BioWare Employee Busted in Dragon Age 2 Review Scandal - UPDATED

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Shycte:
I'm a judo coach, and I will always support the ones I train. In a match, they will always be in the right, and the judge will be in the wrong. If he judges against us.'

Point is, of course they are defending themself. Why shouldn't they be allowed to? If an author gave his book a good review would we care about it then?

What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

Popido:

Shycte:
I'm a judo coach, and I will always support the ones I train. In a match, they will always be in the right, and the judge will be in the wrong. If he judges against us.'

Point is, of course they are defending themself. Why shouldn't they be allowed to? If an author gave his book a good review would we care about it then?

What if chef told that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

Exactly. I'm getting a little sick of all of this. The only reviews I can trust these days are Zero Punctuation ffs. What does that say? I really fell like deleting myself from the internet.

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."

Of course one might wonder why, if "that's how it works," Avanost's review disappeared from Metacritic so quickly and quietly. After all, if everything's cool, why not leave it there for the world to see?

Pretty ballsy but if I was them I would have blamed /v/. I would have said that someone stole his name and posted a overly positive review just to troll knowing they would get a backlash reaction from the other users. In fact the second part of his review, the bit about negative reviews being "an overreaction of personal preference" is blatantly antagonistic.

Seriously why go to the effort of coming clean and riding out the negative backlash when they could have just pinned the blame on a group who have a troll like inclination and were all ready on record all over the place saying they hate the game. /v/ would most likely have accepted the accusation and taken the blame as well.

Of course it could have backfired horribly but if there is one thing I have learned from sitcoms it is lie, lie and lie some more and consequences be dammed.

rsvp42:

Dany Rioux:
Another brick hits BioWreck.

When will this stop? Maybe someone will remove its EA hat and realize their in the deep end.

Oh and if you think, as an employee working for developer, to artificially inflate the score of said employer's release, at least have the brains to use a nickname that can't be linked back to you.

Really, a dumbass move.

To me, after ME3, it's goodbye to BioWreck. It saddens me, but at this point I don't have much choice. I profoundly hate unethical people/companies. That was the last straw.

A bit overdramatic of you. So the Metacritic score goes from 4.2 to 4.2001? That's "inflating?"

Whatever, if people want to get up in arms about BioWare on this site for stupid reasons, that's their choice. The belligerent self-righteousness on the Escapist is getting almost unbearable.

This has nothing to do with Metacritic. I don't care if they succeeded in kicking their rating up. What I don't and will never digest, is companies using their own workforce to try to compensate for their own lacks. DA2 has serious issues for me as a RPG fan, I disemboweled it on my personal blog and I'm sure BioWreck has read it (I could look up the IPs but I'm too lazy to do so and it also wouldn't serve crap). The thing is, they made a shoddy, fast-tracked game (we can all thank EA for that, again) that displeased many, many RPG fans. As me, several of these people were vocal and made their feelings known.

Now, because of the backlash, BioWreck whom I, for a very long time, have loved and, dare I say it, worshiped, is trying to push themselves out of the muck. Granted, it might or not work, but here it's the intent that counts.

I have nothing against them asking their user-base to go and fix the rating, although I would think that if these users loved the game so much they would've already made their thoughts known.

In one short sentence: This is unethical. It's biased, and BioWreck will reap the "benefit" of it, one way of the other.

In this day and age of Amazon bombing, there are no honest reviews anymore. Not saying that there shouldn't be, but it's naive to think that Metacritic is some sort of unbiased "pulse of the common man".

To be honest, though, I get Bioware's point-- it's not as if they sent out a memo asking everyone on staff to rate up DA2. One of their employees did it all on his own. Should he have declared that he was part of the project? Eh, in a perfect world, yes. Does that mean it's the scandal of the century? Nah.

Popido:

Shycte:
I'm a judo coach, and I will always support the ones I train. In a match, they will always be in the right, and the judge will be in the wrong. If he judges against us.'

Point is, of course they are defending themself. Why shouldn't they be allowed to? If an author gave his book a good review would we care about it then?

What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

And that BioWare guy gave us his opinion. A chef would say "My resturant is the greatest! Come and eat here." I fail to see what your point is? That his review isn't honest? Does it really matter? Is it more dishonest than actors visting Jay Leno marketing their movie?

I actually agree with those greedy bastards at EA. Metacritic is an open forum by its very nature. Random people even "review" games on amazon before they ever come out. If the game is getting amazon bombed right now, everyone who worked on the game should write their own reviews defending it. They probably know the product better than anybody. It would be more accurate than some self righteous asshole who never played it once. If the review got taken down on metacritic, it was metacritic's decision, not EA's or Bioware's.

Personally I felt really icky whenever I was asked to post a positive review for a game at one of my old employers, but at worst I'd say its an ethical grey area. In fact in this case I've been following the Metacritic user scores and I totally commiserate with any staff at Bioware. People are being out and out reactionary on there, and they were bashing the game a couple of weeks before it even came out. Maybe Metacritic needs to wait until release date to allow people to post user reviews?

Zing:
Funny, almost as strange as giving DA2 it's only perfect score on metacritic.

edit: ahh someone beat me to it.

Metacritic interprets our 5* rating as 100%. We didn't give it 100%, we didn't give it 10/10, we gave it 5*. There's a difference.

Shycte:

Popido:

Shycte:
I'm a judo coach, and I will always support the ones I train. In a match, they will always be in the right, and the judge will be in the wrong. If he judges against us.'

Point is, of course they are defending themself. Why shouldn't they be allowed to? If an author gave his book a good review would we care about it then?

What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

And that BioWare guy gave us his opinion. A chef would say "My resturant is the greatest! Come and eat here." I fail to see what your point is? That his review isn't honest? Does it really matter? Is it more dishonest than actors visting Jay Leno marketing their movie?

You see, some people have good taste. And some people have talent. When you homogeneousity everything, the niche parties die and you get this nice, moist, mass of bland.

Facepalm.

Seriously, this stuff is never a good idea, and will just be touted by people that don't like the game as a sign of it's lousiness.

Coincidentally, I'm enjoying the game quite a bit. Combat's way better, the art style is nice, and the story is a good break from the typical "kill the big bad demon", although it kind of meanders a bit and gets unclear in act 2.

Characters a little meh. Varric is cool and Merril is actually a very interesting character, though kind of jarring. I mean here we have a timid, innocent, naive little elf that is also a blood mage and doesn't seem phased at all by jumping into lethal combat. Fenris and Anders just get annoying at times. They don't ever learn or grow in any way, they just stick to their ideals like glue. You would think that after spending 10 years around Anders, Merril, and possibly Hawke that Fenris might learn to lighten up on mages, but no. There seems to be no character development possible with him. If the game spans such a long time you would think it would make sense for the characters to change, but they don't much. After each jump in time its like only a day passed.

Popido:

Shycte:

Popido:
What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

And that BioWare guy gave us his opinion. A chef would say "My resturant is the greatest! Come and eat here." I fail to see what your point is? That his review isn't honest? Does it really matter? Is it more dishonest than actors visting Jay Leno marketing their movie?

You see, some people have good taste. And some people have talent. When you homogeneousity everything, the niche parties die and you get this nice, moist, mass of bland.

Your point is?

Shycte:

Popido:

Shycte:

And that BioWare guy gave us his opinion. A chef would say "My resturant is the greatest! Come and eat here." I fail to see what your point is? That his review isn't honest? Does it really matter? Is it more dishonest than actors visting Jay Leno marketing their movie?

You see, some people have good taste. And some people have talent. When you homogeneousity everything, the niche parties die and you get this nice, moist, mass of bland.

Your point is?

Gaming is moist and now people have to reinvent it.

Popido:

Shycte:
I'm a judo coach, and I will always support the ones I train. In a match, they will always be in the right, and the judge will be in the wrong. If he judges against us.'

Point is, of course they are defending themself. Why shouldn't they be allowed to? If an author gave his book a good review would we care about it then?

What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

Are you suggesting that a review doesn't contain opinions?

Popido:

Shycte:

Popido:
You see, some people have good taste. And some people have talent. When you homogeneousity everything, the niche parties die and you get this nice, moist, mass of bland.

Your point is?

Gaming is moist and now people have to reinvent it.

Acording to who? You?

Knight Templar:

Popido:

Shycte:
I'm a judo coach, and I will always support the ones I train. In a match, they will always be in the right, and the judge will be in the wrong. If he judges against us.'

Point is, of course they are defending themself. Why shouldn't they be allowed to? If an author gave his book a good review would we care about it then?

What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

Are you suggesting that a review doesn't contain opinions?

Are you implying that Im wrong on this?

Shycte:

Popido:

Shycte:

Your point is?

Gaming is moist and now people have to reinvent it.

Acording to who? You?

Niches. Are you following anything that I say?

Andy Chalk:
One Metacritic user review more or less isn't going to have any impact on the game's fortunes. But one BioWare employee busted while secretly shilling for his company and trying to artificially inflate a review score? That's the sort of PR disaster that people don't quickly forget.

I fail to see why this should be a disaster.

What did he do wrong? He gave an inflated opinion about a game? Who hasn't, everyone's free to say whatever they want about the anything Metacritic.

He didn't mention that he made the game? Why should he? Does that mean his prohibited to talk about his own product without being an official promotion? What about all those people who get paid for casually drinking some soda in TV?

Do I have to mention how I was James Cameron's nanny, everytime I talk about one of his movies? Sure, mentioning it would help the us know if the reviewer is biased or not, but then you would have to take down half of the internet people for not being professionally accurate about their opinions and being biased.

He hack the site and changed the scores. He did "One Metacritic user review more or less isn't going to have any impact on the game's fortunes".

I would do that for my game. (If i made one)
I would also vote for myself as president if I was running for president.

I'm not surprised that EA thinks this issue is "no big deal," but they probably cheat at cards, too. The question to me is whether Bioware will censure the two employees, or whether they also consider shilling for a product w/o admitting a possible conflict of interest is "no big deal." I guess I'm naive; I always felt that Bioware put its audience first, and made the best product possible. Now it's depending on skewed reviews to push sales? Sounds like the Ivan Boesky school of ethics, to me.

1) Dragon Age 2 is good fun.

2) People are entitled to their own opinion regarding games, including those who made them.

This is a big deal over nothing.

Popido:

Knight Templar:

Popido:
What if a chef told you that he runs a 5 stars restaurant, when in fact its just hes own opinion?

...god damm, I miss honest reviews.

Are you suggesting that a review doesn't contain opinions?

Are you implying that Im wrong on this?

That depends.
Are you suggesting that a review does not have the authors opinions within it?

Knight Templar:

Popido:

Knight Templar:

Are you suggesting that a review doesn't contain opinions?

Are you implying that Im wrong on this?

That depends.
Are you suggesting that a review does not have the authors opinions within it?

In that case.
Are you implying that the authors opinion is not biased when judging hes own work?

And to think this would all have been avoided if the guy started his review with "I work for Bioware and I think we made one heck of a job!" Maybe his e-mail would be filled with whiney correspondants, but at least nobody could blame him for anything.

Whether he was asked by the company to mislead the customers or he did it own his own accord and regardless of whether or not neglecting to mention the conflict of interest was done on purpose or just because he's thick, this does not reflect well on EA or Bioware -- especially not after the recent account block debacle and the controversy surrounded DAII.

I'd be more inclined to believe that this was just the developers praising their own work if it wasn't for EA's history of advertising...

This is getting to be stupid. You've got dozens of people defending Bioware and DA2 to the death in this thread when it should be glaringly obvious by now that DA2 did not meet expectations and Bioware is badly screwing the pooch with regard to PR. Seriously, do you people have blinders on? You like the game? Happy for you. TONS OF PEOPLE DON'T, and they're just as entitled to express their opinions as anyone else.

Apparently the game's only failure is that it didn't appeal to some particular subset of RPG players. And those mouth-breathers apparently have enough free time to slam sites with bad reviews.

By subset of RPG players, do you mean RPG players? Because DA2 only seems to appeal to Bioware RPG players - or as a lot of people see them, fans of extremely linear action games with a small handful of RPG elements masquerading as full-fledged RPGs.

And the reason so many of these "mouth-breathers" have enough free time to slame sites with bad reviews? There aren't a lot of fucking games for them to play anymore. That's probably why they're so up in arms about all of the changes in DA2. What would you do if your preferred genre/style of gaming was rapidly vanishing on account of larger market forces seemingly beyond your control? You'd probably make a bit of a stink in the hopes that maybe devs would realize you are part of a passionate and increasingly untapped market.

Empathy. It helps.

Oh, and all the meta-convos about what defines an opinion and whether or not the guy even did anything wrong? Sorry, that stuff has been decided already. If you were part of a production, authoring a publicly-available assessment of your own work without disclosing your relationship to the product is completely unethical. Period. There's no debating this point, and anyone trying to do so has no grasp of the situation whatsoever.

Popido:

Knight Templar:

Popido:
Are you implying that Im wrong on this?

That depends.
Are you suggesting that a review does not have the authors opinions within it?

In that case.
Are you implying that the authors opinion is not biased when judging hes own work?

Are you going to answer my bloody question or just play games? If you're going to keep dodging a simple question I don't see the point in talking with you.

His opinion may or may not be biased, but it doesn't really matter in this context.

Brother of Alpharius:

Knight Templar:
As I have said before. I do not see the issue in a single user review.

It's not actually just a single review. There's been several Bioware employees who have written 10/10 reviews on Metacritic, it's just that Avanost is getting more attention because of /v/.

actually no, it really was just one guy.

Well, at least they didn't do a Rockstar and pay for reviews. I thought the demo was atrocious.

Positives: Everything!
Negatives: My mom doesn't quite hate it!

I don't think that conflict of interest really matters under normal circumstances, but the employee(s) should have clearly stated such a status. Giving a glowing review and not saying "by the way, I had something at stake with that which I am praising" leaves me, at least, as a reader of the review, rather suspect of the content of the message.

"I was critical of Bioware for their entire stunt with asking the community if we agreed with a design desician... giving people a heavily predetermined protaganist (ie Hawke), getting a negative response, and then acting like it was a positive one and going ahead with it anyway. I think this says a lot for their current mentality, and their tendency to want to try and create the reception that they want. It's pretty sad, but honestly them trying to load the metacritic scores for advertising purposes as opposed to letting them game succeed on it's own merits does not surprise me."

EDIT: This was meant to be a quote... sorry. I did not say the above paragraph, I was agreeing with the original poster Therummancer.

WHAT?! I didn't really know that. I remember reading about dragon age 2 early on and hearing that it would be mass-effect-ified and being very disappointed. No race or expanded dialogue choices....why?

If they'd asked me I would have told them I'd rather jump off a bridge into lava then agree to that change.

What I hate the most though is the quote from one bioware employee or designer before the game was released (i can't remember his name) when he was interviewed. "people hated that the main character didn't talk" (paraphrase). Wait...what? Who? The crap-ton of people who bought the game and enjoyed it? The people who allowed it to become an unanticipated success? Sure, that makes a lot of sense idiot.

I totally agree with you on most of your points. Bioware has lost its way, and I'm quite afraid that they won't be able to find their way back.

Frylock72:

Misterpinky:

ZeroDotZero:
This just makes me, a genuine fan of the game, look like a Bioware employee.

I can't say I blame the guy though, you would want to try and do something positive to balance out the negativity towards something you worked on. The best intentions, right?

Yeah, no kidding. Not to mention that half the negative reviews were done well before they could've possibly finished or even played DA2 (speaking of fraud...). The Bioware guys were idiots. Unfortunately, the internet is full of people that make them look like freaking geniuses. Color me apathetic.

So, I'll be starting with a nice shade of grey, then moving into more of a slate blue. From there we'll add touches of brown, and finish off with a lovely trim of black.

OT: Is there definite proof that this guy actually made this post, and it wasn't just a troll trying to make the company look bad? People apparently decided to hate the game before they even knew it from all the responses I've read here, so what's to stop someone from trying to throw an employee under the bus?

Excellent color choices. I'll order five dozen of those.
OT: Exactly. It's the internet. People will take credit for things they didn't do, pass blame on to people who didn't do it, and leave little proof as to who is actually being an asshole. Of course, given the recent quote from EA, it's probably legit. On the other hand, you can't disagree with their logic. To quote:
"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."

ZeroDotZero:

danpascooch:

ZeroDotZero:
This just makes me, a genuine fan of the game, look like a Bioware employee.

I can't say I blame the guy though, you would want to try and do something positive to balance out the negativity towards something you worked on. The best intentions, right?

You don't blame the guy for committing fraud? Yeah I would want to do it, but there are plenty of people I want to punch in the face too, but I know I shouldn't do it

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.

Irridium:

danpascooch:

Irridium:

The media is giving Dragon Age 2 fantastic scores. Its the community thats freaking out and pointing to metacritic. What I'm saying is that I haven't seen anyone point to metacritic to point out that a game got great review scores, but bad user scores. Or at least done so in a way thats as big as them doing it to Dragon Age 2.

How is that really relevant to anything? That may be true (though I'm not sure if I agree) but how does the fact that people don't point to it make DA2's score somehow invalid?

The critics gave DA2 substantially lower scores than basically every other major Bioware RPG.

I'm not saying its invalid. I'm just wondering why everyone is pointing to Metacritic to prove DA2 is worse when they've just dismissed everything else about the site before all this.

I think it's because an upset of this severity hasn't happened in a really long time, nobody expected this game to be so poor in comparison to other Bioware RPGs

Back to Extra Credits' Open letter to EA with you guys.

Sephychu:

danpascooch:

Sephychu:

It is valid though, and this is because of said flaw with Metacritic. You cannot possibly account for the sample of people that will get off their asses to score a game. It seems to me that this is more likely to be people who are angry that they've spent money on a game they don't like. Maybe that's a dim view of people, but I don't know.
The point I'm making is that low scores like 1 and 2 can be attributed to a game that is, for most intents and purposes, pretty damned good. The visuals are very nice, the gameplay is at the very least engaging, and the writing is not terrible.
Standards vary from person to person, and a person who feels angry at a company for being betrayed by them is likely to think more in hyperbole than a rational scoring system.

Anyway, I don't see these flaws that everyone is pointing out, I'm just saying you cannot possibly state that metacritic is a wide, fair sample.

You are absolutely right that people who are angry are more likely to get off their asses and review it, which begs the question, why are there more people angry with this game than other Bioware RPGs?

The playing field as far as Metacritic is concerned is equal, the game being reviewed is the only major change, if you want to get really technical even the weather outside on release day could have influenced the score, but we're not talking about a 0.5 point drop here, we're talking about a 9/10 for ME2 vs. a 4.2 for DA2

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

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