BioWare Employee Busted in Dragon Age 2 Review Scandal - UPDATED

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This is some pretty serious shit for them.

Also lol at EA's defense, it's how the Oscars work? Why on earth would you want to lower yourself to those levels then? Be the company to not care about such matters and having to resort to such stupid tactics, especially when it's so easily discovered.

rsvp42:

Sean Strife:

Dear Bioware,
Just stop. Seriously, just stop. Stop trying to defend the game. Stop trying to act like you know what we like better than we do. Just stop with the douchebaggery in general. In the span of about a week (if not less), my opinion of you guys have gone from a respectable and talented development company, to that of just sheer douchebaggy. Just stop, please.

Sincerly,
Sean Strife

PS: Now go stand in the corner and think about what you've done.

Doesn't help that the Escapist has been skewing all the stories in a negative light. Calling this a scandal? Blowing the whole accidental game lockout thing out of proportion? It's easy to spin this kind of thing the wrong way and users here are quick to jump on the highest horse they can find.

I think BioWare has made some missteps, sure, but to look at a couple problems surrounding one game and conclude that a company has fundamentally failed is taking it a little far.

I'm not even talking about how The Escapist has been spinning. Somebody posted a video on YouTube that showed people trying to argue maturely that Dragon Age 2 wasn't that good of a game and BioWare basically snubbed them, said they were wrong, and ended with "end of line", as I posted on another story about this on.

That's what I mean by the controversy surrounding them: it's not just how The Escapist has been spinning it.

Grats to EA for reaching down and finding a pair. As business shenanigans go, those two lil' reviews don't merit much in the way of stone throwing.

mojodamm:

Therumancer:

It's a differant type of fantasy, and has me oftentimes going "WTF".

So you're saying your idea of fantasy is more realistic? You realize just how that sounds, right?

Therumancer:
People will sit down and say that they didn't dumb the game down but rather "streamlined" it, but the bottom line is a lot of options are missing. Above and beyond arguements about what you could or couldn't customize in the first game, the problem gets down to core gameplay mechanics like picking your party. In "Dragon Age: Origins" I had a real choice of what companions I wanted to use, I could set them up in whatever way I chose to support my main character. I was not saddled by having to use characters I don't like due to a complete lack of options, or having to say "that's a cool character, I like the banter, but I just don't need that skill set". In Dragon Age 2, you have few if any options. There is ONE tank companion, so if your main character is not a tank that means that for a balanced party you have to bring along their sword and shield character. Sure, the friendship/rivalry system gives you some latitude, but at the same time if your playing a criminal or bad guy, it's absolutly ridiculous to be dragging the ultra-strict "captain of the guard" along as your tank. What's more you constantly have to listen to the nagging and disapproval. It just doesn't work. By the same token if your hero isn't a healer, you have exactly ONE healer companion you can use. He's a mage, and not just ANY mage but pretty much the most vocal pro-mage character in the game, AND even goes so far as to write manifestos in the game (seriously)... having this guy glued to your party if your deciding to play Hawke as a Templar and do a pro-templar walkthrough is an absolute joy to listen to. Like the bit with the guard above, the whole question as to WHY you'd be teaming up with him arises, the only answer is "I need a healer, and there isn't anyone else".

You're complaining about roleplaying reasons for keeping someone in the party due to your meta-gaming reasons for keeping them in the party. These two concerns are night-and-day, and require looking at a game with two entirely different mindsets.

Therumancer:
It's not some small minority of contrarians attacking this game, it's a matter of the game being a HUGE disappointment compared to the first one for a lot of the players. Honestly I'd go so far as to say that I think the people who are experiencing "Dragon Age Rage" are the majority, it's just that a lot of them (like my father, who doesn't hang out on forums) are silent about it.

I'd honestly go so far as to say that I think a lot of gamers play the game, and either enjoy it or don't. The contrarians are just more vocal.

Therumancer:
Truthfully, from what I've been seeing the professional, paid reviews have been positive. But that highlights a disturbing trend of how tainted by industry dollars they tend to be. Even before the current contreversy, the user ratings of for this game were pretty bloody low, and it's not surprising that you have Bioware sending staffers to try and pad it out, or try and counterbalance the word of mouth.

Unless you can prove Bioware is 'sending staffers to try to pad it out', you're just spreading unsubstantiated rumors. Plus, you give the 'average' person too much credit when it comes to critical reviewing capability. See a Michael Bay movie for an example of the tastes of the average person.

Therumancer:
Let me be honest, people can argue about the streamlined mechanics themselves which is why so many people defending the game talk about that. You cannot however defend them recycling the same maps so much for quests, or the way they are having monsters just pop up, the wave attacks, and guys falling out of the sky (or jumping off rooftops) as they spawn or whatever. That's just horrendous and sloppy game design, and there is no excuse for it.

And if that's all the naysayers were complaining about, that would be ok. But the most widespread complaints; Streamlined mechanics, 'dumbing down' the game, not as 'hard' as the first one, etc.

Therumancer:
(Snip...)

After reading the rest, it just seems like you're upset with Bioware in general, perhaps because you prefered the ME1 and DA1 experiences more than the sequels. That's perfectly fair, and although I disagree with ME1 > ME2, I can understand your points. But if you're dead-set on having the best *roleplaying* experience possible from your games, complaining about meta-game concerns and Bioware's lack of realism with their fantasy seem like strange things to fixate upon.

PS. I never made it though DA1, haven't played DA2, and don't really care about Bioware in general (other than the upcoming Old Republic), I just don't understand the vehemence directed at them. It's not like they FORCE anyone to buy or play their games...

The problem with your logic is that there are differant kinds of fantasy. "My Little Pony", "Lord Of The Rings", and "The Road" are all works of fantasy. It's not contridictory to talk about realism in fantasy, as the "ism" makes all the differance in the world. By definition fantasy is not real, however a lot of styles of fantasy require it to seem like something that could happen. What's more any GOOD fantasy involves consistant presentation in how things work and interact.

"Dragon Age" is a franchise by attaching a "2" on the end of the name of the game, they are connecting it to the first game and it's conventions. It shares the same reality as the first game. That is to say a very specific idea of how things interact, move, and are stylized. It's a universe where the combat might involve some definatly unreal moments, but is more or less grounded in what's remotely possible. The second game instead uses a more "anime" type reality where the laws of physics and what's remotely plausible don't apply. Guys teleporting with mere physical training, limitless access to gas grenades, low rent thugs jumping off roofs like ninjas, all of these things do not fit within reality as defined by Dragon Age. That makes this a sloppy presentation. Had Bioware wanted to create a flashier fantasy world they should have launched a new franchise for it, not made the game "Dragon Age 2".

As far as metagaming concerns go, it shows that you really don't "get" what an RPG is. You'll notice that for all the pretensions of "story over everything" and "players adapting to the story, not vice versa" that's pretty much the anti-thesis of an RPG when you get down to it despite what a lot of people might think. What's more it wound up doing a LOT of damage to the pnP RPG market over a period of time. You can see this in the history of companies like "White Wolf" which was one of the groups that helped to establish that convention, and encouraged the industry to embrace it because it was easier to develop. White Wolf wound up basically shooting itself in the foot because their "story over player freedom and adaption" attitude, especially when you looked at their examples of adventures, saw their games seriously begin to fail along with others, you had entire game lines like their "Aeonverse" (renamed Trinity) go from being healthy game lines with a lot of supplements, to cancellation. A big part of it being that they wound up using the game to tell a story, and interwove it so heavily with the game mechanics that it was increasingly difficult for someone without a lot of time to use the material without conforming to what they wanted to see.

The thing is, that it's possible to have good storytelling, along with adaptability to the desires of the player. It's just difficult to do. The original Dragon Age managed to do this, thus it becomes notable when Dragon Age 2 does not, and that's what makes the game sloppy, since we already know they can do better.

That said, not all games are for everyone. I "get" that a lot of people couldn't finish the first game, or couldn't get into the original Mass Effect. A lot of people, and probably more of them (as we're now seeing) could however. There are plenty of shallow RPGs that totally railroad you through the game for more "introductory" and "Casual" players out there as it is. "Dragon Age" became what it was because it got away from the introductory level. There is no problem with Bioware developing a casual/introductory level RPG franchise for those people, however they are taking an established franchise and raping it. They used the "Dragon Age Name" to draw people in due to the success of the first one, which is stupid if you assume all of what they did was carefully considered since it was antithetical to everything that name meant. Nobody should be shocked by the anger. However in this case I *don't* think that this was entirely intentional, this is just a sloppy game. The reason why there is so much "Dragon Age Rage" is that even a lot of people who would have embraced SOME of this as positive design choices are seriously annoyed because they did it badly.

Also I'll be honest, annoying players is never a good idea. All arguements about "storytelling trumping freedom" are meaningless when the end result is to make an entertainment product actively repulse the people turning it on. I can "get" the arguement about wanting to say keep the "by the book" city guard with that personality, and it not making sense for the personality to change due to what the player does. The problem is that when you HAVE to bring that character along and endure that that it becomes a problem. The thing is that it's not a matter of any one character, it's a situation where almost any playstyle is going to lead to you not having a balanced party with the needed skills OR having to listen to incessant and annoying whining from at least one party member. When they build an entire campaign path around siding with The Templars, making the only healing option for a Warrior-Templar Hawke (the most logical character for that path) the mage version of Che Guevera [SP] if totally annoying. Either you have to listen to the whining of someone you logically wouldn'tbe working with anyway, or try and do the game without a healer and needless to say that is going to provide a craptastic game experience except on the very lowest difficulty settings (maybe, even then the game's bosses will have their moments).

There is no reason why a skilled warrior could not adapt their fighting style to what their team mates need. After all they are gaining experience points, levels, and skills, representing growth. Why can't he pick up the skills that are actually going to be useful, when they are within his area of expertise. The first game allowed this, and it helped with dealing with the above kinds of problems.

Another option of course is to simply have enough characters availible with differant viewpoints that finding a guy you can use for differant playstyles to fill the needed roles isn't a problem. Right now for example there are three rogues, but only one tank and one healer.

The point is that the trick to designing a game, is to make it enjoyable and playable first since it's a game. You can do this and still have great storytelling, because we've seen it done. When you see a game like this borked on so many levels, it deserves the criticism.

I mean, sure, there are probably people out there who love the game the way it is. However the whole "rage" issue is that they are hardly a majority at the moment.

Also understand that what we're talking about is only ONE issue with the game, see if it was just the discussion about freedom vs. storytelling, that wouldn't have tanked it to this extent or generated this much rage all on it's own. You have that aspect of things, along with them re-using the same maps constantly, having an absolutly awful encounter system that is absolutly ridiculous (waves of insta-spawning enemies), and other thing. Any game being fairly evaluated would be judged for those things. Re-visiting the same areas in an RPG is no big deal, but when your like visiting "The Bitter Coast" forty times becase they haven't created any other areas... yeah that's a matter of lazy design and them not wanting to
design regions.

Bioware produced a bad game, I think fanboys need to just accept that, and hope that they learn from their mistakes and improve. Honestly I think the biggest problem is Bioware simply being too divided due to all of it's projects. The problem is probably going to be self-correcting should they managed to convince EA that they really need to downsize their staff to the former "elite team" size, and be able to focus on one project at a time.

I doubt they will ever flat out say so, but I think a lot of the design choices, and general sloppiness is simply a matter of the development enviroment compared to the first game. They had a longer period of time to develop the first "Dragon Age" and the first "Mass Effect" along with being able to focus their best people on it, and take the time they needed, than they did with the sequels. No professional company is going to say "we did it this way, because under the circumstances we can't develop like we did before", I think we're seeing an attitude very similar to passing off a bug as a feature (so to speak), which works from time to time. "We aren't cutting corners due to development realities, we're streamlining to hopefully reach a larger audience". :P

Instead of argueing, I think pretty much everyoone, including the fanboys, should unite, consider it sort of an "Intervention" and hope that Bioware and EA gets the message from the reviews (even if they find a way to "fix" them) that they need to change, and get back on track. Even EA can be reasoned with to some extent, and honestly using Bioware which is a quality developer, as a video game grindhouse really isn't the best investment of resources. They belong on single, long term development projects, not juggling two franchises and an MMO and hoping none of them hit the ground (which one just did).

Here's the thing. If it had been a very negative review from the same guy, it would be held up as gospel and people would be supporting him for his honesty. (EA Louse anyone?)

Yet, he likes the game he helped make and it's a scandal. This isn't a 'scandal' it's just pride in his work. An artist can't enjoy his own art?

I quite enjoy DA2, even if Nightmare mode is currently kicking my a**.

Brother of Alpharius:

Sean Strife:
Somebody posted a video on YouTube that showed people trying to argue maturely that Dragon Age 2 wasn't that good of a game and BioWare basically snubbed them, said they were wrong, and ended with "end of line", as I posted on another story about this on.

Interesting. Link please?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA_tNPxq9w4 Here you go.

I'll say the same thing I said when this article went up before: I can almost guarantee you this was done in response to the fact that publishers like EA use Metacritic as a barometer of a game's critical success, despite numerous articles (a few on The Escapist) pointing out why amalgam review sites like MC and Rotten Tomatoes don't give accurate statistics.

To put it another way:
You've just been set a task by your boss, and made to understand that if you do it well, you'll be paid a bonus. So you do the task, and when review time comes around, your boss looks at your work, scratches his head, and asks his cat what it thinks. Now you and I both know that cats are no effective measure of work quality -- but your boss is adamant. He needs that cat's input before he can reach a decision.
So you, quite reasonably, pick up the cat and go, "Yeah no, he did alright, give him the hookup...meow."

Chastise the employee(s) who did this all you want, but the real fault lies with the moronic corporate policies which almost definitely brought this action about.

(Honestly, how many gamers are even really aware of Metacritic? I sure as hell don't look at it.)

Personally I agree with EA (this is probably the first time) who cares if they voted for a game they produced, it's good that they have pride in their work. Secondly the metacritic user scores are stupidly inaccurate, those scores are reserved for the very worst games like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial(cliche, I know). This game is just the same as DA:O except with worse gameplay but better story, so I can understand a person trying to change the user score if it was being abused.

DA2 may not be as groundbreaking as DA1 was; it also may not even be as awesome as Laidlaw etc. said it would be. But it's still a great game. I get the feeling that if this exact game had been made by people other than Bioware there would be a lot less kerfluffle.

I never thought a Bioware game would get more hate than Final Fantasy XIII. Has me worried about Mass Effect 3 now

I was right all along! The only reason the scores where so high was because bioware made them! The games themselves are less than perfect I can assure you.

danpascooch:

Sephychu:

danpascooch:

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

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.

Well, as long as it's mostly objective, I don't think it's wrong for employees or even developers who worked personally on the game to post their opinions in a review format.

Not that I'm stating that is in fact what has transpired, but if we're talking about a good review, that would make it legitimate overall IMO.

But who cares? As has been stated, MetaCritic doesn't seem to give objective reviews overall anyways, what is one review biased from the other end going to change?

I think this is monumentally stupid. If an employee wants to review his own game, let him review it. Frankly, Dragon Age 2's Metacritic page is a few hundred angry Dragon Age Origins fans who don't like the streamlining of the sequel, so they fight for FREEDOM and JUSTICE and rate constant 0. I think it's a great game that really deserves more from reviewers than what it's getting. That said, sure, it might have been another ploy to increase the score, but when one Metacritic rating means so little, why would a dev even bother? I honestly think they were just trying to speak what they thought of their game.

Message to EA:

Extra Credits made an episode about how you guys seem to make no effort to think before you act when it comes to marketing. It seems the same can be said about your damage control.

Like you said, I'm sure Obama voted for himself, too. But this isn't a vote; it's a review. The reviewer not only gave it a perfect ten, but proceeded to call the game 'unmatched' (read: the best) and how anything negative is just 'overreacting.' To top it all off, he calls the game 'flawless.'

This employee tried to pass himself off as just a regular consumer, and that's where the problem is coming from. Dragon Age 2 is clearly not a perfect game. Gamers have criticisms, and even reviewers have been voicing their complaints as well. To respond by calling the game 'perfect' and saying that everyone else is wrong is about as unprofessional as you get, especially coming from a company with such a stellar track record.

I'm still confused as to why people even care about this.

Who cares about a USER review? The fact that people are calling this a "scandal" really gives me a headache. If they had been caught paying off professional reviewers? Sure that sounds shady. I'm going to have to agree - posting a positive user review for something you worked on? Sure why not? Its not like it makes a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, after all if you're basing your purchase of a game off a single random dude on the internet's review of the game I'd have to say something's wrong with you.

I mean you people already know to take user reviews with a grain of salt, right? Hell I take professional reviews with a grain of salt. I mean I know what I like and don't like better than most people I've never met do.

Andy Chalk:
Permalink

It's a tricky spot, because it's very easy for us to punish the entire company for the actions of a couple individuals on the staff. I'm no EA apologist, nor even really a fan of any kind, but I don't want to pin mustaches-twiddling on them just yet.

These individuals should have either made a clear distinction between their personal and professional online identities or made a full disclosure during their reviews. In not doing so, they have (perhaps unfairly) damaged the credibility of the organization for which they work.

Now, as to the Oscars-Elections response... well, this gets back to what the true function of a review is, versus what the function of an award or an election is. While they share certain spaces, they are not one and the same.

AWARDS: These are specifically intended to honor good work and achievement. In doing so, they will also provide a testimonial to the quality of the product. But the function is for industry insiders to recognize the achievements of their peers. The consumer is not part of this exchange--that's the important distinction.

ELECTIONS: In these, people are individually expressing their opinions over whether or not a person/group best meets the criteria for performing a certain duty. Obviously, the person who is running believes themselves to be the best. That's why they are running. So, it's understandable that this person would vote for himself/herself. Elections are intended specifically to give each individual a voice in the forming of this decision.

REVIEWS: Are neither. Reviews are meant to provide an outside, objective assessment of a products merits in order to better inform the consumer in their decision to purchase this product (or not). Providing accurate information, colored with personal opinions on the ramifications of that information, is the central focus of reviews.

So, company insiders submitting skewed reviews to game the system is not equivalent to voting for yourself in the Oscars or presidential elections. It's more like allowing the President to set his own approval rating, or allowing the President to hire his own people to investigate allegations against himself. It taints the process by which consumers are provided (ostensibly) objective assessments of the product, which is especially true in a medium that isn't into giving refunds to dissatisfied customers.

Well, considering the guy probably actually has the game himself I think he has every right as an owner of the game to post his own review of it regardless of who his employer is.

This is not a scandal. :( I was looking for "baby blood used in coding; epic loot actually people!" Or some sex scandal. This is tame compared to recent EA shenanigans. Like, REALLY tame.

I don't think 2 Bioware reviews is going to counteract the hundreds of zero reviews left by 4chan. They raided Metacritic to leave bad reviews, I saw the thread on 4chan with my own eyes.

I don't know that I blame them for wanting to leave a positive review on their own game, really.
BTW, Escapist, I figure the reason they removed it is because of the angry mob that is the internet.

"Grrr, grrr! You have pinyon? ME NOT LIEK YOU PINYON! FREEDOM FOR ALL... 'CEPT YOU!

Nimcha:

TheMadJack:

rsvp42:

How cute, you have a little pet name for them.

BioWare didn't order anyone to do this. It's not their company policy to send people out to make fake reviews for their products and if it was, they would cover their freaking tracks. This is clearly just one employee who made a hasty decision to support his studio and its work. Can we really fault him for that? I'm working on a feature film right now and you better believe I'll give it a good user review if I see others bashing it. I respect the work that we do here and the artists that do it.

As for DA2, I'm sorry to all the "RPG purists" who felt let down. Really, I am. But if we instead look at the game as just a fantasy action RPG with a focus on fast combat and a story that explores the life of a character instead of his/her quest to destroy a big bad boss, then isn't it better? When I play games or watch movies, I take them for what they are and what they try to do. The simple fact of the matter is that DA2 is NOT trying to be DA:O. I don't know if BioWare ever intended it to be like DA:O, but clearly the final product is its own piece of entertainment. Are there flaws? Yes, my main gripe is the repeated environments/dungeons. But as a smaller scale experience with dynamic combat and fun characters/story, DA2 is successful. It's not BioWare's magnum opus, no, but it does what it sets out to do.

You're free to hate BioWare and call it whatever stupid name you want, but I think any reasonable person should just chalk this up as a "meh" and move on. It's like everyone is taking it personally.

You're missing the point.

This is like buying a Ferrari but getting a Cadillac. By buying a Ferrari, you expect the top of the line car. Nobody says Cadillac is a bad car maker or that its cars are not worth crap, but there's no denying it's inferior to Ferrari.

This is the same with BioWreck (let me have my fun will you?). I'm expecting a AAA game that I will enjoy for years. Community made addons, modules, etc. I'm, in fact, expecting things to be the way BioWare was; i.e.: the way it was before it forgot its roots and why DA has been created in the first place.

Now what do we get? An RPG-wannabe, a game dumbed down to the lower common denominator (EA). We also get a day-one DLC (which I can't abide to), we also get iffy performance and countless other things. Yes, those are not all major things, but this is NOT what we were used to with BioWare. I chose to blame EA and indirectly, the company itself who was touting the DA series as "Baldur's Gate"'s spiritual successor is many things, but that, it is not.

Why not choose to blame yourself for having completely wrong expectations? Or indeed having expectations at all?

I'm sorry but this reply sounds like trolling to me. I will nonetheless reply.

Since BioWare inception, we have been used to getting great games. Granted, some weren't as good as other titles but the majority of these games, RPGs, often times were acclaimed as game changers (no pun intended). Many times BioWare redefined a genre or two. Quality and consistency has always been a given with them.

So, how should I blame myself for expecting less, MUCH less, than they use to provide me when it comes to gaming experience? I don't follow. Your reply is like saying "Valve's next game might suck gonads, so I'll stay on fence and lower my expectations." which, if you ask 99% of gamers, is utter bullcrap. Now, if that happened to be true, you also would see an uproar.

I think it might have had something to do with the people who hadn't even played the game giving it 1/10 on the day it came out because they considered it "dumbed down for the console tards".

Of course a developer would get pissed that people that haven't even played the damn thing are dissing it and be tempted to make a counter point, doesn't make it right, does make it understandable.

Personally I'm enjoying DA2, it's different to DA:0 but meh, it's good and fun, and I don't find it dumbed down at all.

It isn't already becoming too gauche to complain about the EA-ification of BioWare, I hope, because damn a lot of their decisions of late smack of publishing house meddling.

I preferred Dragon Age II to its predecessor, but this is a dick move. People may be able to vote for themselves at the Oscars, but they don't sit disguised in the audience telling everyone how flawlessly awesome their performance was.

Nice. Real nice. Way to make the rest of us look bad, you fool. One person does not the voice of a company make.

smut:
I don't think 2 Bioware reviews is going to counteract the hundreds of zero reviews left by 4chan. They raided Metacritic to leave bad reviews, I saw the thread on 4chan with my own eyes.

Why'd they go and do that? (even 4chan tends to have some reason... even if it's for lols. :P)

Wow, that's mindbogglingly stupid.
EA looks stupid for defending them too.

Funny, I had this feeling that I should just stick with DA:O (considering the wealth of DLC I've not yet gotten to). I'll be doing that I think.

I wouldnt call this a candal and I dont see why anyone would be riled up about it. Its unethical I guess but he might actually like the game a big huggy bunch himself. Like metacritic would loose its *grand integrity* by having something like this happen.

No, this is not a problem. If this BioWare employee was ALSO running a video game rating site under an alias and was consistently pimping BioWare games and slamming the competition, then maybe there would be an issue. Or if BioWare were to pressure GameSpot into firing a reviewer or altering his review because it was critical of one of their games (I'm looking at YOU Kane & Lynch) then it would be an issue.

But this is one guy posting his own opinion on a site that encourages users from the public to post their own opinions of games.

What exactly is the problem? As the EA guy said - "I'm pretty sure Barack Obama voted for himself in the last Presidential Election".

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.

This really isn't the kind of stuff I want to read. I end up doing it and feel really bad afterwards as if I want to take a second look at my games and question myself: "Are these Bioware Titled games really that good as they appear...?"

And I came to lots of unfortunate conclusions. :(

Why?

*facepalm*
Bioware, im a huge fan, all of your games are awesome (including DA2) But i cant support you if your idiots like this, just stop while your not 100% dead and let the trolls troll and make DA3 a good middle ground between the first 2 then we can all go back to loving each other

maantren:
Anyone who can't see why disclosure of a conflict of interest is important in these sorts of things needs to crack an ethics book or just grow up by a few years.

Disclosure of a conflict of interest is important to journalistic integrity, but this is the same forum where this review appears:

This is the worst steaming pile of poop i have ever played. I am not joking. This second is not even comparable to DA1. And to top it off they paid reviewers and are making fake reviews for it on metacritic. Wow... This is sad and probably the worst sequel i have ever played. If you are considering buying this dont, its a total step backwords in every way. Worst game i have played in a while

Metacritic user reviews are a slight step up from Youtube comments. I don't think there's the same expectation of journalistic quality, here.

I'm sure this activity isn't just in the gaming world. I'm sure on autos.yahoo.com, some BMW designer is writing a glowing owners review right now.
Or on some gun form. Somebody from S&W pretending to be a user is poetically masturbating about their new handgun.
If there is a rating system for something, somebody whos had a hand in making it has self rated it.
Everbody who is pretending that it shouldn't happen or is raging on how immoral it is is just being overly dickish.

Just as you should never believe in a single "professional" review, you should never believe in a single user review either. Its going to happen and trying white knight the siutation by calling people out on only makes everybody involved look like a pile of dicks.

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