BioWare Employee Busted in Dragon Age 2 Review Scandal - UPDATED

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Carnagath:
How you find nothing wrong with a developer reviewing his own game with a perfect score and under an alias is beyond me. I understand that you like Bioware and stuff, but surely that doesn't filter all the logical processes of your mind...?

User reviews are biased as hell anyway. People give a 0 score when they can't possibly think the game is that bad just because they want their review to count for more. I remember years ago there being periodic review wars between Shawshank Redemption fans and Godfather fans on IMDB. Neither of those movies deserves a 1 by any sane reckoning, but look how many 1/10 reviews they have. Some people mod down games that are console exclusives just because they own the other console. Some people mod a game down for its press. Some people mod a game down because they are fans of another game that competes with it.

These reviews are already completely lacking in integrity. Its the sheer volume of them and the "was this helpful?" vote that is intended to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Seriously...? I thought BioWare was better than that.

EA, now even the smaller companies under your control are turning into stupid jokes. You see what you're doing to us with your bullshit controversies and now your bad reviews?

plikis1:
I hope the guy gets sacked.

Really? Has the internet lost its mind? You want a guy to lose his job over this? Posting a positive user review on metacritic is about as meaningful as posting a positive comment on the escapist, or clicking a star rating on IMDB.

I myself have a real life job. I work for a real life company (not a game company, though). And I could totally see myself, in my free time, jumping to their defense if I thought people were unfairly ragging on them. Would I feel the need to disclose my connection? Probably not. I'm a person, not a corporate shill, and I trust myself to give my honest opinion. So if I did so, I guess you'd think that I should be kicked out on the street and have to start cashing out investments to pay my bills.

EDIT: I'm going to add to this, because I'm still just blown away by how crazy this seems. A guy comes out and says "This game is really good. A lot of people felt like it wasn't the game they wanted and are overreacting, but for what it is, it's great", and this is apparently a craven and nefarious attempt on the part of a greedy megacorporation to drive up sales, and everyone involved (who is probably just the one guy), should be ashamed. And the guy himself, who is probably a reasonable and nice enough guy for all we know, should be thrown out on the street.

Labcoat Samurai:

plikis1:
I hope the guy gets sacked.

Really? Has the internet lost its mind? You want a guy to lose his job over this? Posting a positive user review on metacritic is about as meaningful as posting a positive comment on the escapist, or clicking a star rating on IMDB.

I myself have a real life job. I work for a real life company (not a game company, though). And I could totally see myself, in my free time, jumping to their defense if I thought people were unfairly ragging on them. Would I feel the need to disclose my connection? Probably not. I'm a person, not a corporate shill, and I trust myself to give my honest opinion. So if I did so, I guess you'd think that I should be kicked out on the street and have to start cashing out investments to pay my bills.

Yeah, has the internet lost its mind? Since when has honesty ceased to be a fucking value around here?

plikis1:
Yeah, has the internet lost its mind? Since when has honesty ceased to be a fucking value around here?

I guess if that wasn't his honest opinion, he was being dishonest. I see no particular reason to believe that was the case, but let's say, for sake of argument, that it was. If Natalie Portman went on IMDB and voted 10/10 for "The Black Swan", do you think she should suffer serious career repercussions? It's essentially the same thing.

vrbtny:
Ooooh, busted!!!

Maybe this is BioWare trying to counter those several million 3/10 user review scores....

Basically this... Apparently there are plenty of bullshit reviews out there already. This will just be another one.

Big deal, I'm sure they aren't the first people to have done it.

Bottom line... You can't fully rely on the reviews of Dragon Age II... you'll just have to play it and judge for yourself, or not play it... Just like every other game, go figure...

Murmillos:

Or on some gun form. Somebody from S&W pretending to be a user is poetically masturbating about their new handgun.

I've heard of people waxing poetic, but this is the first time I've heard of people whacking off poetic.

(I also considered "knob polishing" poetic)

Labcoat Samurai:

plikis1:
Yeah, has the internet lost its mind? Since when has honesty ceased to be a fucking value around here?

I guess if that wasn't his honest opinion, he was being dishonest. I see no particular reason to believe that was the case, but let's say, for sake of argument, that it was. If Natalie Portman went on IMDB and voted 10/10 for "The Black Swan", do you think she should suffer serious career repercussions? It's essentially the same thing.

For one, just voting on it and putting a review up are different things, hell, if only for the fact it's close to impossible to distinguish whether or not it's an honest opinion. For another thing, have you read the review? I've said it before, either the guy's a complete moron going by what he wrote, or he's lying through his teeth. Either way, no respect to be given whatsoever.

plikis1:
For one, just voting on it and putting a review up are different things,

A user review is just a score vote plus a comment. If the problem is that he's altering the aggregate score, then it's the same as a vote on IMDB. If the problem is that he's saying good things about the game without disclosing his affiliation, then it's the same as a comment on a forum. Is the combination of the two somehow greater than the sum of the parts?

hell, if only for the fact it's close to impossible to distinguish whether or not it's an honest opinion.

Which is always the case. I could go write a lie review right now. It's an internet user community with virtually no accountability. There is no expectation that people will be unbiased in their reviews, so why is it critical to disclose factors that indicate bias? Another reviewer might be a massive Final Fantasy fanboy who always gives poor reviews for western RPGs even without playing them. We have no way of knowing. And honestly, we have little reason to care.

For another thing, have you read the review? I've said it before, either the guy's a complete moron going by what he wrote, or he's lying through his teeth. Either way, no respect to be given whatsoever. Ignoring for a moment the glaring conflict of interests.

Yes, I read the review. It was a short paragraph that basically amounts to "The game is really good. A lot of people are overreacting, because it wasn't what they wanted, but for what it is, it's excellent."

Maybe you read a different review? Because that sounds pretty reasonable and accurate to me.

Whatever, once Mass Effect 3 comes out everyone is going to hop on the bandwagon and say, "OMG BIOWARE IS THE BEST EVAR!".

Also I don't see how this is a big deal, I agree with the statement that voting for yourself isn't wrong.

While I don't LIKE what EA/Bioware employees have done here it pales into insignificance when you look at the behaviour of Greenawalt and T10 around the release of Forza3. doesn't it? This kind of thing wouldn't have been reported on when they had employees rigging polls and chief execs badmouthing the competition and bandying round words like "definitive" when their game failed to have damn features other racers had in past generations let alone this one. the nearest thing to definitive they did was in displaying exactly how I don't want a dev to behave. Ever.

So, T10's arrogance and assumption we were all dim was a lot worse than this and I guess the raps DA2 took in user reviews from RPG purists unhappy with the change in combat and/or the lack of the PC isometric view was way more understandable-wasn't it? Sure, they look daft after being caught doing it but aren't we over reacting when many devs do much worse things all the time? Like the Gerstmann affair? Like Eidos being accused of score fixing over Underworld? Like the wanton, ignorant arrogance of Kotick and his slash and burn approach to series management and lack of any concern for whether gaming exists two years from now(when he'll claim a balance sheet success and move, vampire like, to his next victim industry as gaming's bigger franchises die in his wake?

So, this is silly, sloppy and a little amusing but hardly a scandal, is it? In fact,. the only mildly wrong thing they did was not say who they were in their user reviews.

Last time I checked, anyone could post a review on Metacritc.

What pisses me off the most is this is probably going to fuck up my March Mayhem bracket since I had Bioware to win.

Of course "that's how it works". Seriously, this is not a major published review - it's a user comment on freakin' Metacritic. This is like an author getting their dad to say something nice about their book in an Amazon user review.

Jeez, people still think this is a big deal? Who cares, and why is everyone calling it a 'spiraling scandal' and being so overdramatic as if this is politics?

Andy Chalk:

The situation first came to light when a Reddit user noticed that the top Dragon Age 2 user review on Metacritic, written by the aforementioned Avanost

The top user review? What does that even mean? As if hes the only one to give it a 10.

This is a non-story. The author of the story talks about deceptive it is that the reviewer wasnt forthcoming. But they seemingly forget we are talking about user-reviews, where probably half of the 10/10 ratings and nearly all of the 0/10 ratings are from fanboys or anti-fanboys who never even played the game.

User-reviews are there for anyone to post, no questions asked. The review could be from a fan, from an employee, from a journalist, from Saddam Hussein's ghost. It doesnt matter. Because no one reads them anyway. They are there to generate traffic because fan boys love to argue. This will become scandalous when people take user-reviews seriously.

The game is good.

As Arishok would say:

There is nothing further to discuss.

Andy Chalk:

UPDATE: Electronic Arts has apparently decided to balls it out with a statement to Kotaku that actually defends the review as no big deal. "Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game," a senior PR manager said. "That's how it works in the Oscars, that's how it works in the Grammy's and why I'm betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election."

Okay face palm time just turned into head smack time.
image

Seriously though EA STOP IT! And Bioware meet me at camera four:

Bioware, I know EA bought you guys and has shares in your company but don't follow down their deceptive path. Sure the profits look delicious, but the taste is bitter and foul. Remember who you guys are: you're storytellers, developers of goodness, and purveyors of epic-ness. You don't need to sink to EA's level. You don't need to sell your souls to create great games, just be yourselves. And remember,
The Force will be with you always

Andy Chalk:
UPDATE: "Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game," a senior PR manager said. "That's how it works in the Oscars, that's how it works in the Grammy's and why I'm betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election."[/b]

Actors and musicians don't disguise themselves and use their talents to deceive judges. Politicians are liars, but that's why no one likes them. Because they lie, not because they vote on themselves.

No one is upset because a Bioware employee is pulling for their success. It's the act of deception that people are objecting to. A Bioware employee who checks a mark to vote for DA2 for Game of the Year is just voting on himself. A Bioware employee who poses as a user of a commercial product rather than the developer and posts a review in order to deceive others into buying the product is being deceptive.

He didn't just vote on himself. He voted on himself and also deceived meta-critic readers.

I've played the demo. It's nothing special. The dialogue to character motion is the biggest problem I had. It might be fun for a spin, when the game drops in price.

Sorry Bioware, I still love you, but please stop pulling bullshit stunts like the EA lapdog we all hope you aren't.

Levethian:
Just a user review?
It's lame, but it doesn't much surprise me given all the unwarranted 0/1 scores it got from angry DA:O fans. I'd be peeved too. Hardly a scandal.
Many of the DA2 user reviewers have only reviewed 1 game as well, or DA2 on various platforms. Why not investigate where their interests lay? We might find them all to be the same vehemently angry D&D nerd mourning the loss of isometric tactical RPG's.

I wrote a single review under user reviews. Where do my interests lie? I think it's mostly because I haven't bothered getting around to writing another one, more than anything else.

Rooster Cogburn:

Andy Chalk:
UPDATE: "Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game," a senior PR manager said. "That's how it works in the Oscars, that's how it works in the Grammy's and why I'm betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election."[/b]

Actors and musicians don't disguise themselves and use their talents to deceive judges. Politicians are liars, but that's why no one likes them. Because they lie, not because they vote on themselves.

No one is upset because a Bioware employee is pulling for their success. It's the act of deception that people are objecting to. A Bioware employee who checks a mark to vote for DA2 for Game of the Year is just voting on himself. A Bioware employee who poses as a user of a commercial product rather than the developer and posts a review in order to deceive others into buying the product is being deceptive.

He didn't just vote on himself. He voted on himself and also deceived meta-critic readers.

I'd rather get user based reviews from a collection of blog sites and independent forums than a single user review site. Of course, if I'm feeling like I want my brain to melt, I could just go ask the /b/tards.

I must be crazy. I liked Dragon Age 2 just as much as Dragon Age: Origins.

This isn't shocking at all. I've posted fake reviews for my company, and yes I felt dirty but if you spent some time poking around cnet you'd find that tons of the reviews are fake. Same with google apps and the Apple store.

Ask yourself this, why wouldn't they? Why would they not take every effort to market a game they invested this much money in?

The only really shocking thing is that the guy would make such an obvious blunder with a perfect review, a smarter employee would have made sure to pepper in some fake criticisms and have a positive but not super-glowing review.

This is what comes from letting everyone write in anonymous opinions. This is why people need professional critics.

Andy Chalk:
"Anything negative you'll see about this game is an overreaction of personal preference. "

Well I agree a bit with that... though some complaints are genuine...

But honestly he's just being childish about this...
Then again, however, it's just one user review I don't see how this really effects it...

vxicepickxv:
]I'd rather get user based reviews from a collection of blog sites and independent forums than a single user review site. Of course, if I'm feeling like I want my brain to melt, I could just go ask the /b/tards.

Go ask the /v/irgins. their the ones creating all the user accounts on meta-critic and bashing the game. The saddest part is that people are taking the Meta-Critic user review seriously, there is a reason we have professional reviewers for video games, because the average user is an idiot, one only has to look at top grossing movies to understand this.

I feel bad for Bioware, they put a lot of effort into making quality games and then things like this happen and everyone is bashing them for no reason. This user review by their employee is purely reactionary, he wanted to defend not only a project he may well have worked on, but the company he works for. Whats wrong with that? He didn't lie to anyone, he just didn't disclose his occupation.

Labcoat Samurai:
Maybe you read a different review? Because that sounds pretty reasonable and accurate to me.

The immersion and combat of this game are unmatched! A truly moving and fun epic. Anything negative you'll see about this game is an overreaction of personal preference. For what it is, it is flawlessly executed and endlessly entertaining

This is neither reasonable, nor in the very least accurate. The game is far from flawless, and given the fact it can be beaten in 13 hours with all the sidequests, the endlessly entertaining part comes into question aswell. Furthermore, the guy's not only saying it's an overreaction, he's saying image, and then continues to give it a perfect score with literally no valid reason for it.

This is straight out of Blatantly Fake Reviews 101.

animehermit:
I feel bad for Bioware, they put a lot of effort into making quality games and then things like this happen and everyone is bashing them for no reason.

Please, either put some thought in your comments or read what everybody said over and over in this thread. There are many reasons to bash Bioware, not the smallest of which is the fact that DA2 was completely rushed out, and it shows on multiple fronts, and compared to their previous games, doesn't even offer the same length of gameplay.

DA2 has a lot of problems, non of which involve a Bioware employee giving his game a 10/10

The only people who will give a shit about this *ehem* "SCANDAL"(lol?) are the people who are just looking for more things to bash Bioware with

1 user review.

Big deal, someone wanted their game to look better on Metacritic so just let them be! Kinda immature and unethical to an extent but it's not as if it'll convince gamers to buy the game.

vxicepickxv:

Rooster Cogburn:

Andy Chalk:
UPDATE: "Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game," a senior PR manager said. "That's how it works in the Oscars, that's how it works in the Grammy's and why I'm betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election."[/b]

Actors and musicians don't disguise themselves and use their talents to deceive judges. Politicians are liars, but that's why no one likes them. Because they lie, not because they vote on themselves.

No one is upset because a Bioware employee is pulling for their success. It's the act of deception that people are objecting to. A Bioware employee who checks a mark to vote for DA2 for Game of the Year is just voting on himself. A Bioware employee who poses as a user of a commercial product rather than the developer and posts a review in order to deceive others into buying the product is being deceptive.

He didn't just vote on himself. He voted on himself and also deceived meta-critic readers.

I'd rather get user based reviews from a collection of blog sites and independent forums than a single user review site. Of course, if I'm feeling like I want my brain to melt, I could just go ask the /b/tards.

Sounds good. Not sure why you quoted me though.

TheTinyMan:
You can't remove bias, and you can't deny someone the chance to submit a USER review just because of their biases.

He is not a 'user'. You really can't see the distinction between my evaluation of the iPhone 4 and that of Steve Jobs?

EDIT: Oh shit, sorry about the double post.

I think this pretty much sums up DA2.

Photobucket

game is just meh... im happy that i didnt paid for it. gonna spent my money on The Witcher 2 :)

Flat out... anyone who thinks this is an issue or gave it more than 2 minutes (I'm at a minute and 23 seconds so I better type fast) of concern is without question a moron.

An employee wrote a user review about a game he worked on being perfect? Oh no! Curse him for having pride in his product.

What about all of the users that wrote reviews that were negative because they simply dislike Bioware, Dragon age, RPG's, or "Anything that is popular with the mainstream?"

I dismiss most Metacritic scores because I've learned over the years that most other people's opinions are unreliable at best, insanely biased at worst, and wholly stupid. I've played tons of games or seen tons of movies that others panned as the worst unholy creation of all time that were absolutely awesome to me that I loved.

And since for some reason people have now decided that "slightly above average" = shitty failure (i.e. Homefront) there's few reasons to take ANYONE's advice anymore on anything. Prey is getting a sequel and I thought that game was horrible and I don't know anyone who played it. People hated Tales of Vesperia but I loved it.

Bottomline, rent or borrow a game, try it out and decide for yourself. Don't be a sheep.

As for this guy... I give him props. I voted for myself when I ran for student council president once. No controversy ensued. I thought I was the best candidate. I still lost. Oh well.
The media is too sensationalistic. Not everything is a "story."

I'm out of time.

[Edit]

TwistedComplex:
DA2 has a lot of problems, non of which involve a Bioware employee giving his game a 10/10

The only people who will give a shit about this *ehem* "SCANDAL"(lol?) are the people who are just looking for more things to bash Bioware with

This.

lol what an amusing story I don't see the big deal though I'm sure most reviewers, not escapist ones thought that's why I come here, are on the developers payroll in one way or another that's why I stopped buying game magz they sooo sycophantic its rubbish

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