Gamers argue Overwatch League has a representation problem

No matter what you’re seeing up on the screen in this inaugural season of the Overwatch League, chances are really good that the people controlling (and almost all of the casters, it seems) are guys. This is because the League’s teams are completely male, a situation that none of them can really seem to address when asked point-blank about it.

Case in point: Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon is widely seen as one of the best players in the competitive scene… and she has yet to be signed on to any of the competing teams, as Kotaku points out in its long piece this week (though apparently Geguri herself believes it’s not sexism keeping her off teams – thanks Loopy). You probably remember her from back in 2016 when gamers and pro players were harassing her and claiming she wasn’t real/was a cheater until she shut them down with a video of herself kicking ass.

When asked about why she (and other women) hasn’t been snapped up, in spite of her participation in other leagues, several teams hemmed and hawed over the fact. It would be funny to read all of these responses if it wasn’t so disheartening. Our favorite? Having to fuss with co-ed player housing.

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Michele Morrow calls out BlizzCon gender pay inequality

Michele Morrow, one of the most recognizable faces in gaming thanks to her long career as a show host and actress and World of Warcraft player, has seemingly accused BlizzCon organizers of gender discrimination when it comes to BlizzCon hosting pay. Morrow has hosted Blizzard’s outrageously popular annual convention since 2014, last year with Geoff Keighley Alex Albrecht and Malik Forte. As she began on Twitter,

“Glad the #GoldenGlobes are calling out discrimination. I’d like to point out gender & POC pay disparity happens in gaming, too. This has happened to me. Has it happened to you?”

She followed up her statements by referring to her treatment by BlizzCon organizers specifically, suggesting that she didn’t know ahead of BlizzCon 2017 that she had been paid less than her male co-hosts.

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The Daily Grind: Is Twitch chat just MMO general chat writ large?

Last week, an Indiana University Bloomington team released its analysis of over a billion comments made on Twitch over a two-month period in 2014 (not exactly gaming’s finest year), finding that at least in popular channels, a “streamer’s gender is significantly associated with the types of messages that they receive — male streamers receive more game-related messages while female streamers receive more objectifying messages.” In other words, male streamers are more likely to be barraged with comments about mechanics and combat, while female streamers are peppered with comments about their boobs and makeup, which is something you probably expected anyway and is now confirmed With Science. Sigh.

Here on Massively OP, our chief streamer is a woman (MJ), as is one of our podcasters (me), and while we’ve certainly taken more than our fair share of abuse over the years, I think I can say that in general, our community in specific and the MMORPG community are subject to much less garbage than the average e-sports or shooter channel. That’s probably because we’re one of the relatively small channels with tighter moderation referred to in the paper; the researchers found that in smaller channels, viewers are generally talking with the streamer, whereas on the crazy big channels with chat that flies by faster than you can read it, people are there to talk about the streamer.

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Black Desert guild heraldry sparks questions over offensive symbols

This past week, an interesting guild situation arose in Black Desert. A Massively OP tipster was surprised by an unusual symbol above the entrance to a particular guild city and bedecking its guards: a guild flag with a down-arrow and a female stick figure. Presuming, reasonably, that the heraldry was sexist in nature (down with women), the tipster contacted Kakao. After some back and forth between the player and support staff, Kakao made its determination: that the guild heraldry wasn’t sexist, didn’t violate the terms of use for the game, and wouldn’t be forcibly removed.

bdoWe reached out to Kakao to understand the verdict. “First and foremost we do not condone any sexist/racist or any other player behavior that would discriminate against other groups, individuals or beliefs,” a representative for the company told us. That said, he explained to us that Kakao believed the guild in question had picked the heraldry as a “parody” of the heraldry of a powerful rival guild called Man Up.

“We feel that for the people on this server this context would be apparent, as players would be acutely aware of such a popular guild (in menus, emblems, in-game text popups and roaming the environment),” Kakao said, though it was clear that was not always the case, and none of that context, necessary for parody, was conveyed in the actual image — meaning it was still possible for players not intimately of the guild meta of the server to stumble into the heraldry while out on an innocent shopping trip and draw conclusions about the studio and the game’s players that weren’t intended. Sexism doesn’t require intent, after all. And Kakao agreed that it was a difficult decision.

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Blizzard alters Overwatch’s Tracer’s sexualized victory pose following player objections

Call it “The Great Butt Controversy of 2016.”

If you didn’t see it pop up all over the internet last night, here’s the deal: There was some hubbub around a specific Overwatch character pose that some found out-of-character and sexualized, so Blizzard announced that it would be changing it around. The result? Some players claim it’s pandering to an oversensitive crowd, while others applaud the studio for being willing to make adjustments.

The pose in question was one of the character Tracer looking over her shoulder and accentuating her backside. In a thread on the official forums, one poster mentioned concerns that this pose turned a “fast, silly, and kind” character into a “bland female sex symbol.”

After some discussion, Game Director Jeff Kaplan announced on the forums that the pose would be changed, saying that the art team had been struggling with it and wasn’t completely happy with the pose either.

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Not So Massively: Top 10 most surprising NSM stories of 2015

Back in 2011, our former corporate overlords at Massively-of-old noticed that games like League of Legends were getting pretty damn popular and asked us to work them into the site. In order to incorporate them into an MMO blog without disrupting the existing MMO news coverage, we decided to put all of the news on games that may not fit the MMO definition into a new roundup-style column called Not So Massively. In the years that followed, the column kept track of dozens of online games in various stages of development, watched the MOBA genre mature, saw many games plod slowly into an early grave, and witnessed the e-sports explosion on a weekly basis.

It’s no secret that online gaming has been trending away from the persistent online universes of MMOs and into the shorter session-based gameplay of MOBAs, action RPGs and first person shooters. With gaming preferences changing, it wasn’t long before Not So Massively became oversaturated with news each week and began drawing more traffic than some of the MMO news. Naturally, we’ve now adapted and started rolling MOBAs and other online games into our everyday news coverage. As we hit the end of 2015 and approach almost a full year since Massively was reborn independently as MassivelyOP, I’d like to look back at the past year and highlight the top ten most surprising and controversial Not So Massively stories of 2015 in no particular order.

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Not So Massively: BlizzCon 2015 (November 9, 2015)

Online gaming and e-sports are getting bigger by the day, and there are literally hundreds of popular online games out there that don’t really fit into the MMO category. Join me each week for Not So Massively, where I gather together the top stories from the biggest MOBAs, competitive card games, first person shooters, and other popular online games in one place.

BlizzCon 2015 took center stage this weekend, producing a ton of news for Heroes of the Storm, Diablo III, Overwatch, and Hearthstone. Heroes of the Storm held its first ever world championship tournament, Overwatch the rejected free-to-play business model, and we learned that Blizzard is hiring a developer to bring oldschool Diablo II back to life.

Meanwhile, impressive one-to-one scale space game Infinity: Battlescape has just 12 days left to raise around $70,000 on Kickstarter, Destiny players have raised money for charity in a livestreaming event, and Path of Exile hinted that an expansion announcement is on the way. We also read an insightful article on systemic sexism in SMITE‘s e-sports scene, looked at League of Legends‘ new social tools and controversial Dynamic Queue, and discovered that Star Citizen‘s Alpha 2.0 release may be about to land.

If there’s a game or story you’d like to see covered in next week’s Not So Massively, please drop us a tip and let us know.

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