Freedom, one of the main things that players look for in video games. When you make a game which offers a lot of freedom to the player, you automatically give lots of options to the players when it comes to many aspects like character customization, playstyles, builds, and so on. Some MMORPGs overall give you relatively limited freedom, as you need to get pointed in the right direction, which is usually done with quests, but when it comes to character progression and customization along with role-playing, players should be given as much freedom as possible, which brings us to today’s discussion, gender locked classes in MMORPGs.
Character customization has improved a lot in MMORPGs, and you can really make amazing characters if you have the patience and the creativity to fiddle around with the customization system, but, if this system got so advanced over time, why do we still have gender locked classes? Of course, most MMORPGs that you can find today probably don’t have gender locked classes, but there are still some popular ones that do. We are looking at TERA and Black Desert Online as our examples. These games have lots of different classes, and most of them are interesting or they have unique skills that you find interesting and appealing, so you pick that class and you try to switch from a female Tamer to a male in Black Desert Online only to find out that it’s gender locked. See, people today like to have options, and especially in MMORPGs where you essentially get to create your ideal fantasy or sci-fi character and then go on various adventures, so naturally you want to get as much freedom when it comes to creating your character, which also includes changing its gender. Locking a class behind one gender can really hinder your ideal character, and it’s such a strange design choice, as there are little to no reasons as to why someone would do that.
You can understand gender locked classes in certain RPGs that have immense and important lore where for example only males can be warriors or only women can be healers or something like that, but in a MMORPG it’s just a useless restriction that should be removed from any MMORPG design philosophy.