If you’re familiar with massively multiplayer online games (MMO or MMOG), such as Everquest or the insanely popular World of Warcraft, as well as their rabid fan base (and you may even be a rabid fan for all we know), then you may already be familiar with Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. If you aren’t, that’s okay. This has more to do with something going on in the game than the actual particulars of the game itself. However, in the interest of keeping you in-the-know, here’s what it is.
First, this is a game played on the computer through the internet, wherein you not only interact with the beings, creatures, and environment of the world just as you would with any computer game, but also with other people sitting on their computers somewhere else. Yes, it’s a fantasy game, but it may be more. And, though the stereotype of guys and girls sitting on their computers in their parents’ basement playing these types of games isn’t necessarily true, there is no doubt those in RL (real life) get extremely wrapped up in what’s going on in the fantasy world. Take Boobiegate, for example.
In games like Age of Conan, you can be a character of either sex, no matter who you are in the real world. Guys playing female characters and vice versa is not a big deal. However, when you create a character to have a certain look, you expect that look to be how you want it and that it’s physical appearance won’t change in the game. Yet, this is what is lighting up the forums at the official Age of Conan website, as well as some other gaming sites on the web. The problem is the case of the mysteriously shrinking breast size of female models/characters in the game. It has been confirmed that somehow those size Ds are now size Bs. And the barbarians are at the pixilated gate.
While this may not be a big deal, you need to look at the context not only of what the Conan the Barbarian movies and books mean to American society, but just how much online gaming character appearance matters, which in turn mirrors society’s attitudes about breast size. In the Conan movies and the artwork, scantily clad women are par for the course, and aimed at a more mature audience. (This isn’t new; look at the way anime is viewed by many.) The game is also marketed as a mature game (and rated Mature), so the assumption is that the audience will be able to deal with the blood and gore, as well as breast size, of what goes on in the game.
However, it must be admitted, if not already assumed, that there are people out there who will choose to play a female character simply so they can look at her while they play – even if this female is called a “toon.” And if these people go for the character based on the figure of that character, then that’s their choice. Yet, when something takes that away, you’re going to have angry 13- to 50-plus-year-olds. And there are plenty who believe this to be a purposeful way to tone down the mature content of the game.
Due to the attention of lots of players noticing this online, and un-asked-for, breast reduction, as well as the mainstream media’s interest, Funcom, the creator of Age of Conan, issued the following statement:
“Funcom can confirm that some of the female models in the game have had the size of their breasts changed. This is due to an unintended change in data that was introduced in an earlier patch, data which controls the so-called morph values associated with character models and the size of their respective body parts. We are working on a fix for this and your breasts should be back to normal soon.
The plastic surgeons of Hyboria apologize for the inconvenience.”
Though people can laugh at this, and it is absurd in many ways, the fact that people are concerned about the breast size of their avatars, and not about their own looks, certainly says a thing or two about just how important appearance is. Even if some of these folks have spent way too much time away from the real thing.
If you are interested in how you can enhance your own appearance through breast augmentation, please contact an experienced cosmetic surgeon in your area. If you are interested in enhancing your Age of Conan character’s breasts, you’re in the wrong place.