Patch 5.2 – The Problem with Twins, Part 2

Patch 5.2 finally drops next Tuesday and with it, there has been quite a few things of note, particularly regarding the Twin Consort bosses I discussed. The 5.2 trailer, which was posted yesterday, was actually exciting and got me pumped for the raid content. The poetry, the story, feels like some of the patch trailers we’ve gotten before but a lot more cinematic. And while we got a glimpse of a lot of the story behind the Thunder King and his lackeys in the raid, guess who were missing.

That’s right, our wonderful twin ladies, Lu’lin and Suen. Kinda curious, don’t you think? Unfortunately my cynicism that Blizzard left them out of the trailer due to overwhelming shame might have a slightly more logical explanation, courtesy of the developer interview regarding all of the Throne of Thunder bosses earlier this week. This interview, incidentally, is what spurred me to post yet another discussion about these two Mogu sex robots bodyguards.

My thoughts on why the Twin Consorts were left out of the trailer might have been a mid-stream design change to their lore, as per Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas:

An earlier version of the concept for the fight had them actually being spirits of the Sun and Moon, but that didn’t feel quite right (and we all know that the only true spirit of the Moon is Elune, and clearly she was not locked away by the Thunder King).

Now, this exceptionally generous on my part, but I suspect it is the only reason why they’d leave these female bosses out of the trailer video, given how long the machinima take to make. But like so many other things, I wonder if it because they like to leave developing female models for things out or to the last minute because everyone at Blizzard apparently is terrified about designing female models (worgen anyone?) Either way, it’s pretty odd that they are not in the trailer. I can distinctly remember most of them getting at least a second or two of screen time. (The only other female boss is Mar’li and the Council fight she’s a part of wasn’t in the trailer either.)

From people who have tested the bosses on PTR, and in even in just looking at the boss design, it’s pretty clear they kept the Sun/Moon aesthetic in the two of them.

It’s the rest of the interview that left me sputtering yesterday on Twitter:

  • Rumored to be the only known female mogu in existence, Lei Shen keeps his trophies close, and their combined arsenal against interlopers closer.
  • Players may have noticed the complete absence of any female mogu in their exploration of the continent of Pandaria.
  • Indeed, these were specifically created by Lei Shen and empowered to serve and guard him, and they are a direct reflection of his will rather than any broader sense of mogu culture as a whole.

Are the developers reading my blog? It seems like they are taking the heavy early criticism of why the hell there’s two female Mogu as raid bosses but not anywhere in Mogu society to heart.  However, there’s so many more questions left open here now that it’s canonically known that they are the only two in existence and only created by Lei Shen. Such as, “Why would an essentially monogender culture have a leader that creates women” or maybe “Why are they sexualized?” Consorts are very specifically a sexualized term, and maybe the developers are mixing real world stuff with Mogu again, but there’s this lingering feeling that these two women weren’t shaped out of stone just to guard Lei Shen. All of this bothers me, little piece by little piece.

Maybe it’s the objectified language in the copy and interview – “treasures” “possessions” “trophies.” Lei Shen created the only two women in existence for their race and they aren’t even granted true humanity in any discussions surrounding them. It’s the fact that they were created to be submissive and servile to him, to protect him. It’s the fact that they are the sexualized equivalent of guard dogs. Giving life out of stone is a pretty terrifying concept as well when you wonder where Lei Shen got the souls (do they have souls) for this purpose.

The only high point in the discussion about these two was the fan-ramblings about what possibly inspired Lei Shen – why not create a bulky Mogu woman, particularly if they are bodyguards? Cynwise suggested that it might be possible fashioning after Burning Crusade eredari, which would explain the model choice. However, I suspect the model choice is less a reflection of Lei Shen’s ideals and more the developers still.

All in all, these two bosses are a serious dig in my excitement for this upcoming patch. We’ve had a lot of trouble with female NPCs in Pandaria thus far and the raid dungeons have not been exempt from this – the last three did not heavily feature any canonically indicated female bosses aside from Lei Shi (the elemental) and Grand Empress Shek’seer (whether or not any of the other Heart of Fear bosses were women is up in the air.) So the fact that the new raid only features three women, two of whom are prized constructs created by Lei Shen and were left out of the official trailer, makes me upset.

Throne has an abundance of bosses and only 3 of them (the Twins, and Mar’li) are actually women. This is in fact a step up from the last raids we have done, but it still feels like a step backwards in terms of Blizzard’s creative development choices.

9 Responses

  1. When I read that interview and other official Blizz copy concerning our gals here, I just KNEW you were going to have something to say about it, especially when I hit that line about “Trophies”. I heard the explosion from here!

    FYI, “Consort” was at least at one time used in place of “escort” to reference escort units in naval warfare, especially in British war lore. Yes, that’s weak, and yes, I agree that they’re probably using “consort” in the more sexualized manner, but “benefit of the doubt” and all that hoohah.

    The thing that puzzles me the most about our girls here is what he used as a template. Is there anything on the island that has the gracile female form factor? Aside from maybe Trolls? I don’t get that.

    • that’s what some of us were puzzling over on Twitter yesterday – honestly it looks like they wanted to make it slightly less dimorphic in terms of body stance. So what’s the closest/easiest double-jointed leg model they already have? Dranei/eredari. But the body mass is all wrong. And that I suspect is more the developers rather than trying to envison what a Mogu leader would make a woman look like. So the irony is intense here.

  2. When I saw Nyxrinne writing about it, the first thing I thought of was… wait, when is ACM going to be writing her piece? And here it is :D

    Though I may dislike those of my gender being regarded as some sort of trophy, there sadly are a number of women (and men) who like being trophies and prize themselves as such. So, is Blizz trying to offend us, or cater to those people? LOL, one has to wonder :)

    Would we want it changed? I am not so sure. It’s already there. I think I would find it more distasteful if they fought like wimps who run crying to their Thunder King. If they kick ass as little playbunnies then maybe I can overlook the other mediaeval attitude….

    • It feels less like a catering and more like an overarching thought from developers that it is something they can do with female bosses. It’s always going back to how the developers represent women in this game and how problematic those images are. Women are often objectified in such a way, like trinkets or prized inanimate objects rather than actual humans beings. The fact that they were literally created out of stone by the Thunder King is a dreadful bit of literalism on this one as well.

      It’s pretty obvious that we can’t change it now but I still criticise those who thought it was a good, passable idea in the first place. We need better, more varied portrayals of women in WoW.

  3. Besides the obvious overreaction and wrongly pushed feminist defense system alarm buttons, you seem to think that represantation of women in games (namely this game) or even fantasy in general, is somehow a valid depiction of creator’s philosophy regarding women and their rights, as well as their role and position in OUR OWN society.

    If lack of women in general, in a warrior race of an obscure fantasy nation automatically translates into “developers put women down”, then you must have a whole bunch of problems with other fictive problems such as ritual sacrifice, murder, thieving and desecration of corpses, which frequently happen in this game. Surely developers are encouraging mass slaughter, slavery and torture, things we chanced to see within the game. Or do your concerns for the wellbeing of a dying lore’s cyber-background end at the groin of the of the obnoxious penis wielders?

      • Just bringing this up;

        Throne of Thunder has 5 female bosses. Megaera and Ji-Kun in addition to Mar’li and the Twins.

        Plus, he makes a good counter-argument to your reaction (barring the last sentence,) and your reply to that just seems immature and/or childish, especially when it seems you just focused on the last sentence and none of his other points.

  4. Pingback: Pygmalion Complex – Building the Perfect Woman | Harpy's Nest Blog

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