On The Revolutionary Concept of Women Assassins – Charlotte Corday and Ubisoft

I read Ubisoft’s explanation as to why there would be no playable female characters in the next installment of Assassin’s Creed without surprise. I merely raised an eyebrow when I read a male commentator who refused to believe that women played anything other than facebook games and I didn’t blink when a male colleague of mine claimed that men never want to play female characters in video games. In fact I nearly let the fact that I’m so used to being told I have no place in this environment (other than healing my husband in games with cute graphics that obviously he only plays to indulge my childlike mind) stop me from saying anything on the topic. Then I realized just when Assassin’s Creed Unity is set ….

When I think of Assassins and the French Revolution, one person comes to mind. I studied the history of art at school and in particular we covered the French Neo-Classical style. It was through the work of Jacques-Louis David, I first came across the name of Charlotte Corday, the woman who assassinated Marat in his bath with a kitchen knife.

445px-Charlotte_Corday

Posthumously nicknamed l’ange de l’assassinat  by Alphonse de Lamartine she was guillotined for her politically motivated act. After her death, her corpse was checked to see whether or not she was a virgin because the authorities refused to believe that a woman would act like this without a man pulling her strings. Just like Joan of Arc before her, they wanted to write her off as unclean, as a cancer which could be controlled before it spread to infect good docile women. Just like Joan, however, she was found to be intact and the regime had to face the unpalatable truth that women can and do kill.

Interestingly enough, given the current debate she caught the imagination of male artists en masse. The painting above is by Paul  Baudry and the perspective is definitely on her, not Marat slumped in his bath with this papers. Does she look like a killer, no and it’s impressive that not a drop of splatter marrs her dress. Edvard Munch came up with a rather disturbing work on the subject in which Charlotte is naked and Jules Aviat has her hiding behind the curtain looking like a lamb to the slaughter. Then we have Jean Joseph Weerts’s focus on her arrest and other works of her being interrogated. There are paintings of her just after the act, paintings of her in jail and sketches and cartoons of her en-route to the guillotined. Perhaps it was the nature of the crime which thrilled them, a vulnerable and one assumes naked man in bath stabbed (or penetrated) by a woman in an age where such behaviour would be deemed unnatural. In some, like the above she is portrayed as the victim or as France herself (implied above by her proximity to the map of France and her shadow falling across it) and in others, she’s barely human.

I’m currently playing Wolfenstein and I have no issue whatsoever with the fact that my character looks like this:

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-06-14 22-52-38-710
Character customization is not a thing in the game, killing people in many different ways yes, choosing what colour shirt to wear whilst doing so, no, Everyone who plays it will look the same and that’s fine, after all Blazkowicz and I have a history together. Do I need a female character to play a game, no anymore than I need a female protagonist to enjoy a book or a film but when a studio pushes the customization aspects of it’s game especially in cooperative mode, then I expect to be able to pick female if I want to.

That becomes especially true when I can’t help feeling that they’ve missed a trick. Would Marat have let a man into his house whilst he lay defenseless in a bath? Somehow I doubt it. It’s not about complaining that Ubisoft chose to make their main character in the story based aspect of the game male but that in this particular time period it would have been perfect to let an assassin called Charlotte loose on the people of Paris backed up by historical fact. Regardless of what the Ubisoft supporters say the French Revolution did involve debate about the role of women, did involve women who wanted to bear arms, who wanted the right to vote (which incidentally they didn’t get in France until 1944) and who, like Charlotte Cordray participated in the violence.

Fanciful Friday – Wildstar Screenshots

I’m well on my way towards a house and have already acquired my cup of tea in readiness of having a table to put it on. However I have a new graphics card and to say it’s slowing me down would be an understatement. There is just so much to see as you wander around.

Teasel.140613.222734
Teasel.140613.205922
Teasel.140613.210723 Teasel.140613.215411
Teasel.140613.220849
Teasel.140613.221451

Fragmentary Blue – June’s ROYGBiV entry

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)–
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

Robert Frost

Given the beautiful azure blue of the sky today mirrored off the sea, this poem seemed so perfectly appropriate to introduce this month’s entry.

I have a love hate relationship with the Glacial robes. Love in that they are beautiful, elegant and oh so delicate looking but hate the fact that there aren’t any shoulders which match perfectly. Vestia’s Pauldrons of Inner Grace is another item that I’ve always been partial too and so having given the matter some thought and indeed tried multiple other options, I thought “why not….”.

WoWScrnShot_060614_235135 WoWScrnShot_060614_235147 WoWScrnShot_060614_235107 WoWScrnShot_060614_235129

  • Helm – Collar of Command
  • Shoulders – Vestia’s Pauldrons of Inner Grace
  • Chest – Glacial Robe
  • Gloves – Toad-Slime Gloves
  • Waist – Glacial Waistband
  • Boots – Falling Blossom Treads
  • Staff – Greatstaff of the Nexus

 

 

Wildstar – My Beginnings

Having had a fairly depressing week at work I thought I’d reward myself with Wildstar so this weekend I’ve been alternating between sunning myself in the great outdoors and exploring on my Aurin.

Teasel.140608.184330
My plan is to take my time, Teasel my little Esper is after all an Explorer and therefore needs to climb every tree and swim in every pond, lake and sea. No hill is safe from her bouncing and every single mushroom will be used as trampoline. This naturally slows down the leveling process but should allow me to get a good grasp of the world I’m currently inhabiting.
Teasel.140608.190749

Not only am I getting ideas for the sort of decor I would like in my house to be but I’ve also been hit by a fairly naughty bug. When I was younger, I loved Dolls Houses decorating them and also making them from scratch for myself but also for friends and family. Therefore the urge to try and recreate an Aurin house as a Dolls House is too much to ignore. The devil as always is in the details so I’m grabbing as many screenshots of things I feel might be useful to recreate like those lovely flowers in their plant pots which is slowing me down even more than climbing mountains.

Teasel.140608.191555
One thing I have found really interesting so far is that in quick succession, I met not one but three potentially interesting female characters in the shape of Queen Myala Evenstar, Avra Darkos and Belle Walker all in the start zone. Sure they might suddenly develop boyfriends or die in strange circumstances but it was a refreshing beginning, especially after the whole having to save someone’s wife as a hors d’oeuvre.
Teasel.140608.191507
I am still playing WoW albeit currently rather offhandedly. I have my various projects lined up that I want to finish which include getting my Warlock to 90 and green fire before the expansion hits as well as farming myself a spot more gold and sorting out transmogrifications to go with those swords I mentioned a little while ago. The lure of Alpha information is also whetting my appetite for Orcs ever so slightly but everyone needs a vacation and this is mine.

On boxes for Toys – Thoughts on Toyboxes in Warlords

This is my toybox. It’s traveled across Europe and the UK and is currently housed in our attic. These days it no longer holds toys but it’s one of those pieces of furniture which encapsulates so much about my childhood, I don’t see myself ever managing to throw it out. I’ve hidden inside it, turned it into a massive dolls house and stored my study notes for my degree in it. It currently holds winter clothes and is just waiting for me to finish scrapping off all those stickers.

Therefore it’s perhaps not a huge surprise that one of the things I’m most interested in with the Warlords Alpha is Blizzard’s long promised toy box. So far we have only seen screen caps but just having a fraction of the items currently littering up my bags safely stored elsewhere can only be a massive upgrade for the game. I did a bit of testing across various characters and discovered that I have far too many bag slots taken up by vanity items, with the vast majority of Snowflower’s bank slots being consumed by items like Gnomeregan Pride and Direbrew’s remote. On Dulcamara alone, my Monk made a year ago I have over 16 slots filled with fun but mostly pointless stuff.  Obviously until the game goes live and we get the final list, we can’t be sure how many of these items will vanish from our bags but I’ve reached the point where I’ll be grateful for any returned bag slots.

The other reason I’m looking forward to this feature is a slightly more practical one, there are plenty of these items out there, whether quest rewards or random drops that I might not know about and having a handy list whilst taking that serendipitous feeling out of acquiring things, helps ensure you track down everything you are interested in.

Obviously this is still the Alpha and we are potentially along away off the final toybox, I would like to see quest rewards like Jin Warmkeg’s Brew and the Cooking School Bell make it onto the list. However having a place to store all the Archaeological items and the items from the Timeless Isle will be a massive advantage alone. I’m also glad that items like the Mushroom Chair from Cataclysm and the Rituals of the New Moon from Wrath have also made the box because it would have been too easy just to put in bits and bobs from MoP onwards. The fact that the first engineering transportation trinkets have made the list gives me hope that the rest will follow suit and with any luck between now and launch, we can work with Blizzard to put together a comprehensive list of things which should be tucked away in the toybox.

A complete list of items encluded so far can be found in this thread on MMO-Champion or here on WoWhead.

Wild nights – A Wildstar Decision is made

I’ve finally managed to make a decision and it looks as I will be testing the waters by trying out Wildstar. The reasons for this are three fold, first off I’m barely playing WoW at the moment and secondly it’s just so pretty, I can’t resist.

Snowflower.140525.000759

The third or final straw was Rob Pardo’s dismissive comments on how diversity ruins fun and still annoyed,  I found myself randomly running around looking for things to kill. Somehow serendipitously I found the Torine Sisterhood and promptly fell in love. The backstory of Tresayne Toria in particular sounds interesting for the right reasons.

Snowflower.140525.002352

They say everything happens for a reason and I guess it’s true. All that’s left is to decide whether or not I wish to play an Esper as I have been doing on the beta or to try something else. I know whatever I end up with, they will definitely be an explorer but can’t quite nail down class.

In terms of race, I think I might go Aurin again purely because it’s the closest the game comes to Elves plus I rather like being able to have wings for ears.

Snowflower.140510.165912
Will it be a “forever” game, probably not. Mr Harpy has no interest whatsoever in playing and whilst I will have a lot more time on my hands come august onwards, I need to be self disciplined and do more than play games when I’m home alone.

Will it “pollute” this supposedly Warcraft blog? Most definitely.

Am I doing purely because there is player housing? Pretty much. I want a cute little mushroom house with details like these:

Snowflower.140512.223405

I didn’t pre order and might wait until the end of June or possibly later before purchasing simply because I want to get the most out of my first month and that fits in better with my own schedule than starting straight away but I will definitely be dabbling.

 

Anti Doldrums Distractions – Translucence Sword Transmogrifications

Inspired by the outfit I put together for my Monk for May’s version of the ROYGBiV contest, I found myself a new distraction when it comes to WoW. Can I collect and put together outfits for all the translucence  swords in game. To further complicate the issue, I want each outfit to be for a different character and as swords are primarily used by classes I tend not to play this might require a spot of leveling on my part.

In total there are 7 swords which come in the following colours, yellow, purple, green, orange, blue and more jazzy purple.

There are to the best of my knowledge seven classes who can use one handed swords – Mage, Warlock, Monk, Warrior, Rogue, Deathknight and Paladin (I’m discounting Hunters simply because no Hunter would use a sword at the expense of a bow). My Monk has already effectively stolen green which leaves six swords and six classes to choose from.

Renataki’s Soul Slicer – yellow

Drops in Zul’Gurub from Renataki, one of the random bosses in the Edge of Madness event.

WoWScrnShot_052914_230743

I’m thinking yellow for my rogue, partly because Renataki himself is the ghost of a rogue and also because my little Gnome rogue was fond of putting pink and yellow together.

Continuum Blade – purple with glow

Requires revered with the Keepers of Time.

WoWScrnShot_052914_230819

This I think has to go to the Paladin and not just because it’s purpley pink.

Blade of the Archmage -purple

Requires exalted with Honor Hold.

WoWScrnShot_052914_230857

This one for my Gnome tank.

Pilfered Ethereal Blade - more purple, this time though with a slightly different hilt.

This is a quest reward from Declawing Doomclaw in Netherstorm.

WoWScrnShot_052914_230857

And the Death Knight gets this.

Ethereum Phase Blade – green

This is purchased from Dealer Jadyan, dealer in exotic goods in the Stormspire.

WoWScrnShot_051714_211501

My Monk already has the phase blade which can be bought at the Stormspire, (it’s possible you might need to switch the options on your buying screen to read all before you can see it) so I guess it’s back to Zul’Farrek for the rest of the outfit for her.

Vibro Sword – orange

This is a quest reward from Cutting your Teeth in Blade’s Edge Mountains.

WoWScrnShot_052914_230703

Based on my love of the Mage tier 5, I’m thinking Merrily my Mage will be working on the vibro sword.

Phantom Blade – blue

Crafted by Blacksmiths, the recipe which is BoP drops in Stratholme.

dorriesword

I’m erring towards blue on my Warlock simply because she happens to be wearing an outfit which already complements it. Now she just needs to level high enough to be able to equip a phantom blade.

Hopefully by the time Warlords come rolling around, I’ll have managed to acquire all these weapons and suitable outfits to go along side because it seems only fitting that my characters head through the portal wearing at least something to remind them of the importance of getting it right this time around, a poignant reminder of the fractured world that our Draenor became.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,268 other followers