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On Mursaat genders [SotO spoilers]


Konig Des Todes.2086

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With Secrets of the Obscure opening the possibility of us meeting more mursaat, and female mursaat at that, I want to point out a little noticeable fun fact about mursaat in Guild Wars 1.

While there is only one model used for all mursaat, thus leading one to think we only see male mursaat, based on the names of the various bosses it can be concluded that we do see female mursaat as well.

For example:

Male and female form of the same name. Willa and Willem. There are other feminine names seen too, of course. Such as Aily the Innocent and Mercia the Smug. And of course, there is Coventina the Matron.

So what does this mean?

This means mursaat have no notable sexual dimorphism from their models, particularly of note being their chest. Their females' chests look just like their males' chests. This is a female mursaat:

https://wiki.guildwars.com/images/0/0f/Mursaat_caster.jpg

And it is also a male mursaat. This is NOT accurate female mursaat clothing:

https://wiki.guildwars2.com/images/9/9c/Mursaat_Robes_human_female_front.jpg

But adapted for the sake of humans and norn to wear (and sylvari just use this because humans and norn get weird seeing nude sylvari). Let's see if ArenaNet keeps to this very progressive idea. #FreeMursaatNonBoobies!

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Ever played Endless Space?

There is a race of a single dude who was such an egomanical narcicist, that when he found cloning device, he simply cloned himself to create his own Horatio-nation. Maybe thats what the Mursaat did šŸ˜„

Jokes aside, I always thought of Mursaat simply not having female models yet. And considering I still dream of having Mursaat as playable race, I do need to keep entertaining this idea, as all of my characters are female.

Edited by Imba.9451
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21 minutes ago, Imba.9451 said:

Jokes aside, I always thought of Mursaat simply not having female models yet. And considering I still dream of having Mursaat as playable race, I do need to keep entertaining this idea, as all of my characters are female.

I mean, there are female mursaat, so you'd still be able to play female mursaat in this fantasy of yours. šŸ˜‰

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It would be entirely realistic for male and female mursaat to be indistinguishable to us. There's a lot of real life animals where even experts can't tell them apart by looks, or can only tell by checking their genitals or other things which are hard to see (like their teeth).

Although there's also others that do exhibit sexual dimorphism, but in completely different ways from humans, like birds which are the same shape but different colours, or mammals with different shaped heads. There's also extreme examples like angler fish and some insects where the males and females look like two completely different species, often with one several times the size of the other.

With most studios I'd say I hope they stick to no sexual dimorphism and just give female mursaat the same models (or have a range of models for both so we can tell individuals apart, but can't tell their sex by looking) but that's because I wouldn't trust them to do a good job with "we only saw males until now because..." but Anet actually did a good job with making that interesting for the charr, and did a good job with the female models. (Importantly not falling into the trope of 'male beast race = huge monster, female beast race = human but with a few token changes that must still look cute'.) So I think they could come up with something interesting for the mursaat as well.

Maybe they could do something really different to emphasise them being alien to us, like the females are 5x the size of the males and look completely different, or all mursaat change sex as they go through different life stages the way some fish do.

Edited by Danikat.8537
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In the same vein you could speculate that the only reason players superficially never seem to encounter a female Mursaat is simply because female Mursaat refuse to speak in front of non-Mursaat. So the only ones you hear talking are male.Ā 

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Considering Mursaat already look like bigger humans who are buff af but still prefer throwing lightning at you than you pick up weapons with the giant anchors they've got for arms, I really have a hard time buying into the "they just look the same" argument from an artistic point of view. And considering the reason for only male models existing in GW1 was likely due to other reasons than the theory described here, I'd probably dislike Anet going "Uhm... yeah, sure, that was TOTALLY what we hinted at!"

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3 hours ago, Imba.9451 said:

Considering Mursaat already look like bigger humans who are buff af but still prefer throwing lightning at you than you pick up weapons with the giant anchors they've got for arms, I really have a hard time buying into the "they just look the same" argument from an artistic point of view.

This seems to imply that you don't believe female Mursaat look the same because the Mursaat models we have are too buff. Was that your intention, or do you mean something else?

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1 hour ago, mandala.8507 said:

This seems to imply that you don't believe female Mursaat look the same because the Mursaat models we have are too buff. Was that your intention, or do you mean something else?

Not my intention at all. Just wanted to point out that Mursaat are basically buff humans. And from an artistic standpoint, it would seem weird to me to have a basically human looking race with no female models, without any other distinguishing features.

Heck, if anything, I'd have loved to create an even more buff female Norn. So I am totally down for female Mursaat who come packing.

Edit: My intention was to joke that for Mursaat, basically every day seems to be gym day, despite them being magic users.

Edited by Imba.9451
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3 hours ago, Imba.9451 said:

Edit: My intention was to joke that for Mursaat, basically every day seems to be gym day, despite them being magic users.

It's the backup weapons "Strength of the Unseen" Plus imagine getting kicked with those claws.

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We do have precedent in both charr and asura females lacking... prominent bumps in the chest region. Both do have other physical markers of masculinity and femininity, though. Mursaat might well have noticeably different faces, for instance, but when they all wear masks, you can't tell.

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On 9/30/2023 at 5:18 PM, Konig Des Todes.2086 said:

This means mursaat have no notable sexual dimorphism from their models, particularly of note being their chest. Their females' chests look just like their males' chests. This is a female mursaat:

Noā€¦ this just means that Anet didnā€™t feel it was necessary to invest the extra time and money into making a 2nd model for the Mursaar when they made GW1. They were meant to be hostile NPCs and we were expected to have such little interaction with them that most players wouldnā€™t notice either the feminine names or the lack of female model. There is no lore supporting a lack of gender dimorphism in mursaat.

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16 hours ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

We do have precedent in both charr and asura females lacking... prominent bumps in the chest region. Both do have other physical markers of masculinity and femininity, though. Mursaat might well have noticeably different faces, for instance, but when they all wear masks, you can't tell.

Asura and Charr are clearly distinguishable from humans though.

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34 minutes ago, Panda.1967 said:

Noā€¦ this just means that Anet didnā€™t feel it was necessary to invest the extra time and money into making a 2nd model for the Mursaar when they made GW1. They were meant to be hostile NPCs and we were expected to have such little interaction with them that most players wouldnā€™t notice either the feminine names or the lack of female model. There is no lore supporting a lack of gender dimorphism in mursaat.

And yet they create male and female Forgotten in Prophecies with two models, and multiple models for Maguuma centaurs which have even less interactions. šŸ¤”

Ā 

I mean, yes, obviously it's cuz they only made one model. But the argument of "they only made one model because players would barely interact with them" is silly, as is "players wouldn't notice the feminine names or lack of female model". You don't name a bossĀ THE MATRONĀ and think "yeah, players will never notice this is a feminine title."

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I'll point out that we did not see any female Dwarf models in GW1 either, but here we are in GW2 with female Dwarf models.

FWIW, I think it is merely asset reuse while finishing up GW1 and that if we see female Mursaat that they will be buff muscle mommies just like how the male Mursaat are buff muscle daddies, but with more slender frames and somehow still having an hourglass figure.

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I'd be down with them exploring a more intricate gender paradigm. Whether that means a lack of sexual dimorphism for the Mursaat of GW2, or a new spin on how gender is expressed physically in Mursaat that perhaps even extends beyond a binary lens.

We already know that the Seers have a more fluid relationship with gender than most, so I'm certainly interested in seeing what road the writers take for the Mursaat.

I'm far more interested to know what their deal is with all the masks, though. Maybe in Nayos we'll find out.

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2 hours ago, Konig Des Todes.2086 said:

And yet they create male and female Forgotten in Prophecies with two models, and multiple models for Maguuma centaurs which have even less interactions. šŸ¤”

Ā 

I mean, yes, obviously it's cuz they only made one model. But the argument of "they only made one model because players would barely interact with them" is silly, as is "players wouldn't notice the feminine names or lack of female model". You don't name a bossĀ THE MATRONĀ and think "yeah, players will never notice this is a feminine title."

Sometimes things change in late productionā€¦ for all we know there were no female mursaat intended to be encountered in early production and by the time they decided to add a few females, they were too late in production to make a new model, or they simply couldnā€™t settle on a design quick enough and just skipped adding a model.

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3 hours ago, Imba.9451 said:

Asura and Charr are clearly distinguishable from humans though.

Eh, asura are basically small humans apart from the head and the feet. We can see that mursaat don't have human feet, and we don't know what their heads look like under the mask. They could well have different dimorphism than humans. Maybe their style of dress is covering up the most dimorphic parts, similar to human clothing styles.

They certainly can't pull the 'we just didn't see their females in GW1' card because we did fight mursaat with clearly feminine names.

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15 minutes ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

They certainly can't pull the 'we just didn't see their females in GW1' card because we did fight mursaat with clearly feminine names.

Noā€¦ they could still pull that cardā€¦ we may have fought mursaat with clearly feminine names, but we only ever saw male formsā€¦ for all we know they have different naming conventions and what we assume to be masculine or feminine names and titles they see as gender neutral.

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47 minutes ago, Panda.1967 said:

Noā€¦ they could still pull that cardā€¦ we may have fought mursaat with clearly feminine names, but we only ever saw male formsā€¦ for all we know they have different naming conventions and what we assume to be masculine or feminine names and titles they see as gender neutral.

Or in doubt, blame mesmers?Ā 

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Another thing to noteā€¦ the lore for Mursaat was a bit muddied in GW1ā€¦ the first time we encountered one was with a White Mantle ā€œascendingā€ and becoming oneā€¦ the very first lore encounter of Mursaat didnā€™t have them as a different race but as a twisted form of human ascension. It was only later in the story that they became a separate raceā€¦ but the first encounter was never changedā€¦ it was never reexplained as us misunderstanding a mursaat sheding his disguiseā€¦ no it remained as ā€œthis human became a mursaatā€ā€¦ with that as the original lore basis, perhaps all who underwent the ritual were originally mean to be male members of the white mantleā€¦ but againā€¦ things changed at some point in productionā€¦ the lore was rewritten and the Mursaat became their own race. But by that time they were too far into production for a new model.

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5 hours ago, Panda.1967 said:

Noā€¦ they could still pull that cardā€¦ we may have fought mursaat with clearly feminine names, but we only ever saw male formsā€¦ for all we know they have different naming conventions and what we assume to be masculine or feminine names and titles they see as gender neutral.

That's a bit of a stretch just to justify a nonhuman race having human secondary sex characteristics.

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4 hours ago, Panda.1967 said:

Another thing to noteā€¦ the lore for Mursaat was a bit muddied in GW1ā€¦ the first time we encountered one was with a White Mantle ā€œascendingā€ and becoming oneā€¦ the very first lore encounter of Mursaat didnā€™t have them as a different race but as a twisted form of human ascension. It was only later in the story that they became a separate raceā€¦ but the first encounter was never changedā€¦ it was never reexplained as us misunderstanding a mursaat sheding his disguiseā€¦ no it remained as ā€œthis human became a mursaatā€ā€¦ with that as the original lore basis, perhaps all who underwent the ritual were originally mean to be male members of the white mantleā€¦ but againā€¦ things changed at some point in productionā€¦ the lore was rewritten and the Mursaat became their own race. But by that time they were too far into production for a new model.

Maybe Mursaat reproduce like mindflayers and take over hosts and were just using the ascension ritual thing to get willing hosts.Ā 

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3 hours ago, Eekasqueak.7850 said:

Maybe Mursaat reproduce like mindflayers and take over hosts and were just using the ascension ritual thing to get willing hosts.Ā 

I think that's a reference to something that might have been in alpha? Will have to see if my brother remembers, I was busy with honours that year and was only really in the alpha because it was more convenient if everyone in the house was in the same NDA.

It certainly isn't something that's present in the lore on release.

PS I'm also not sure that it supports the argument being made - White Mantle were fairly gender-equitous for all their other faults, so the implied claim that those we saw in GW1 were all male because only men were transformed seems dubious at best. If there ever was a plan for mursaat to be transformed humans, thereĀ shouldĀ have been a female model made... unless the transformation actively removes the secondary sex characteristics under discussion.Ā 

Edited by draxynnic.3719
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8 hours ago, Panda.1967 said:

Noā€¦ they could still pull that cardā€¦ we may have fought mursaat with clearly feminine names, but we only ever saw male formsā€¦ for all we know they have different naming conventions and what we assume to be masculine or feminine names and titles they see as gender neutral.

That's a bit silly when you have clearly feminine and masculine names and titles ascribed to the mursaat, and even of the same name, in all honesty.

If it weren't for Willa and Willem, I would be vaguely willing to say that's a card that can be pulled without some serious retcon / inconsistency introduced from it. But it's also a card they pull so kitten often that it's blatantly overused in GW and it'd be better if they just go "yeah we only used one model but that wasn't a true representation of every individual since having two people who look exactly the same is rare let alone hundreds".

27 minutes ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

I think that's a reference to something that might have been in alpha? Will have to see if my brother remembers, I was busy with honours that year and was only really in the alpha because it was more convenient if everyone in the house was in the same NDA.

Dunno about alpha but it was a pretty infamous theory over on the GWO forums. Might even be that Quintus Antonius spearheaded that theory? I know that he was a huge mursaat fanatic who really, really wanted to headcanon them as misunderstood good guys.

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31 minutes ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

I think that's a reference to something that might have been in alpha? Will have to see if my brother remembers, I was busy with honours that year and was only really in the alpha because it was more convenient if everyone in the house was in the same NDA.

It certainly isn't something that's present in the lore on release.

PS I'm also not sure that it supports the argument being made - White Mantle were fairly gender-equitous for all their other faults, so the implied claim that those we saw in GW1 were all male because only men were transformed seems dubious at best. If there ever was a plan for mursaat to be transformed humans, thereĀ shouldĀ have been a female model made... unless the transformation actively removes the secondary sex characteristics under discussion.Ā 

I was only focusing on the "turning humans into Mursaat" part of it, maybe they aren't even willing hosts but it could be a way that Mursaat propogate themselves idk. Pretty sure Mindflayers morph a lot of the host's body too.

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