I'm world building for a fantasy MMORPG and I really want to have a safe and acceptable environment for all possible players. Of course I am going to be realistic and have prejudice in game, it wouldn't be believable if everyone got along. However I personally feel that if a paying consumer of my game feels like having a male and female character, why should I limit them and make them feel uncomfortable? They could always make two separate characters, but then there's a lack of sync and feeling that they are one person. My team also discussed having a feature that switched between avatars while keeping gear and skills. Another idea was a sort of illusion spell that would alter the players body to a set form based off of their original facial shape and general traits. I would like to hear more suggestions and thought of this topic in games, or if something like this has been done before, even if it was not intended for gender fluid people.

I'm sorry if this seems too opinion based, but in a way, it is. I'm asking for ways some one could change their appearance in a believable way from a world building perspective, in order to make my game more enjoyable to a part of my demographic. I'm sorry if I confused anyone by this, but I am asking for opinions from other world builders, not from a development or functionality stand point.

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    $\begingroup$ Do characters in the game have the possibility to beget offspring (male) or to give birth to offspring (female)? Otherwise, they are not male and female, but rather masculine and feminine: which is a much simpler problem, and one that should have minimal impact, if it has any impact at all. Actually, what exactly would be the impact of switching the identifier of a character from Cao Pi to Guo Nüwang? (One of those names is feminine, and the other masculine; which is which is left as an exercise.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 10 '18 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP We are working on a function for players to have NPC children. So if they had gotten pregnant they would not be able to change the sex of their avatar, that would cause problems. This is more of gender and appearance, not so much biological sex. Though I guess it would be plausible for them to be pregnant, and then get some one else pregnant after giving birth. If of course it wasn't illusion magic. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 '18 at 4:46
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    $\begingroup$ This question seems too open ended and discussion-based for this site. Your magic will work however you want it to work (and it seems like you haven't decided how it works yet). You could go for an out of story solution, as some games do, and just allow players to change their appearance (hair, face, sex) at will. In any case I wish you the best of luck. $\endgroup$
    – Laurel
    Mar 10 '18 at 7:58
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    $\begingroup$ I think belongs on RPG.SE. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Mar 10 '18 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ Alternatively, game design se $\endgroup$
    – Pingcode
    Mar 10 '18 at 23:09

If I understand your question correctly, then I would caution you against conflating the concepts of 'equality' and 'sameness'. I could say much about modern feminism here, but this is not the correct forum for it so I shall attempt to formulate my answer based on the general principle above.

There is nothing wrong with offering some items specifically to male chars, others to female chars, provided you do so in a balanced way. I'm a firm believer that women are equal to men, but they are not the same as men. For instance, you may apply a dexterity bonus to your char rolls for females, but you may apply a strength bonus to your male char roles. In this case, you don't disadvantage either char type, but you DO set equality based on stereotype.

Such a stereotype may well offend some people, and if you wish to avoid that, then don't make the distinction. That said, let's look at a game in which you can play both male and female versions of your character and yet has less political correctness than the shiraz I'm currently sipping;

Saints Row The Third.

Male chars are offered Bras to wear if they want to. All the clothes form around your char, either male or female. That means that you can have men wearing skirts, women wearing ties, and many other combinations that defy gender boundaries. Voices are fixed to gender, and the 'sex appeal' slider for your character shape enlargen different aspects of your char's features (as one might expect) but fundamentally, whether you play as a male or a female, the game is ultimately the same.

So; if you really want to play it safe, just have all your weapons, clothes, armour, etc. form fit around either a female character or a male character. But remember that if you do that, there will STILL be some people who complain about the lack of diversity in your game.

The only thing I can guarantee you about your choices are that you won't please everyone.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that your STR bonus/DEX bonus example assumes that STR and DEX are equally valuable. If STR is a major component of damage inflicted while DEX has no noticeable effect, or if STR only affects carrying capacity while a high DEX means you always hit and evade most attacks made against you, then there would be an advantage to playing one sex over the other. Avoiding sex-based attribute modifiers isn't just a matter of avoiding stereotypes, it also saves you from having to balance those modifiers against each other. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 '18 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ @DaveSherohman That's a good point and I have to admit that this kind of balance is assumed at the outset. From that perspective, it's probably best to balance your attributes, then decide what bonuses (and how big of a bonus) to assign to each gender. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B II
    Mar 10 '18 at 11:24

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