Speculation on whether that reincarnation will include both sexes for once single *** choices is only natural.
Speculation on character advancement and itemization are just shots in the dark. it's like trying to guess what the name of the main antagonist will be (I'm going to go with Facraffoalon)
True; the manthra/girlka thing is pretty much a yes/no situation that's based on information we already have. We've seen Mithra and Galka in the one video we have already, and there's something some people think is a manthra in the concept painting on the website. And people have been asking "where are the cat doods" since early in FFXI's life-cycle. So it's hardly unfounded and not like people don't care.
And yes, not only are speculation on vital gameplay systems right now a shot in the dark, for the most part they're honestly like apples and oranges, especially when we know so little. The quality of systems like these are more in underlying, psychological game design and implementation and not so much picking the right parts in the basic layout stage. So while a materia system with dynamic skill strength would be awesome, pretty much anything that those experienced professionals do for these systems would be highly polished and probably play very well. It's fun to speculate, obviously, and nothing wrong with it, but there's a million-and-one ways those vital systems could go. That's the main reason, in any case, why I'm not personally speculating on those things much.
Where on the contrary, we've got a very simple yes/no question on our hands that SquareEnix is very assuredly quite aware of after years of rumbling about it during FFXI. To boot, it's also such an easy, simple message that in the 99.9% unlikely event that some Square reps browse the intarwebs just a little bit, all they have to report back to base is "ppl want manthra/girlka". The fact that it's such a simple message to spread means it's one of the few player suggestions that could actually make it somewhere.
And, c'mon. It matters to a decent percentage of the playerbase, and that should be enough to make it a topic of discussion. ****, I know multiple people IRL alone that complained that they couldn't play male Mithra. And yes, it does matter; just about every single player in the entire world is affected by character attachment, and it subtly affects every player's entire play experience whether they admit it or not. It's the same manner of basic psychology used in both game design and professional visual design.
It matters, and if you're saying to yourself, "How character creation and customization goes has no effect on me whatsoever; as long as the gameplay is good I will like the game exactly the same" then you're pretty much lying to yourself.
I've always found the implications to be dangerously along the lines of the MMO developer officially supporting sexism.
One MMO in particular, freaked me out recently, Perfect World. In that game, ONLY males could be good tanks. A female tank would be significantly inferior, due to not having access to the strong tank class.
That really made me extremely uncomfortable. The implications were nothing good.
I guess Perfect World thinks girls should stay in the back and heal and make pies, right? :/ It brings to mind female characters being a gil cheaper in FFT. Oh, man.
I'd agree that you wouldn't call Square's handling purposefully
sexist; but when something reinforces stereotypes it still technically is. Especially when the party doing the faux pas isn't aware of it. I do feel like that's half the issue here, not so much "fixing" (not counting that Perfect World thing, that's messed up) things but at least spreading awareness.
And I do feel like the concept of gender limited races could be considered more subversive than normal issues in this category; whereas usually a fantasy story will simply show us gender stereotypes face first, in the case of gender limitations on players, there's a direct message of "This is how males should be and how females should be, and we're not allowing you these other options. This is directly affecting your identity".
An asexual race, especially an alien or Zora-like one, would be badass. I can think of lots of people with very mild, non-gender charged personalities who would make the perfect player representitives. ;) Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 5:00pm by PrinnyFlute