fatigue after years of “too lazy to regularly scrape this crap off my face” being pushed as fashion? I don’t think it’s sex appeal, since the female Monk isn’t styled as a sexy vixen type character, the way the female Demon Hunter (and Wizard?) are. Can we credit it to cosplay? I know a lot of fans who first really noticed the look/style of the female Monk thanks to the fan then named Christina Estrada who rocked her “game come to life” female Monk cosplay to first place at the Blizzcon 2010 costume contest, and followed that up by going semi-pro and wearing the costume to numerous additional events, most recently the Reaper of Souls launch party, which she had a short trip to attend as she now lives in Irvine and works at Blizzard as a Hearthstone CM.Did so many of us seeing so much of Christina’s female Monk costume sway public opinion to support that gender of the class? It’s the best explanation I can come up with, as someone who played a lot of Monk (all pre-RoS, for obvious reasons) and never noticed anything that really made either gender of the class feel better or worse in-game.
What’s your gender preference for the Monk?
5) Strongly prefer the female Monk. (28%, 375 Votes) 1) Strongly prefer the male Monk. (24%, 328 Votes) 3) No gender preference for the Monk. (20%, 263 Votes) 2) Mildly prefer the male Monk. (14%, 194 Votes) 4) Mildly prefer the female Monk. (14%, 186 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,346
I didn’t expect the Monk vote to be so close, much less for the female Monk to win. I did expect the WD vote to be close, and wouldn’t have been surprised if the female had won, jokes about “Witch Nurses” aside. (Actually, as history and Harry Potter taught us, “Witch” is a gendered term. The male version of a Witch is a Warlock. Thus a “Witch Doctor” is technically a female magic user with an advanced degree.)
The male WD was the first version of the character introduced, but he’s hideous and scrawny, runs like his back is broken, and trembles like he’s got Parkinson’s… not a description that you’d expect to inspire much fan devotion. And yet he must do something right in-game, since he came out on top in a close vote. (Or do people just not like the Calypso-styled female WD, before she became Moneypenny, so this was more a vote against?)
The male earned 48% of the vote, with the female at 28%, and the strongest showing in any class for no gender preference, which almost came in second at 24%.
What’s your gender preference for the Witch Doctor?
1) Strongly prefer the male Witch Doctor. (36%, 484 Votes)
3) No gender preference for the Witch Doctor. (24%, 321 Votes)
5) Strongly prefer the female Witch Doctor. (18%, 246 Votes)
2) Mildly prefer the male Witch Doctor. (12%, 162 Votes)
4) Mildly prefer the female Witch Doctor. (10%, 123 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,336
Pre-vote we knew the female DH and Male Barb would romp, but I was a little surprised how much the female Wizard won by. There’s technically a tie for the second most voted option, but it’s fair to say the female Wiz “strongly” and “mildly” came in ahead of any kind of male Wizard preference, which was not the case for any other class.
Where comes this massive support? Diablo 2 had a female Sorceress with a similar look, though D1’s Vizjerei was male and pretty damn stylish. (Admit it, you don’t see plate metal foot piercings very often.)
Maybe it’s a fantasy thing. Strong, youthful male wizards abound in fiction, but the most famous examples in recent pop culture are ancient and white-bearded: Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, etc, which doesn’t match the D3 character and isn’t what many of us want with your action RPG hero? The Starfish Hat thing probably didn’t help either.
Or maybe it’s not him, but her? She is Azngrl, after all. I’d support that suggestion by directing your eyes to some very impressive Korean-flavored female wizard cosplay efforts, but alas our image gallery, which is part of the forum system, is not yet functional owing to the ongoing software upgrade.
Whatever the reason, 77% female vs. 15% male, with only 7% lacking a preference, was our biggest vote spread.
What’s your gender preference for the Wizard?
5) Strongly prefer the female Wizard. (69%, 954 Votes) 1) Strongly prefer the male Wizard. (9%, 126 Votes) 4) Mildly prefer the female Wizard. (9%, 126 Votes) 3) No gender preference for the Wizard. (7%, 103 Votes) 2) Mildly prefer the male Wizard. (6%, 69 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,378
Character Creation Options?
The final vote was a more general “how do you like your character creation options” and I was surprised to see that most of you wanted something you’ve never received in a Diablo game.
What type of character creation options would you like to see in Diablo 4?
3) I’d like more character customization: gender, race, hair color/style, height, etc. (52%, 574 Votes) 2) I like pre-made chars with gender options. (D3 style.) (25%, 275 Votes) 5) I don’t care what my char looks like. I’d play blue block vs. red blocks if the itemization was good. (12%, 131 Votes) 1) I want pre-made chars that can’t be customized. (D1/D2 style.) (9%, 99 Votes) 4) I want some other system of character customization. (Explain in comments.) (2%, 20 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,099
When that vote first went online, Elly added a link in comments to a news item on IncGamers.com, showing the unbelievable character creation options for Black Desert, an upcoming Korean RPG. That sort of thing would be completely irrelevant in a Diablo game, where you essentially never see your character’s face in-game, thanks to isometric PoV, small character size, helm armor, etc. But still… so pretty!
I’m generally in favor of character customization, but there is something to say for pre-made characters, as we’ve had in the Diablo titles so far. Admittedly, D1 did zero with individual character stories, and D2 hardly touched it, but Diablo 3 dipped some toes into the pool of individual character personality. Most of us were excited by the idea of the male Barbarian being the same guy from Diablo 2, and while that idea didn’t make it into the final game, the idea of the characters having lives and personalities, and being different ages and races and genders can make for some interesting variety in their stories, cinematics, and interactions with the NPCs.
So do you want that, or do you want the options to tweak height, mass, hair style/color, and other facial stuff in the character creation screen, when you’ll never actually notice the difference in-game? Or do you want both, and have some theory about how it might work?
On the character gender votes… any surprises? The Nun standing triumphant? Beckinsale going so big over Van Helsing? BTW, females won on the whole. If you add up all the votes for and against, the female options come out well ahead, thanks to 2 blowouts going female, while 3 votes were fairly even. Here they are by percentage:
Total: M 234% – F 277%