BioWare Employee Busted in Dragon Age 2 Review Scandal - UPDATED

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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.

Hell of an ironic statement, considering you -as well as many others- have missed the point entirely. The problem isn't if and what kind of review he gave the game. It's the fact that he conviniently neglected to disclose the obvious conflict of interest, knowingly or unknowingly misleading the audience that read his review.

I don't understand why this is a big deal. Publishing a user review is pretty small beer compared to some of the stunts publishers pull; pulling ad revenue for negative reviews and waiving review embargos in return for positive scores. User reviews don't even feed into the metacritic score. They have a completely separate feed

Rooster Cogburn:

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.

Exactly. Can people please wake up and stop accepting this shit from large companies. I think we owe it to ourselves as a community.

Captha: editop criticism

Pots:
I think this pretty much sums up DA2.

Photobucket

Lol that made my afternoon :D

plikis1:

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,

Can it? I'm taking about as long to get through it as I do for any Bioware game. I do tend to take my time on these games, but it doesn't seem significantly shorter than others I've played.

the endlessly entertaining part comes into question aswell.

That's a silly nitpick. It is trivially untrue that this will entertain you forever, but it's not implausible that it will entertain you for a very long time. I can personally attest to that.

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.

No. He's not *just* saying it's their opinion. He's saying that they were apparently looking for the game to be something other than what it was intended to be, and, in *his* opinion, therefore weren't grading it appropriately.

"Flawless" is an exaggeration, I suppose, but exaggerations like that are pretty typical in user reviews, so I didn't think a thing of it.

This is straight out of Blatantly Fake Reviews 101.

Not at all. You're passing wild speculation off as logical deduction. Furthermore, you're presupposing your opinion as the only valid one. i.e. you don't think the game is good, therefore anyone who claims to love the game must be lying.

Well, I love the game. So I must be lying, eh?

Labcoat Samurai:
Well, I love the game. So I must be lying, eh?

You're not a Bioware employee, so your opinion is much less suspect when you say you love it because of the lack of conflict of interests, furthermore, I don't see you saying it's flawless, endlessly entertaining or calling everybody criticising it wrong.

As for your defence of this obvious hack,
image

plikis1:

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 ,

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.

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.

maybe you should read up on the game before you post moronic things, it really doesn't help your argument when you post false things about the game. I beat DA2 yesterday, took me 35 hours, thats on normal doing most of the sidequests.

ZeroDotZero:

danpascooch:

ZeroDotZero:

This isn't fraud, it is a man who likes the product he made. He never identified himself as someone other than a Bioware Employee in the review he left.

Part of the definition of fraud is gaining an unfair disadvantage by dishonesty, deceit, or trickery.

Deceit by omission is fair game legally if the information omitted is important enough.

Omitting his job does not change his opinion on the game. One person's opinion is just as valid as another's.

Yes but it could easily fall under the blanket of "deceit in order to gain an unfair advantage"

He omitted vital information

Sephychu:

danpascooch:

Sephychu:

You see, I don't think the playing field is equal. I think that there are more factors than before.
If you consider, for example, this having happened before (to a lesser degree) with Mass Effect 2. Some people who didn't complain before might be more inclined to do so now.
Also, this game is a sequel to a game that was for all intents and purposes, quite like Baldur's Gate. That game is old. Lots of great childhood memories. So if you change that, you upset people. Not me, but some people. The Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2 rift didn't suffer from this problem.
So, I put it to you that, even though all of BioWare's games are subject to MetaCritic, they do not all reach the same fanbase, and this one in particular has a variety of reasons people might feel unhappy or betrayed at the changes, see?

I doubt the unfounded rage is 6x greater than Mass Effect, 50% greater maybe, not 600%.

Anyway, the critic review scores were pretty low too, not low low maybe, but certainly low for a Bioware RPG

Exactly right, demonstrating my presented flaw with MetaCritic. It cannot be known. Metacritic implies that by averaging everyone's opinions, you get something resembling fact. I think there are far too many variables for it to be reliable.

Regardless, it does appear that public opinion of this game is lower than usual, so I suppose I tend towards the upper quartile of opinion on this game.

I'm not saying it can be proven (though I do believe the evidence is pretty strong) that the general public liked ME2 or DA:O better, I'm just saying that anyone who instantly rejects the possibility with a statement like "stupid trolls" and aren't even willing to consider that possibility are obviously indulging in self delusion

HyenaThePirate:
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.

And yet, here you are. Why waste your time if this is so beneath you?

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

You actually omitted the act this guy is taking flak for completely. I'm not sure you have a complete grasp of what is going on exactly.

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?"

As far as I know, none have attempted to subvert or deceive me. Again, we're not on the same page here.

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.

Inspiring, but what's your point? Are you saying it is OK to knowingly mislead people in a review of a commercial product for personal gain? Why bother when you are so far above the sheeple who rely on these reviews that it is has no impact on you at all?

As for this guy... I give him props. I voted for myself when I ran for student council president once.

Did you also knowingly deceive your voters? Disguise your identity to fool your voters into electing you? Did you disseminate information valuable to your campaign under false pretenses? I'm sure you did not. Or you did, and your constituents found out, and you're still bitter about it. That would explain this post nicely, now that I think about it.

EDIT: This came out harsher than I intended. All I was trying to say was, I still don't know why you're reading and responding to this thread. I know you're not dishonest yourself, so why bother?

[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.

When you defend the guy without even mentioning what he is being accused of, it makes me think neither of you understand what is going on.

Either you die with your fanboys... or they live long enough to become the enemy.

You can't please your super-devoted base forever and still be judged well by anyone who isn't already a fan. Bioware chose a bit of change to appeal to a lot of those who wanted the game to feel more action than/along with issuing commands. And those fans who wanted the same hardcore RPG style are lashing out in force. Bound to happen when a big developer changes something about one of their series.

danpascooch:

Sephychu:

danpascooch:

I doubt the unfounded rage is 6x greater than Mass Effect, 50% greater maybe, not 600%.

Anyway, the critic review scores were pretty low too, not low low maybe, but certainly low for a Bioware RPG

Exactly right, demonstrating my presented flaw with MetaCritic. It cannot be known. Metacritic implies that by averaging everyone's opinions, you get something resembling fact. I think there are far too many variables for it to be reliable.

Regardless, it does appear that public opinion of this game is lower than usual, so I suppose I tend towards the upper quartile of opinion on this game.

I'm not saying it can be proven (though I do believe the evidence is pretty strong) that the general public liked ME2 or DA:O better, I'm just saying that anyone who instantly rejects the possibility with a statement like "stupid trolls" and aren't even willing to consider that possibility are obviously indulging in self delusion

Well yes. Stupid Trolls will be a factor, however, just not as large of a factor as some people would like to believe.

Sure, it's been done before, sure it's been done worse. Sure it's not the end of the world.

But none of that makes it RIGHT. A guy whose livelihood is tied to the sales of a game s, by nature, a biased party when reviewing that game. For him to pretend otherwise was unethical.

Had that been a press release, or an interview, it would have been fine.

Him DENOUNCING "personal preference" in the review is just embarassing...

uppitycracker:

Smorlock:

uppitycracker:
what a coincidence. i swear, not 20 minutes ago, my buddy was linking me the metacritic site, talking about how it seemed like EA employees were throwing 10 reviews out there... man, what a crap game. so glad i didn't pay for it.

Except this sort of behaviour (while crap), doesn't mean the game is crap. The game is fine. This kind of stuff isn't. Make sure you are distributing your hate correctly.

i'm distributing it just fine. the behavior is right on par with the game itself IMO. i'm clearly not the only one that feels this way. but hey, if you enjoyed it, more power to you. i certainly didn't.

To be fair, I haven't actually played it. I just don't like it when people don't like a work because of ancillary events that shouldn't impact their opinion of the product. But if you genuinely don't like the game on its own merits, I apologize.

Smorlock:

uppitycracker:

Smorlock:

Except this sort of behaviour (while crap), doesn't mean the game is crap. The game is fine. This kind of stuff isn't. Make sure you are distributing your hate correctly.

i'm distributing it just fine. the behavior is right on par with the game itself IMO. i'm clearly not the only one that feels this way. but hey, if you enjoyed it, more power to you. i certainly didn't.

To be fair, I haven't actually played it. I just don't like it when people don't like a work because of ancillary events that shouldn't impact their opinion of the product. But if you genuinely don't like the game on its own merits, I apologize.

no worries, i realized that my original post was a little misleading in that sense. i ended up editing it, because you aren't the only one that thought it meant i had never played it.

Sooo... I'm the guy who enjoyed the first game quite a bit.

And I enjoyed the second game as well, although I only found it too short.

What does that make me?

plikis1:
You're not a Bioware employee, so your opinion is much less suspect when you say you love it because of the lack of conflict of interests,

Ah, so it's not impossible that he could genuinely like it, and that he is therefore being honest. So you can't have logically deduced that. You are actually speculating... and calling for a man to lose his job based on that speculation.

furthermore, I don't see you saying it's flawless, endlessly entertaining or calling everybody criticising it wrong.

I am, however, saying it's excellent, that it provides a large amount of content that should keep a player entertained for a long time, and that the people on metacritic giving it scores of 0 and 1 and saying that it's the worst game they've ever played are wildly exaggerating and being incredibly unfair to the game.

So sure, I'm not employing as much hyperbole as he is, but I essentially agree with him.

As for your defence of this obvious hack,

Like the guy in your image, this is a response you should have probably thought better of and kept to yourself. It adds nothing to the conversation but condescension.

On the other hand, given your response to an earlier poster helpfully suggesting he should think before posting or that anyone who disagrees with you about this bioware employee is either a child or a moron, I suppose I should not be surprised with the quality of our discourse.

If there's anything to be gained from this tale it's that a lot of my fellow gamers are whiny bitches and must be from a VERY pampered background for an issue so petty to cause such an outburst of rage. Most user reviews ARE biased, misleading pieces of crap (pick any game on metacritic and check, you'll see) What does one more drop in the ocean matter?

Rooster Cogburn:
As far as I know, none have attempted to subvert or deceive me.

Well, you can't be sure the guy was intending to deceive you. He may have genuinely thought it wasn't relevant. It's biased, sure, but it could also be his honest opinion. If he believed there was an expectation that metacritic user reviews will be unbiased or will disclose bias, then it would be dishonest of him to avoid doing so. But metacritic reviews are very commonly biased. Not only is it reasonable that he could think there was no such expectation, but, in fact, *I* think there is no such expectation. I might disclose personal bias just to get extra attention on my review, but if I was trying to just fit into the community, I might leave it off. After all, if I worked at Bioware, I wouldn't want to always have my Bioware hat on everywhere I went on the internet, inviting people to harass me personally with questions and complaints.

Inspiring, but what's your point? Are you saying it is OK to knowingly mislead people in a review of a commercial product for personal gain?

Do you really think there's personal gain here? I rather think the opposite. I think the expected personal gain for a drop in the ocean positive review on metacritic when you have little to no personal stake in the company (he receives a paycheck; he's not a major stockholder, as far as I know) is, somewhere between 0 and a negligible fraction of a cent. His time, on the other hand, may be worth a lot.

When you defend the guy without even mentioning what he is being accused of, it makes me think neither of you understand what is going on.

What he's being accused of is silly. He's an engineer posting anonymously on a website, and he's being held to the standard of a professional journalist.

Good on them. Way to hold up your employees, guys. Reasonably response, too. Cheers.

You guys are so slow; saw this on 4chan 2 days ago.

I could care less, never pay attention to user reviews or for that matter any other review, because I don't consider what other people have to say about a game as valuable, if I have enough interest in the game then I'll buy it otherwise it could be the most celebrated game in the world I still wouldn't play it, if after I played the demo or read the description it seemed like crap to me, prime case example world of Warcraft, alot of people like it, I can't stand it. A thousand blizzard employees could say it the best thing since sliced bread, I still have no interest in it. So I don't see anything wrong with what the guy at Bioware did, hell its his game his allowed to have an opinion about his own game, and no it doesn't matter if he worked on the game.

Oh there is one person, whose opinion on a game a take very seriously, and thats Yahtzee, all hail Yahtzee.

Dawkter:
You guys are so slow; saw this on 4chan 2 days ago.

But your birthday is February 13, 1997...

Irridium:
Why the hell do people all of a sudden care about Metacritic? Before this, all anyone did is dismiss it as stupid. Why now is everyone pointing to it as proof for DA2's shortcomings?

Vocal minority has the illusion of influence on Metacritic? ;) I don't give a lot of credit to the complaints I've heard as aside from those angry at the several major plot points which are out of your control so far as an overwhelming majority of them seem to come from the same group of people who were angry DA:O wasn't Baldurs Gate 3. Flash forward a couple years and with time for the DA:O system to grow upon them they are once again disappointed to be met with change :p I will however point out that the final act seems to have a couple rough patches at the least and that the game could probably have benefited from additional testing.

If by chance you remember the pissing and moaning around the release of Mass Effect 2 you'll be well equipped to understand what's going on now.

As for the OP and thread: Sock Puppet accounts, Astroturfing and shill reviews are inexcusable. I sincerely hope that Ea/Bioware are deeply shamed and make it very clear to their employees that it will not be tolerated. That said, lets be realistic: Sock Puppets and Astroturfing aren't going anywhere.
My solution is to view all game reviews with the same disdainful eye, accepting advice and recommendations only with an appropriate pinch of salt, heh.

I'd be upset, except it was one positive USER review in a tidal wave of negativity and fail.

I am honestly surprised and appalled at the number of people here who see this as no big deal.

The point isn't whether or not he honestly believes the game is worth a perfect score, or that it's just one score among many. It's that he, an employee of BioWare, is giving the game a glowing, "best game ever" review and doing his part, small though it may be, to bump the score without disclosing his obvious conflict of interest. It's greasy as hell.

I have no problem with BioWare employees offering their opinions in a public forum, but there must be disclosure - especially when that opinion involves assigning a score that impacts the overall rating that people use as a quick-and-dirty scale by which to judge the game.

"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."

In other words, EA encouraged it.

By the way, it's funny that a lot of the people in marketing here always mention politics. The practice with gathering up make-belief journalists and bloggers in a press-event, and then feeding them a pretty much finished draft of what they should say about a very specific list of subjects, etc.. conscious use of that kind of thing to promote something was pretty much invented by the Republican party around 2000. It's always been something that hasn't quite been possible to pull off before, because there's always the danger that someone is going to turn honest and cause problems.

But if you can impress enough people by gracing them with attention, etc. While making it violently disagreeable to "out" the large companies - then starstruck bloggers is a resource to be used.

I mean, I've joked about it before, about how the Bush-administration folks had been looking for jobs lately -- but we've seen several examples of the exact same method used to promote games in games-"journalism". A combination of artificial trolling (heartfelt letters to the publisher and developer, etc), along with just press-releases masked in casual sounding language fed to random bloggers to promote particular games on everything else but the actual game. It's exactly the kind of thing that's been driving some of us to mild insanity over the last decade or so..

Andy Chalk:
I am honestly surprised and appalled at the number of people here who see this as no big deal.

The point isn't whether or not he honestly believes the game is worth a perfect score, or that it's just one score among many. It's that he, an employee of BioWare, is giving the game a glowing, "best game ever" review and doing his part, small though it may be, to bump the score without disclosing his obvious conflict of interest. It's greasy as hell.

I have no problem with BioWare employees offering their opinions in a public forum, but there must be disclosure - especially when that opinion involves assigning a score that impacts the overall rating that people use as a quick-and-dirty scale by which to judge the game.

I'm with you on this, I can't believe how many people don't see this as a thing to be concerned about. There was NO reason this review should've been posted, it's clearly misleading in every way. For EA to dismiss it as "no big deal" shows how out of touch they are with their own industry, this was pathetic.

I don't care how many biased negative reviews there are, be the bigger man and don't give into their games, don't place so much damn reliance on numbers, this is part of the problem the industry has fallen into now.

Labcoat Samurai:
Well, you can't be sure the guy was intending to deceive you. He may have genuinely thought it wasn't relevant. It's biased, sure, but it could also be his honest opinion. If he believed there was an expectation that metacritic user reviews will be unbiased or will disclose bias, then it would be dishonest of him to avoid doing so. But metacritic reviews are very commonly biased. Not only is it reasonable that he could think there was no such expectation, but, in fact, *I* think there is no such expectation. I might disclose personal bias just to get extra attention on my review, but if I was trying to just fit into the community, I might leave it off. After all, if I worked at Bioware, I wouldn't want to always have my Bioware hat on everywhere I went on the internet, inviting people to harass me personally with questions and complaints.

I don't know what to say. I'm not going to continue to argue that lying to people is bad. If you want to tell me 8+8=-1 and it's reasonable to expect people to believe it because *you* believe it, OK. We'll just leave it there.

Do you really think there's personal gain here? I rather think the opposite. I think the expected personal gain for a drop in the ocean positive review on metacritic when you have little to no personal stake in the company (he receives a paycheck; he's not a major stockholder, as far as I know) is, somewhere between 0 and a negligible fraction of a cent. His time, on the other hand, may be worth a lot.

He's not being rewarded in dollars, he's being rewarded in careers. Anyone who wants to line up a job at any point in the future has a huge incentive to say they worked on a highly successful vidja-game. Realistically, making a product that actually moves units is good for everyone involved.

What he's being accused of is silly. He's an engineer posting anonymously on a website, and he's being held to the standard of a professional journalist.

He is not being held to the standard of a "professional journalist." He lied, possibly for personal gain. Everyone, journalists and engineers included, is expected not to break that meager standard.

I don't understand why gamers are in such a hurry to get ass-blasted all the time. If this happened at the car tune up company people would be rightfully pissed off. Gamers are the only consumer group I'm aware of who always seem to shit on their own interests as consumers.

Andy Chalk:
I am honestly surprised and appalled at the number of people here who see this as no big deal.

The point isn't whether or not he honestly believes the game is worth a perfect score, or that it's just one score among many. It's that he, an employee of BioWare, is giving the game a glowing, "best game ever" review and doing his part, small though it may be, to bump the score without disclosing his obvious conflict of interest. It's greasy as hell.

I have no problem with BioWare employees offering their opinions in a public forum, but there must be disclosure - especially when that opinion involves assigning a score that impacts the overall rating that people use as a quick-and-dirty scale by which to judge the game.

Man, I'm with you. Not only are gamers apparently OK with being treated like brainless wallet-control-devices, but I'm supposed to suck it up and take my medicine, too? No way man.

The funny thing is that he was dumb enough to get caught, but is he the only person writing reviews for their games or even payed/bribed to write a great review? My favorite review has to be about Two Worlds One, when a reviewer called it the "Oblivion Killer." I laughed for days being that Two Worlds One is one of the worst games ever made, Behind ET for the Atari, but I still had enough common sense to know that someone had to have been paid off or an employee to give that game a perfect 10. I hope this guy learned his lesson.

Mr. Moonshine:

Dawkter:
You guys are so slow; saw this on 4chan 2 days ago.

But your birthday is February 13, 1997...

What the hell does my birthday have anything to do with my post? Is that just a bad insult towards how young I am.... please respect me and treat me by my behavior, not by my age.

This kind of shit is rampant on Amazon, especially with the new Dune books. Kevin J. Anderson was actually giving prizes to people in his fanclub based off how many positive reviews they left. Glad to hear astroturfing is illegal in the EU. I've got nothing against people giving glowing reviews if they're associated with the product, but they need to disclose those associations.

It's things like this that make me like Obsidian. Yeah, their games are buggy as shit, but I don't think they'd ever pull shit like this.

Freddy Polanco:
I could care less, never pay attention to user reviews or for that matter any other review, because I don't consider what other people have to say about a game as valuable, if I have enough interest in the game then I'll buy it otherwise it could be the most celebrated game in the world I still wouldn't play it, if after I played the demo or read the description it seemed like crap to me, prime case example world of Warcraft, alot of people like it, I can't stand it. A thousand blizzard employees could say it the best thing since sliced bread, I still have no interest in it. So I don't see anything wrong with what the guy at Bioware did, hell its his game his allowed to have an opinion about his own game, and no it doesn't matter if he worked on the game.

Oh there is one person, whose opinion on a game a take very seriously, and thats Yahtzee, all hail Yahtzee.

So, how long have you worked for EA, Mr. Onepost? Do we need to administer the hotwire/blood test?

I'd be more angry if I was bioware and the guy gave it a poor review.

It's scary that EA actually felt assured enough to take a "yeah, so what?" sort of attitude to the controversy.

It has been done before. Doesn't mean it's not unethical like crazy.

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