Dragon Age Writer Calls BioWare Forums "Toxic"

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Dragon Age Writer Calls BioWare Forums "Toxic"

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David Gaider admits he avoids the BioWare Social Network Forum because of its "increasingly toxic atmosphere."

It's no secret that attitudes towards BioWare have soured in recent years. Their acquisition by corporate hate sponge, EA; a slew of controversial, if not reviled, releases and, of course, that ending have left the once darling studio facing wave after wave of bad press and fan outrage. According to veteran developer, David Gaider, the studio's forums have turned into such an unpleasant whine-festival that he's been forced to flee.

Responding to a fan question about the increasingly hostile social network, Gaider explained his reasons for avoiding the forums.

"They are certainly a group of passionate folks, and while I wouldn't say they were all "utterly gross" as you put it I do agree that the overall tone of the forums has become increasingly toxic," he wrote. "I tend to largely avoid them these days, myself. Why? Because spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative- not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general."

Gaider has been with BioWare for 14 years. Since his promotion to lead-writer for the Dragon Age series, he's made no qualms about answering criticism and wading into debates with both arms swinging.

"I imagine that can happen to any online community," he continues. "Eventually the polite, reasonable folks stop feeling like it's a group of people they want to hang around. So they leave, and those who remain start to see only those who agree with them- and, because that's all they see, they think that's all there is. Everyone feels as they do, according to them. Once the tipping point is passed, you're left with the extremes... those who hate, and those who dislike the haters enough to endure the toxic atmosphere to try and combat them. Each clash between those groups drives more of the others away."

While Gaider's remarks will likely be met with ridicule from those who've taken up bashing the studio as a recreational sport, one small sentence might just give them pause. In fact, it might just sum up everything that's gone wrong with BioWare's relationship with its fans in the past half-decade.

"I think there's something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general," he said. "Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans."

Source: The Bittersweetest Thing

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Oh dear.

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It almost feels like the forums have been tainted.
Probably has something to do with the blight in your company's writing skills.
Bioware is no longer the child star it once was.

Grey Carter:
*Snip*

Bumping your own news article? You're better than this Grey >(

I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. I honestly don't play that many Bioware games so my opinion is only that of an outside spectator.
And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.

Maybe they should start to make decent games....

:P

VanQQisH:
I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.

I figured I would head off the angry hordes at the pass.

No wonder after what some internet trolls did to one of Bioware staff.

I'll admit, Bioware fanboys are some of the worst forum goers around. Still, The way Bioware have been putting their fingers in their ears for the past 3 games whenever criticism rears it's ugly head shows how childish Bioware writers have become.

I can't say I blame him. Every since the middle of the year, it seems like someone's bitching about the ME3 ending around every damn corner. I mean, yeah, the ending sucked, sure, but it's been fucking months and people are still banging on about it.

So, yeah, I would avoid those forums too.

I have to say, most of the forums I've seen do a toxic self destruct have been for games that, even if they didn't deserve it, at least had a few serious flaws. Never as bad as the worst detractors made them sound, but flaws that were definitely there all the same. A few games even recover from such a thing if the game devs own up to mistakes and work to fix them. (This happened to Age of Empires Online last summer when an AI improvement unexpectedly caused every mission to get significantly harder, rendering the game unplayable for all of us noobs who aren't very good at the game)

The solution is NEVER to blame the community though, even if they are at fault. The people with legitimate complaints feel as though they've been lumped in with the bad apples and the problem people see it as an excuse to run rampant. (or worse, as a victory since they falsely believe any acknowledgment is better than no acknowledgment) And after they've let it run as far as it has, I'm not sure there is a solution to be had.

For some games the only answer is to just wait until all of the angry people finally move on. I honestly figured that's what would've happened to Bioware by now. The absolutely terrible Magic the Gathering: Tactics forums are even usable now simply because even though the game is terrible, the only people who still post are those few who actually like the thing.

Grey Carter:

VanQQisH:
I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.

I figured I would head off the angry hordes at the pass.

You are going to have to work some magic then like somebody we are all familiar with.

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That horde is going to be loud, angry, and ugly.

Seems to be a sensible guy

Grey Carter:

VanQQisH:
I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.

I figured I would head off the angry hordes at the pass.

I'll give you that one. That image was obligatory anyway, so it might as well have been you posting it.

Say what you will but the man is right.

Grey Carter:
"I imagine that can happen to any online community," he continues. "Eventually the polite, reasonable folks stop feeling like it's a group of people they want to hang around. So they leave, and those who remain start to see only those who agree with them- and, because that's all they see, they think that's all there is. Everyone feels as they do, according to them. Once the tipping point is passed, you're left with the extremes... those who hate, and those who dislike the haters enough to endure the toxic atmosphere to try and combat them. Each clash between those groups drives more of the others away."

I can attest to this personally, in fact the BSN forums are how I found the Escapist, thanks to someone posting a link to one of their March developer-battles.

I actually used to like hanging out there but eventually I got sick of all the bitching and fighting that when down in that place. It ceased to be a place to talk about games I liked a more a place for people to piss and moan about whatever stupid ass problem ruined their "favorite" game forever. And so I left.

Its not that people hate BioWare its that people don't are at least willing to have a rational intelligent conversation about things are sick of dealing with mouthy haters who talk about every little problem they have with a game like its the end of the fucking world. Combine that with the fact that for some reason something about being on the internet has a tendency to make people feel the need shout their opinions from the top of the nearest mountain, and refuse to consider other points of view ... and well, yeah.

Completely agree with the guy.

Even if Bioware completely sold out and is making game purely and only for monetary reasons that's still no excuse for some of the vileness seen on those forums.

A community shows itself through things like this. Even if it's a case of a silent majority that majority still isn't contributing anything so you're left with a minority that contributes negatively and a majority that does not contribute at all, or worse a majority that contributes negatively. It's completely rational to avoid a community like that, there's other communities around.

The only problem really is that the community in question is using the official Bioware one, which means that Bioware itself is part of that community. It's kind of sad when a lead writer essentially publicly calls out the community managers of his own company for failing at their jobs (and yes, those people are responsible for however that community ends up, that's their job).

Well, I'll say this.
He's not wrong.
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I'm not surprised the BioWare forums have become nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villiany. To me the problem isn't really BioWare but it's EA. A lot of the problems that Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 had I'm certain were the product of the rushed development needed in order to meet the strict deadlines publishers like EA mandate. There's a reason people hate on EA so much. They buy up all these talented dev studios only to bleed them dry until nothing is left but a named husk that they slap onto the box of their next product.

I don't blame you David, I blame EA. They took what talent and love BioWare had and killed it.

Atary77:
I'm not surprised the BioWare forums have become nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villiany. To me the problem isn't really BioWare but it's EA. A lot of the problems that Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 had I'm certain were the product of the rushed development needed in order to meet the strict deadlines publishers like EA mandate. There's a reason people hate on EA so much. They buy up all these talented dev studios only to bleed them dry until nothing is left but a named husk that they slap onto the box of their next product.

I don't blame you David, I blame EA. They took what talent and love BioWare had and killed it.

As I said, the blame is on both of 'em, just look at here for how David Gaider treated the folks of the forums.

"I think there's something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general," he said. "Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans."

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You know, I used to think of David Gaider as the last reasonable man at BioWare. But statements like this... ugh.

If BioWare wants to make games that satisfy their core fans, they may want to consider that sweeping every single criticism under the rug of "gamer entitlement" isn't going to get them there. I greatly enjoyed both DA2 and ME3 (minus That Ending) but even so, those games had flaws. Big ones. The fact that trolls are running amok at the BSN doesn't mean those flaws aren't there, or that Gaider shouldn't feel obliged to learn from past mistakes.

I'm sure there are plenty of level-headed people that are there just trying to have a good time and interact as always, but they're being completely overshadowed by the loud and obnoxious whiners that Gaider is referring to. Can't blame him for his assessment.

Man is that war still going? I was angry at Bioware for like a month, then I got over it. It's 2013 for pete's sake, move on.

@stranamente I see what you mean. While I still blame EA for those games turning out as bad as they have thus creating so much distrust among consumers flaming the fires of trolling and forum hatred, David Gaider does act a bit on the unprofessional side. He should act better than that.

All I can really say to this is "you reap what you sow". He can't exactly say he's an innocent victim in all this considering what he's put out on the forums.

ME3 and SWTOR were both spectacularly bungled in multiple ways, so I can't say I'm overly surprised.

On the other hand I can't blame him for avoiding the forums. I've stopped browsing the forums of whatever MMO I'm playing several times due to the atmosphere being so poisonous that if I read too much of it it'd ruin my enjoyment of the actual game.

But this remains for me the definitive Bioware forums thread.

You eat what you cook, I have no doubt that it's other people who fuck with your products but when you keep on denying there is anything wrong and encourage an almost fanatic corporate defense force to boot... people will go ape-shit on you.

I have stopped going on the Bioware forums for this very reason.
I'm going to go out and say it:

I liked Mass Effect 3 & I liked Dragon Age II.

There were problems with both (especially the repetitive environments of Dragon Age II & the ending of Mass Effect 3) but perfection is hard to create. I enjoyed both games considerably and played them from beginning to end (more than once). Going onto those forums is just de-motivating. People will always complain, people will always bicker and one persons favourite part will be another person's least but everything is fire & brimstone on those forums.

Sometimes I think they complain just for the sake of complaining. If I've enjoyed the product why should I complain because I hated the ending? I hated the ending of 'Gambit' but I didn't get onto the Cohen Brothers & Colin Firth and demanded they change the ending. I enjoyed the ride and lets be honest-- it always sucks when you have to get off.

Perhaps the Dragon Age forums are more toxic than before because you actually released a good game, and then released a sequel which was utter shit, a complete embarrassment and an insult towards the fans.

BioWare's forums have gotten out of control and, even for the casual reader, it is disheartening to read some of the topics. The only place I venture is for the MP which, even there, you get constant complaints about random users and which gun NEEDS to be nerfed ASAP.

Then again, any discussion regarding BioWare/Mass Effect 3/Dragon Age II dissolves quickly into a caged match of those that have either moved on/liked the ending to ME3 and those that hate, perhaps just for the sake of hating, anything BioWare related. As others have said before me, can't we just move on? I'd love to see how Dragon Age III comes out, thank you very much, and I doubt all of this negativity is helping.

It happens to the best of them. WoW's community is in the toilet, ToR's went there, CoH/CoV went there, so I can only imagine how Bio's went, especially after the ME end and ToR's firey crash.

I try to stay away from developer forums unless I need technical help or am testing, because more often than not, the community (even if it's a NEW one) is filled with utter garbage hiding behind the safety of a monitor.

A game comapny once considered legendary now makes games of questionable quality and design (SWTOR anyone?), ends a trilogy with a lame ending that needs a new DLC ending to compensate, hasn't come up with a good new franchise in years and let themselves end up in the hands of EA...and he's gonna copmplain about their forums? Sounds more like he's whining to me than anything.

Mass Effect 3 was ok, but I was getting a bit tired of the series by that point as the gameplay was getting pretty same ole same ole. Dragon Age 2 sucked huge dirty balls, I didn't even bother to finish it I was so bored with it. And SWTOR, ohhhh SWTOR you sad sack of shit.

Bioware, maybe it's time to take a break from ME, DA and SWTOR and make a nice new Jade Empire game.

I continue to see that the one group more entitled that gamers who take to the internet in rage are developers who feel their product shouldn't be judged by their customers. Yes, trolling is wrong. However, I think the gaming media has pointed this out with respects to Bioware to a far greater degree than they have with any other situation. Of course, this may have a lot to do with the gaming media having completely missed just how much the ending of ME3 would disappoint people and their absolute refusal to admit that 95% of the reviews written seemed completely oblivious to the fact. So, in short, everyone should stick to doing their job well and respecting the rolls they all play. At this point, everything else, all the meta-commentary (including the start of this statement), is, at best, meaningless and at worst, just trying to fuel the flames more so they can get more "hits" on their articles.

Grey Carter:
"I think there's something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general,"

We gamers have a fully legitimate entitlement, as customers and consumers we have the rights to quality products. There is nothing wrong with not liking a game and story but when game and story that's nothing less than an omnishambles is released the whole quality issue raises its head. As customers and consumers we deserve better, if a company fails to provide better the fans will be angry.

What Mr Gaider needs to realize is that the fans getting angry and complaining is only the first step, if Bioware keeps dumping on its fans the next step is a wallop to the sales as fans just go beyond angry into not caring and not buying Biowares products.

Anyone who's been there once knows he isn't wrong.

He makes a very valid point, and he actually brings up the reasons for why I stopped visiting them. If you praise Bioware in any shape or form you are a sheeple or a biodrone. If you dislike anything at all then you are a hater or a troll. It's almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion on the forums.

That said:

Grey Carter:

"Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans."

This is also a very good point, and it is also where a lot of the hate comes from. Bioware do not seem to be trying to make games that appeal to the "core fans" even by their own admission. To them they want to appeal to as many people as possible, but the way they go about it seems to be to take all the unique things that stand out about their previous titles and try and appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I am not going to bring up the ending or anything like that, but can anybody really say that they liked the lines Shepard gave at the beginning of Mass Effect 3?

"We fight or we die! That's the plan!"
"This isn't about strategy or tactics. It's about survival!"

It's like a cheesy action movie one-liner but it doesn't even make any sense.

I mean seriously, who did they expect to hear that dialogue and think anything else other than "What the fuck?"

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