I’d Rather Roll a Male Pandaren

By Jen Thorpe

Believe it or not, I do still play World of Warcraft. Diablo III may have captured a little piece of my soul, but, I’m not quite ready to give up on WoW yet. I still find it entertaining, and fun, and I am looking forward to exploring the Mists of Pandaren expansion.

All of my WoW characters are female. My main is a female Draenei Shaman, (who finally has hit level 70). The first WoW character I ever rolled was a female Night Elf Hunter, shortly before the end of “Vanilla”. My creepy, yet awesome, little DK is a female gnome. I’ve never rolled a male character in WoW, and, until recently, never considered doing so.

There are some very good reasons for this. To start with, I’m old. I’ve been a gamer girl since Pong. I’ve lost track of how often I was told, “Girls don’t play video games”. I remember being the only girl in the arcade, and having to push my way through the crowd of boys gathered around the game I wanted to play, so I could put my quarter at the end of the row gathered at the edge of the display and eventually get “next”. I remember when being called a “gamer girl” was always meant as a compliment.

When I was a kid, if you saw a female character in a video game, it was because she was the Princess, and you, the player, were supposed to go save her. Mario levels often ended with “But our Princess is in another castle!” I remember when having a choice of character meant Mario or Luigi.

In other words, I feel as though I have been playing male characters for a big chunk of my gaming life. So, when video games finally started offering players the opportunity to play a female character, it felt like a refreshing change. I spent the entire Diablo I game playing the rogue, delighted that there was finally a hero character that just so happened to be female. Today, all my WoW characters are female.

That being said, I’d rather roll a male Pandaren than a female one.

I realize that may sound completely opposite from what I have written so far. But, again, I have some very good reasons for this. When I first learned that we were going to have the opportunity to get into WoW and run around as a Panda-like humanoids, it amused me. The idea of playing a round, fat, fuzzy, Panda sounded like fun!

I think we all recall how much the female Pandaren was talked about before Blizzard revealed what she looked like. There was concern that Blizzard would make her too skinny, or too “furry”, or too Disney-like. Personally, I wanted to see Blizzard make a really round, curvy, female Pandaren, that very much resembled the shape of male ones. To me, Pandas are supposed to be round!

Today, we know what the female Pandaren looks like, and a lot of people like her. She’s cute, and not overly skinny, and has all kinds of cool stuff going on with her hair. But, she’s not the rubenesque Panda that I envisioned playing. Somehow, I feel as though if I played a female Pandaren I wouldn’t get over the urge to keep feeding her, in the hopes that she would grow into a proper, round, Panda shape. This would definitely take time away from questing and leveling!

Fortunately, I have an option. The male Pandarens have the big, round, Panda shape that I was hoping to play. Their emotes make me giggle, and I like their voice. After playing exclusively female characters since around 1996, it feels like it is time to play a male character again. I think the male Pandaren is going to be a lot of fun!

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