DLC for Dummies

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Well said Shamus. Couldn't agree more.

Does every gaming site I go to have to have the same article? This is the third video gaming site where I see an article complaining about complainers. If the criticsm is so stupid, why is every gaming site publishing multiple page refutations of it?

Yes Shamus, people are born idiots, and many people don't try to adapt, but there's nothing we can do about it I'm afraid. The people who bombed Portal 2 for 2$ DLC are the same people who pay $60 for Madden DLC.

smut:
Does every gaming site I go to have to have the same article? This is the third video gaming site where I see an article complaining about complainers. If the criticsm is so stupid, why is every gaming site publishing multiple page refutations of it?

Sadly, this. Low hanging fruit, I guess.

All I know is that I got a cool copy of my Fancy Fedora from TF2 and a companion cube hat for free, and that was infinitely more than I expected.

The "cash cow" aspect is for those who have more money than they know what to do with. People pay upwards of $2000 for some TF2 hats. You can't say that there isn't some justification in repeating the store.

Also, I managed to play through SP and Coop without seeing the store. How did all the review bombers find it so quickly and instantly decide that it ruined the game?

To tack onto Shamus' article, I'd like to append my particular distaste for DLC that adds achievements to games.

If a particular game is really good (Mass Effect 2 in my case) I'll work towards getting all the achievements (Dragon Age 2 as well). If I don't think a particular DLC will be worth my cash, I don't buy it. But some games will automatically append those achievements to my gamer profile showing that I'm missing them when I don't even have the content. It makes me feel like I'm missing out on something I never wanted in the first place.

Other than that, great article Shamus, I agree. Well done sir!

I suspect the gaming public longs for the days when you would BUY a game and then you would OWN the game. All of it. Forever. Period. Now your money only buys a piece of the game. For the price of a few DLCs, you could have paid for the damn sequal instead of a handful of disjointed extra pieces.

Can you imagine if movies did something like this? Oh, right. They already do, it's called the Director's Cut, Special Edition, ect. Well that's just sad.

There's naught to be done for it but tell those corporate jackals what you think of their DLC schemes every time they dare show their faces and speak with your feet and wallet. Sick of being milked by the corporate machine? Quit. Forsake the brand. Play something else, check out the indie scene, only buy stuff from companies that DON'T DLC milk you. If you insist on grappling the big brand teat like a starving addict then you've earned your milking.

Reject the marketing. Curse the brand. Hell, go pirate if you need your AAA fix so badly. But not 1 coin for the bastards. Not a 1.

Ok, here is some comment on the day on DLC's. A lot of people think that if a DLC is offered on day one, it could as well have been in the game itself, but the content was 'split' to be offerered in a DLC.
From my own experience I can tell you: It doesn't work like that.

When a game is developed, the game enters a beta period. In this period, nothing can be added anymore. No scripts, no code, no models. Only bugs can be fixed. It is a period in which a lot of testing happens. Testers, translators, level designers and coders can be quite busy in this period, to fix the bugs. Game designers and graphics people are not busy. They can no longer contribute to the current project. So two things can happens:

1: The people start working on a new game
2: The people start working on DLC stuff.

Even when the game is done, it takes a bit of time before it hits the (virtual) shelves.

Graphic content like a new model or a new animation takes not so much time to design, make and test. When working with a good schedule, visual DLC content can be made to be available at launch, without taking manhours away from the production of the coregame.

And yes, I've been there, done that, and got three tshirts ;)

kingmob:

John Funk:

Please read that post again. A game's disk is often content-locked many months before the game actually ships. And the disk itself starts printing probably a month before ship. That you think otherwise just demonstrates ignorance of the matter at hand.

Digital delivery allows them to deliver the content alongside the disk at launch, not on it.

The point is they do not 'lock' the content for shits and giggles. Disk printing is not the reason, the content itself is. In a development cycle, what you mention simply doesn't happen and I know this from first hand experience. They do not fire these people, they simply start working on the next project.

Well, sometimes they do get fired. In a best case scenario, they just move on.

And yes, I know how it works. I'm trying to simplify it for everyone else :P It's for testing, ironing out bugs, etc. The content is locked either way.

You can either fire them, start moving onto another project, or finish working on stuff that was cut.

Shamus Young:
Hate it because protagonist Chell is just a boring analytical Latina woman instead of an awesome white Ex-Navy SEAL dude with short brown hair.

Actually she's not just Latina.

Snippets from Wikipedia Page:

Alésia Toyoko Glidewell (born December 8, 1978) is an American voice actress and owner of a small film production company.

....

____________

Roles
____________

Sly 2: Band of Thieves - Carmelita Fox, Constable Neyla, Clock-La
Star Fox: Assault - Krystal, Aparoid Queen
Portal - model for face and body of Chell
....

Personal Life
____________________

Glidewell is of Brazilian and Japanese descent. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and is an animal lover.[3] Alesia's Nickname in high school was Toy, a shortening of her middle name, Toyoko.

So there three kicks in the balls through a single character to the guy in marketing who believes that all video game protagonists should be 20-30 year old handsome white guys, with short brown hair, and clean shaven or with stubble.

Yeah, I wouldn't snip any from the score of a game for a DLC but...

You were a whole lot less lenient on Bethesda for its Horse Armor DLC... which is pretty much the same thing. People just seem to be more lenient towards Valve.

And anyway, didn't you hate Steam some time ago?

All in all, I liked Portal but haven't bought Portal 2 yet, nor plan to buy it anytime soon. I'll wait till the price drops. Not because I have a vendetta against it but because that's what I do to games that are 8 or less hours long: I wait till their price reflects their duration. I don't know, I'm a Strategy and RPG nut, I guess I'm used for my games to just last more than a day.

Still, I find Portal to be massively overrated. It is a nice puzzler with amusing writing, but good Gods it has a lot of flaws that are allowed let slip just because it is Valve. When any other game is ludicrously linear to the point of being a straight line where you can only handle the situation the same way every time the game is called uninspired and lacking of replayability. Half-Life and Portal have a free pass however, for no apparent reason.

Portal only seems so good because our standards have lowered tremendous amounts, and it stands tall above any Call of Duty, Gears of Wars or Tough Guyson in Grayish Brown Land in writing, design and gameplay, but it shares length and variety with those.

Lastly, I've heard they pretty much skewed the freedom to place portals, as in, the valid surfaces where you can place portals (which was pretty much EVERY surface in Portal) are now few and far between. How did they compensate for that?

Oh please, it's just fucking outfits, I didn't see anyone bitch about this on TF2.

Also, I've played for 12 hours and I'm nowhere near done.

Podunk:

constantcompile:
If somebody sold me a house and when I moved in the toilet had a sign asking me to pay an extra 20% to unlock it I'd be pretty upset. It shouldn't be different for a game.

This isn't about toilets. Portal 2 has several toilets in it. It's about hats. If you bought a house and it did not come with a hat, would you have been swindled?

Uh... That weren't my post, mate.

Therumancer:

Portal 2 might be a great game objectively, heck maybe I'll love it when I eventually play it down the road, and be there two years later scraming it's praises belatedly (since I imagine it will be that long before the price goes down far enough for me to buy it). However, that doesn't change that what we're seeing here is a the result of actual reception from a good portion of the audience.

This week on "How to Undermine Your Own Argument" we bring you a great example by Therumancer.

You aren't allowed to have a nine paragraph tirade about how something is so bad, and ruining the industry, and is totally driven by greed, when you don't even own the game yet. Have you personally looked in the store yet? No. Have you seen the very tiny selection of items, all of them entirely cosmetic? No. Have you bothered to see that it WARNS YOU when items you can unlock naturally can be purchased? Nope.

I won't debate that Valve's timing on having it ingame the first day was the smartest, because I don't think it was personally. But what Shamus says is exactly spot on. And I'm not even someone that generally has a problem with Project 10 Dollar, since I only buy games new. (Though I draw the line at preorder bullshit. I have a nasty habit of pirating games I own just to circumvent preorder shit) The way Valve did the store is as unobtrusive as possible. Even TF2 has the big annoying Store Window on your main menu, the Portal 2 screen has it buried under an icon that you could not even realize it was a button, as many posters here have mentioned. And going back to TF2, the store was something fans wanted. So Valve took a leap of faith that people would want this for cosmetic fanwankery.

So it's okay that people go onto shitty websites like Metacritic and firebomb the user score with 0's as some sort of horribly misguided protest? Almost always having the audacity to say "the game isn't bad, dlc is teh ghey, so zero points!" Calling these sort of irrational people idiots as Shamus did is reasonable, I have much nastier words I choose to use. Sociopath. Retard. Entitled dipshit.

Jennacide:

Therumancer:

Portal 2 might be a great game objectively, heck maybe I'll love it when I eventually play it down the road, and be there two years later scraming it's praises belatedly (since I imagine it will be that long before the price goes down far enough for me to buy it). However, that doesn't change that what we're seeing here is a the result of actual reception from a good portion of the audience.

This week on "How to Undermine Your Own Argument" we bring you a great example by Therumancer.

You aren't allowed to have a nine paragraph tirade about how something is so bad, and ruining the industry, and is totally driven by greed, when you don't even own the game yet. Have you personally looked in the store yet? No. Have you seen the very tiny selection of items, all of them entirely cosmetic? No. Have you bothered to see that it WARNS YOU when items you can unlock naturally can be purchased? Nope.

I won't debate that Valve's timing on having it ingame the first day was the smartest, because I don't think it was personally. But what Shamus says is exactly spot on. And I'm not even someone that generally has a problem with Project 10 Dollar, since I only buy games new. (Though I draw the line at preorder bullshit. I have a nasty habit of pirating games I own just to circumvent preorder shit) The way Valve did the store is as unobtrusive as possible. Even TF2 has the big annoying Store Window on your main menu, the Portal 2 screen has it buried under an icon that you could not even realize it was a button, as many posters here have mentioned. And going back to TF2, the store was something fans wanted. So Valve took a leap of faith that people would want this for cosmetic fanwankery.

So it's okay that people go onto shitty websites like Metacritic and firebomb the user score with 0's as some sort of horribly misguided protest? Almost always having the audacity to say "the game isn't bad, dlc is teh ghey, so zero points!" Calling these sort of irrational people idiots as Shamus did is reasonable, I have much nastier words I choose to use. Sociopath. Retard. Entitled dipshit.

Before you go off on me, you might want to head back and read what I actually said. I have made no criticisms of "Portal 2" and it's quality as a game. Thus not having played the game is irrelevent. I am simply commenting on the reception it's receiving, which is something I'm in the same exact place for as someone who has played the game.

I did comment on DLC, that is true, but then again I say the same thing about DLC in general. It has nothing to do with Valve doing it specifically, since I've said the same exact thing about companies like Capcom releasing stuff that is just as trivial over the years.

HOWEVER, at the same time you might notice I also said that I think DLC has had little to do with what we saw with the rating slide I was commenting on. The reason being is that people have been critical of DLC for other games in the past, and it has had no noticible effect. People seem to be argueing that what we saw was the result of trolls, but then again trolls have been around for a long time, as have people angry over this issue. That means that for a visible ratings slide there had to be more going on than some kind of "raid" against the game.

I have no opinion on the game itself, because as you note I have not played it. I have not criticized it or it's quality. All I have said is that I think there are a good number of dissatisfied customers.

Now, if you read the responses I've gotten to my post you'll notice that plenty of people jumped down my throat the way you did, because they went into "attack fanboy" mode simply because someone said something that they thought was bad about th egame or their favorite company. Most people relented when I responded and they went back to read what I actually said. A few others have actually come out in support of what I said, after having read what I wrote the first time.

You might disagree with my analysis of the situation, but don't jump down my throat for things that are well out of context to what I was saying, or act like having not played the game has anything to do with what I'm discussing. The point I was making about having not played the game was specifically to point out that I am about as neutral as your going to get as far as the game itself goes, I don't love it or hate it, I'm looking entirely at the reception.

Now, since I originally wrote the message you responded to, the ratings have increased. Of course whether this is due to genuine reviews, or people padding the score, is impossible to say. Given what Bioware tried, it's quite possible that Valve managed to find a way to shill their own product but didn't get caught. Or perhaps things have just evened out to an accurate review score which is below the professional ones, but not terrible.

The bottom line here is that the fan response is less positive than anticipated overall, and notably lower than the professional review score. Mostly the point of my post is that the point losses early on that caused this aren't likely to be caused by the DLC backlash (even if I hate DLC) or some kind of troll activity, because those things generally don't have much of an effect when they hit other games, so why would they suddenly matter here? The only reason to argue that it's suddenly a big deal, is if your basically trying to defend this game BECAUSE it's "Portal 2" or a Valve game. If it was another game series losing points, would you immediatly assume it HAD to be trolls of one sort or another? Probably not.

Couldn't have said it better Shamus.
Well done.

*standing ovation*

Why is this game so hated for Day 1 DLC when there is worse offenders out there?

Relic entertainment recently released a DLC for their Dawn of War 2 game and in the store pages sold four or five extra DLC that can be applied on top of the last DLC. The content sold would provide new weapons and equipment that would provide new abilities in MP that is difficult to acquire in game. DLC on top of DLC.

Mass Effect series released DLC that had weapons that would alter the gaming experience significantly by weapons or by equipment. They provided new characters and side-quests to play.

Deadspace 2 had DLC content that was sealed off from the PC community. The additional weapons and equipment was found to be in the PC game but sealed off via coding. There was some hate from that but not this type of response.

Of all games that could get hit with this type of over-reaction , why Portal 2?
The only thing I can think of is that some of the dolts that brought the Potato Pack felt ripped off and had to to try to hurt Valve in some way.

I must disagree on one point in that article. I've been murdered so many times in Portal 2 I think I know what Bill Murray felt like in Ground Hog Day. Otherwise I think the article hits it dead on.

Play the game or shut up. Please don't drag the rest of through a lie of post so you can fess up to NOT PLAYING THE GAME!

Better yet, get the game and buy the DLC!

Then complain about it! And Valve! And everything else in your myopic view of the world.

Good sir, I do believe you have put my exact thoughts on the mass of raving lunatics into words. Not just any words, but words put so eloquently, yet simply, that anyone with half a brain cannot possibly hope to argue against them without sounding like, well, a raving lunatic. I... I think I love you...

That said, portal 2 was a brilliant game and if all you took from it was that 'HURR DLC R BAD' then you need to be added to the depopulation list and killed to raise the overall IQ of the world.

I love the portal 2 DLC. It's a fantastic way to personalise your favourite robot and make it different from someone else's. To an extent obviously. I also have to agree that this grief over the Portal 2 DLC really does need to be aimed at companies like Blizzard because they do DLC really badly and Portal 2 IS the only game that does it properly, with no impact on the actual game and like Shamus said there's nothing "missing" from the core of the game. You also don't feel that someone else is getting a better experience just because they forked out the extra 3 dollars/euro or any other currency available.

P.S if you don't like it then don't pay for it. No one is forcing you.

Im probs more communist than anyone else on this site and i cant really see the problem with the DLC for portal 2. I dont really think the mass effect 2 DLC was rinsing fans for cash either.

Well its good to see that people spend their keystrokes arguing this rather than the actuel future of gaming.

Therumancer:

Now, if you read the responses I've gotten to my post you'll notice that plenty of people jumped down my throat the way you did, because they went into "attack fanboy" mode simply because someone said something that they thought was bad about th egame or their favorite company.

People are jumping down your throat because you wrote us an inane essay with no evidence to back it up except user reviews from people who we are expected to believe finished the entire game, singleplayer, co-op and all, in four hours. Bottom line, you were simply wrong. The reaction to Portal 2 has been overwhelmingly positive,as sales and critical reviews indicate, and even your own source has turned on you.

By the way, I admire the mental gymnastics required in scolding people for calling negative reviews of the game metabombing while insinuating that the positive wave of reviews which came a few days later as a plot by Valve. Seriously, it's impressive.

If I were you, I'd quit while I was only a few miles behind.

I refuse to believe anyone clocked Portal 2 in 4 hours without using a guide, or at least amking a determined effort to speedrun just so they could say they did. Way to enjoy the game guys, how much of the awesome dialogue did you miss?

As for the DLC, it completely fails to interest me. I don't even know if it's available on the 360 which is the version I have.

When BioWare released alternate character clothing for ME2, did people bitch? Well, they said it was stupid, but no one downgraded the game for it. The game is is unaffected by what your characters look like. What about horse armor? Stupid, but it didn't make Oblivion a bad game.

Valve have spoiled their community and given them a sense of false entitlement. I don't understand how a developer that gives so much can have a community that's so fickle.
They loved Half Life and Half Life 2! They've been a Valve fan for 15 years! They played Counter-strike and Team Fortress Classic for years! Ongoing support for online multiplayer, unprecedented access to mod tools, huge community involvement. Free rolling updates to TF2? Thanks Valve!

Charge us for completely inconsequential items? Fuck you Valve, you've just lost all my loyalty by costing me nothing.

Remember when people were cheating for hats in TF2 by creating idling lobbies so they could just sit around and do nothing waiting for the hats to randomly unlock? I remember people completely losing their SHIT at Valve - not just because the lost their ill-gotten hats, but were no longer eligible to receive the halo that was made available to non-cheaters!

You might as well rob a store and bargain with the judge "It's bullshit I have to go to jail, you already made me give back the money!"

smut:
Does every gaming site I go to have to have the same article? This is the third video gaming site where I see an article complaining about complainers. If the criticsm is so stupid, why is every gaming site publishing multiple page refutations of it?

Are you suggesting that writers on this site should just not publish any articles on topics that have appeared elsewhere on the internet?

Well, you heard it from the marketing genius. Time to close your doors, Escapist. There's nothing for you to do anymore.

Kermi:

smut:
Does every gaming site I go to have to have the same article? This is the third video gaming site where I see an article complaining about complainers. If the criticsm is so stupid, why is every gaming site publishing multiple page refutations of it?

Are you suggesting that writers on this site should just not publish any articles on topics that have appeared elsewhere on the internet?

Well, you heard it from the marketing genius. Time to close your doors, Escapist. There's nothing for you to do anymore.

Nope, not what I suggested as I didn't suggest anything. Please try again.

smut:

Kermi:

smut:
Does every gaming site I go to have to have the same article? This is the third video gaming site where I see an article complaining about complainers. If the criticsm is so stupid, why is every gaming site publishing multiple page refutations of it?

Are you suggesting that writers on this site should just not publish any articles on topics that have appeared elsewhere on the internet?

Well, you heard it from the marketing genius. Time to close your doors, Escapist. There's nothing for you to do anymore.

Nope, not what I suggested as I didn't suggest anything. Please try again.

Then what exactly was the purpose of your complaint? Was it necessary for us to know that you had read the same story multiple times across multiple websites? If you were already familiar with the complaint and the criticism, why did you read this one?

When we get right down to it, I have to ask what it is you're being critical of and how you expect the Escapist to rectify it.

Caligula_II:

Therumancer:

Now, if you read the responses I've gotten to my post you'll notice that plenty of people jumped down my throat the way you did, because they went into "attack fanboy" mode simply because someone said something that they thought was bad about th egame or their favorite company.

People are jumping down your throat because you wrote us an inane essay with no evidence to back it up except user reviews from people who we are expected to believe finished the entire game, singleplayer, co-op and all, in four hours. Bottom line, you were simply wrong. The reaction to Portal 2 has been overwhelmingly positive,as sales and critical reviews indicate, and even your own source has turned on you.

By the way, I admire the mental gymnastics required in scolding people for calling negative reviews of the game metabombing while insinuating that the positive wave of reviews which came a few days later as a plot by Valve. Seriously, it's impressive.

If I were you, I'd quit while I was only a few miles behind.

No, because what I am saying is quite reasonable, it's just something they don't want to hear.

I'm perceived as a greater threat (as much as there can be a threat on something that is so trivial in the overall scheme of societal events) than some one paragraph guy who shoots off a message in all caps.

Really, the entire thing comes down to perception, and to be honest I can almost guarantee that a lot of the people responding negatively to me, will be right there saying the same thing when a piece of DLC comes along that they don't care for, or think is going too far. This is a BIG debate all through the gaming community, and people are hardly consistant on it. The fanboy accusation is simply because I know from experience that if this was certain other companies like Capcom, they would have their defenders, but nowhere near as many or as vocal. Valve is kind of getting defended because it's Valve, and the game is "Portal 2" which is a sequel to a game that became an unusual darling in the eyes of so many people.

Whether your consistant or not is irrelevent, I'm just saying that the breakdown on who and how many is on what side does tend to depend on the specific game, content, and company.

The Youth Counselor:

Shamus Young:
Hate it because protagonist Chell is just a boring analytical Latina woman instead of an awesome white Ex-Navy SEAL dude with short brown hair.

Actually she's not just Latina.

Snippets from Wikipedia Page:

Alésia Toyoko Glidewell (born December 8, 1978) is an American voice actress and owner of a small film production company.

....

____________

Roles
____________

Sly 2: Band of Thieves - Carmelita Fox, Constable Neyla, Clock-La
Star Fox: Assault - Krystal, Aparoid Queen
Portal - model for face and body of Chell
....

Personal Life
____________________

Glidewell is of Brazilian and Japanese descent. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and is an animal lover.[3] Alesia's Nickname in high school was Toy, a shortening of her middle name, Toyoko.

So there three kicks in the balls through a single character to the guy in marketing who believes that all video game protagonists should be 20-30 year old handsome white guys, with short brown hair, and clean shaven or with stubble.

I fail to see how this point is relevant and your closing comments can be seen as anything but racist.

Therumancer:

I'm perceived as a greater threat (as much as there can be a threat on something that is so trivial in the overall scheme of societal events) than some one paragraph guy who shoots off a message in all caps.

Nobody thinks of you as a threat. Get over yourself.

Therumancer:

Really, the entire thing comes down to perception

No it doesn't, a games reception and appeal to consumers is completely measurable.

Therumancer:
Valve is kind of getting defended because it's Valve, and the game is "Portal 2" which is a sequel to a game that became an unusual darling in the eyes of so many people.

Maybe people just like the damn game?

Therumancer:
Whether your consistant or not is irrelevent, I'm just saying that the breakdown on who and how many is on what side does tend to depend on the specific game, content, and company.

So you're saying good games from good developers have more supporters than bad games from bad developers? Fascinating.

This is not about opinion. I'm not even discussing your views on DLC. My point is that this game IS a huge success with gamers, and you can't accept that this isn't because we're all drolling valve fanboys.

YOU ARE -NOT- MAKING SENSE. First you say there is no meta bombing, and that negative reviews from only a few hours after release are legitimate. Then, when better reviews come in, and its clear that the game was extremely well recieved, you say that THESE reviews are illegitimate, or the result of fanboys, or an insidious plot by Valve. All you're really doing is trying to discredit any supporters of the game, while holding up the word of the few dissenters as gospel.

"Yeah BRAH I finished the game in 2 hours!"

Liars all of them. They just want something to trash, and show off how fast they can complete the game. I saw a review that said he finished in 5 hours with out rushing. BULL@#%$. Wow. I am really worked up, I apologise forum.

Therumancer:
The fanboy accusation is simply because I know from experience that if this was certain other companies like Capcom, they would have their defenders, but nowhere near as many or as vocal. Valve is kind of getting defended because it's Valve, and the game is "Portal 2" which is a sequel to a game that became an unusual darling in the eyes of so many people.

I don't always (or often) agree with you, but in this case I most certainly do. Any other company does something like this and they get slammed six ways to Sunday for fleecing their customers. Just imagine if Activision did this for Black Ops. If on day 1 they had a sideline marketplace to sell in game gun trinkets and camo patterns. You'd still hear the ringing of the mob shouts now.. even if the members of said mob hadn't touched a CoD game in years.

And then we get news that Valve may be eliminating solo focused modes from their games. Any other company? Wow.. we've already seen this with other beloved series (AC:Brotherhood before it came out, anyone?). They get slaughtered. Valve, on the other hand, gets "But they've had multi player in their games for years! It doesn't mean anything!"

Caligula_II:
[
So you're saying good games from good developers have more supporters than bad games from bad developers? Fascinating.

This is not about opinion. I'm not even discussing your views on DLC. My point is that this game IS a huge success with gamers, and you can't accept that this isn't because we're all drolling valve fanboys.

YOU ARE -NOT- MAKING SENSE. First you say there is no meta bombing, and that negative reviews from only a few hours after release are legitimate. Then, when better reviews come in, and its clear that the game was extremely well recieved, you say that THESE reviews are illegitimate, or the result of fanboys, or an insidious plot by Valve. All you're really doing is trying to discredit any supporters of the game, while holding up the word of the few dissenters as gospel.

No, I'm simply observing trends. I really have no motivation either way since it's not my type of game. I'm pretty much the closest thing your going to find to a neutral party on a subject like this.

Irregardless of whether it's fandom or something else, doesn't change the fact that a lot of people defending the ratings are in some serious denial. The entire arguement is that the ratings dropped because of metabombing from forces that have been out there for ages, take action frequently, and ultimatly don't amount to a hill of beans. Saying that they had a huge influance here in dropping the ratings all of a sudden is simply looking for a scapegoat.

A sudden reversal of rating trends, especially given recently uncovered attempts at damage control by companies, shows that it was a reaction. A more legitimate reversal of fortunes would have happened gradually, over a period of time. The initial reaction on the ratings being what was probably the most accurate indicator of reception, despite disturbing people, because that was from people who had just picked up the game and tried it out. Most of both the sales and ratings taking place over the first day or so, that's when everyone is more active in regards to a game. If a couple months from now the ratings slowly, and painfully inched up, then I would buy a better reaction over time, but these sudden movements are a problem, especially the upward trend simply because of the timing where it happened.

What's more there is more to the whole rating control thing than just looking at what happened with "Dragon Age 2". I don't buy the guy who was caught was acting alone, more than the company blew it before they could seriously get started. It's also a matter of how you have efforts by companies to do thngs like surpress negative reviews until the initial sales/reaction period where most of the business is done has transpired. While this kind of thing (which came to the forefront with the release of "Arkham Asylum") mainly affects professional reviewers, it shows the basic attitude of the industry, and what we saw with "Dragon Age 2" shows that they definatly haven't changed their attitudes and are interested in trying to control user reviews as well.

Understand that overall I am far more critical of the industry of a whole, I'm not picking on Valve or "Portal 2" selectively. It's just the current "news of the moment" on the same issues I have been commenting on for years.... and honestly a lot of my accusations of fanboyism are because of the differance in reception (which is by no means always positive) simply because of the game/company involved.

I'll also be blunt, reviews are top heavy, especially professional ones. At it's worst "Portal 2" was apparently rated as a 4.7. That is a tiny bit below average, not an "OMG, this game is the suck" rating on a 10 point scale. It only seems terrible when you consider that professional reviewers rarely rate games below a 7, and even that takes a lot. Companies get upset at anything under an 8 it seems, especially if they are buying ad space. Users are not quite as limited on their scale.

Now, understand that "Portal 2" is a sequel, and covered a lot of the same material as the first game did, but it isn't new anymnore. What's more the arena it's competing in is a bit differant, because what's awesome as an extra feature attached to another release, faces a differant catagory of judgement when viewed as a stand alone 'AAA' title. Things like the famously quirky John Coulton song were so awesome because they were unexpected, but here having the same basic kind of song at the end of the game isn't a huge surprise.

I'm not critiqueing the game, but pointing out that it's a sequel, and was never really rated all THAT badly. With a lot of the freshness gone from the game after how heavily "Portal" was promoted and lionized, and of course the "Still Alive" levels pack, it's quite possible that a lot of the the player base that were not ultra hard core, came away from this being a bit disappointing. It wouldn't be the first time the surprise success of a modestly budgeted production has lead to a big budget sequel that was heavily promoted, but wound up falling flat as far as the users went, despite professional reviewers screaming about how awesome it was, and advertising being streamed everywhere.

Looking at this from a neutral perspective, as someone who is neither a hater OR a fanboy, that is definatly what seems to have happened here. While it wasn't my analogy it seems similar to say "Blair Witch" and the "Blair Witch 2" sequel that flopped with a lot of fans, despite coming along with a huge amount of tie-in material ranging from young adult novels, to video games, and apparently made enough money to keep the franchise alive for a while despite everything.

Hear, hear!

Sir John the Net Knight:

The Youth Counselor:

Shamus Young:
Hate it because protagonist Chell is just a boring analytical Latina woman instead of an awesome white Ex-Navy SEAL dude with short brown hair.

Actually she's not just Latina.

Snippets from Wikipedia Page:

Alésia Toyoko Glidewell (born December 8, 1978) is an American voice actress and owner of a small film production company.

....

____________

Roles
____________

Sly 2: Band of Thieves - Carmelita Fox, Constable Neyla, Clock-La
Star Fox: Assault - Krystal, Aparoid Queen
Portal - model for face and body of Chell
....

Personal Life
____________________

Glidewell is of Brazilian and Japanese descent. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and is an animal lover.[3] Alesia's Nickname in high school was Toy, a shortening of her middle name, Toyoko.

So there three kicks in the balls through a single character to the guy in marketing who believes that all video game protagonists should be 20-30 year old handsome white guys, with short brown hair, and clean shaven or with stubble.

I fail to see how this point is relevant and your closing comments can be seen as anything but racist.

It's a response to the original article. Chell is not just Latina.

It also references an article on the Escapist where anonymous developers claimed that Activision mandated that video game protagonists needed to be male and white.

It also references this article.

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