Concerns about Pirate101 and Racism

AuthorMessage
Ensign
Jan 30, 2014
5
Let me cut right to the chase. This is not about the player base being racist, but the game itself.

As I play through the game, I can't help but worry that I'm seeing racial stereotypes against POC everywhere I turn. Especially in the Isle of Doom arc, which is where I'm at. If you're a longtime fan of KI like me, I think it'll be easy to see that KI constructs their world around IRL cultures. Marleybone is Great Britain, Mooshu is Feudal China, Monquista is Spain during the Age of Exploration.

Kingisle pokes fun at all the cultures they portray, such as making the Monquista government vain, greedy and materialistic to reflect Spain's history with wealth. I understand this, Great Britain and Spain are not historically oppressed as far as I'm aware. The Aztecs, the Polynesians, and the Native Americans, though - are.

I have no idea how Cool Ranch represents Native folks yet, as I haven't been there, but I do know I'm not a big fan of how the Troggies and Water Moles, who, if I understand right, are based off aboriginal tribes or the Polynesians. If I'm wrong, they're certainly based off a tropical people. The game constantly calls the Troggies/Water Moles savages, whether jokingly or not, which is a seriously violent stereotype against any tribal people. It's been used by European invaders (like Spaniards) to justify pillaging, enslavement, and other atrocities I don't think are suitable for a 10+ form, and a stigma that has been around for an unfortunately long time. I also can't help but feel as if the Water Moles are being portrayed also as stupid, mostly thanks to their broken, stereotypical caveman-like dialect. Which, like being mindless savages, is another anti-POC stereotype, especially against darker skinned/black people.

But, let me emphasize - I am white. Even if my mind is open, I am surely ignorant to the discrimination and oppression of my fellow human beings simply for their culture/race. I could be overthinking things, and it is NOT my right to say for certain that these are in fact racist tropes, as the cause of my concerns is not my own culture. This is why I'm posting on the forum boards to reach to both staff and other fans alike, so I can play the game and understand what I'm dealing with.

So, to my fellow fans: Do you think Pirate101 does a poor job at representing POC cultures (Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesian Peoples, etc)? How do you think Kingsisle should improve on how they incorporate real life cultures into their worlds? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of POC players, especially if you feel like your own culture is being portrayed here.

And to any KI staff reading this, I'd like to know, if it's alright: What kind of research goes into the actual cultures you base your worlds around? Do you try to be mindful of any stigmas surrounding that culture? If my concerns are true, would you be willing to try and fix any harmful stereotypes/scenarios present in the game?

Lieutenant
Apr 06, 2016
118
theredwallmouse on Dec 29, 2017 wrote:
Let me cut right to the chase. This is not about the player base being racist, but the game itself.

As I play through the game, I can't help but worry that I'm seeing racial stereotypes against POC everywhere I turn. Especially in the Isle of Doom arc, which is where I'm at. If you're a longtime fan of KI like me, I think it'll be easy to see that KI constructs their world around IRL cultures. Marleybone is Great Britain, Mooshu is Feudal China, Monquista is Spain during the Age of Exploration.

Kingisle pokes fun at all the cultures they portray, such as making the Monquista government vain, greedy and materialistic to reflect Spain's history with wealth. I understand this, Great Britain and Spain are not historically oppressed as far as I'm aware. The Aztecs, the Polynesians, and the Native Americans, though - are.

I have no idea how Cool Ranch represents Native folks yet, as I haven't been there, but I do know I'm not a big fan of how the Troggies and Water Moles, who, if I understand right, are based off aboriginal tribes or the Polynesians. If I'm wrong, they're certainly based off a tropical people. The game constantly calls the Troggies/Water Moles savages, whether jokingly or not, which is a seriously violent stereotype against any tribal people. It's been used by European invaders (like Spaniards) to justify pillaging, enslavement, and other atrocities I don't think are suitable for a 10+ form, and a stigma that has been around for an unfortunately long time. I also can't help but feel as if the Water Moles are being portrayed also as stupid, mostly thanks to their broken, stereotypical caveman-like dialect. Which, like being mindless savages, is another anti-POC stereotype, especially against darker skinned/black people.

But, let me emphasize - I am white. Even if my mind is open, I am surely ignorant to the discrimination and oppression of my fellow human beings simply for their culture/race. I could be overthinking things, and it is NOT my right to say for certain that these are in fact racist tropes, as the cause of my concerns is not my own culture. This is why I'm posting on the forum boards to reach to both staff and other fans alike, so I can play the game and understand what I'm dealing with.

So, to my fellow fans: Do you think Pirate101 does a poor job at representing POC cultures (Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesian Peoples, etc)? How do you think Kingsisle should improve on how they incorporate real life cultures into their worlds? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of POC players, especially if you feel like your own culture is being portrayed here.

And to any KI staff reading this, I'd like to know, if it's alright: What kind of research goes into the actual cultures you base your worlds around? Do you try to be mindful of any stigmas surrounding that culture? If my concerns are true, would you be willing to try and fix any harmful stereotypes/scenarios present in the game?
I really hated how the water moles were revolting against those monkies and we had to stop it. I mean come on we're supposed to be the good people (kinda). Haku should've freed his people...

Admiral
Nov 01, 2013
1319
theredwallmouse on Dec 29, 2017 wrote:
Let me cut right to the chase. This is not about the player base being racist, but the game itself.

As I play through the game, I can't help but worry that I'm seeing racial stereotypes against POC everywhere I turn. Especially in the Isle of Doom arc, which is where I'm at. If you're a longtime fan of KI like me, I think it'll be easy to see that KI constructs their world around IRL cultures. Marleybone is Great Britain, Mooshu is Feudal China, Monquista is Spain during the Age of Exploration.

Kingisle pokes fun at all the cultures they portray, such as making the Monquista government vain, greedy and materialistic to reflect Spain's history with wealth. I understand this, Great Britain and Spain are not historically oppressed as far as I'm aware. The Aztecs, the Polynesians, and the Native Americans, though - are.

I have no idea how Cool Ranch represents Native folks yet, as I haven't been there, but I do know I'm not a big fan of how the Troggies and Water Moles, who, if I understand right, are based off aboriginal tribes or the Polynesians. If I'm wrong, they're certainly based off a tropical people. The game constantly calls the Troggies/Water Moles savages, whether jokingly or not, which is a seriously violent stereotype against any tribal people. It's been used by European invaders (like Spaniards) to justify pillaging, enslavement, and other atrocities I don't think are suitable for a 10+ form, and a stigma that has been around for an unfortunately long time. I also can't help but feel as if the Water Moles are being portrayed also as stupid, mostly thanks to their broken, stereotypical caveman-like dialect. Which, like being mindless savages, is another anti-POC stereotype, especially against darker skinned/black people.

But, let me emphasize - I am white. Even if my mind is open, I am surely ignorant to the discrimination and oppression of my fellow human beings simply for their culture/race. I could be overthinking things, and it is NOT my right to say for certain that these are in fact racist tropes, as the cause of my concerns is not my own culture. This is why I'm posting on the forum boards to reach to both staff and other fans alike, so I can play the game and understand what I'm dealing with.

So, to my fellow fans: Do you think Pirate101 does a poor job at representing POC cultures (Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesian Peoples, etc)? How do you think Kingsisle should improve on how they incorporate real life cultures into their worlds? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of POC players, especially if you feel like your own culture is being portrayed here.

And to any KI staff reading this, I'd like to know, if it's alright: What kind of research goes into the actual cultures you base your worlds around? Do you try to be mindful of any stigmas surrounding that culture? If my concerns are true, would you be willing to try and fix any harmful stereotypes/scenarios present in the game?
No. Pirate101 does not do a poor job at representing other countries' cultures. The history is fantastic (the Moo Manchurian Candidate, etc.) and the way the represent other peoples' cultures is good as well. I don't believe they are offending anyone - not yet, anyway.

Lieutenant
Apr 06, 2016
118
My brother has also been complaining about this in Pirate101 (which why he stopped playing in isle of doom). I think Ki should tweak these mistakes...

Dread Pirate
May 27, 2009
1509
Wow - you have some heavy themes here. Since you haven't been to Cool Ranch, that means you haven't actually played much of the game yet at all. All cultures have both savage and noble aspects - and in a role-playing game like this one, the player will see much more savagery than nobility simply because of the game mechanic of fighting enemies to get what we want.Examples of noble and wise creatures can be seen throughout the spiral, especially if you take the time to do side quests and read the dialogue.

Our pirates are pretty savage, aren't we? We fight, we steal, we aren't portrayed as being all that noble, yet we have companions who admire us and join our crew. Who are we to call other folks savages except people of our time -- the heyday of pirates and sailors, when Great Britain considered themselves rulers of the seas.Political Correctness wasn't even a concept then. We are playing a role, and that role itself has its stereotypes.

All of our crew could be representatives of the (I'm assuming POC means People of Color?) POC cultures. Mormo may speak with a less facile delivery than his crewmates, but he is pretty intelligent and knows a lot about magic.Does he really need to know better English? I don't know -- maybe he should speak like Captain Avery? Would that be better?

Your empathy does you credit, but diminishing the game at this point when you haven't even gotten halfway through could be premature. If you cannot reconcile yourself to the portrayal of native peoples, it may not be the game for you.


Pirate Overlord
Mar 16, 2012
8862
theredwallmouse on Dec 29, 2017 wrote:
Let me cut right to the chase. This is not about the player base being racist, but the game itself.

As I play through the game, I can't help but worry that I'm seeing racial stereotypes against POC everywhere I turn. Especially in the Isle of Doom arc, which is where I'm at. If you're a longtime fan of KI like me, I think it'll be easy to see that KI constructs their world around IRL cultures. Marleybone is Great Britain, Mooshu is Feudal China, Monquista is Spain during the Age of Exploration.

Kingisle pokes fun at all the cultures they portray, such as making the Monquista government vain, greedy and materialistic to reflect Spain's history with wealth. I understand this, Great Britain and Spain are not historically oppressed as far as I'm aware. The Aztecs, the Polynesians, and the Native Americans, though - are.

I have no idea how Cool Ranch represents Native folks yet, as I haven't been there, but I do know I'm not a big fan of how the Troggies and Water Moles, who, if I understand right, are based off aboriginal tribes or the Polynesians. If I'm wrong, they're certainly based off a tropical people. The game constantly calls the Troggies/Water Moles savages, whether jokingly or not, which is a seriously violent stereotype against any tribal people. It's been used by European invaders (like Spaniards) to justify pillaging, enslavement, and other atrocities I don't think are suitable for a 10+ form, and a stigma that has been around for an unfortunately long time. I also can't help but feel as if the Water Moles are being portrayed also as stupid, mostly thanks to their broken, stereotypical caveman-like dialect. Which, like being mindless savages, is another anti-POC stereotype, especially against darker skinned/black people.

But, let me emphasize - I am white. Even if my mind is open, I am surely ignorant to the discrimination and oppression of my fellow human beings simply for their culture/race. I could be overthinking things, and it is NOT my right to say for certain that these are in fact racist tropes, as the cause of my concerns is not my own culture. This is why I'm posting on the forum boards to reach to both staff and other fans alike, so I can play the game and understand what I'm dealing with.

So, to my fellow fans: Do you think Pirate101 does a poor job at representing POC cultures (Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesian Peoples, etc)? How do you think Kingsisle should improve on how they incorporate real life cultures into their worlds? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of POC players, especially if you feel like your own culture is being portrayed here.

And to any KI staff reading this, I'd like to know, if it's alright: What kind of research goes into the actual cultures you base your worlds around? Do you try to be mindful of any stigmas surrounding that culture? If my concerns are true, would you be willing to try and fix any harmful stereotypes/scenarios present in the game?
This is a thoughtful post and I hope one of the KingsIsle staff will respond. I have certain thoughts I would like to share with you.
First, I wonder what you mean when you say PCC cultures? Non-white, Non-European peoples?
Secondly, I find that KI is very even handed at poking fun at racial stereotypes - even Marleybone with their superior attitude toward other cultures. This reflects the mind set during the time of Queen Victoria and the British Empire.
Cool Ranch Natives are depicted as in tune with the nature spirits and are noble ( except for the Blackstorm Bison, who are violent but also have a certain dignity, like Crazy Horn. )
I think the Watermoles speak that way because they have only recently met other cultures and have trouble learning to speak the "common" language. Also the Troggies rarely speak the "common" language, only the troggy in the Gold Mine speaks it.
The "peoples" of MooShu are depicted fairly, without the horrible accents and attitudes of the post war films in Hollywood.
I admit I felt a bit uncomfortable that the Vulture pirates all had Italian American ( Super Mario Brothers ) accents. But I also felt it loaned a bit of "flavor" to otherwise bland dialogue.
I don't think that KI is deliberately trying to spread a negative view of other cultures, it's just that this game is no more serious ( or PC ) than a Saturday morning cartoon.
I would like to see more human NPCs with darker skin tones ( there's only Madame Vadima, & she's a Gypsy. )
I hope we can get a good discussion going on this.
Oh yes, I'm also white but that should not negate my opinion.

Bosun
Dec 28, 2012
322
Hello! Before I begin, I'd like to say I have 2 max pirates, have completed every quest in the game, and have been through the beginning areas countless times. This is being written from the perspective of someone who knows the lore up and down and someone who has seen beyond he first impressions of these tribes that are given. I will also not be speaking on the troggies as I am not knowledgeable enough of that section of the lore to be comfortable speaking about it. Now, let us begin.

Water moles:
I would like to present 2 examples of these that show character of the water mole tribes beyond savagery.
1) Rapa Nui - Perhaps my favorite island in the game, this place depicts a peaceful fishing water mole village that only wants peace with the neighboring creatures. They are fairly civilized and left a good enough impression on me that it ended up being my favorite area in the entire game.
2) The Dark Jungle - Specifically there is one water mole who not only detests the actions of the rebels, but openly fights against the rebels. He wants peace with the Monquistans and is shown to be very noble. If you want to see this for your self, you can find him next to the path that leads to the upper section of the central area.

Bison:
The bison are depicted very nobly and respectably and it is clear that consideration was taken to keep them true to their source material. Their religion (that being there belief in the spirits and such) is well respected and the bad apples of the group such as Three Scars are clearly detested by the fellow bison. They are portrayed as being wise and spiritually enlightened and are no where near dumb or savage.

In conclusion, I would say that while these tribes may seem stereotypical at first, upon closer look they are shown to be quite civilized. I'm running low on characters so if anyone wants me to expound on any of these topics, please let me know.

See you in the Spiral,
Alex the Pirate

Ensign
Aug 16, 2014
3
My reply to this is if you think this game is racist don't support it by paying to play it.

Ensign
Jan 30, 2014
5
Wow. This blew up. Thank you to everyone so far who responded. I'll try and go through the replies. I'm not used to this kind of forum, so I'll probably do @s wrong. I apologize in advance.

(Part 1 of replies.)

@Siber Claw - See, the thing is, I'm not sure. My question comes up from suspicions alone, as I'm trying to approach media now with a more critical mindset when it comes to the representation of minorities (people of color, lgbta+, etc). P101 is fun and an escape for me, but I still want to be critical about it. On top of that, I don't see KI as the type of people who would WILLINGLY put extremely harmful racist tropes into their children's game - at least I hope that's the case. I just want to open discussion about it, because I was wondering if anyone else has had the same concerns as me. In the worst case scenario, I will stop supporting KI products.

@Willowydream - You make a very good point here. I agree that all the races and cultures present in the game have both negative and positive aspects, either for comedy or to make them feel more engaging, and that since we're pirates, it's going to be a bit more raunchy. My worries are that for ethnic-based groups, harmful tropes are outweighing the good, which is sketchy and unprofessional at best and outright violent at worst. I also ask so early because I personally feel as if I've been noticing negative tropes much more than good, which makes me sort of dread what is to come, and I want to know if players who have experienced the full game think of the representation. See, my life is very busy and I don't have much time to complete the game as quickly and neatly as possible, which is why I'm asking around. I love to play this game in my free time, but I want to approach it critically. Of course, as I said, I could just be overthinking things. I certainly hope I am.

Ensign
Jan 30, 2014
5
(Part 2 of replies.)

@Vulorian - This is actually the source of my concerns. Something feels really offputting to me in the Isle of Doom arc, as if they were implying, intentionally or not, that the Monquistadors, who are based off Age of Exploration Spain, who came to the Americas and proceeded to enslave, sicken, abuse, conquer, forcefully convert, exploit, etc native peoples are at all in the right for receiving backlash for essentially making their employees grave rob their own ancestors' burial ground really puts me off. AT THE SAME TIME, however, Haku's revolt feels like it's portrayed as a cult using the excavation of the tombs to their advantage to summon their Aztecosaur god, who I'm assuming is a case of idolatry to water moles. The revolt is also rejected by the real tribe. However, I think what makes me uncomfortable in the Isle of Doom arc is that we barely see the tribe working with the Monquistadors. There are like. Two water mole NPCs associated with the tribe working with Monquista outside of Haku's revolt? Three? I think if KI balanced out the ratio of Haku's cult revolt members to the tribe that disowned Haku a bit better, I might not have had as much discomfort during the Isle of Doom arc. That might be something for them to consider, perhaps?

Pirate Overlord
Mar 16, 2012
8862
Vulorian on Dec 30, 2017 wrote:
I really hated how the water moles were revolting against those monkies and we had to stop it. I mean come on we're supposed to be the good people (kinda). Haku should've freed his people...
There's nothing that indicates that the Watermoles are slaves ( very much unlike Krokotopia & the Manders ). They are willingly working for the Monquistans and are probably getting a good wage. Remember that the Watermoles that were against Haku considered him as behaving dishonorably. Plus, he had kidnapped their families to force them to join his cause.

Admiral
Oct 27, 2009
1310
Vulorian on Dec 30, 2017 wrote:
I really hated how the water moles were revolting against those monkies and we had to stop it. I mean come on we're supposed to be the good people (kinda). Haku should've freed his people...
This would be an interesting thing for them to revisit in the plot, adding a future twist to this story. Perhaps it could relate to a future promotion quest for watermole crewmen. Perhaps Haku would have been an evil tyrant and no better for his people than the Monquistans. Perhaps the watermoles will be freed by our crewman, and maybe a crewman will even find love and help the rightful watermole Queen ascend peacefully to power. Hey Blind Mew, think this might be worth revisiting? Maybe our watermole would save them, and it would be a Monquistan that fell in love with the queen, uniting their peoples.

Ensign
Jan 30, 2014
5
(Part 3)
@Alex the Pirate - This is a very interesting analysis, and I appreciate your input. As I've said, while I do agree there's indeed positive reflection on ethnic groups throughout the game, there are cases where I really felt as if KI should've been more careful about how they represented them. Case in point, Haku's cult-like revolt in the Isle of Doom outnumbers NPCs for the water moles that felt ashamed of Haku's declaration of war on the Monquistadors 10:1, making the ~evil savage cultists~ the norm of the arc. If they had added a couple more interactable water mole NPCs in the Isle of Doom who further emphasized that Haku was in the wrong and this wasn't normal, then I probably would've been more comfortable with it.

@anecorbie - Yes, by POC I mean non-white European groups. In short, The term "person of color" is used primarily in the United States to describe any person who is not white. The term encompasses all non-white peoples, emphasizing common experiences of systemic racism. If I understand right, POC also includes people from Asia, even though they do have lighter skin because, as mentioned, they do experience systematic racism.
Thank you for your input. I can see how the water moles are simply just trying to get used to new languages, and that's probably what KingsIsle was going for (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they try to not be intentionally racist) - but still, after seeing ethnic groups be portrayed as mindless, animalistic savages that make them speak like stereotypical cavemen to emphasize the fact that 'ethnic = savage beasts', it really sent my alarm bells ringing. Another reason I'd really like to talk with KI staff about all this.

Commodore
Feb 02, 2013
826
theredwallmouse on Dec 29, 2017 wrote:
Let me cut right to the chase. This is not about the player base being racist, but the game itself.

As I play through the game, I can't help but worry that I'm seeing racial stereotypes against POC everywhere I turn. Especially in the Isle of Doom arc, which is where I'm at. If you're a longtime fan of KI like me, I think it'll be easy to see that KI constructs their world around IRL cultures. Marleybone is Great Britain, Mooshu is Feudal China, Monquista is Spain during the Age of Exploration.

Kingisle pokes fun at all the cultures they portray, such as making the Monquista government vain, greedy and materialistic to reflect Spain's history with wealth. I understand this, Great Britain and Spain are not historically oppressed as far as I'm aware. The Aztecs, the Polynesians, and the Native Americans, though - are.

I have no idea how Cool Ranch represents Native folks yet, as I haven't been there, but I do know I'm not a big fan of how the Troggies and Water Moles, who, if I understand right, are based off aboriginal tribes or the Polynesians. If I'm wrong, they're certainly based off a tropical people. The game constantly calls the Troggies/Water Moles savages, whether jokingly or not, which is a seriously violent stereotype against any tribal people. It's been used by European invaders (like Spaniards) to justify pillaging, enslavement, and other atrocities I don't think are suitable for a 10+ form, and a stigma that has been around for an unfortunately long time. I also can't help but feel as if the Water Moles are being portrayed also as stupid, mostly thanks to their broken, stereotypical caveman-like dialect. Which, like being mindless savages, is another anti-POC stereotype, especially against darker skinned/black people.

But, let me emphasize - I am white. Even if my mind is open, I am surely ignorant to the discrimination and oppression of my fellow human beings simply for their culture/race. I could be overthinking things, and it is NOT my right to say for certain that these are in fact racist tropes, as the cause of my concerns is not my own culture. This is why I'm posting on the forum boards to reach to both staff and other fans alike, so I can play the game and understand what I'm dealing with.

So, to my fellow fans: Do you think Pirate101 does a poor job at representing POC cultures (Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesian Peoples, etc)? How do you think Kingsisle should improve on how they incorporate real life cultures into their worlds? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of POC players, especially if you feel like your own culture is being portrayed here.

And to any KI staff reading this, I'd like to know, if it's alright: What kind of research goes into the actual cultures you base your worlds around? Do you try to be mindful of any stigmas surrounding that culture? If my concerns are true, would you be willing to try and fix any harmful stereotypes/scenarios present in the game?
This is sickening, not the "racism" but the fact that people have to bring race into absolutely everything, this is a kids game, please leave your irl beliefs at the door and just enjoy it

Pirate Overlord
Mar 16, 2012
8862
As a Christian, let me say that I was rather disturbed by the quest called "The Temple Round". For those who haven't done/read this side quest, it requires you to gather Harpy feathers, then visit a few Immortal's shrines and make an offering - this is considered "idolatry" ( worshiping false gods ) and is strictly forbidden, not only to Christians but also Hebrews & Muslims ( if these terms are offensive, it's not intended, because I don't know the current "PC" term for these religions, sorry. ) I came to terms with this quest by asking myself "Do I actually believe I am worshiping real Gods?" The answer, of course, was "No".
The reason I'm mentioning this is that sometimes something could be "read into " a situation without being necessarily true. I believe this may be the situation here. Theredwallmouse has some legitimate concerns stemming from his/her sensitivity to race relations covering aspects of her/his life, I applaud him/her in taking time to write this post and I congratulate KI for passing the post through Moderation.
So, I'll ask you, theredwallmouse, are the "peoples" of P101 really making you uncomfortable to the point of cringing? Making you yell at your computer: "That's not right!"? Or are you perhaps over-thinking a situation?
I find many of the non-white cultures represented in this game depicted with sensitivity ( and yes, humor, but in a kind, gentle way - not harmful or crude ).
Many of us love and respect our companions whether they have "European" accents, speak Troggy or a broken English. I'm sure we wouldn't feel this way about them if they were depicted as brutish savages or lacking any less superiority than us.

Lieutenant
Apr 06, 2016
118
anecorbie on Dec 31, 2017 wrote:
There's nothing that indicates that the Watermoles are slaves ( very much unlike Krokotopia & the Manders ). They are willingly working for the Monquistans and are probably getting a good wage. Remember that the Watermoles that were against Haku considered him as behaving dishonorably. Plus, he had kidnapped their families to force them to join his cause.
Why would they revolt if they were working willingly with the Monquistans?

Admiral
Nov 01, 2013
1319
zuto4011a on Dec 31, 2017 wrote:
This is sickening, not the "racism" but the fact that people have to bring race into absolutely everything, this is a kids game, please leave your irl beliefs at the door and just enjoy it
That is exactly right.

Bosun
Dec 28, 2012
322
zuto4011a on Dec 31, 2017 wrote:
This is sickening, not the "racism" but the fact that people have to bring race into absolutely everything, this is a kids game, please leave your irl beliefs at the door and just enjoy it
I know what you mean man, it really sucks when we have to actually ACKNOWLEDGE the misjudgement, imprisonment, and innocent slaughter of others. (While some of these posts do seem to have a bit of an SJW vibe to them, I'd say everyone's opinion is worth hearing)

Bosun
Dec 28, 2012
322
Someone above made a mention of the manders in Krokotopia so I thought I'd go into that as well since this is probably going to branch out into a much larger discussion of KI as a whole. I have finished all the sidequests in Wizard101 of -takes deep breath- wizard city, krokotopia, marleybone, mooshu, wysteria, dragonspyre, grizzleheim, celestia, zafaria, avalon, and azteca - so I think I know what I'm talking about. I also have 3 110 + wizards so there's that.

The manders in Krokotopia which are shown to clearly be enslaved and oppressed. (From what I can gather, these represent slaves as a whole and not just Egyptian slaves) (Yes, this could be argued that it is meant to represent the Israelites, but I personally just don't see enough connection between the Israelites and the manders to make this assumption) [Final subpoint before I dig in, manders are specifically shown to be in many different colors (heck, there's even a whole side questline dedicated to talking about this) which leads me to believe that the manders do indeed represent POC] They are shown being forced into work, bound in freezing temperatures, killed, and even having there souls trapped in a chamber for all eternity after their deaths. The hardest dungeon in Krokotopia [not counting Zigazag and Kum-baa-yah (I think that's what it's called)] is dedicated to the wizard's journey to overthrow the Krokotopia slave master. It is a clear and obvious representation of the oppression through slavery, and I thought it was worth noting as all though it is not from Pirate101, it is still relevant to this debate.

Admiral
Oct 27, 2009
1310
I remind you that KI and Blind Mew, the story writer, for those who are new, have mentioned that our pirates start the game in a shadier moral position than they end up in, and that there is an intentional redemption arc of the story, in which our actions become more heroic, and aware and concerned, about what we are doing and why.

I think it is very fair to ask questions and give feedback. Not everyone views and responds to things the same way. I also think, the fact that KI listens, and is letting this very discussion take place on their forum is a good sign. History has many not so nice elements to it. Ignoring that completely might make for a bland story and also weaken the comic elements. Satire can, and always has been, a powerful tool for change. Theredwallmouse is still very early in this story. When you go to Monquista and see how the monkeys run their empire, that comic weapon, satire, is focused firmly on them, and they are portrayed as far from an ideal society. I'm not sure if theredwallmouse has met Gortez yet. There might be some conversations and counter positions he has yet to hear. I think the puppet show was very satirical, in showing the Monquistans' own racism. When someone in the game is calling a group savages, who is saying it? What are they showing as their own biases? What culture are they representing? In Bonnie Anne's case, interestingly, she turns out to be from a culture that was treated similarly to the watermoles in some ways, but hasn't yet seen their parallel situation. In holding up a mirror, maybe some people miss when it is a reflection, and blame the mirror, and don't see the joke that is being made at the offensive position's expense. Maybe KI could add some biting comments by an appropriate crewmember, in response to some of what the Monquistans are telling us. What does Redwallmouse think after meeting with the Gold Monkey?

Pirate Overlord
Mar 16, 2012
8862
Vulorian on Jan 1, 2018 wrote:
Why would they revolt if they were working willingly with the Monquistans?
Either because they were influenced by an Ancient magic in the tunnels or even asking for better working conditions/concessions. This is called in the Real World a strike, when workers walk out on a job for better conditions or pay.
I'm pointing out that there is nothing that shows them as being abused & forced to work for the Monquistans. Also, please remember that Haku kidnapped the families of those Watermoles who wouldn't join him. He is hardly a heroic rebel.

Bosun
Dec 28, 2012
322
This is the last time I'll chime in on the original post as I would like to look at it from a logical perspective without any of my opinions. I like to evaluate things like this by asking random, sometimes needless questions, so I'll post my thought process below:

The argument is whether Pirate101 is racist. They say yes. Their reasons are posted in the original post. These reasons are relevant. But they might be presuming something.

And here is where my fear is. I asked myself "Are they presuming something illegitimate" and my worry with most of the posts here is the arguments are based off of the first 12 levels of the game. They are basing it off of what they have seen so far, when in reality once you've seen the whole game, you can see that the Monquistans are far worse of a people than the water moles are portrayed to be. I fear that others are making hasty generalizations and being turned off from the game, when in reality just 5 levels further and you can see how horrible the Monquistans are.

Pirate Overlord
Mar 16, 2012
8862
Alex the Pirate on Jan 2, 2018 wrote:
I know what you mean man, it really sucks when we have to actually ACKNOWLEDGE the misjudgement, imprisonment, and innocent slaughter of others. (While some of these posts do seem to have a bit of an SJW vibe to them, I'd say everyone's opinion is worth hearing)
SJW? What's that?
When I did the quests in Krokotopia, I connected the enslaved Manders with "Egyptian" slavery ( and historically, the Israelites weren't the only race to be enslaved by this empire ).
There is an example of slavery in P101 but it's very subtle and connected to a side quest. I don't know if you have a swashbuckler character but Samocles is a gladiator and if you know about Roman history then you know that gladiators were slaves. After we defeat him, he's freed and joins your crew ( if you're a swashbuckler. ) This comes out in the quest dialogue and it's mentioned in his Rogue's Gallery.
In fact, I recommend to Theredwallmouse to view the Rogue's Gallery videos posted on You-Tube. This may give you a new way of looking at these characters.

Petty Officer
Oct 29, 2011
95
zuto4011a on Dec 31, 2017 wrote:
This is sickening, not the "racism" but the fact that people have to bring race into absolutely everything, this is a kids game, please leave your irl beliefs at the door and just enjoy it
I totally agree, sometimes I feel as is people are looking really hard into something just to complain about it.

Commodore
May 31, 2009
872
theredwallmouse on Dec 29, 2017 wrote:
Let me cut right to the chase. This is not about the player base being racist, but the game itself.

As I play through the game, I can't help but worry that I'm seeing racial stereotypes against POC everywhere I turn. Especially in the Isle of Doom arc, which is where I'm at. If you're a longtime fan of KI like me, I think it'll be easy to see that KI constructs their world around IRL cultures. Marleybone is Great Britain, Mooshu is Feudal China, Monquista is Spain during the Age of Exploration.

Kingisle pokes fun at all the cultures they portray, such as making the Monquista government vain, greedy and materialistic to reflect Spain's history with wealth. I understand this, Great Britain and Spain are not historically oppressed as far as I'm aware. The Aztecs, the Polynesians, and the Native Americans, though - are.

I have no idea how Cool Ranch represents Native folks yet, as I haven't been there, but I do know I'm not a big fan of how the Troggies and Water Moles, who, if I understand right, are based off aboriginal tribes or the Polynesians. If I'm wrong, they're certainly based off a tropical people. The game constantly calls the Troggies/Water Moles savages, whether jokingly or not, which is a seriously violent stereotype against any tribal people. It's been used by European invaders (like Spaniards) to justify pillaging, enslavement, and other atrocities I don't think are suitable for a 10+ form, and a stigma that has been around for an unfortunately long time. I also can't help but feel as if the Water Moles are being portrayed also as stupid, mostly thanks to their broken, stereotypical caveman-like dialect. Which, like being mindless savages, is another anti-POC stereotype, especially against darker skinned/black people.

But, let me emphasize - I am white. Even if my mind is open, I am surely ignorant to the discrimination and oppression of my fellow human beings simply for their culture/race. I could be overthinking things, and it is NOT my right to say for certain that these are in fact racist tropes, as the cause of my concerns is not my own culture. This is why I'm posting on the forum boards to reach to both staff and other fans alike, so I can play the game and understand what I'm dealing with.

So, to my fellow fans: Do you think Pirate101 does a poor job at representing POC cultures (Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesian Peoples, etc)? How do you think Kingsisle should improve on how they incorporate real life cultures into their worlds? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of POC players, especially if you feel like your own culture is being portrayed here.

And to any KI staff reading this, I'd like to know, if it's alright: What kind of research goes into the actual cultures you base your worlds around? Do you try to be mindful of any stigmas surrounding that culture? If my concerns are true, would you be willing to try and fix any harmful stereotypes/scenarios present in the game?
The worlds of the Spiral are portrayals of either historical or literary events with a humorous fantasy tone where we, as the player, are allowed to insert ourselves in the altered narrative. Yes, KI takes real issues of the past and uses them to create engaging storylines. No, that act in and of itself is not racism.

They are not always apparent at surface level, but there are plenty of deeper dialogues within the story. Children aren't likely to notice these. Adults and older teens may. When we recognize the unfair treatment of one in-game group by another, our character generally becomes a champion for good despite having grey morals overall.

NPCs indeed call the Water Moles and Troggies savages. Yes, we've all (hopefully) read the dialogue and can't deny that. However, the NPCs using that descriptor are generally the Monquistan explorers and nobles who are simply there to profit on the exploitation of the environment and people. We all remember the Columbian Exchange from history class, right? We know it was wrong of the Spaniards then, and we're not supposed to agree with the Monquistans and their actions now - they're simply a (heavily satirized) force we have to coexist with, despite their obvious faults. I also do not think the Water Moles are characterized as dumb based upon their dialogue: proficiency in the Spiral's common language has no bearing on intelligence.

There's also the possibility that this is all over-speculation of a family-oriented game and we're simply meant to enjoy an RPG adventure story about fantasy pirates. We aren't living our characters' lives. You may be reading too much into the situations in the game based upon hyperbolized experiences and mindsets in other settings (Tumblr?). Should we not fight anyone at all because it would characterize both them and our character as violent? If you really believe these scenarios to be such a problem that you are uncomfortable and label the game as racist, perhaps Pirate101 isn't for you.