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Does ESO Racially Stereotype too much.

carljokl
carljokl
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Our second in command in our guild is of Nordic / Scandinavian descent.
He expressed that he liked the idea of playing a Nord due to the relation to his ancestry. He hasn't though because he doesn't like the way Nords are represented in the game.

This made me wonder if ESO does too much racial stereotyping. The Nords seem to be endlessly depicted as engaging in drunken brawling and revelry. Crude and lacking sophistication. Rigort even represents the Nords in official Ebonhart Pact diplomacy while drunk kind of summing up how much this is emphasised.

Surely there also artists and intellectuals and nobles of sophistication. I have wondered if the game Skyrim did more to project a broader range of Nords of different mentalities and walks of life.

The Khajiit seem to be frequently depicted involved in the Skooma trade. Both Nords and Khajiit seem to have a lot of humorous light relief characters. There are serious and gritty ones.

Other races like the Bretons don't feel like they have such strong racial stereotypes. The diversity of different types of people, classes, personalities makes them seem an easier blank canvas to project role playing upon.

Do you think ESO over emphasises racial stereotypes?
Do any racial stereotypes put you off role playing a particular race?
Are any of these stereotypes unfair?
Do you find it difficult to relate to certain races or some difficult to project onto?
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Xargothius: Breton - JOAT / Magsorc | Orchid the Fair: Orismer - Crafter / Heavy Tank | Voneri Vox: Dunmer - Magplar Healer | Rexorgiana: Imperial - Temptress / Magblade
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  • adriant1978
    adriant1978
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    It's a fine line. People, at least those familiar with TES, have certain expectations about the races would start to find it weird if every other mage was an Orc or a Bosmer.

    On the other hand if you lock yourself too much into racial stereotypes, with every Orc a berserker warrior and every Bosmer a bow-wielding cannibal, the game feels unnatural and theme park like.

    I think you make a good point mentioning Rigurt; it's often the comic relief characters who are most jarring in this regard, because of a sometimes mistaken assumption that caricatures are funny.
  • carljokl
    carljokl
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    Acknowledging cultural traits vs stereotyping is a difficult balance even in real life. We could get offended if races were subject to the stereotyping to the degree they do in Elder Scrolls. Yet because this is a fantasy world, none of these races really exist to get offended. Creative licence could be used to say it is just a reality that most Nords like drinking and brawling (but not milk).

    Shalidor is a good counter example as one of the most skilled wizards and a Nord.

    There is a drinking / brawling activity in Ebonhart. Another drinking contest in The Reach (though at least it is accompanied by an intellectual riddle solving activity). I am trying to remember if there are any more drinking contests crammed into Nord portion of the game anywhere.
    My Characters

    Xargothius: Breton - JOAT / Magsorc | Orchid the Fair: Orismer - Crafter / Heavy Tank | Voneri Vox: Dunmer - Magplar Healer | Rexorgiana: Imperial - Temptress / Magblade
    Phirkius: Altmer - MagSorc | Rexorigus: Imperial - Med Tank / StamKnight | Sven Svedishchef: Nord - Provisioner / Stamplar | Finds-All-Fungi: Argonian - Alchemist/ Stamblade
    Emerald-Wild-Guard: Bosmer - Wyrd / StamSorc | Nates Datum Festi: Imperial - Light Tank / StamKnight | Magnolia Desert-Blossom: Redguard - 2 Handed Stamplar | Shadow-Softpaw: Khajiit - StamBlade
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  • Kierro
    Kierro
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    If drinking and brawling is seen as offensive stereotypeing, then I am afraid what you think of the Thor movies. The Nords are about freedom. You want to drink, drink. You want to fight, fight. You want to make wild love in the hay, make wild love in the hay-- so long as it's with a bonny Nord lad/lass. The Nords in Skyrim, hate magic. Claiming it's evil. Yet ESO Nords welcome it, even Nords in Soverngarde say if you're a Nord Archmage "*sighs* So many Nords forget the ways of Nordic magic. It's good someone still tries keeping the old ways alive."
    Edited by Kierro on April 19, 2018 3:09AM
  • Minyassa
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    My guess as to why they chose to use these stereotypes so frequently was that they do not expect the majority of their players to be clever enough to grasp nuance, and don't want to intimidate or chase away people who rely heavily on mockery for enjoyment.
  • ZOS_Mika
    ZOS_Mika
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  • carljokl
    carljokl
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    There is no denying that cultural traits are real but at the same time that doesn't force everyone in that culture to conform to a narrow cookie cutter stereotype. There are variations in personalities and styles and types of people within a culture.

    I can't say it isn't realistic given it is a fantasy world to begin with. The Nords in this universe may really all be much the same and those that control the lore can make that call.

    Skyrim felt more varied but then not all the characters in Skyrim were Nords to begin with. Some of that variety may have been brought in by the other races.

    That is not to say that the ESO characters are more 2 dimensional than Skyrim. In fact there are many who probably show more depth. This isn't alway easy to compare as a character who has just one line of dialog when spoken to is pretty shallow in either game. The main characters, I don't know if ESO is better or if it seems that way from playing ESO more recently.
    My Characters

    Xargothius: Breton - JOAT / Magsorc | Orchid the Fair: Orismer - Crafter / Heavy Tank | Voneri Vox: Dunmer - Magplar Healer | Rexorgiana: Imperial - Temptress / Magblade
    Phirkius: Altmer - MagSorc | Rexorigus: Imperial - Med Tank / StamKnight | Sven Svedishchef: Nord - Provisioner / Stamplar | Finds-All-Fungi: Argonian - Alchemist/ Stamblade
    Emerald-Wild-Guard: Bosmer - Wyrd / StamSorc | Nates Datum Festi: Imperial - Light Tank / StamKnight | Magnolia Desert-Blossom: Redguard - 2 Handed Stamplar | Shadow-Softpaw: Khajiit - StamBlade
    Sorcerer | Dragon Knight | Templar | Night Blade
  • vestahls
    vestahls
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    On the contrary, it doesn't stereotype enough. Now, I've lived a few years in Scandinavia. Scands like their alcohol and they don't consider it anything to be ashamed about. A few centuries ago, they were also more rambunctious than they are today - now they're mostly soft and hipsterish, which is a shame and a huge loss.

    And when I hear characters like Naryu wail against slavery or Ayrenn talk about how Altmer are equal to other races, I just... NO. That is the opposite of what your character should be saying! Dishonour on you! Dishonour on your netch!
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  • carljokl
    carljokl
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    It seems to keep coming up and being repeated I or other people are just looking for a reason to be offended. I am not taking big offence over this as people seem to keep implying.

    I am not Nordic / Scandinavian to feel somehow it is a personal attack on the culture.

    The closest cultural parallel would be the Bretons as they seem modelled after western Norman medieval culture. The feudal chain of royalty, Kings, Dukes, Earls and Princes. This Nobles behave roughly as they would. It feels in the case of the Bretons that they are so varied that their individual personalities shine through more. If the Bretons more deeply followed the traits of Medieval Norman times then it was a period of great prejudice, racism, xenophobia and protectionism. The class system ran deep and the peasants were often oppressed. The Breton's are never claimed to be Medieval Normans though even if it inspires a lot of the culture and architecture. The Lore regarding Bretons would override any real world cultures.

    To say Ayrenn should not behave the way she does in a way illustrates part of the problem. Yes, Altmer as a whole tend to be full of their own sense of superiority. Ayrenn by trying to achieve equality is going against the Altmer culture. Yet, going against and choosing to break free from the constraints of our culture is a basic freedom of individualism and self determination. So saying Ayrenn is not allowed to be like that, is when cultural stereotypes stifle out individualism.

    Ayrenn's attitude of wanting equality in the Dominion is not popular with the Altmer. She faces rebellions and insurrections and attempts to overthrow her. Many of the Altmer express distaste at having outsiders in their lands and/or assert superiority over them. According to lore, ultimately Ayrenn's Dominion breaks down into the Thalmor supremacism. The other alliances break down too as old prejudices end up prevailing.
    My Characters

    Xargothius: Breton - JOAT / Magsorc | Orchid the Fair: Orismer - Crafter / Heavy Tank | Voneri Vox: Dunmer - Magplar Healer | Rexorgiana: Imperial - Temptress / Magblade
    Phirkius: Altmer - MagSorc | Rexorigus: Imperial - Med Tank / StamKnight | Sven Svedishchef: Nord - Provisioner / Stamplar | Finds-All-Fungi: Argonian - Alchemist/ Stamblade
    Emerald-Wild-Guard: Bosmer - Wyrd / StamSorc | Nates Datum Festi: Imperial - Light Tank / StamKnight | Magnolia Desert-Blossom: Redguard - 2 Handed Stamplar | Shadow-Softpaw: Khajiit - StamBlade
    Sorcerer | Dragon Knight | Templar | Night Blade
  • SydneyGrey
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    If the Nords were presented the same way they are already, but were given some fantasy race name instead of "Nord," there wouldn't be an issue.
    But meh. It is what it is. They've been called "Nords" in too many Elder Scrolls games to change it now.
    They're still ultimately a fantasy race, even though they have a name that mimics a real-life group of people.
  • carljokl
    carljokl
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    Maybe Nord in this universe is more about Skyrim being the most northern province of Tamriel and the people traveled from a continent northward of that. Both in game and in real life Nord is about "peoples of the north". However then the architecture and accents and clothing were also given a Nordic feel.

    The Redguards are interesting. In appearence many look somewhat African but the architecture, clothing and much of the culture seems more middle eastern inspired. I don't know I would consider the cultural stereotype negative. They are shown as brave, disciplined, strong and spiritual.
    My Characters

    Xargothius: Breton - JOAT / Magsorc | Orchid the Fair: Orismer - Crafter / Heavy Tank | Voneri Vox: Dunmer - Magplar Healer | Rexorgiana: Imperial - Temptress / Magblade
    Phirkius: Altmer - MagSorc | Rexorigus: Imperial - Med Tank / StamKnight | Sven Svedishchef: Nord - Provisioner / Stamplar | Finds-All-Fungi: Argonian - Alchemist/ Stamblade
    Emerald-Wild-Guard: Bosmer - Wyrd / StamSorc | Nates Datum Festi: Imperial - Light Tank / StamKnight | Magnolia Desert-Blossom: Redguard - 2 Handed Stamplar | Shadow-Softpaw: Khajiit - StamBlade
    Sorcerer | Dragon Knight | Templar | Night Blade
  • Mataata
    Mataata
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    I think ESO deals less with racial stereotyping and more with culture. If you go to the heart of Bosmer culture, you're going to find a lot of "stereotypical" Bosmer. This isn't because all Bosmer across the entire world act that way- it's because you're in the place where the stereotype was created and people just act that way there. It's like saying all Japanese people love rice when you're in Japan, where rice is served with basically every meal.

    When you see Bosmer in basically any place that isn't their homeland, on the other hand, they're hard to pick out of the crowd. This really applies to every race in the game.
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  • Marginis
    Marginis
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    Yes, no, yes, no. My main issue is with how that stats and gameplay might force a certain type of role onto a player for their character, like a tanky character who doesn't necessarily wear heavy armor, or a khajiit who isn't very sneaky. Some concerns have been alleviated with updates, some aren't that big of a deal, but they're all annoying in that you have to work around them in the first place. I can understand that generalities exist though, so the stereotyping in general isn't that bad in my opinion. And ZOS does break a good amount of stereotypes through some of ESO's quests.

    But man I really wish the weapon crit racial passive did SOMETHING for my khajiit mage.
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  • beetleklee
    beetleklee
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    carljokl wrote: »
    Maybe Nord in this universe is more about Skyrim being the most northern province of Tamriel and the people traveled from a continent northward of that. Both in game and in real life Nord is about "peoples of the north". However then the architecture and accents and clothing were also given a Nordic feel.

    The Redguards are interesting. In appearence many look somewhat African but the architecture, clothing and much of the culture seems more middle eastern inspired. I don't know I would consider the cultural stereotype negative. They are shown as brave, disciplined, strong and spiritual.

    Redguards take a lot after northern Africans (like the Berbers for example), as well as the middle east. North Africa itself has a lot of Arab influence.
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  • Beardimus
    Beardimus
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    I think more should.be made of it not less.

    Race to mean more

    Alliance to mean more..
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  • MythicEmperor
    MythicEmperor
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    There are not enough options when it comes to racial stereotyping. There should be dialogue choices reflecting your chosen race. For example, instead of merely declining a quest in Shadowfen, my Dunmer should be able to blatantly refuse.
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  • Trinity_Is_My_Name
    Trinity_Is_My_Name
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    It's a game. Nothing more.
  • notimetocare
    notimetocare
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    carljokl wrote: »
    Our second in command in our guild is of Nordic / Scandinavian descent.
    He expressed that he liked the idea of playing a Nord due to the relation to his ancestry. He hasn't though because he doesn't like the way Nords are represented in the game.

    This made me wonder if ESO does too much racial stereotyping. The Nords seem to be endlessly depicted as engaging in drunken brawling and revelry. Crude and lacking sophistication. Rigort even represents the Nords in official Ebonhart Pact diplomacy while drunk kind of summing up how much this is emphasised.

    Surely there also artists and intellectuals and nobles of sophistication. I have wondered if the game Skyrim did more to project a broader range of Nords of different mentalities and walks of life.

    The Khajiit seem to be frequently depicted involved in the Skooma trade. Both Nords and Khajiit seem to have a lot of humorous light relief characters. There are serious and gritty ones.

    Other races like the Bretons don't feel like they have such strong racial stereotypes. The diversity of different types of people, classes, personalities makes them seem an easier blank canvas to project role playing upon.

    Do you think ESO over emphasises racial stereotypes?
    Do any racial stereotypes put you off role playing a particular race?
    Are any of these stereotypes unfair?
    Do you find it difficult to relate to certain races or some difficult to project onto?

    Racism is real. Stereotypes come from exaggeration on reality but are rarely actually false. Why would a fake world be any different? It would actually creep people out more than feel good. Basic psychology
  • Marginis
    Marginis
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    Stereotypes come from exaggeration on reality but are rarely actually false.

    Wait what? No. Not at all. You can't just say that stereotypes are rarely false. They're false A LOT. Stereotypes are based on misconceptions, not reality. Saying that stereotypes are usually true is... well, that's basically what racism is - applying generalizations to people based solely on their skin color or descent. You just can't do that. That's illogical. It makes no sense to say that people who look a certain way all act the same, even if it's just usually, because there's no correlation there. Even when a generalization is statistically appropriate, there is no correlation. Saying there is is... well, discriminatory.

    I can't believe I'm explaining that why racism is stupid in 2018.
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  • Marginis
    Marginis
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    Marginis wrote: »
    Stereotypes come from exaggeration on reality but are rarely actually false.

    Wait what? No. Not at all. You can't just say that stereotypes are rarely false. They're false A LOT. Stereotypes are based on misconceptions, not reality. Saying that stereotypes are usually true is... well, that's basically what racism is - applying generalizations to people based solely on their skin color or descent. You just can't do that. That's illogical. It makes no sense to say that people who look a certain way all act the same, even if it's just usually, because there's no correlation there. Even when a generalization is statistically appropriate, there is no correlation. Saying there is is... well, discriminatory.

    I can't believe I'm explaining that why racism is stupid in 2018.

    Not even close. Stereotypes are an exaggeration on reality. That isn't a statement in support of it. It isn't condoning the practice. Sometimes it is misconception based on observation, but that doesn't make it always false. You are a bit caught up on the skin color classification and ignore that most stereotyping is based on actions and culture.

    You strike me as the easily offended type, so the response is probably a waste of my minute of life

    Indicating that something has truth behind it inherently designates it as something you condone. Whether you are explicitly condoning it or not is beside the point - you are saying that there is some amount of correlation between someone's race and stereotypes about that race. While some generalities may exist, statistically, any correlation is false. Stereotypes do come from somewhere, as I think you're trying to convey, but that has no statistical relevance to whether there's an accurate generality to make or not. I would, for example, say that there are more law-abiding Khajiit than sneaky thief Khajiit. There are more non-drunkard Nords than drunkard Nords. The fact that this is a fictional universe has no relevance on the fact that I use skin color as a comparison, because the same problems with race are (rightfully so) reflected. The game is often used as a tool to explore questions of race and racism - just look at TESV where that was a major theme. The fact that you say that there is truth to seeing a correlation between race and stereotypes about that race, whether you intend it or not, promotes racism and gives it an excuse to exist.

    For the record, a clarification: This isn't me getting offended at racism. This is me getting offended at a fallacious logic that gives false conclusions that promote racism. It gets annoying, in the game and in real life, when people falsely think that things have to be a certain way. When people think, oh, you're dating a black person, so you must have a lot of hot sauce in your house, or, oh, you're playing a Khajiit so you must be a sneaky thief-type character, I shake my head at them. It does not matter the context, they're drawing on stereotypes, and that is wrong AND bad logic.
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  • TruthSeeker
    TruthSeeker
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    Generalisations invariably say more about the person who has fallen into the trap of uttering them than they do about the "target".
  • Dark_Claw
    Dark_Claw
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    As a proud English citizen I can attest that the overwhelming majority of the population do indeed have bad teeth, consume an excess amount of tea and complain about the weather every chance we get. The only stereotype I can think of that’s a misconception is the idea that we all have posh accents, which couldn’t be further from the truth as most of my fellow countrymen communicate like Neanderthals.
    Edited by Dark_Claw on May 17, 2018 3:30AM
  • Marginis
    Marginis
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    Dark_Claw wrote: »
    As a proud English citizen I can attest that the overwhelming majority of the population do indeed have bad teeth, consume an excess amount of tea and complain about the weather every chance we get. The only stereotype I can think of that’s a misconception is the idea that we all have posh accents, which couldn’t be further from the truth as most of my fellow countrymen communicate like Neanderthals.

    But is it fair to say that the teeth, tea, and complaining are because you're English? No, because I know many Americans who like tea and complain, for example, and they definitely aren't from the UK, and bad teeth are worldwide. And just like you said, there is at least one stereotype that doesn't even correlate. Statistical relevance =/= correlation =/= causation.
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  • Slick_007
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    i think your friend has issues that are getting in the way of them playing a GAME. im half swede, this doesnt bother me in the slightest. Nor do all the other races and their particular traits, of which your friend apparently has no problem. So i suggest they have double standards, and they clearly need to realise its a GAME. stop putting so much thought into it.
  • Bam_Bam
    Bam_Bam
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    Slick_007 wrote: »
    i think your friend has issues that are getting in the way of them playing a GAME. im half swede, this doesnt bother me in the slightest. Nor do all the other races and their particular traits, of which your friend apparently has no problem. So i suggest they have double standards, and they clearly need to realise its a GAME. stop putting so much thought into it.

    LOL - exactly!

    I dunno. I got ripped off again by Pacrooti and my cat went crazy and said that he's not an accurate portrayal of a real Khajiit.

    OK, I'm joking, but seriously - racial stereotypes with regards to a fantasy game?
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  • Marginis
    Marginis
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    Bam_Bam wrote: »
    Slick_007 wrote: »
    i think your friend has issues that are getting in the way of them playing a GAME. im half swede, this doesnt bother me in the slightest. Nor do all the other races and their particular traits, of which your friend apparently has no problem. So i suggest they have double standards, and they clearly need to realise its a GAME. stop putting so much thought into it.

    LOL - exactly!

    I dunno. I got ripped off again by Pacrooti and my cat went crazy and said that he's not an accurate portrayal of a real Khajiit.

    OK, I'm joking, but seriously - racial stereotypes with regards to a fantasy game?

    Let's make this perfectly clear - Pacrooti is a scheming sleazebag, BUT, that is not because he's a Khajiit. It's just him personally that I want to throttle with his own tail. Khajiit in general I like.
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  • SydneyGrey
    SydneyGrey
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    Marginis wrote: »
    Let's make this perfectly clear - Pacrooti is a scheming sleazebag, BUT, that is not because he's a Khajiit. It's just him personally that I want to throttle with his own tail. Khajiit in general I like.
    To be fair, who DOESN'T want to punch Pacrooti in the face? :|
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