In Defense of Hepler Mode

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Dexter111:
As for what she said, no it's stupid. If someone wants to skip parts of your games (which extends to movies too really) or if parts of your game can be skipped you did it wrong and fail abhorrently as a game designer, go back to the drawing board and try again instead of introducing "skipping modes" or try not structuring your game around "combat sections", "cinematics sections" and "story/talky sections" or just make a movie instead.

Speaking of pent up frustration...

Adam Jensen:
It wouldn't have been such a bad statement to make if she was a good writer. But she's one of those idiots who thinks that Twilight is cool. And she's awful with Bioware fanbase. My new mission in life is to earn enough money to buy a controlling share of EA, fire that stupid bitch and set Bioware on the right track of making great RPG's again.

Didn't read the whole article. Also has no idea what he's talking about.

draythefingerless:
personally, if someone is trying to skip parts of your game, thats a flaw of your game.

Not necessarily.

Nohra:
Two, skipping the gameplay in a game is basically saying "I want to read a book/watch a movie." If the experience is designed so you can skip the parts of a game that are actually a game, then there's no point in doing the combat/puzzles/whatever anyways. They're not adding to the experience at that point. You can't build up a character as being a complete and total badass and oh my god how are we going to defeat this guy he's so tough, then have a little button that says "Push X to kill boss!"

Didn't read the whole article.

FredTheUndead:
The idea is ludicrous because games are a package. The combat should be setup so as to add to the pacing of the whole experience. Say the characters go into a dungeon, you hit this stupid skip button, then it shows them at the bottom looking ragged and exhausted. You have just cut a big chunk of game and destroyed the pacing. If your problem is that the combat is shitty, the solution isn't to skip it, it's to NOT HAVE SHITTY COMBAT. The very idea is giving developers an excuse to be lazy and also reeks of again marketing games to people who don't like games (such as, demonstrably, Hepler). That, as Yahtzee said, is like marketing books to the illiterate.

Didn't read the whole article. Also..

As for Hepler herself, while the community at the time certainly didn't handle things correctly, she IS nothing less than a living tumor, one of many Bioware developed and rotted down to nothing because of.

Dick.

WanderingFool:
Something that im curious about, if you find the combat as nothing more than an obstacle, I would have to ask why play the game? If you just want to see the story, watch a playthough on Youtube, there are pleanty there.

Didn't read the whole article.

I could make a drinking game out of this.

Isn't this pretty much what created the entire Let's Play concept? Enjoy the entertainment of the game without slogging through the actual gameplay and loading times?

I love games, but god do I love let's plays.

DrVornoff:
hurrr

I read the article, I merely disagree with it. His example of combat being a chore in the Witcher 2 could be improved merely by having Witcher 2 combat not be shit in the first place.

And yeah no Hepler is awful. I don't dislike her because she's a woman or anything (that'd be an odd place to come from for a variety of reasons), I hate her because she's a bad writer who clearly dislikes games, and who when originally called out for her bad writing basically used "you just hate it because I'm a woman" as a defense.

Fr]anc[is:

A properly constructed dialog wheel should let you make decisions about how things play out in the world, let you use your dialog-based skills to get your way, and uncover new lore.

That sentence should read "A properly constructed dialog system". It does not have to be a wheel, and in fact the wheel is stupidly limiting and restrictive. I hate that it has spread beyond Mass Effect.

How is it "stupidly limiting" when you don't know how large the conversation wheel is?

Darkmantle:
This idea would make the achievement system essentially worthless, wouldn't it? Like, I could skip the combat and cinematic sections, couldn't I just achievement whore every game?

The achievement system IS essentially worthless. Anyway if you skipped stuff you would skip the achievements.

Shamus Young:
Actually, games are about fun

I disagree. Games are about both what the creator thinks they are, and what the user wants from them.

Dexter111:

Shamus Young:
My own take is that this was less about the gaming community being full of sexist monsters, and more about the condition of the community at Reddit, where the initial thread took place.

You would be wrong about that, it has a lot more to do with the rage over Dragon Age 2 (including being called "The best RPG of this decade" with "The best RPG combat ever." as well as "A pinnacle of role-playing games with well-designed mechanics and excellent story-telling, Dragon Age II is what videogames are meant to be." by this very site while one year later Retailers are refusing to carry it and its Add-On was cancelled due to lack of interest), Mass Effect 3 and the general business practices and industry-destroying ways employed by EA that no game journalist seems to care to talk about, nay... consumers being even outright mocked by them as being "entitled", a "whiner" or any number of things...
If that left a lot of people in the industry feeling "dismayed", just imagine what the constant barrage of PR, lies, shilling, whitewashing and "10/10 GOTY!" awards for every single "AAA" hype release makes people outside of the industry feel like.
And it's not done yet, it'll happen again and again till it is properly dealt with by press or the industry.

It's just a classic example of pent up rage and frustration built up over years and years of being both mistreated and ignored directed at a convenient target (however wrong that may be). It's also why EA just won the "Worst Company of America 2012" Award...

Now that the storm is passed, I want to backtrack and actually talk about her proposal, because it doesn't seem that outrageous to me. All she's asking for is a way to skip combat sequences. Call this gameplay option "Hepler Mode". I mean, people who don't like the story can skip cutscenes. If you're watching a movie at home you can skip right to the car chase, the kung-fu fights, the sex scenes, or whatever it is you want. This is entertainment, after all. Would you walk into your friend's house and forbid them from fast-forwarding through a movie because they're "watching it wrong"?

As for what she said, no it's stupid. If someone wants to skip parts of your games (which extends to movies too really) or if parts of your game can be skipped you did it wrong and fail abhorrently as a game designer, go back to the drawing board and try again instead of introducing "skipping modes" or try not structuring your game around "combat sections", "cinematics sections" and "story/talky sections" or just make a movie instead.

You forgot to explain why Helper's comments actually have any relevance to the consensus that Dragon Age II wasn't very good, other than that she was a writer on the project. A writer, not a gameplay designer.

I just don't understand why you'd bother defending anyone from that little Reddit hate circle. Dragon Age II was a piece of crap, but if you or anyone else got so invested in it that you can't help but burst with misogynistic rage when a female writer expresses her ineptness at playing games, I think it says more about you than it does about them.

FredTheUndead:

Because she is a writer and absolutely abominable at her job? I'd say the same about David Gaider, her awful, terrible, partner in crime, but he makes himself a slightly less obvious target while she shows disdain for both the products and people that provide her livelihood.

And again, doing that is marketing games to people that do not like games. There's no point to it, and every example of it has only weakened the industry in terms of putting out quality products.

Then why not just say that she's (in your opinion) "abominable at her job"? Seriously, "living tumour"? You must be fun to know.

*sigh*, sorry, that probably sounds a bit aggressive. I just wish people could be a bit more civil on the internet sometimes. God, I sound so old...

The marketing thing isn't necessarily about targeting people who don't like games full stop, it's marketing games to people who don't like the same games as you. Not every game is combat based. Presumably you're equally up in arms about people being able to skip dialogue, since it's part of the game?

Thinking about it, it doesn't even have to be marketing games to anyone new at all. It doesn't have to be a major selling point. I can certainly recall times when I've been playing a game (y'know, in my free time, for *fun*) and have encountered a bullshit boss fight, or a random encounter, or even just a bit of gameplay I couldn't be bothered with at that precise moment. "Hepler mode" would've been awesome then. Same goes for replays- maybe I just want the edited highlights, those highlights being unique to me and my preferences. I mean, it's my free time, my game, why shouldn't I play it how I want?

(Just so you know, I'm not actually anti-combat or anything, I can just see how this might be useful. I'm also a bit of a completionist with my games, so I probably wouldn't actually use it that much, apart from in the scenarios outlined above).

FredTheUndead:

DrVornoff:
hurrr

I read the article, I merely disagree with it. His example of combat being a chore in the Witcher 2 could be improved merely by having Witcher 2 combat not be shit in the first place.

And yeah no Hepler is awful. I don't dislike her because she's a woman or anything (that'd be an odd place to come from for a variety of reasons), I hate her because she's a bad writer who clearly dislikes games, and who when originally called out for her bad writing basically used "you just hate it because I'm a woman" as a defense.

Actually what she said was a rather epic zinger of 'They're probably just jealous that I have a vagina and a job in the games industry, and they can't get either.'

So of course, the internet started on the 'people in professional roles must lie back and take the beatings we administer without a word of protest' complaint. c.f. being a games journalist, forum mod, etc

My problem with Hepler has nothing to do with her specifically or her preferences, hell, I don't even have a problem with a "skip mode" for those that just want to experience the story or whatever, so long as it's optional and we don't start just making "games" that are 3D animated movies where you have to press a button now and then.

I just think she stands as somewhat of a symbol of what is wrong with Bioware right now, even if that might be an unfair assessment.

In the end, I as a gamer and RPG player would like to know that the people who work on the RPGs I play actually have a lot of experience with them. I wish writing for a game was easy as writing a novel, but it's an entirely different beast. So I'll say it: I don't think anyone who is ready to openly state that they don't care for playing games and just like the story should be writing for them.

But maybe that's too broad. Orson Scott Card wrote for Advent Rising, and that was a smashing suc- oh wait. Well, let's look at what books Jennifer Hepler has written... oh, you mean she's never been a successful writer by any account? You mean she is *failed* romance writer? Well, maybe she has other merits, she must have gotten into Bioware somehow. Oh, she's married to another employee there...

See what I'm getting at? I don't care about Jennifer Hepler as a person, she could be a pleasant person (though her Twitter posts openly insulting everyone who has critisized her were immature and childish, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt) for all I know. But she shouldn't be writing RPGs when she has an admittedly limited experience with the medium.

Of course, none of this actually matters if the game is good and has a good story at the end of it, right? Well that's when we start pointing to how bad parts of DA2 was, and it all starts to connect together.

Thing is we kind of used to have a hepler mode, they were called cheat codes. I didn't see any "hardcore gamers" whining about those.

goliath6711:
How is it "stupidly limiting" when you don't know how large the conversation wheel is?

Because if it gets any bigger than the standard paladin/neutral/asshole/investigate it will get too cumbersome and might as well be a menu. And also Bioware seems to have an aversion to putting accurate previews of what you will actually say and in what tone of voice on the wheel, which is a problem independent of size.

Shamanic Rhythm:

FredTheUndead:

DrVornoff:
hurrr

I read the article, I merely disagree with it. His example of combat being a chore in the Witcher 2 could be improved merely by having Witcher 2 combat not be shit in the first place.

And yeah no Hepler is awful. I don't dislike her because she's a woman or anything (that'd be an odd place to come from for a variety of reasons), I hate her because she's a bad writer who clearly dislikes games, and who when originally called out for her bad writing basically used "you just hate it because I'm a woman" as a defense.

Actually what she said was a rather epic zinger of 'They're probably just jealous that I have a vagina and a job in the games industry, and they can't get either.'

So of course, the internet started on the 'people in professional roles must lie back and take the beatings we administer without a word of protest' complaint. c.f. being a games journalist, forum mod, etc

That's not an epic zinger but rather a great example of why she's so unlikable.

Eamar:

FredTheUndead:

Because she is a writer and absolutely abominable at her job? I'd say the same about David Gaider, her awful, terrible, partner in crime, but he makes himself a slightly less obvious target while she shows disdain for both the products and people that provide her livelihood.

And again, doing that is marketing games to people that do not like games. There's no point to it, and every example of it has only weakened the industry in terms of putting out quality products.

Then why not just say that she's (in your opinion) "abominable at her job"? Seriously, "living tumour"? You must be fun to know.

*sigh*, sorry, that probably sounds a bit aggressive. I just wish people could be a bit more civil on the internet sometimes. God, I sound so old...

The marketing thing isn't necessarily about targeting people who don't like games full stop, it's marketing games to people who don't like the same games as you. Not every game is combat based. Presumably you're equally up in arms about people being able to skip dialogue, since it's part of the game?

Thinking about it, it doesn't even have to be marketing games to anyone new at all. It doesn't have to be a major selling point. I can certainly recall times when I've been playing a game (y'know, in my free time, for *fun*) and have encountered a bullshit boss fight, or a random encounter, or even just a bit of gameplay I couldn't be bothered with at that precise moment. "Hepler mode" would've been awesome then. Same goes for replays- maybe I just want the edited highlights, those highlights being unique to me and my preferences. I mean, it's my free time, my game, why shouldn't I play it how I want?

(Just so you know, I'm not actually anti-combat or anything, I can just see how this might be useful. I'm also a bit of a completionist with my games, so I probably wouldn't actually use it that much, apart from in the scenarios outlined above).

Because Bioware has rotted away due to the influence of her and others like her, on top of constant EA meddling. Thus "tumor." Because she's killed it, you see.

And here's the thing about that: at no point SHOULD you feel like you need to skip something unless you're replaying the game. I've never skipped a cutscene I was actually enjoying, and never bitched out a gameplay segment I thought was good. NOBODY has, unless they were replaying the game. This kind of thing is a crutch, an excuse not to improve one's writing ability or to balance the game properly. We've HAD mission skips in games before, usually in cases where the game was ridiculously fucking difficult in some unfair fashion, so rather than redesigning, the devs just said "fuck it" and added a skip in.

Now, if there's some NG+ option to skip shit, fine, that makes sense (in some cases), it's like chapter select.

hentropy:
My problem with Hepler has nothing to do with her specifically or her preferences, hell, I don't even have a problem with a "skip mode" for those that just want to experience the story or whatever, so long as it's optional and we don't start just making "games" that are 3D animated movies where you have to press a button now and then.

I just think she stands as somewhat of a symbol of what is wrong with Bioware right now, even if that might be an unfair assessment.

In the end, I as a gamer and RPG player would like to know that the people who work on the RPGs I play actually have a lot of experience with them. I wish writing for a game was easy as writing a novel, but it's an entirely different beast. So I'll say it: I don't think anyone who is ready to openly state that they don't care for playing games and just like the story should be writing for them.

But maybe that's too broad. Orson Scott Card wrote for Advent Rising, and that was a smashing suc- oh wait. Well, let's look at what books Jennifer Hepler has written... oh, you mean she's never been a successful writer by any account? You mean she is *failed* romance writer? Well, maybe she has other merits, she must have gotten into Bioware somehow. Oh, she's married to another employee there...

See what I'm getting at? I don't care about Jennifer Hepler as a person, she could be a pleasant person (though her Twitter posts openly insulting everyone who has critisized her were immature and childish, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt) for all I know. But she shouldn't be writing RPGs when she has an admittedly limited experience with the medium.

What she said pretty much.

Grey Carter:
Thing is we kind of used to have a hepler mode, they were called cheat codes.

This too I guess, although often cheat codes were the comedy option more than anything. Oh Age of Empires, you and your machine gun sports cars and shotgun wielding babies...

Grey Carter:
Thing is we kind of used to have a hepler mode, they were called cheat codes.

Man... I wish there was an ability to internet highfive, cause that was awesome...

*Edit*

I didn't see any "hardcore gamers" whining about those.

I just got a captcha again that said "am i happy?"... and I can honestly say, YES!

First, the primary reason story sequences are skippable is for when you have already seen them. Some games even make it a restriction by only unlocking the skip button if you've seen the cutscene before. Gameplay doesn't have the same once-and-done concept, even if you've done it before recently, there is still plenty of reason to do it again.

Second, Games already HAVE (or have had) a way to skip the combat. It's called cheat codes. Call it what it is and there's no real problem with it.

Additionally, as far as Hepler herself goes, the bigger, more legitimate reason to hate her (as a writer, not as a person), is that she writes for video games, but is not herself a major fan of the media. She is JUST a writer, she isn't a gamer. Some of her damage control has been to go back and try to say she likes games, but it's pretty clear they aren't her thing. I think there is a perfectly legitimate complaint to say that someone who isn't into games shouldn't be making or helping make them.

(edit, commenting without reading the thread. Glad to see people already get the cheat code concept)

I'm glad someone took the time to give a well-structured, intelligent opinion on this frankly retarded controversy. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure nobody's mind is going to be changed because of this. The sad truth is that we are at a dinner party and half of the attendants are Neo-nazis and the other half are intermitently becoming aware of the fact and hurriedly trying to forget about it by playing around with the carrot sticks and the cheese dip.

There isn't any real underlying reason behind the Hepler hate than unadultered bigotry and a fanatic devotion to "the old ways".

This should be a thing. It should be a thing called actual goddamn role playing options in an action game. If you want to skip combat, let characters specialize in stealth, engineering or dialogue so they can sneak past, disable or otherwise persuade enemies without engaging in combat. If people can find a quick, easy way past the guards, or weld the doors to the barracks shut or disguise themselves to get through without suspicion, not only will this make pacifist runs viable, but it'll add much greater depth to the kinds of characters you can play and what you can do. Everybody wins, and someone with the kind of funding EA gives and the brand recognition of Bioware should have the means to do that if Obsidian could in New Vegas.

My only problem with what she said is that as a writer, working at Bioware, she should have been thinking about ways to integrate her idea with the story and the gameplay. That way you aren't just removing the entertainment from your game, you're replacing it with something more entertaining for the kind of person who wants it. The suggestion is not a problem, the attitude towards making games more like books or movies is - it's counter to the strengths of the medium and serves as a detriment to the game rather than a strength.

PurePareidolia:
This should be a thing. It should be a thing called actual goddamn role playing options in an action game. If you want to skip combat, let characters specialize in stealth, engineering or dialogue so they can sneak past, disable or otherwise persuade enemies without engaging in combat. If people can find a quick, easy way past the guards, or weld the doors to the barracks shut or disguise themselves to get through without suspicion, not only will this make pacifist runs viable, but it'll add much greater depth to the kinds of characters you can play and what you can do. Everybody wins, and someone with the kind of funding EA gives and the brand recognition of Bioware should have the means to do that if Obsidian could in New Vegas.

My only problem with what she said is that as a writer, working at Bioware, she should have been thinking about ways to integrate her idea with the story and the gameplay. That way you aren't just removing the entertainment from your game, you're replacing it with something more entertaining for the kind of person who wants it. The suggestion is not a problem, the attitude towards making games more like books or movies is - it's counter to the strengths of the medium and serves as a detriment to the game rather than a strength.

God no, we can't have that, because then Bioware might actually be GOOD again!

I can see this as a valid feature in games that try to have the narrative engine and core mechanics of the game separate, though this kind of feature would be tricky to implement. I don't think this would apply to *every* RPG as there are some out there that rely more on the core mechanics (leveling up character(s), inventory management, exploration) over story: Dark Souls, Pokemon, Diablo, Torchlight, or the old Might & Magic games are examples. Other game designers may oppose this idea as it contradicts the belief that the narrative events from the game should be given as a reward to the player for accomplishing a challenge, such as seeing the final ending sequence to a game for defeating the final boss.

Plus, these games might become "visual novel"-ish with that feature, and that raises the question on whether those could be considered games.

But its still an option to the player, similar to how they select the difficulty of a game when they start the campaign. Honestly I would just recommend reading a book or watching a film over playing (watching?) a game for its story since a lot of them are crap (Painkiller) or repetitive with its "save the world" cliche. I would avoid this feature since I care more for the core mechanics of a game, but I can definitely see it as a tempting offer if I'm not so good with the core mechanics of, say, "Second Sight" and I want to figure out what happens next.

Honestly I would recommend implementing cheating mechanics more into the game so players could "skip" the core mechanics they may not like to get to the parts they do like in the game. But this is another gray area for game designers (especially for online games) and hardcore players since it can make the player skip a large chunk of the game with little difficulty. I'd call that "boring," but I think some people would prefer these options than dying from a 4th level mage for the 50th time while trying to get into Candlekeep inn.

I'd say that skipping the most interactive parts is kind of missing the point of gaming. I wouldn't tell anyone they're "playing it wrong," but again, this was never the part of what Hepler said that bothered me. Keep in mind, though, she did say that what she hated most was actually playing the games, and that's part of what set people off.

And while I'm not defending what they said, this is the basic response from our community, since simply winning a game can get you labeled a faggot and earn you death threats.

I don't like the idea of Hepler mode, to be frank. I can't speak for the Witcher, but even a lot of Bioware games, which may have a disconnect, still have some tie to the scenes in question.

Maybe we need novelisations of video games.

Actually, I do that with Odin Sphere, too. The story's good, but the gameplay is boring and tedious, so, since it lets me watch the custscenes after you've seen them once, I just do that. And occasionally play the final five bosses, because that's the only really fun part of the game.

FredTheUndead:

Because Bioware has rotted away due to the influence of her and others like her, on top of constant EA meddling. Thus "tumor." Because she's killed it, you see.

Ok, this is going to be my last word on Hepler because I have no desire to get back into the full-on arguments of a few weeks/months (I don't even remember) ago, but one writer has not killed Bioware. If you want scapegoats blame the people with some actual power within the organisation. People who could have not accepted her writing if they thought it was that bad (and not everyone did). She wasn't even the lead writer on DA2 for crying out loud, plus she also wrote for DA:O, which we all liked. I'm not trying to make out she's some literary genius or anything, but she is not the problem with Bioware.

FredTheUndead:

And here's the thing about that: at no point SHOULD you feel like you need to skip something unless you're replaying the game. I've never skipped a cutscene I was actually enjoying, and never bitched out a gameplay segment I thought was good. NOBODY has, unless they were replaying the game. This kind of thing is a crutch, an excuse not to improve one's writing ability or to balance the game properly. We've HAD mission skips in games before, usually in cases where the game was ridiculously fucking difficult in some unfair fashion, so rather than redesigning, the devs just said "fuck it" and added a skip in.

Now, if there's some NG+ option to skip shit, fine, that makes sense (in some cases), it's like chapter select.

Again, not taking personal preference into account. Now, if a large portion of your audience is skipping large amounts of your game, then yes I agree you have a problem. But I know there have been games I loved overall but which had a few bits I didn't personally get along with. Most recently, a couple of boss fights in ME3 pissed me off to the extent that I turned the difficulty all the way down to "narrative" (so shoot me) because I couldn't be bothered. From what I've seen, those fights weren't universally hated, in fact they were pretty popular with a lot of people, it was just my preference.

I just don't understand how people can be so worked up about this but not be bothered by the fact that you can, in many, many games, skip other parts like dialogue and cutscenes, even in instances where those parts are generally well-liked. It's a non-issue then, why not here?

Sotanaht:

Additionally, as far as Hepler herself goes, the bigger, more legitimate reason to hate her (as a writer, not as a person), is that she writes for video games, but is not herself a major fan of the media. She is JUST a writer, she isn't a gamer. Some of her damage control has been to go back and try to say she likes games, but it's pretty clear they aren't her thing. I think there is a perfectly legitimate complaint to say that someone who isn't into games shouldn't be making or helping make them.

Actually, game writers have traditionally been drawn from non-game backgrounds, often comic books or TV. Most of the advice out there for getting into the industry as a writer suggests starting off in one of those media. It's pretty hard to get hired straight off as a "video game writer"- you need a proven track record as "just" a writer first, and often the people who've been asked to write for games haven't necessarily been gamers themselves. That doesn't mean they can't/don't work with the rest of the team to integrate their work into the overall finished product.

hentropy:
See what I'm getting at? I don't care about Jennifer Hepler as a person, she could be a pleasant person (though her Twitter posts openly insulting everyone who has critisized her were immature and childish, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt) for all I know. But she shouldn't be writing RPGs when she has an admittedly limited experience with the medium.

Apparently, no woman should, because "when you're a woman," you have too many responsibilities to actually play games.

But I digress. Helper's commentary online even prior to the blowup over her comments on skipping gameplay still came off as jerkish, but nothing merits the crap she took over it. I think that point needs to be underscored. She didn't deserve the temper tantrum that got thrown her way.

That being said, I'm still not a big fan of Hepler OR her idea.

DrVornoff:

Dexter111:
As for what she said, no it's stupid. If someone wants to skip parts of your games (which extends to movies too really) or if parts of your game can be skipped you did it wrong and fail abhorrently as a game designer, go back to the drawing board and try again instead of introducing "skipping modes" or try not structuring your game around "combat sections", "cinematics sections" and "story/talky sections" or just make a movie instead.

Speaking of pent up frustration...

Adam Jensen:
It wouldn't have been such a bad statement to make if she was a good writer. But she's one of those idiots who thinks that Twilight is cool. And she's awful with Bioware fanbase. My new mission in life is to earn enough money to buy a controlling share of EA, fire that stupid bitch and set Bioware on the right track of making great RPG's again.

Didn't read the whole article. Also has no idea what he's talking about.

draythefingerless:
personally, if someone is trying to skip parts of your game, thats a flaw of your game.

Not necessarily.

Nohra:
Two, skipping the gameplay in a game is basically saying "I want to read a book/watch a movie." If the experience is designed so you can skip the parts of a game that are actually a game, then there's no point in doing the combat/puzzles/whatever anyways. They're not adding to the experience at that point. You can't build up a character as being a complete and total badass and oh my god how are we going to defeat this guy he's so tough, then have a little button that says "Push X to kill boss!"

Didn't read the whole article.

FredTheUndead:
The idea is ludicrous because games are a package. The combat should be setup so as to add to the pacing of the whole experience. Say the characters go into a dungeon, you hit this stupid skip button, then it shows them at the bottom looking ragged and exhausted. You have just cut a big chunk of game and destroyed the pacing. If your problem is that the combat is shitty, the solution isn't to skip it, it's to NOT HAVE SHITTY COMBAT. The very idea is giving developers an excuse to be lazy and also reeks of again marketing games to people who don't like games (such as, demonstrably, Hepler). That, as Yahtzee said, is like marketing books to the illiterate.

Didn't read the whole article. Also..

As for Hepler herself, while the community at the time certainly didn't handle things correctly, she IS nothing less than a living tumor, one of many Bioware developed and rotted down to nothing because of.

Dick.

WanderingFool:
Something that im curious about, if you find the combat as nothing more than an obstacle, I would have to ask why play the game? If you just want to see the story, watch a playthough on Youtube, there are pleanty there.

Didn't read the whole article.

I could make a drinking game out of this.

yes necessarily. if a person approaches "complex RPG turn base game with intricate story" its because they know what they are getting into. i forgive cases of not knowing what the gameplay will be, but almost always when a normal person buys a fucking puzzler like portal, they know theyre gonna have to do puzzles. and in wich case you reply but what if tehy heard the game had this huge comedy story that they just wnana see, well youtube it. furthermore, if a game is well made, the gameplay is, at the very least, on equal importance to the experience as the story is. this skip button functionality really is limited to RPGs and replays, wich is why im totally for it, but as someone else said, it would be used as a crutch to not optimize gameplay. in fact, it IS used as a crutch. LA noire's wretched boring combat n chases are skippable, becuz its just shite. i honestly dont get why it was put in in the first place, or why it wasnt improved.

FredTheUndead:
snip for length

I disagree with most of that: what I see happening is people repeatedly quoting her out of context and then vilifying her for it. "I wish I could skip the gameplay" is delivered void of the context that she's a writer, not a game designer; the call about having a vagina is being reported as coming in response to 'criticism of her ability as a writer' instead of the actual context, which was 'calling her a bitch (and therefore being the first to make an issue of her gender) for her opinions on games'.

Grey Carter:
Thing is we kind of used to have a hepler mode, they were called cheat codes. I didn't see any "hardcore gamers" whining about those.

Amen. I used to be so terrible at Warcraft but I desperately wanted to know what happened next in the story, so I just itisagooddaytodie'd my way through the campaign missions that were too hard. Is it really so bad to want a modern option for people who don't have the patience?

Elaborating on the idea of elegantly skipping combat, I can't see why if you were playing Mass Effect, for example, you couldn't just send your crew members to complete every mission while you stay behind giving orders and negotiating with the other sides of the conflict, given that you are the Commander and that is sort of what your job description implies you should be doing.

I mean, it isn't perfect. I guess you would miss on branching storylines and you wouldn't be able to roleplay Shepard as you would like, but it's certainly a wonder why this isn't how more games are designed.

In any case, I would welcome Hepler Mode personally. I love No More Heroes but the gameplay is sort of a fucking waste of my time when all I want is to see the next cut-scene. If videogames really are consumer products I don't see why they have to make me work for what I came to get.

Prof. Monkeypox:
Wait, *that's* what people were angry at Helper for?

Based on the vitriol, I assumed she must have been responsible for ME3's ending or something.

Wow, also, yes "Helper mode" seems like a decent idea for some games.

I'll play devil's advocate for the "Reddit" Troll's in the sake of fairness, as well as try shed some light on the real troublemakers.

It wasn't just that.

She was also the one who wrote Anders, in Dragon Age 2.

Anders in DA1 was a devil-may-care ladies man who's only goal was to settle down with a lass and get away from the Mage Tower.
Over the course of events, he may of died.

Anders in DA2 was a crazy Mage terrorist, Bi-sexual virgin, who's goal was to destroy the nasty Chantry (Church).
If he died, he was alive again.
He was also fused with another great character, Justice, who was also turned into this insufferable new character.
The player is given the option along the line to do a quest for Anders, which seems a little dodgy and illegal.
The results of this quest are the crutch on which the ending relies on in order to set up DA3.
So, even if you ignore Ander's and the quest, everyone seems to just pretend you did it.
The end of the game is really more about him then the player character.
He also generally makes advances on the player, regardless of sex, and is the only romance in the game to give a sharp spike of Rivalry points if you turn him down.
You're only given 3 options to Ander's offer, 2 variations of "Yes" and 1 "No" but which involved getting very blunt about it and being an asshole about it.

This was on top of all the other garbage pulled by the rest of Bioware/EA in the months leading up to this.

.

Then, there was the quote's from an alleged earlier interview, where she claimed she wanted to write stories that would have the same appeal as "Meyer and Rowling" and not something "written by some old white guy".
If the quote is indeed from her, she made it a Race and Sex issue out of it, intentionally or not.
That's where she became the real symbol of hatred in peoples minds.

There was an understandable backlash from that.
And obviously, a very less than understandable reaction as well.

The interesting bit however, is the "Reddit" incident.

I'll just throw it out there. It wasn't Reddit users. It was a 4chan raid.
They caught wind that Hepler was going to be doing and interview on Reddit and someone made the suggestion that they go dive in and blow the thing the pieces.
It's important to note that 4chan HATES Reddit, in a schoolyard tribal kind of way.

The whole thing was a stunt to try ruin their image with the mainstream, which worked perfectly.
Most of the really vial comments weren't "serious", but just shit thrown out by a handful using 10 minute mail and trolling accounts in order to get some image fodder and get people to start hating on Reddit.
The media acted as they predicted and they got everything they wanted.

But, that caused Hepler to throw out her infamously immature (if understandable) "vagina" comment, which then drew out the genuine nut-case misogynists, the genuine nut-case feminists, and everything in between and beyond. It became some kind of maelstrom which ceased being relevant to the initial people involved.

Meanwhile, they sat back and laughed at the utter chaos of the whole thing.
It was admittedly pretty funny looking at it in the broad strokes at how a petty little rivalry morphed into the shitstorm it ended up being.

There are plenty of games readily available that do not center around combat. If I want a story centric game or a puzzler, I dont play cod, or demand it cater to me.

Eamar:
What I'm trying to say is once someone has bought the game they can play it however they want. It doesn't make a different to how anyone else plays, so why's it a problem?

Correction: once someone has bought the game, they can play it however the game designer allows them to. You are not entitled to a "skip game, gimme cutscene" button.

But the problem runs deeper than that. Sometimes people forget that these are games and games are meant to be played. Now, you could argue that it's not the game designer's business how anyone plays his game, true. But you yourself said you are a writer and it irritates you when people skip story parts and cutscenes. Well, try to see this from the game designer's point of view:

Let's say you write a book, a long novel. An engaging story with action, drama, romance and whatnot. You work hard on it for years to make it the best you can make. You even put little illustrative pictures between chapters to set the mood. Now, I believe you would get quite irritated and maybe feel a little offended when people buy your book and only look at the pictures and don't actually read any of the book. Then you get on the internet and read downgrading comments about your book on how some guy who bought it "had to leaf through damn walls of texts just to get to the pretty pictures". Then they start to demand your books to come pre-bookmared at the pictures, so they don't have to leaf through the pages of text to "get to the good part". See?

Alas, "once someone has bought the book they can read it however they want. It doesn't make a difference to how anyone else reads, so why's it a problem?"

...that's why.

While I certainly wouldn't use it myself, I'm not opposed to the idea of a pure story mode for those who'd be into that sort of thing. Anywho...

Shamus Young:
The Trayus Academy sequence in KOTOR 2 was painfully long, repetitive, and boring. If I could have pressed a button and skipped right to the end of that section, I would have done it in a heartbeat.

Waitwaitwait...

Did you play KOTOR 2 with the Restoration Patch? Because as I can recall the Trayus Academy is quite a short experience in the original version of the game, while the restored content involved actually running around in the academy and fighting its students (plus freeing your inexplicably captured allies).

Just wondering.

Playbahnosh:

Eamar:
What I'm trying to say is once someone has bought the game they can play it however they want. It doesn't make a different to how anyone else plays, so why's it a problem?

Correction: once someone has bought the game, they can play it however the game designer allows them to. You are not entitled to a "skip game, gimme cutscene" button.

But the problem runs deeper than that. Sometimes people forget that these are games and games are meant to be played. Now, you could argue that it's not the game designer's business how anyone plays his game, true. But you yourself said you are a writer and it irritates you when people skip story parts and cutscenes. Well, try to see this from the game designer's point of view:

Let's say you write a book, a long novel. An engaging story with action, drama, romance and whatnot. You work hard on it for years to make it the best you can make. You even put little illustrative pictures between chapters to set the mood. Now, I believe you would get quite irritated and maybe feel a little offended when people buy your book and only look at the pictures and don't actually read any of the book. Then you get on the internet and read downgrading comments about your book on how some guy who bought it "had to leaf through damn walls of texts just to get to the pretty pictures". Then they start to demand your books to come pre-bookmared at the pictures, so they don't have to leaf through the pages of text to "get to the good part". See?

Alas, "once someone has bought the book they can read it however they want. It doesn't make a difference to how anyone else reads, so why's it a problem?"

...that's why.

Books with images are often pre-bookmarked. Either by notable different paper types or, you know... an index.

Playbahnosh:

Eamar:
What I'm trying to say is once someone has bought the game they can play it however they want. It doesn't make a different to how anyone else plays, so why's it a problem?

Correction: once someone has bought the game, they can play it however the game designer allows them to. You are not entitled to a "skip game, gimme cutscene" button.

But the problem runs deeper than that. Sometimes people forget that these are games and games are meant to be played. Now, you could argue that it's not the game designer's business how anyone plays his game, true. But you yourself said you are a writer and it irritates you when people skip story parts and cutscenes. Well, try to see this from the game designer's point of view:

Let's say you write a book, a long novel. An engaging story with action, drama, romance and whatnot. You work hard on it for years to make it the best you can make. You even put little illustrative pictures between chapters to set the mood. Now, I believe you would get quite irritated and maybe feel a little offended when people buy your book and only look at the pictures and don't actually read any of the book. Then you get on the internet and read downgrading comments about your book on how some guy who bought it "had to leaf through damn walls of texts just to get to the pretty pictures". Then they start to demand your books to come pre-bookmared at the pictures, so they don't have to leaf through the pages of text to "get to the good part". See?

Alas, "once someone has bought the book they can read it however they want. It doesn't make a difference to how anyone else reads, so why's it a problem?"

...that's why.

Interesting, but I'm still inclined to disagree. While I said that it irritates me (a bit) when people skip cutscenes and dialogue, I also said that they have every right to do so.

I'm not saying this HAS to be implemented in every game, I'm simply building on Shamus' thought that it wouldn't necessarily be an awful thing. I, as the author in your analogy, would not HAVE to cater to the demands of the internet commenter, but hell, perhaps someone else might, and perhaps they'd do well out of it, I don't know. Incidentally, illustrated books often have contents pages which would enable the reader (viewer?) to skip straight to the pictures if they wanted to. It would also enable them to start in the middle, if they really wanted.

Basically, I stand by my original statement. Sure, it's disheartening to see disparaging comments made about something you worked hard on, but that's just part and parcel of being professionally creative. There are always going to be people who, to the creator's eyes, don't "get" it or interpret things differently.

Why, only this evening my father and I sat down to watch Return of the King. We decided to skip straight to the charge of the Rohirrim (over half way through) and watch it from there, because that's the bit we both happen to enjoy most. We weren't in the mood for the rest. Had my sister been watching the film and not us, she probably would have fast forwarded through all the bits with Frodo and Sam. Our DVD, our choices. And I think Peter Jackson can cope with that.

EDIT: also that typo in my original post ("different" instead of "difference") is bugging me way too much :P

Dexter111:

Shamus Young:
My own take is that this was less about the gaming community being full of sexist monsters, and more about the condition of the community at Reddit, where the initial thread took place.

You would be wrong about that, it has a lot more to do with the rage over Dragon Age 2 (including being called "The best RPG of this decade" with "The best RPG combat ever." as well as "A pinnacle of role-playing games with well-designed mechanics and excellent story-telling, Dragon Age II is what videogames are meant to be." by this very site while one year later Retailers are refusing to carry it and its Add-On was cancelled due to lack of interest), Mass Effect 3 and the general business practices and industry-destroying ways employed by EA that no game journalist seems to care to talk about, nay... consumers being even outright mocked by them as being "entitled", a "whiner" or any number of things...
If that left a lot of people in the industry feeling "dismayed", just imagine what the constant barrage of PR, lies, shilling, whitewashing and "10/10 GOTY!" awards for every single "AAA" hype release makes people outside of the industry feel like.
And it's not done yet, it'll happen again and again till it is properly dealt with by press or the industry.

It's just a classic example of pent up rage and frustration built up over years and years of being both mistreated and ignored directed at a convenient target (however wrong that may be). It's also why EA just won the "Worst Company of America 2012" Award...

Now that the storm is passed, I want to backtrack and actually talk about her proposal, because it doesn't seem that outrageous to me. All she's asking for is a way to skip combat sequences. Call this gameplay option "Hepler Mode". I mean, people who don't like the story can skip cutscenes. If you're watching a movie at home you can skip right to the car chase, the kung-fu fights, the sex scenes, or whatever it is you want. This is entertainment, after all. Would you walk into your friend's house and forbid them from fast-forwarding through a movie because they're "watching it wrong"?

As for what she said, no it's stupid. If someone wants to skip parts of your games (which extends to movies too really) or if parts of your game can be skipped you did it wrong and fail abhorrently as a game designer, go back to the drawing board and try again instead of introducing "skipping modes" or try not structuring your game around "combat sections", "cinematics sections" and "story/talky sections" or just make a movie instead.

Yep that pretty hit the nail on the head. If you don't like playing games then go watch a movie don't come in here and tell people to make it less interactive.

Hey by the way:

Would you walk into your friend's house and forbid them from fast-forwarding through a movie because they're "watching it wrong"?

Yes I would actually do this.

Of course skipping combat in an RPG would ruin it! I mean the nerve of you people, how could you not gang up on Ms. Hepler sooner! I mean it's obvious this all just a nefarious plot by a SINGLE Bioware writer who has no influence on gameplay design to destroy the very foundation of the TRUE Hardcore RPG badass gamer. Combat.

You remember Planescape Torment right? One of the arguably greatest RPGs in the last 20 years, now that game would be nothing without it's awesome mindless, hack and slash combat, which you totally could not skip... oh wait.

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