Dragon Age Writer Calls BioWare Forums "Toxic"

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Honestly, I'm a regular at the BSN going on about 3 years now and I'm inclined to believe Gaider too. The people there, espescially in the ME3 boards are downright ridicullous in the way they behave to each other. Most of the threads are the same tired shit that's been argued to death already and never ends civilly, and I honestly never post there anymore unless I see a friend post in a thread that seems genuinely interesting (which is very rare nowadays I'll admit) from my recent activity feed. BSN never used to be like this, at least not before ME3 was near release. (though DAII garnered some outrage, it was more subdued)

On the bright side, Off Topic there has been consistently awesome with a great little community around it for the most part, and a very large amount of the rabble you'll find in the bigger sections is almost nonexistant there. Probably because the BioWare General section is way near the bottom of the forum list.

Anyway, there was a thread about the blog on the BSN itself. Sit back, and enjoy.


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

And the answer to that metaphorical question (for me at least) is no.

I consider myself a "core fan" in that I buy almost everything BioWare puts out, and I have since Neverwinter Nights, and I've also gone back and played the Baldur's Gate games. I consider some of their titles amongst my all-time favourites. I enjoyed Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, and if they had problems, well I think the fallacy is to think that earlier titles didn't have problems at least as big.

I want to see them try different things, and I think they've still retained their core committment to choice and storytelling. This "core fan" at least is not alienated by BioWare. By their forums and the absurd, overblown hatemongering on there? Yes, that alienates me, that is the one thing I do not want to associate with.

Grey Carter:
Oh dear.


Are you even allowed to ninja people on your own threads? O-o

OT: Meh, in my experience some BioWare fans are complete tools about the pettiest of things, and at least this guy tells it like it is rather than bullshitting people with EAspeak.

I enjoyed Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, and if they had problems, well I think the fallacy is to think that earlier titles didn't have problems at least as big.

I don't think that's the way to look at it, though - even the most ardent BioWare fan would concede that Baldur's Gate, Jade Empire and Neverwinter Nights have flaws. But you could at least see a trend of marked improvement back then: BG2, ME2 and the NWN expansion packs are substantially better than their predecessors, ostensibly because BioWare's greatest strength as a game developer was its ability (and willingness) to recognize past mistakes and try to avoid repeating them.

By contrast, DA2 and ME3 are poorly looked upon because for all their individual strengths, they represent a step backwards. DA2's companions are wonderful and engaging, but the fragmented plot lacks a strong throughline (a problem DAO didn't have); ME3's endgame doesn't even come close to the complexity and emotional high stakes of the ME2 Suicide Mission.

I think that's where all this anger and venom is coming from: it's the perception that rather than continue to push the envelope and strive to correct their missteps, BioWare is now content to release substandard games while crying "artistic integrity" in the face of any criticism.

You know Gaider, I might find you an arrogant asshole, but you made a good move here. The BSN is like a 4Chan board without the occasional glimpse of brilliance.

That bad atmosphere is easy enough to explain: it's caused by CHANGE.

When you move away from your old fans they will complain, because support creates entitlement.
Then when you attract the call of duty crowds, you'd better be prepared to cater to them fully, or they will complain too.

I've never spent much time on those forums, but I understand where he's coming from. I think it's inevitable with most forums when the subject becomes either popular or controversial enough. If they don't descend into howling pit of madness, at the very least they'll become a parody of themselves. (Even Something Awful has turned into a "say the gooniest thing you can think of" competition.)

I mean, I spent the year between FFXIV's announcement and release on one of the two biggest fan forums, and this very same thing happened there. The game had legitimate flaws, and when that became clear all of the sane people either packed up and left or were driven out by the crazy people. I actually had a discussion with someone where I said that I hoped SE would fix all the game's many issues because I cared about the game and wanted it to succeed, and they told me that I clearly didn't care about the game at all because I was just a mindless hater. It was insane over there.

Eventually the only people left were the fanboys who insisted that FFXIV was flawless and the trolls who wanted to stick around and provoke the fanboys. From what I've heard the BioWare forums are more or less the same, only with the balance skewed more toward blind hate than blind devotion.

And seriously, those people are not the ones you should be looking to for fan input on where the series should head; you want the rational ones. And they're long gone from the official forums.

oh ...

so this is the guy to blame for boring me right out of caring about Bioware games.

Arcadian Legend:

Really? And here I thought Bioware Social Network was still less about the forums and discussing the actual games, and more about people generating massive amounts of drama and spamming status updates in search of taps on the back.

If ME3 changed that and got people to talk about the games, even if it made the forums more toxic I see that as an improvement.

I wonder how much overlap there is between those people on those forums and the people that buy the games. If there is very little, Bioware should just completely ignore it and let them destroy each other or whatever.

If there is a lot of overlap those people should really start thinking why they are still buying Bioware products if it's not aimed at them.

Reminds me of MMORPG.com, people loooove to complain there and it even demoralizes me from playing wichever MMO I'm playing at the moment, I just avoid that page like the bubonic plague, I don't even open it for "news" anymore.

He isn't wrong, BSN is a terrible community. It's almost like they don't understand that they're talking to other human beings on those forums and just consider them to be machines that are there for their own personal abuse. I don't think I've ever seen a conversation there that hasn't devolved into name calling and people spouting off their opinions as facts whilst damning anyone who didn't agree with them.

It's an endless and pointless cycle, with neither side ever gaining or losing ground.

It's like Zeel Ad infinitum, but not as fun.

It's an amazing paradox how you can despise a company, yet still be a "fan". Personally, I like Bioware. Their games are very polished and story driven. Most of these complaints are empty and ignorant. These people complain just to complain. Here are the solutions the the three big complaints in short paragraphs:

-SWTOR sucks? That's news to me... I always considered it part of the top tier MMOs. In fact, for every MMO you give me that are better, I'll give you two dozen that are worse.

-ME3 ending sucks? Where were you during Deus Ex: Human Revolution's complaints? Or Uncharted 3? LA Noir? KotOR 2? All of the others according to our subjective opinions? Where were their cupcakes? Should we revolt every time an ending isn't good enough? Does a denouement you don't want spoil the entire experience? What if I didn't like the ending to Legend of Grimrock? Does that discredit my entire experience? Should I spend countless hours bitching about it to strangers and hold a grudge against the people that made it?

-Dragon Age II sucks? Why? Because it isn't as good as DA: Origins? Not being "as good" does not equal "bad". I don't like Mass Effect II as much as its predecessor, but that doesn't make it a bad game. It just means I have a preference. One's enjoyment is not binary; there are numerous ratings in between 'amazing' and 'shitty'.

Why am I typing this? They don't care. Never mind.

I feel bad for the guy at Bioware. Sometimes I am ashamed of being part of the PC gaming community. There's too much goddamn whining from PC gamers because the games that are made today aren't like the ones growing up with. Well you know what TOO DAMN BAD. Go make your own games if the games made by hard working professionals isn't good enough. These game devs work really hard to bring the best possible product to the gaming market and before the game is even out people are bitching(XCOM)about it. I know EA sucks we all know that but the people at Bioware are still tryin to make good games for us. I happen to enjoy every single one of Bioware's games. Even when they were bought up by EA. Im done ranting but please just let these guys do there job and stop complaining when the screenshots of the latest PC title dont match up to your rose-tinted view of the world.

You know, I liked Dragon age 2 also. My problem is with how the characters ended up in Mass Effect 3. Considering how invested people were with them after Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 really left you unsatisfied.

The Bioware forums may be a cesspit, but Gaider is still a total hack, and nowhere near the writer he seems to believe himself to be. If you want to talk about jerkass, troll-worthy posts made in the forums, you only have to see the utterly childish levels he has stooped to in his own posts on the forums.

Artists and writers should be above the petty mewlings of fanboys. For all that Gaider talks about how childish the BSN is, he has plenty of times in the past waded in with posts and comments as childish as anyone else.

So I can't say I sympathise. If we were a better writer, he'd have my condolences, but his complete lack of storytelling aptitude as well as his trolling of the Bioboards just fails to elicit any sympathy from me.

They just got their "Call of Duty" Audience, i thought they would be overjoyed making Romance Visual Novels/CoD. They reap what they have sowned

fuel, fire you know the saying.


Haters are a fact of life. We've been complaining about other people being immature assholes ever since we learnt how to speak (before then, we just bashed each others heads in). Telling masses of folks to grow up has never worked and it never will.

Basically, Bioware has made its bed and now it has to sleep in it. They can blame whatever they want, it'll still never fix anything. The only way this can be fixed is to release games that appeal to their core audience and show some costumer loyalty.

... but that's never going to happen while following EA policy, so, yeah... basically, you're screwed Bioware. It was nice knowing ya. I hope something better rises from your ashes when you finally kick the bucket.

Well, he's got a point. The Bioware forums are toxic, now. The upset over Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3's ending, and the Old Republic social equality battles have left those forums as ravaged and dangerous as Tuchanka. But it's not like David Gaider is free from blame, here. For quite some time, he was in amongst the worst of that particular flame war, spreading new fires more often than stopping or quelling old ones. His handling of the many plot holes between Origins, Awakening, and DA2 has quite a few people angry--people who would consider themselves the "core fans", the ones he's worried about. While I loved Mass Effect from start to finish, bad changes and all, I can't say the same of Dragon Age. If I kill Wrex in ME1, Wrex stays dead. If I kill Anders in Awakening, Anders seems quite spritely for a dead fellow in DA2. That's a problem, and one that can't be solved with Gaider saying "Yes, but we didn't kill him, so your decisions don't matter to us". DA:O was incredible, but got noticeably more "middle child" in DA2, with the setup to two different stories, rather than a self-contained story of it's own. And now, DA3 looks to be even smaller in scope, focusing only on the war with/in the Chantry. Whoo, how fun. There's a lot of fan outrage, and with outrage comes bile. Since he keeps fumbling his explanations and intentions, more and more bile pile up, and it's kinda understandable why the forums have become as toxic as they have.

Grey Carter:

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.

Are we allowed to flag staff posts for low content picture posts? Hmmm...

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?"

The problem is that mass effect blew up so big when it dropped and pulled a ton of people onto the forums, add to that that to register your game and get dlc you were forced to sign up anyway to access that stuff. But ME as a franchise crossed a lot of lines that the older bioware games did not.

so you had a pre bioware that had a core built in audience, the kotr people, the jade empire people and they all been there from the start. worse though is that for those people dragon age 1 was like ok bioware gets it, it was a good update on the old dungeon fighting system, that you could micromanage to your hearts desire, or just setup macros to play the game more action paced.

But the longer they were at EA, the more the ugly business practices that EA is famous for started showing itself, day one on disk dlc, was even there in dao, but with dragon age two, me2, me3 the dlc practices got worse with some major core content getting locked out of the game less you bought it new or bought the dlc.

The tug of war between the old school and the new school players and bioware and or EA taking complaints and running to the far extreme with them, me1? clunky inventory system and bad exploration, their response? remove all inventory and remove all exploration and turn into a point and click mini game that got old the 5th or 6th planet you scanned.

So then the old school players could point and rightly say dumbed down, because bioware overreacted and over nerfed.

me3 stuck a much better rpg balance between the elements of rpg and casual making the game mostly brilliant.


I dare him to visit the League of Legends forums.

Grey Carter:
Oh dear.

-image snippidy-

Did you just . . . reply to your own thread?

But on topic:

Well I was going to write something here. But I can only say:

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?"


And besides bad dialogue, the opening was just . . clumsy. And boring. I was expecting a scenes that starts the things offs at the beginnings. Maybe a dramatic way to show the invasion or that and the trial they actually said would happen in me2 dlc arrival. Not some hey hi let's walk ok boom reapers are here oh ok.

My issue is simple, all he seems to be doing is stating the obvious then whining when it's about him and his games. He just seems to be saying "forums are where crude anonymous individuals take intelligent conversation out back behind the shed." He's absolutely right about forums in general. Even here, I avoided the forums here like the plague until recently because all people seemed to do for a while was repeat points and pop up unintelligent internet memes to try to make an illogical point. (As a side note, the worst are comment sections on news websites, those are horrid. If you ever want to lose your faith in human language, go to CNN sometime)

However, he seems to be ignoring the issue that gamers are not simply a consumer of a product the same way as I buy a cheeseburger. It's a piece of art, at least that's what we've been advocating for years. Saying that consumers are becoming entitled is similar to the painter saying something pretentious to their reviewers (I don't know, something like "you just don't get it"). Look, I understand where he is coming from. He's annoyed with the constant barrage of "The ME3 Ending Sucked!!!" or "I Hated DA2!!!" But I don't see the most successful movie directors standing up and saying how annoyed they are that their fans didn't like their movies. They learn from the criticism and move on to make a better product. That's the awesome thing about the freedom of criticism, it ultimately makes us better.

I'm typically pro-business because I think the fact that we have the resources of massive corporations behind the games we like to play is kinda nice. But his response both states the obvious and is not appropriate. Either admit that it's a product (like a cheeseburger) and therefore open it to whatever sanctions or silliness the public can do to it; or say that it's art and accept criticism like a man.

"We fight or we die! That's the plan!"

I thought that line really suited the trailer for the game but when you see it in context in the scene it was written for, then it does raise the question of "that's the best they could come up with?"

I do visit the Bioware forum and it is possible to have a good discussion going. The big problem I see though is that the people who dislike something generally give reasons as to why, the people who like that something just say "I like it." They don't have to say anything more than that of course but it does make everything seem one sided.

Also I think a big part of the 'toxicity' of the forum also comes from Bioware's silence on things and when they do reply it is often in a dismissive or sarcastic manner. I don't think anyone would respond well to being spoken to in that way for any length of time.

In the end though both sides need to take a step back, re-read what they are about to post, and think on if it is really the best way to put across what they are wanting to say.

Grey Carter:
Oh dear.


Now this is interesting....

Will the mods give a low content post warning to a staff member?

On topic: You reap what you sow Gaider.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.274827-David-Gaider-says-Bioware-decides-what-dead-means-in-Dragon-Age-2?page=1 .......plus the whole "plugging your ears and going LALALALALA while someone criticizes your game" business bioware have been doing these past years.

No offence to the writer personally, but I can't remember the last time a Bioware game had a plot that felt like it had thought put into it. People have a right to complain about a sub-par product.

ofc, shepard has always been the master of nonsequitur responses to your choices so i haven't really been fazed by the writing

the most fascinating thing about this is how people became so attached in the first place

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

They could, but they have to have learned from their mistakes. To me, Dragon Age 2 had a major problem with reusing maps. You'd enter a cave and find it's the same exact cave you just visited but with different doors blocked.

I can't say much about my opinion about the ME3 blowup. I bought ME2 and 3 because of the blowup about the ending of 3. If their was no outrage I wouldn't have even bothered with the series.

If they can stick with a coherent story and decent gameplay then DA3 should do fine. If they make it look like the rushed it, or where lazy then it'll be a rough ride.


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.

Maybe I'm reading it wrong but he has a point
He puts it in a douchey way but its there.

The idea that Leliana didn't die in the chamber because she was protected by the maker or shes simply good at faking makes sense, or that it leads into a later story.

But again, he didn't need to be a douche.

Grey Carter:
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.

I assume that's even by Internet standards because Internet forums by their very nature are unpleasant whine festivals.

Well pal, maybe they wouldn't be so bad if you didn't piss them off so much. Stop calling people entitled when they don't lap up every last piece of shit you put out.

And to everyone else, exactly why are you telling everyone to shut up and get over the endings? I'm pretty sure that you told people to get over it when DA2 came out. It's very clear that Bioware doesn't learn from its mistakes if you just let them go, so frankly I see no reason to not to constantly be on their ass to make sure that they don't completely phone in ME4. Because if they can pull their heads out of their asses, I might, MIGHT but it. Quit calling people whiny and annoying just because they have legitimate complaints, you don't see me telling people to stop being whiny when they have complaints about Ubisoft's DRM, or how Call of Duty and Battlefield are Spunkgarggleweewee, or how stupid Nintendo's current consoles are or how stunted their franchises, are. People complain about that all the freaking time, and they never get any flak for that, but for some damn reason, people who complain about ME3 and the ending need to "get over it". Fuck that.

Grey Carter:
Oh dear.


My theory is that David Gaider has an ultra secret crush on one of the Bioware public relations staffers, and he stirs the pot like this whenever upper management starts looking like it might let a few of them go.

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