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Lack of Colored NPCS and Characters

AuthorMessage
Survivor
Nov 20, 2020
1
Hello in honor of Black History Month,

I am just starting a discussion on the lack of diversity that appears within both Wizard101 and Pirate 101. While there are indeed dark colored characters throughout the game such as Eudora and a few others. Overall there aren't many characters that are diverse. I noticed while looking through the wizard101 website and pages that all the character models on display for things like Halloween, yuletide, friendship festival, etc. are all white or animals. There are no Black npcs that I have seen that are on public display for people to see. There are no dark colored main characters throughout the game that have significant roles. None of teachers in the Arcanum or Ravenwood or Wysteria are Black, and I would like to see more diversity in this game as it was brought to my attention from my 8 year old daughter that none of the characters she sees look like her. It was unfortunate news as I never really noticed the game like that or from that perspective of how important it is for children of color to see people who look like them in activities they spend a lot of time in. I think this is a very worthwhile topic to discuss and hopefully we can see some change and diversity.

Additionally, I noticed that Zafaria the Africa themed world has us collecting monkeys with a hat AND ENORMOUS BIG RED LIPS. Which is very reminiscent of how blacks were portrayed as monkeys with big red lips. Something to keep in mind too.

I do hope maybe we can get a good discussion going and let me know down below what black npcs there are in the game, or on the website for advertisements such as for holidays.

Thanks so much!

Astrologist
Feb 12, 2015
1016
Kind Sir on Feb 2, 2021 wrote:
Hello in honor of Black History Month,

I am just starting a discussion on the lack of diversity that appears within both Wizard101 and Pirate 101. While there are indeed dark colored characters throughout the game such as Eudora and a few others. Overall there aren't many characters that are diverse. I noticed while looking through the wizard101 website and pages that all the character models on display for things like Halloween, yuletide, friendship festival, etc. are all white or animals. There are no Black npcs that I have seen that are on public display for people to see. There are no dark colored main characters throughout the game that have significant roles. None of teachers in the Arcanum or Ravenwood or Wysteria are Black, and I would like to see more diversity in this game as it was brought to my attention from my 8 year old daughter that none of the characters she sees look like her. It was unfortunate news as I never really noticed the game like that or from that perspective of how important it is for children of color to see people who look like them in activities they spend a lot of time in. I think this is a very worthwhile topic to discuss and hopefully we can see some change and diversity.

Additionally, I noticed that Zafaria the Africa themed world has us collecting monkeys with a hat AND ENORMOUS BIG RED LIPS. Which is very reminiscent of how blacks were portrayed as monkeys with big red lips. Something to keep in mind too.

I do hope maybe we can get a good discussion going and let me know down below what black npcs there are in the game, or on the website for advertisements such as for holidays.

Thanks so much!
I agree with all your points. It would be delightful to see more racial and cultural diversity in Wizard101's story. I do believe that there is room for that to happen in revamps of the story, and withing the character creation menu.

Community Leader Sparck, can we have your thoughts on this?

Explorer
Sep 26, 2012
99
in a game where more than 99% of the NPCs are not even human (and of all kinds of colors), i think the ratio is fine.

Regna Flametalon in golem court is dark skinned, she could be, Elowyn Frostmantle, the deck shop keeper is black, Victor Darkwood, the robe shopkeeper could be, Kirby Longspear on colossus blvd is black, Eudora Tangletree, the crafting lady in olde town is black with blue eyes (same body type as Blad Raveneye who is white), Elmer Meadowgrass, the reagent guy, could be too looks exactly like the robe shop guy. and if i remember correctly, 2 of the students that were kidnapped by the cyclops general on cyclops lane were black or maybe it was just 1.

the girl on the christmas background was black, you can go see her still in the community newsletter for the 12 days of the spiral. the girl on the pet trainer bundle card is black. the boy on the magical adventure poster is black. and there have been other promotional items that had a black girl or boy, i just cannot rememeber them.

sure the two human professors and ambrose are not black but they are the only members of the faculty that are human.

i never once thought that about the stuffed monkeys. i actually had a stuffed monkey like that as a child. it was made out of a grey/white sock like material.

i am not trying to belittle your concern or anything but that is just what i see in this game.

i will say there is a definite lack of black wizards running around. there are some but not many. now is that a lack of black kids playing the game or is it because they didnt realize they could change the skin color of their wizard or was it some other reason, i do not know. something to think about.

Survivor
Mar 15, 2020
10
I fully agree with this, there should absolutely be more (and much better) representation for minorities. But can I also draw attention to Harvest Hannah? A clearly white girl selling Native American headdresses to anybody and everybody. I feel like that's shaky ground considering the sacred nature of such an item, not to mention the religious, cultural and historical importance of them to various Native tribes in America. There are definitely some other aspects of the game that are out of touch in the representation for minorities, but I don't want to hijack this thread about Black people and other POC.

Illuminator
Aug 03, 2016
1472
The illustrations for game products here (what you termed "advertisements") typically have a variety of types of wizards on them. I've never actually counted, though.

It's an American game company and my question would be is the number or ratio of "wizards of color" (NPC you called it but I'm not sure what types of characters you mean -- many NPC in the game are animals) proportionate to population ratios in the USA?

Those who know the game and its stories and characters like the back of their hand will be more qualified to address most of this, than I am.
The game does seem under fire lately and it makes me sad. I don't see any intention in the game to exclude anyone or to be prejudicial in any way.

Illuminator
Aug 03, 2016
1472
Kind Sir on Feb 2, 2021 wrote:
Hello in honor of Black History Month,

I am just starting a discussion on the lack of diversity that appears within both Wizard101 and Pirate 101. While there are indeed dark colored characters throughout the game such as Eudora and a few others. Overall there aren't many characters that are diverse. I noticed while looking through the wizard101 website and pages that all the character models on display for things like Halloween, yuletide, friendship festival, etc. are all white or animals. There are no Black npcs that I have seen that are on public display for people to see. There are no dark colored main characters throughout the game that have significant roles. None of teachers in the Arcanum or Ravenwood or Wysteria are Black, and I would like to see more diversity in this game as it was brought to my attention from my 8 year old daughter that none of the characters she sees look like her. It was unfortunate news as I never really noticed the game like that or from that perspective of how important it is for children of color to see people who look like them in activities they spend a lot of time in. I think this is a very worthwhile topic to discuss and hopefully we can see some change and diversity.

Additionally, I noticed that Zafaria the Africa themed world has us collecting monkeys with a hat AND ENORMOUS BIG RED LIPS. Which is very reminiscent of how blacks were portrayed as monkeys with big red lips. Something to keep in mind too.

I do hope maybe we can get a good discussion going and let me know down below what black npcs there are in the game, or on the website for advertisements such as for holidays.

Thanks so much!
But those are representing monkeys. The rest is being unfairly read into it.

"Additionally, I noticed that Zafaria the Africa themed world has us collecting monkeys with a hat AND ENORMOUS BIG RED LIPS. Which is very reminiscent of how blacks were portrayed as monkeys with big red lips. Something to keep in mind too."

Those are "sock monkeys." Are you familiar with the arts and crafts of making a sock monkey? It was a way to make a doll out of something most people had in their household: A sock.
A sock with grey, white and red must've been a commonplace style at one point in time. The mouth (not lips) is from the red heel in the sock.
The Zafaria collectibles are not meant to resemble humans in the slightest, but a beloved, historical childhood toy. Similarly, Raggedy Ann and Andy aren't meant to imply that redheads have yarn hair.

Delver
Jun 17, 2012
204
Hello Kind Sir,

Eggbert is a dark skinned NPC - he is in Olde Town every Easter. I also noticed the Christmas/12 Days of the Spiral 2020 picture of two wizards standing high on a snowy hill above a brightly lit village below had a dark skinned female wizard I think. This W101 background was on the web site for much of December if you had a chance to log on and see it.

Autumn Wild Heart

A+ Student
Mar 31, 2009
1555
This should be taught at home and at school not in a video game that is predominantly animals and fictional creatures. Keep in mind that some characters were made before 2008 12+ years ago before it became mainstream to make sure everything was diverse and culturally inclusive. Just look at early 2000s humor at the time.

And as others have mentioned they did retroactively change some character models even back then. See Arcanum Lore's posts on Reddit about pre 2009 models. Let's be honest Wizard City is diverse and multicultural and as is Karamelle and Empyrea. The Gnomes, Fairy's dwarves and humans of these worlds all have different skin tones (as do Gobblers) (I mean we even have red and purple people too! Ignus Ferric and Ione Verga)

Foreman Henreich is a key NPC to the story line and honestly sets up some of the best dialogue as we venture through Karamelle. AND we help solve a problem in Sweetzburg.

Chief Manfred also is a key NPC to the story line in Gutenstadt. He even shows up at the end of Karamelle as part of the new board of Directors. Henriech might too, I don't remember who all was there.

Sparkletude is right-they are referencing sock monkeys sorry to disappoint. Whether or not sock monkeys are bad is a different story (but I don't think so).

I think KI has been doing a good job at being inclusive, especially in recent worlds. Can you do more? Sure. Could you do less? Also sure.

Do we need to make Ambrose black? No, to do something just to appease SJWs is not the way to go. Because folks, you can't please everybody!

I think if KI continues as they are doing and introduces a varitety of characters that it should all work out.

Survivor
Jun 10, 2014
32
I'd like to piggy-back on the other posts here.

In the Wizard101 Universe, most characters are animals. It is a bad cliche in videogames to make characters of non-white cultures into non-humans (see Trolls in World of Warcraft, who heavily represent Jamaican culture yet are... trolls...).

I think Wizard101 does a good job of avoiding this by carefully choosing which cultures to mimic. Sure, Zafaria uses African culture, accents, and references while making all NPC's animals, but it is also a world based on a Safari that uses strictly African animals to portray these cultural references. (I am not saying it is okay in general to portray cultures like this. Again, as I stated above, it is a very bad cliche to turn non-white characters/cultures into animals or non-humans. However, I think Wizard101 does a very good job of not making these characters who represent non-white cultures racist.)

Like others said, the few amounts of human characters (such as Wizard City vendors, NPCs, and a few Dragonspyre NPCs) have a variety of skin tones. Almost half the vendors in Wizard City are people of color.

In Pirate101, Vadima serves as a non-white main-character as a class trainer (the class trainer that appears most frequently in the storyline, as well). In that game, however, there are even fewer human NPCs or vendors, and the few I can think of (outside Vadima) are white. In comparison, Wizard101 has much more human-diversity.

I personally think Pirate101 does a worse job at making their animal characters that represent other cultures less racist. A lot of the characters in Cool Ranch that represent Mexican, Spanish, or Native-American cultures are a little over-the-top, and I would consider a little racist.

All-in-all, considering the very few human characters, I don't think there's a problem. If there is a problem, I would say the world of Zafaria follows the same kind of inherent racism as Cool Ranch, but I'd say it is limited to the choice to make an African-based world full of animals, a choice that has been present in every single world besides Dragonspyre, the Russian-based world of ruin. So like others said, I feel there is no argument for a "lack of colored NPCs" when there are a lack of human NPCs to begin with.

Survivor
Aug 29, 2014
28
Kind Sir on Feb 2, 2021 wrote:
Hello in honor of Black History Month,

I am just starting a discussion on the lack of diversity that appears within both Wizard101 and Pirate 101. While there are indeed dark colored characters throughout the game such as Eudora and a few others. Overall there aren't many characters that are diverse. I noticed while looking through the wizard101 website and pages that all the character models on display for things like Halloween, yuletide, friendship festival, etc. are all white or animals. There are no Black npcs that I have seen that are on public display for people to see. There are no dark colored main characters throughout the game that have significant roles. None of teachers in the Arcanum or Ravenwood or Wysteria are Black, and I would like to see more diversity in this game as it was brought to my attention from my 8 year old daughter that none of the characters she sees look like her. It was unfortunate news as I never really noticed the game like that or from that perspective of how important it is for children of color to see people who look like them in activities they spend a lot of time in. I think this is a very worthwhile topic to discuss and hopefully we can see some change and diversity.

Additionally, I noticed that Zafaria the Africa themed world has us collecting monkeys with a hat AND ENORMOUS BIG RED LIPS. Which is very reminiscent of how blacks were portrayed as monkeys with big red lips. Something to keep in mind too.

I do hope maybe we can get a good discussion going and let me know down below what black npcs there are in the game, or on the website for advertisements such as for holidays.

Thanks so much!
The ratio is fine.

Delver
Apr 18, 2013
295