A lot of very popular MMOs come from Japan or Korea, and that’s all well and good! They make very sound products and are capable of marketing to a wide audience of eastern and western players. I like a lot of these games! Some of them less than others, and it’s humorous that one of the ones I like less than most is one of the targets today. One of the sort of painful things Eastern game developers does is paint with a very broad brush. So I have to ask which of these two concepts is worse, than then I’ll perhaps offer my thoughts at the end. Now, stereotypes do exist for a reason, I can’t really argue that. That doesn’t make it okay to lump all people together into a group and say “Haha, we know you’ll buy this crap, you idiots.”
First Offender: TERA: One of Tera’s content offerings this year was “Hello Kitty is coming to TERA!” and boy isn’t that just fucking terrific? So what’s the crime here? Assuming that such a large portion of not only their audience but MMO players in general are idiots who just lap up anything anime related like a bunch of gross, dumb weeaboos. “HEY I WANT HELLO KITTY PANTS!” they expect people to cry out. “I want to look just like Badtz Maru!” It’s one thing to market summertime outfits because I can’t think of too many people the world over who don’t like holiday themed/seasonal themed stuff. But to assume we’re all a bunch of Hello Kitty fans? That’s pretty presumptuous.
Second Offender: Elsword: Now I like Elsword, a lot actually. Weird fanservice and goofy graphics aside, it’s a really fun sidescrolling MMO. Elsword offers cool stuff like grimdark and edgy characters, large breasts, and corgi mounts. So basically something for everyone. But something far more sinister lays on the horizon. The notion that we’re all sad and lonely because we play MMOs and thus the GFRIEND outfits. Male and female both, the girls in blue Japanese schoolgirl style fuku and the boys in Japanese style short shorts that I guess schoolboys wear? I may watch anime but not that much. Lord. So it either seems to boil down to they think we’re 1. Lonely and miserable or 2. Need anime style content shoved into our veins and pumped in on a regular basis. The Elsword crime is also something deeper. The characters in the game are well thought out, detailed. They have goals, desires, backstories. It’s clever, it’s interesting! Then we go from the well-written story to. . . Kpop Dances and short shorts. It takes your story, considers it, and dumps it in the toilet because Fuck You, that’s why. It’s a pretty fairly obvious paid product placement/advertisement.
Do they know their market? Honestly, they probably do. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. It feels to me like a slap in the face. That they can just produce whatever weird, crappy content they want and people are just gonna buy it. They’re not wrong; I’m willing to bet the Hello Kitty items sold like gangbusters. Especially when you slap “limited time” on the event. It’s hard for me to say which is the bigger offense to Western MMO culture. But if I had to pick, I’d go with TERA. Just because I love MMOs and enjoy watching anime doesn’t mean I want to buy up their Sanrio merchandise. Not to mention it was creepy, cringeworthy, and marketed ludicrously, uncomfortably short skirts for the lolicon style characters. It perpetuates a kind of culture I’m not at all comfortable with. I don’t really know why the guys got tuxedos and the girls got strips of plaid that are called skirts. Maybe I missed that part of the Hello Kitty experience. I’m willing to believe it.
What do you guys think? What was worse? Is it all okay? Is it not?