Prime World to charge women less for extra heroes, and offer gender-based bonuses (Updated)
Update: It appears that the story has changed, and male players will also be given a discount on some of the for-pay heroes.
Prime World is an upcoming PC strategy game that will mix League of Legends-style action with social activities and minigames played via Facebook, iOS, and Android devices. Fans of action games will enjoy taking their heroes out to the battlefield, while more casual players may enjoy the castle-building and social mechanics. Are you a male gamer who wants your wife, sister, girlfriend, or mother to play? The game will give your team a bonus if it includes a female player who uses a female in-game character.
“The idea is to introduce the MOBA genre not only to hardcore players who already love it, but to their friends who might be more casual, and of course to their sisters and girlfriends who may not be as hardcore,” Larisa Nuretdinova, the creative producer at Nival, told the Penny Arcade Report. The gender-based bonuses aren’t just for female players, but require a mixture of male and female characters before they’re available on the battlefield.
This is how it works: Players in Prime World have talents, like other games offer abilities or spells. You’ll be able to select a gender-based talent that goes into effect when you’re playing with someone of the opposite gender who is also using an in-game character of their own gender. So I would need to team up with a female player using a female character. The talent will offer a shield that protects the other player when you’re in close proximity, so a mixed-gender fighting force is going to be more effective than a single-gender team. If a character is being overwhelmed, simply make sure you have the needed talent and are playing a character of the opposite gender, and you can offer a defensive buff.
The game will offer three female and three male heroes to start. Players can buy new heroes, just like League of Legends, and female players will actually pay less for more characters. Think of it as a kind of ladies night at a bar where drinks are less expensive to try to get women into the door to hang out.
“When boys gather around to play games just with each other, it’s not really social. When girls gather around just to chat, it’s not very social. The social starts when they hang out together and play games together,” Nuretdinova explained. Nival is going to see what the audience thinks about the bonuses before they decide whether to add more, but this is an idea they may explore more in the future. It’s an attempt to try to lure more female players into the game, and to give other players an excuse to welcome female players instead of singling them out for abuse.
“To do the very best, you’ll want a female player on your team,” Nuretdinova said. You don’t need to have male and female players on the same team to win, but it will certainly help. The game will be connected to your Facebook account, so it will actually be able to check that your real-life gender, and the bonus is only available when a team is made of mixture of male and female players who are playing as characters of the required gender.
Of course, changing your gender on your Facebook profile is a click away, and this has the potential to annoy both female gamers who may feel pandered to and male gamers who don’t like the idea of paying more for similar content. This feels more like a marketing angle than anything that will draw in female players or impact normal gameplay. I have mixed feelings on this one, so I’m going to open the floor for comments: Is it okay to offer women different pricing and offer talents based on mixed-gender parties?