Dragon Age Writer Calls BioWare Forums "Toxic"

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The vast majority of internet presence are dickheads, but they're also often right.

I'd say whoever hangs out on BW forum has invested in their games and cares about them (more or less), so they're worth listening to.

NortherWolf:

Lieju:
Hmm, I came across as a bit asshole-y didn't I? Sorry about that.
But it's about games, like movies they tend to divide people. More so even, as I've noticed gamers either being in the "OMG IT SUCKS!" or "OMG IT*S THE BEST!" camp rather than. "Yeah, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't very good." or "I didn't enjoy it though I know it's a good game."

You messed up the quotes, just pointing it out.

I'm fine with people voicing their opinions, but the problem is with not differentiating with opinions and facts.

If you enjoy or don't enjoy something, that's totally subjective.
But you can discuss WHY you enjoyed things or didn't, and how it compares to other things etc.

To take Dragon Age2, for example, I can see why it would be a disappointment for someone who really liked the combat and skill systems in Origins. I didn't much care, and for me it was the story that interested me.
Plus I enjoy the fact that you can play as a homosexual and that female characters are well represented, so as long as I can have that, I'm willing to forgive stuff like combat.

I think that's got to be one of the worse aspects of a game community, no matter how good you do, people will hate you. It's worse if you do good and then do bad or mediocre because then everyone complains and hates even more. You can't escape it and a lot of time its not just 'this game is bad' its 'this game is bad and you should should be mutilated and killed for it'. It's very hard to stay positive when your forums is dominated by such negativity and its hard to work when you feel that bad. It becomes a paradox of wanting to make the community happy but having to avoid them because they make you miserable. It's worse when you consider that your average rank and file generic guy has little power to change much but gets blasted as if he's responsible for everything anyways.

Eric the Orange:

OniaPL:
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.

So you think there game is bad and that gives you the right to be a ass hole to them without repercussions.

No, that is you putting words in my mouth. I never said that it gives people a right to be assholes. I just pointed out that there might be a link there.

Lieju:

OniaPL:
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.

I liked it. I actually like Dragon Age 2 better than Origins, and just mentioning that will earn me such ire and flaming in the Internet that I just prefer not to discuss any Bioware games on the net.

Well, can you explain to me why you liked it? I don't attempt to flame you, I just wish to hear your explanation on why the game was good, and hopefully talk about it because nothing would make me happier than you convincing me that the game wasn't as horrible as I think it was.

This BioWare bashing is pretty ridiculous. The Old Republic was a damn good game. Dragon Age II is my favorite game of all time. Yeah, ME3's ending was all kinds of donkey balls, and managed to retroactively ruin an otherwise excellent game, but still. They make quality material, stuff that I'm proud to say I love; this hate isn't a symptom of the quality of their work. It's a symptom of people wanting to complain, of people upset about the fact that they're owned by EA, and of people just feeding their own fire. The hatred has become a thing on its own separate of any relation with the quality of BioWare's work, and it needs to stop.

OniaPL:

Lieju:

OniaPL:
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.

I liked it. I actually like Dragon Age 2 better than Origins, and just mentioning that will earn me such ire and flaming in the Internet that I just prefer not to discuss any Bioware games on the net.

Well, can you explain to me why you liked it? I don't attempt to flame you, I just wish to hear your explanation on why the game was good, and hopefully talk about it because nothing would make me happier than you convincing me that the game wasn't as horrible as I think it was.

I liked it because it was an incredible experience. The game was excellent on all the levels that I look for in a BioWare game: story, character, and character building. The world felt immersive, and the story supported that. No, it wasn't a giant, overarching adventure. It was a more personal story, one about your character and the world they live in. The game felt alive. The supporting cast were all very much realized people with flaws and dreams, and I felt like I came to know them and their struggles all very personally by the end of the game. The way you could build the character of the main character was probably my favorite piece of the entire game. Hawke isn't Shepard, who is "stern military man who tries to help people" or "stern military man who eats puppies". Hawke is a human being with nuance that you can truly become.

DAII isn't a game. It's an experience. That's why I love it so much.

OniaPL:

Eric the Orange:

OniaPL:
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.

So you think there game is bad and that gives you the right to be a ass hole to them without repercussions.

No, that is you putting words in my mouth. I never said that it gives people a right to be assholes. I just pointed out that there might be a link there.

OK let me put it like this, if you think that that game being bad is the reason the community on their forums has become more toxic, do you think that is an appropriate reaction from that community twords the games developer.

It's not just the forums that are toxic, but everything connected with BioWare post-EA.

Even the founders have lifted their hands from that corpse.

OniaPL:

Lieju:

OniaPL:
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.

I liked it. I actually like Dragon Age 2 better than Origins, and just mentioning that will earn me such ire and flaming in the Internet that I just prefer not to discuss any Bioware games on the net.

Well, can you explain to me why you liked it? I don't attempt to flame you, I just wish to hear your explanation on why the game was good, and hopefully talk about it because nothing would make me happier than you convincing me that the game wasn't as horrible as I think it was.

As I said earlier in this thread, I can see why someone who enjoyed the combat and skill-stuff in DAO would view DA2 as a disappointment. I didn't care about the combat all that much, so I didn't care.
I liked that the story was less 'epic', and more on a personal level, and I enjoyed the way it was told; it was about how Hawke gained influence and in the end had to choose a side, and I thought it told that story very well.
I liked the characters (subjective, I know) and I really like these kinds of depictions of excalating conflict and civil war, and I just enjoyed spending time in the world of Thedas and learning about it.

And I like to be able to play as a female or homosexual character, and that there are a lot of female characters that are written well, or have incidental characters that could be either male or female be female.

I'm currently on my 4th playthrough (a female Hawke who acts sweet but secretly is just plotting use the political climate and Sebastian to gain power) and a lot of amusement I get, I admit, from making up my own stories, but I wouldn't do it in this game, unless the story and the world appealed to me.

The BSN is a shitty place to be. Not always, but generally, I don't like going there if I can avoid it. Shit can get hostile in a really disturbing way. And sometimes rather creepy.

And I don't really get it. I felt OK with the ME3 ending; not good, but OK. But I'm not terribly interested in endings as much as the journey, and the only ME that I felt had a good ending was the first, anyways. Found the ending cathartic, dealt with all the shit. A lot of stuff I read about the ME3 ending about themes and stuff was interesting, but a lot of it was "I WANTED MY SHEPARD TO HAVE BLUE BABIES WITH LIARA AND I COULDN'T WTF," which is just a bunch of tripe.

I'll also go on record as a person who played Baldur's Gate some, played Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, both KotoR games, blah blah, as hating Dragon Age: Origins. Most boring shit I've ever been part of. The characters were neat, and the world was neat, but playing that shit sucked. DA2 was much much more fun for me in that respect (although I can't play it the same way I did on console on the PC, which I find to be some remarkable bullshit).

I also hated Jade Empire. Good lord, did I hate that game. Boring story, stale ass combat...Ugh.

Anyway, I think BSN is awful. Almost as bad as the comments section on articles at Shoryuken.com (that shit can be a hive of scum and villainy). But I think if Bioware wants people to get off their backs, they need to have strong storylines (which they tend to do OK with), immersive environments (which they did royally fuck up in DA2), engaging characters (which they also tend to do, James Vega and Fenris being exceptions, IMO), engaging combat, and the illusion that player choice alters the ending (which they used to do pretty well). Players want to feel like their choices are building up to something, and DA2 stumbles some on that and ME3 just dropped the ball (all that hinting at controlling the Reapers and I really don't get the option to take over the Reapers and make humanity the overlords of the galaxy and put all the other aliens in salt mines? Really?).

Drago-Morph:

I liked it because it was an incredible experience. The game was excellent on all the levels that I look for in a BioWare game: story, character, and character building. The world felt immersive, and the story supported that. No, it wasn't a giant, overarching adventure. It was a more personal story, one about your character and the world they live in. The game felt alive. The supporting cast were all very much realized people with flaws and dreams, and I felt like I came to know them and their struggles all very personally by the end of the game. The way you could build the character of the main character was probably my favorite piece of the entire game. Hawke isn't Shepard, who is "stern military man who tries to help people" or "stern military man who eats puppies". Hawke is a human being with nuance that you can truly become.

DAII isn't a game. It's an experience. That's why I love it so much.

Okay, let me respond to this.

------------------------------------------------
"The world felt immersive"
"The game was excellent on all the levels that I look for in a BioWare game: story, character, and character building"
------------------------------------------------

- How did you manage to find the world immersive? You spend the majority of your time in Kirkwall, which is a relatively empty city. The only things you can find are the occasional NPCs standing around without doing anything. The city feels like a set made for you to play in, rather than a living city.

Majority of the dungeons are recycled. The pirate cave is the same place as the mage's lair; the sewers are the same place as that one guy's cellar. Visually none of them are interesting.

Environment -wise, the game wasn't very immersive due to the wooden feeling of everything; NPCs especially are lifeless outside of cutscenes. Enemies drop like ninjas from the sky, which is never even attempted to explain.

How did you manage to find the world believable (a requirement for immersion), when the visuals do not support that? While the characters are decent overall, they alone surely don't make you feel immersed? How did you find the game to be "alive"?

- Regarding the story; I think it was an absolute mess. The first act is a framework for different quests. After arriving to Kirkwall and finishing up the "prologue", your main objective becomes to collect 50 pieces of gold so you can go off on the expedition. The game attempts to present this as you clawing your way up into fortune and fame, but the quests and such do not reflect that; instead you are handed a laundry list of menial quests and objectives to scrath the gold together. The whole first act seems largely pointless.

In the second act, things seem to pick up and it appears that you have finally found out what the game's plot is about: The qunari. Well... it gets resolved, and the game reaches it's peak. But then there is the third act left...

The third act attempts to rather flimsily tie everything together; but it comes out as a mess. The whole plot in this act seems forced: Anders does random shit out of the blue, and every mage turns into blood mages and abominations, and turns out that the game's big bad did not have interesting motivations or agendas; no, she was charmed by a fucking demon sword. The end especially feels rather hurried; there is no resolution to be had.

The game also largely attaches your character to his/her family; especially the mother, who is involved in a "dramatic" scene later on. But the game fails to make you care about this family of yours. While I personally thought Bethany was "ok", the mother did not success to awaken any sort of feelings in me and due to that one of the game's key moments felt very forced and frankly stupid.

- Regarding Hawke as a character; he is just dropped into the story. While you can control his/her attitude (Snarky, Jesus, Stern "we gotta do this"), some decisions and rival/friendship points with companions, nothing you do actually affects the game in any major way. You are forcibly involved in these quasi-political problems, but you don't really get to have a say in how the story goes in the large scale. Do you side with the mages? Well, they turn into abominations and you fight the big bad demon sword in the end. Well what if you side with the templars? The same happens.

Largely, Hawke feels more like an observer than a hero. While it may be his "personal story", it isn't very entertaining. You are just tagging along for the ride, and watch these things play out. It'd be fine if the story was interesting; but there is no overarching plot, things happen randomly and many of the quests you take part in feel like busywork.

And regarding companions; while the friendship/rival system feels like an improvement, for some reason several features were removed:

- You can no longer converse with your companions in a normal way: instead, you must visit them at their lairs in order to actually interact with them
- Companion quests were something you could find in Origins if you got to know your partners and get them to open up to you. Instead of that system, DA2 presents you with a laundry list of "This character has something he wants to say to you" or "this character has a quest for you". There was absolutely nothing organic about it or the interactions you had with them outside of cutscenes; the game was just pointing you to them whenever they were designed to dump some exposition on you.

The story also did some retcons, like Leliana's death, which felt very strange.

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

:P

Fucking zinged. Thread over people, anything needed to be said can be but this pretty much sums it all up.

Eric the Orange:

OK let me put it like this, if you think that that game being bad is the reason the community on their forums has become more toxic, do you think that is an appropriate reaction from that community twords the games developer.

Is it appropriate? No. But do I understand it? Yes.

To quote a review I agree with:

"Defying all expectations, BioWare managed to take one of the most memorable Western RPGs in recent history and completely destroyed everything that made it so good. I have absolutely no idea how such a respected development house could have made so many colossal mistakes and turned out such an unpleasantly rushed, shallow, utter waste of time... but they did, and it is. I forced myself to play the game to completion despite wanting to quit out of disgust and boredom at least a dozen times before credits rolled, but I shouldn't have bothered. The insulting level of quality in Dragon Age II is perfectly clear to see from the first hour or two, and everything that comes after is just more salt in the wound. Rating: 2.5 out of 10."

Lieju:

As I said earlier in this thread, I can see why someone who enjoyed the combat and skill-stuff in DAO would view DA2 as a disappointment. I didn't care about the combat all that much, so I didn't care.
I liked that the story was less 'epic', and more on a personal level, and I enjoyed the way it was told; it was about how Hawke gained influence and in the end had to choose a side, and I thought it told that story very well.
I liked the characters (subjective, I know) and I really like these kinds of depictions of excalating conflict and civil war, and I just enjoyed spending time in the world of Thedas and learning about it.

And I like to be able to play as a female or homosexual character, and that there are a lot of female characters that are written well, or have incidental characters that could be either male or female be female.

I'm currently on my 4th playthrough (a female Hawke who acts sweet but secretly is just plotting use the political climate and Sebastian to gain power) and a lot of amusement I get, I admit, from making up my own stories, but I wouldn't do it in this game, unless the story and the world appealed to me.

See my opinion on the story aspects in a post a bit above this; already responded regarding that to another person.
But why did you like that you could choose a side in the end? It influences nothing; the choice is absolutely empty, and has no meaning.

But being able to play a certain type of character does not make the game good.
If you are pointing to Aveline, I admit she was one of the characters I liked.

How can you act out your own stories in a world which provides no foundation to it? While you can have motivations on your character, they change nothing; ultimately you are railroaded through the story and the key moments, and I'd argue that these two things are not enjoyable in terms of writing.

Can you explain to me a bit more expansively WHY the story appealed to you? You say that you like the personal story, but can you explain to me why you think it was well written or well executed?

Legion:

You are quite possibly reading a bit too much into that. She didn't say it sucks to be a Bioware fan because of anything they did wrong. She could very well mean that it sucks to be a Bioware fan because all you hear about is how much Bioware suck. It isn't pleasant constantly hearing the things that you like being insulted, especially if you cannot discuss what you like without people trying to start arguments over it.

Although of course she may very well have meant that Bioware were the problem, but it's best not to jump to conclusions.

That is possible, yes. Still, if you don't like hearing about how things you like are hated by the internet it's best not to go on the internet at all.

Though your last point is a good one, I for one loved ME3 inlcuding the ending, but so far haven't found a place to discuss it in a civilised manner. :P

I've always had a lot of for Gaider. He's one of the few game developers that's willing to admit that his company's fans are plagued by whining dipshits.

I agree with some of your criticisms, some bother me, some don't, and some things that you disliked were the things I found enjoyable.

OniaPL:

- How did you manage to find the world immersive? You spend the majority of your time in Kirkwall, which is a relatively empty city. The only things you can find are the occasional NPCs standing around without doing anything. The city feels like a set made for you to play in, rather than a living city.

Majority of the dungeons are recycled. The pirate cave is the same place as the mage's lair; the sewers are the same place as that one guy's cellar. Visually none of them are interesting.

I wouldn't say none of them are visually interesting, I liked quite a bit of environments, although they suffer very much from the recycling. However, I can overlook that a lot as long as the lore and world-building is interesting and makes sense. And it did, the history, political situations, and so on, and I liked the whole ethical dilemma of there being people who can do magic but are suspectible to posession; how different cultures respond to this, what kinds of explanations they have for them etc.

OniaPL:

Environment -wise, the game wasn't very immersive due to the wooden feeling of everything; NPCs especially are lifeless outside of cutscenes. Enemies drop like ninjas from the sky, which is never even attempted to explain.

Not just that, but they quite often materialize from nowhere. I just ignore that. It would be great if that was better, but it's not a deal-breaker in this case for me. Is the fact that enemies drop loot, for example, something that diestroys the immersion to you?
It's subjective.
For me it would have been far more immersion-breaking if you just slayed the baddie and saved the city.

OniaPL:

- Regarding the story; I think it was an absolute mess. The first act is a framework for different quests. After arriving to Kirkwall and finishing up the "prologue", your main objective becomes to collect 50 pieces of gold so you can go off on the expedition. The game attempts to present this as you clawing your way up into fortune and fame, but the quests and such do not reflect that; instead you are handed a laundry list of menial quests and objectives to scrath the gold together. The whole first act seems largely pointless.

In the second act, things seem to pick up and it appears that you have finally found out what the game's plot is about: The qunari. Well... it gets resolved, and the game reaches it's peak. But then there is the third act left...

The third act attempts to rather flimsily tie everything together; but it comes out as a mess. The whole plot in this act seems forced: Anders does random shit out of the blue, and every mage turns into blood mages and abominations, and turns out that the game's big bad did not have interesting motivations or agendas; no, she was charmed by a fucking demon sword. The end especially feels rather hurried; there is no resolution to be had.

I totally disagree with you on the story, but this is subjective. I loved the narrative.

It wasn't a story about a hero fighting a 'big bad', it was a story about a city slowly building towards civil war. The red lyrium idol, as well as Hawke, Meredith and Anders were sparks that ignited the barrel.
The red lyrium idol simply made meredith more paranoid, but she had her reasons. A situation where you have a group of people that have powers others don't and can be unwittingly dangerous, is difficult.
i also liked Anders's character, and I don't think it came from no-where. He had been talking about that kind of stuff the whole game, and over the course of it, his attitude becomes more and more extreme.
And one of his abilities is 'martyr'.

OniaPL:

The game also largely attaches your character to his/her family; especially the mother, who is involved in a "dramatic" scene later on. But the game fails to make you care about this family of yours. While I personally thought Bethany was "ok", the mother did not success to awaken any sort of feelings in me and due to that one of the game's key moments felt very forced and frankly stupid.

- Regarding Hawke as a character; he is just dropped into the story. While you can control his/her attitude (Snarky, Jesus, Stern "we gotta do this"), some decisions and rival/friendship points with companions, nothing you do actually affects the game in any major way. You are forcibly involved in these quasi-political problems, but you don't really get to have a say in how the story goes in the large scale. Do you side with the mages? Well, they turn into abominations and you fight the big bad demon sword in the end. Well what if you side with the templars? The same happens.

But it's not about the war. It's about a person being stuck in a situation where the city is heading to a civil war, and having to choose a side. In the end you can't help it turning into a mess, and I appreciate the message. In real conflicts, one person can't just bring peace by slaying the baddie.

OniaPL:

Largely, Hawke feels more like an observer than a hero. While it may be his "personal story", it isn't very entertaining. You are just tagging along for the ride, and watch these things play out. It'd be fine if the story was interesting; but there is no overarching plot, things happen randomly and many of the quests you take part in feel like busywork.

This is totally subjective. I liked the story, you didn't. Maybe you had different expectations.. You seem to have preferred an epic fantasy-story about a fight against a big bad. I found that to be the dullest part about Origins. The Darkspawn were dull, but it was how the humans responded to the threat that I liked and found enjoyable.

OniaPL:

And regarding companions; while the friendship/rival system feels like an improvement, for some reason several features were removed:

- You can no longer converse with your companions in a normal way: instead, you must visit them at their lairs in order to actually interact with them
- Companion quests were something you could find in Origins if you got to know your partners and get them to open up to you. Instead of that system, DA2 presents you with a laundry list of "This character has something he wants to say to you" or "this character has a quest for you". There was absolutely nothing organic about it or the interactions you had with them outside of cutscenes; the game was just pointing you to them whenever they were designed to dump some exposition on you.

The discussion-system is my biggest complaint, and I agree with you. I can guess why they changed that, though. This way they could make more cinematic cutscenes for the conversations instead of the characters standing face to face talking. I would have preferred they'd give us both.

OniaPL:

The story also did some retcons, like Leliana's death, which felt very strange.

You have to do some retcons, I guess, since you can have many different choices made by the players. Leliana didn't die in any of my playthroughs. (Zevran did, though)
It was suggested she killed herself in one of the epilogues, but even then I had suspicions she faked it.
(As I've been suspecting from the beginning she had ulterior motives.)

OniaPL:

But being able to play a certain type of character does not make the game good.

It can make the game a lot more appealing to you, though, and what makes a 'good' game depends on the person.
For me, a game acknowledging that women and gay-people exist is a part of what makes a good game. And there aren't a whole lot of those, which why something I like something like DA2 so much, it stands out from a crowd.

A lot of what makes for a good game/book/song/etc is subjective, but in many cases, people can find something good if they have little experience in the genre. For example, 50 shades. A lot of people who think it's great have never read any other erotic fiction and so have no perspective. Maybe there are a lot of fantasy-games with civil wars, grey morality, good writing, and gays, but can't say I've run into too many of those.

(And I appreciate any recommendations. Especially on the subject of gay-characters. It's really difficult to find interesting lesbian romance, let alone one that has the romance as a side-story, and not the sole focus)

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.

TIL that the Bioware forums are the same as Fox News and /r/politics.

Lieju:

I wouldn't say none of them are visually interesting, I liked quite a bit of environments, although they suffer very much from the recycling. However, I can overlook that a lot as long as the lore and world-building is interesting and makes sense. And it did, the history, political situations, and so on, and I liked the whole ethical dilemma of there being people who can do magic but are suspectible to posession; how different cultures respond to this, what kinds of explanations they have for them etc.

Well, that's the problem. While the environments might have been average or passable, you traverse through them several times. I am a completionist; I have to do every single side quest to feel like I played the game. There were a lot of side quests in DA2... but they were largely very samey, and take place in the same locations. There were only a couple interesting sidequests (see: qunari mage), but they were rare and made the others feel like even more of a slog than they already were.

Having to see the same coast, the same cave, the same cellar over and over again was just not acceptable to me. It made everything feel so "gamey".

About mages... The scenario is very interesting in of itself. You have templars who try to protect everyone but cross moral boundaries while doing so, and you have mages who want their freedom but might threaten others. My problem was the way they handled this: In the universe of Dragon Age, blood magic isn't something common everyone can just whip out. But in DA2, every mage seems to resort to it and use it. Behind every corner, there is a blood mage. They game attempts to be morally gray, but when nigh every mage turns into a bloodmage and nigh every templar is unreasonable, it just starts being ridiculous.

Regarding mages and templars... playing through the game as a mage is absolutely ridiculous. Casting blood magic in front of a templar doesn't have any repercussions. Nobody even notices it. Not even your companions have any kind of remark on Hawke turning to forbidden blood magic. There's just such a huge disconnect between the gameplay and the story which further ruins the immersion.

Lieju:

Not just that, but they quite often materialize from nowhere. I just ignore that. It would be great if that was better, but it's not a deal-breaker in this case for me. Is the fact that enemies drop loot, for example, something that diestroys the immersion to you?
It's subjective.
For me it would have been far more immersion-breaking if you just slayed the baddie and saved the city.

Yes, the fact that enemies drop unsuitable loot can be somewhat distracting. I don't want to pick up chainmails from the spider I just slayed. I can't just something that doesn't fit in the world.
But it's not about "slaying the baddie and saving the day". I don't want that either. But I do expect coherence; something that DA2 lacked. it largely just jumps around.
"Oh so you told the qunari to leave? Oh well, time skip time! So yeah, the qunari left, and that part of the story now has absolutely nothing to do with this story."
Many of the plot threads feel disjointed.

Lieju:

I totally disagree with you on the story, but this is subjective. I loved the narrative.

It wasn't a story about a hero fighting a 'big bad', it was a story about a city slowly building towards civil war. The red lyrium idol, as well as Hawke, Meredith and Anders were sparks that ignited the barrel.
The red lyrium idol simply made meredith more paranoid, but she had her reasons. A situation where you have a group of people that have powers others don't and can be unwittingly dangerous, is difficult.
i also liked Anders's character, and I don't think it came from no-where. He had been talking about that kind of stuff the whole game, and over the course of it, his attitude becomes more and more extreme.
And one of his abilities is 'martyr'.

The civil war angle was nothing new. It was in Origins as well. But in Origins, you had Loghain on the one side who had believable motivations, and was truly gray. He believed he was doing the right thing.
Now contrast this to DA2: first of all, the lyrium idol was completely uncalled for. Bioware has shown that they can handle this scenario better; why mix supernatural powers into this?
While Meredith may have believed he was doing the right thing, she was just absolutely stonking nuts over the top about it. *add "KILL ALL THE MAGES" -meme here*
And like I said above, I believe they handled the templar mage situation poorly.

And about Anders... I hated that he was forced to be in the party as the sole healer suitable due to his unique skills. At hard difficulty i needed to have him with me or I would get my ass beaten.
His attitude becomes nutcase-y. To me it came from nowhere since I thought he had been depicted to be at least reasonable before that point in the game. But suddenly he, what, is taken over by his spirits which cause him to conveniently do something drastic which allows the plot to come to a close.

I just didn't find that to be good writing. It's sort of like the ending of DE: HR, a convenient machine that resolves the plot.

Lieju:

But it's not about the war. It's about a person being stuck in a situation where the city is heading to a civil war, and having to choose a side. In the end you can't help it turning into a mess, and I appreciate the message. In real conflicts, one person can't just bring peace by slaying the baddie.

Right. But whatever you do, the situation is fucked in the exact same way. I'd accept that it is a message of "sometimes you just can't help it no matter what you do" if the paths of siding with the mages or templars were not identical. While you accept it as a message, I found it to be incredibly lazy and tiresome. I mean, if they wanted to convey that message, there were a million better ways to do it. For example, what if siding with the mages and leading them to victory would cause them to become the new oppressive regime, resulting in unnecessary death and chaos without anything being solved? That'd be more interesting and would still convey the same message.

I mean, I don't want a fantasy story where the good slays the evil. I want good writing.

Lieju:

This is totally subjective. I liked the story, you didn't. Maybe you had different expectations.. You seem to have preferred an epic fantasy-story about a fight against a big bad. I found that to be the dullest part about Origins. The Darkspawn were dull, but it was how the humans responded to the threat that I liked and found enjoyable.

While the typical fantasy trope may be dull in of iteself, Origins handled it well. It wasn't solely about slaying the big baddie; it was just the framework. In the game, you have a majority of interesting decisions that impact the world. The anvil, the Urn, etc. etc. You got to experience several locations and scenarios, you got to experience Ferelden as a whole.

Like I said, I don't mind a personal story if it's handled well. But Hawke's wasn't.
Maybe that is subjective, but I stand 100% behind my claim that DA2's writing and therefore handling of the story was largely just bad.

Lieju:

You have to do some retcons, I guess, since you can have many different choices made by the players. Leliana didn't die in any of my playthroughs. (Zevran did, though)
It was suggested she killed herself in one of the epilogues, but even then I had suspicions she faked it.
(As I've been suspecting from the beginning she had ulterior motives.)

No. You never have to do retcons. If you can't write a story without retconning your previous work, don't write it.
Besides, Leliana didn't even need to be in the game. It was just a cameo to appease the majority of the fans.
Leliana is in no way an integral part of the story; her part could have been played by anyone else.

You know, it's always the same. Self-entitled vaginal excrement will always find a way to mess up other people's nice surroundings. Bioware just let it get out of hand, they were too nice to those people and let them roam and get the idea that they can get away with doing all these things.
Sure if you ban the lot of them they will start screaming that they are being oppressed, but at least they aren't screaming on your forums but somewhere else.
If you let toxic people like that fester of course you'll get more of them and worse versions of them.

So, if you encounter a self-entitled cuntfart, scold them, humiliate them, punch them, ban them whatever, just make sure they stop being that kind of person, or make them be that kind of person somewhere else. Don't let them stick around and ruin the place.

Naturally this advice comes too late for Bioware, but let that be an example in what not to do.

OniaPL:

Well, that's the problem. While the environments might have been average or passable, you traverse through them several times. I am a completionist; I have to do every single side quest to feel like I played the game. There were a lot of side quests in DA2... but they were largely very samey, and take place in the same locations. There were only a couple interesting sidequests (see: qunari mage), but they were rare and made the others feel like even more of a slog than they already were..

I agree, it would have been better if the environments had more variation. But like I've said, it's not a deal-breaker to me. Different things bother different people to different extents.

OniaPL:

About mages... The scenario is very interesting in of itself. You have templars who try to protect everyone but cross moral boundaries while doing so, and you have mages who want their freedom but might threaten others. My problem was the way they handled this: In the universe of Dragon Age, blood magic isn't something common everyone can just whip out. But in DA2, every mage seems to resort to it and use it. Behind every corner, there is a blood mage. They game attempts to be morally gray, but when nigh every mage turns into a bloodmage and nigh every templar is unreasonable, it just starts being ridiculous.

Bloodmagic itself isn't a bad thing, though. And that there were so many mages who were willing to resort to forbidden stuff was a symptom that also fed the opression, something that happens in real life.
And there were symphatetic templars, more than bad ones. Thrask, Cullen, that ex-templar who was addicted to lyrium (Samson?), that recruit who you save, possibly Carver...

OniaPL:

Regarding mages and templars... playing through the game as a mage is absolutely ridiculous. Casting blood magic in front of a templar doesn't have any repercussions. Nobody even notices it. Not even your companions have any kind of remark on Hawke turning to forbidden blood magic. There's just such a huge disconnect between the gameplay and the story which further ruins the immersion.

True (the same applies to Origins, though). If there would have been less of a disconnect it would have made it better. But again, not a deal-breaker to me. Might be for you, and you are of course entitled to an opinion. If someone hates DA2 just because it's fantasy and they hate fantasy, that would also be a valid opinion.

OniaPL:

But I do expect coherence; something that DA2 lacked. it largely just jumps around.
"Oh so you told the qunari to leave? Oh well, time skip time! So yeah, the qunari left, and that part of the story now has absolutely nothing to do with this story."

Except that it made Hawke popular among the people, (also protecting you if you're a mage and your apostate-buddies. By the 3rd act, Meredith knows you're a mage and pals with apostates, but she can't just order you executed because of that.)
Also it changes the political situation. With no viscount, Meredith gains more power.
Again, I liked this disjointedness. Reminds me of a movie I saw a while ago, 'Giant'. It's structure is pretty similar to DA2, it tells the story of a Texan family and how they found oil in Texas and changing attitudes and stuff.

OniaPL:

The civil war angle was nothing new. It was in Origins as well. But in Origins, you had Loghain on the one side who had believable motivations, and was truly gray. He believed he was doing the right thing.
Now contrast this to DA2: first of all, the lyrium idol was completely uncalled for. Bioware has shown that they can handle this scenario better; why mix supernatural powers into this?
While Meredith may have believed he was doing the right thing, she was just absolutely stonking nuts over the top about it. *add "KILL ALL THE MAGES" -meme here*
And like I said above, I believe they handled the templar mage situation poorly.

I am a bit torn about the idol-thing. On the other hand, I agree, this story can be told without that, but it was also clear that the idol merely strenghtened the pre-existing obsession. (As happened with Bartrand)
But the stuff with Meredith escalated, and it's pointed out several times in the game that she is going slowly nuts; think of the 'tranquil solution', for example, and how she disagreed with that, but by the end even templars who were all for extreme measures jumped ship.

OniaPL:

And about Anders... I hated that he was forced to be in the party as the sole healer suitable due to his unique skills. At hard difficulty i needed to have him with me or I would get my ass beaten.
His attitude becomes nutcase-y. To me it came from nowhere since I thought he had been depicted to be at least reasonable before that point in the game. But suddenly he, what, is taken over by his spirits which cause him to conveniently do something drastic which allows the plot to come to a close.

Unless you were a spirit healer yourself, true. I like him, so I keep him in the party anyway, but I can see why that would be annoying for some. That whole thing was a mixed bag; on the other hand, in Origins all the characters of the same class became interchangeable, but on the other hand, it gave you more freedom to choose your party.
And I don't think it came from nowhere. As with Meredith, with him it escalates, and his act in the end disturbed me gretly, partly because I partly found myself agreeing with him, and for me that's a sign of a great story.

(But, again, subjective)

But I'd say that if you kept him in your party and talked to him, it's pretty clear how his opinion is like. He mentions several times he is willing to die for his cause, and if you romance him, some stuff he says about how there something he must do even though it's horrible etc. makes it pretty clear he is becoming desperate, saying things like "I wish it would be an open war. At least then we could fight back."
Plus he says several times how the Grand Cleric should take a side, how she is useless, how everyone should take a side etc.
(Leading Sebastian to openly try to get Fenris on his side and turn Anders to the templars by Act3. Fenris tells him that if he wants to turn in Hawke's friends, he should talk to Hawke, preshadowing how he can be persuaded to side with you even if you spare Anders in the end, but Sebastian can not.)

OniaPL:

While the typical fantasy trope may be dull in of iteself, Origins handled it well. It wasn't solely about slaying the big baddie; it was just the framework. In the game, you have a majority of interesting decisions that impact the world. The anvil, the Urn, etc. etc.

They don't, though. Not more than what happens in the DA2 anyway.
What impact does either defiling the urn or even discovering it have to the world? (To be honest, the whole thing with the urn was a bitof an odd fetch-quest and lacked weight, but I didn't have that big of a problem with it in the end.)
Or the anvil?
In a realistic scenario, you have the argument that the golems are an incredibly useful asset in a fight against the Darkspawn. In the game, destroying it doesn't actually hinder your changes of victory.
A lot of choices in DAO were a bit... false.
Take Connor, for example. When I played it the first time, I had to think about it. After all, leaving him in the castle, possessed, was a risk. What if he came downstairs and killed everyone?
But there is no actual risk of that happening and you can just have the happy resolution with no actual hard decisions. That disappointed me.
Similarly, something like defending Redcliffe, or being distracted by sidequests. You can just fool around when you should be under time-restraint.

OniaPL:

No. You never have to do retcons. If you can't write a story without retconning your previous work, don't write it.
Besides, Leliana didn't even need to be in the game. It was just a cameo to appease the majority of the fans.
Leliana is in no way an integral part of the story; her part could have been played by anyone else.

Maybe 'retconning' isn't a right word. Rather, 'ignoring some possible scenarios'. You need to either distance the story from the previous games, so the choices the gamer made had no effect, try to make every possible choice a possibility, or ignore some possible outcomes.

I thought Leliana being there was great, and made me like her more. This hinting that she was a Seeker of Truth the whole time gives her more depth, and we will very likely see her again.

BrotherRool:
Seems to be a sensible guy

Given his vocation I'd prefer an irrational but talented guy.

I've also heard that their forums are a cesspool, but a) what are their community managers *doing*, then?, and b) I've never seen a fandom turn into a poo-flinging hatedom without the canon fucking itself up pretty substantially.

I'm glad the guy acknowledged that there might maybe possibly be some problems with the games themselves, but it seems like too little too late. I think a lot of people have stopped listening.

(Personally, I have yet to get through the *first* ME game, let alone the third one. The dialogue hurts my ears-- I keep expecting some of the people I'm randomly interrogating about their parents and their home planet's sexual attitudes to slap me for being a rude, nosy fuck. Yeah, I know, in an RPG the player automagically becomes every NPC's therapist, but ME 1 took it to absurd lengths. Couple that with the gludgy shooting and the party members whose shields keep crowding my aim point and I just don't care enough to keep going.)

He's probably right, but then I don't blame them.

LifeCharacter:

thanatos388:
How have they been childish? They have listened and made changes to the ending over the controversy...why do people still care?

Well for the ME3 thing, they decided to hold the shield of "artistic integrity" up against any criticism. Deciding that your patrons criticisms don't matter just because it's being aimed at a piece of art seems childish. As for Gaider himself, he doesn't seem very good at handling the fans and their concerns.

thanatos388:
What was this big middle finger?

The alternate ending to the extended cut could probably be taken as a middle finger to a lot of people. Many didn't like the three choices and wanted an option to say no, which was happily provided for them in the free DLC. Unfortunately, refusing the star child leads to the Reapers winning and everyone dying, because people choosing it weren't being good little fans and accepting what the writers gave them originally.

Yeah Bioware, making the refusal ending end logically as you are clearly loosing throughout the entire boring Earth battle. Why can't we just have happy endings? I think the main problem is that both sides are being childish. But mostly the fans this is just one writer. And he never said he wanted someone to get raped over a shitty game.

A fanbase can benefit from good treatment from the subject matter of which they are fans; actually listening to them, improving upon what the fans have a problem with, and treating them overall with respect will allow a franchise to last a very long time.

What Bioware did, however, was believe the fans would gobble up their horseshit ending with a goddamn smile on their face; as such, when we realized how badly we were screwed over, we became bitter (rightfully so, IMO).

In a nutshell, Bioware brought the "toxicity" of the forums on themselves.

Bocaj2000:
-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.

I know you're being rhetorical here, but let's try off the top of my head:

Age of Conan: Better Combat, more content, releases content more frequently, more classes, better character customization, open world PvP.

Champions Online: Better Combat, more content, releases content more frequently (and yes, this is not a strength of CO).

DC Universe Online: Better Combat, more Classes, better voice acting, allows dual specing, open world PvP.

Guild Wars: Better Combat, better party dynamics, better pvp, companions, multispecing, more class choices.

The Secret World: Better Writing, More varied combat, quests that require actual thought and logical deduction, does not charge you for hot bars, allows dual specing (to about 12 different builds simultaneously), does not actively punish non-subscribing players, releases content more frequently.

Star Trek Online: Better Combat, Space combat that isn't on rails, Full Companion Customization, Better Character Customization, Does not call torture rape of companions "romance", does not charge you for hotbars, more racial choices, releases content more frequently (that is to say, almost never, but still faster than TOR).

Oh, and let's be clear on something, STO is a bad MMO, but it's still better than ToR by leaps and bounds.

By your math you owe me 72 MMOs now that are actually worse than TOR... I'm guessing you meant to include a bunch of burn in a year Korean f2ps, but, you know what? Have fun.

Bocaj2000:
-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?

Yeah, the problem is, Deus Ex: Human Revolution never said, "it won't be you press one of three buttons and get the same ending", I mean, it's a Deus Ex game, that's almost to be expected, you kill this guy or that guy, you get a different ending? You push these buttons and run and get a different ending? Yeah, that's EVERY DX game. But Bioware went out and said, "no, we're going to tailor your ending to your game, it won't be this thing where everybody gets the same couple endings, they'll all be unique."

Bocaj2000:
-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'.

No, what made ME2 a shitty game was the giant space terminator baby, and Timmy's magical "you will do what I want you to because PLOT powers." ME1 didn't magically make it a stupid game. It did, however, disrupt expectations. If you're writing the second act of a trilogy, it better be the second act of a trilogy, ME2 was Mass Effect: When Collectors Attack, from a plot standpoint. If you're writing the second part of a series, it better fit within the framework of the original, even if it bends it a bit.

It's like if you were doing a movie series, and those films were send-ups of the old sci fi serial adventures, and then decided to make the fourth and fifth outing about a complex political struggle... oh, wait...

Bocaj2000:
Why am I typing this? They don't care. Never mind.

Because you were waiting for someone to wander in and show you the error of your ways, enjoy.

thanatos388:

LifeCharacter:

thanatos388:
How have they been childish? They have listened and made changes to the ending over the controversy...why do people still care?

Well for the ME3 thing, they decided to hold the shield of "artistic integrity" up against any criticism. Deciding that your patrons criticisms don't matter just because it's being aimed at a piece of art seems childish. As for Gaider himself, he doesn't seem very good at handling the fans and their concerns.

thanatos388:
What was this big middle finger?

The alternate ending to the extended cut could probably be taken as a middle finger to a lot of people. Many didn't like the three choices and wanted an option to say no, which was happily provided for them in the free DLC. Unfortunately, refusing the star child leads to the Reapers winning and everyone dying, because people choosing it weren't being good little fans and accepting what the writers gave them originally.

Yeah Bioware, making the refusal ending end logically as you are clearly loosing throughout the entire boring Earth battle. Why can't we just have happy endings? I think the main problem is that both sides are being childish. But mostly the fans this is just one writer. And he never said he wanted someone to get raped over a shitty game.

Honestly, the whole "happy ending" bullshit is strawmanning. I've seen people actually make that argument. They wanted a "good" ending, or a "happy" one, but most people, myself included, just wanted an ending that wasn't nonsensical deus ex machina bullshit.

If the game ended after the TIM and Anderson conversation, that would be a better ending, with Shepard keeling over inches from the control.

The problem is, the entirety of the starchild sequence. It flat out contradicts information the player collects, and never bothers to actually write that off. It presents you with a lot of grand claims, without bothering to evidence any of it. And at the end, Shepard accepts this.

Now, regardless how you played, paragon, renegade, unstable psychopath, Shepard (yours, mine, everyone's) is very argumentative. When presented with Saren at the end of the first game, your choices are "mouth off" or "mouth off and be insulting", when presented with the sheer idiocy of TIM in ME2, Shepard either became a cackling supervillian, or mouthed off and became a cackling supervillian. Every single interaction with another antagonist in the series requires Shepard to oppose them verbally first, with varying levels of persuasiveness.

And here, we have a character espousing the very same ideology that Shepard mouthed off at Sovereign, Saren, Harbinger, Timmy, and a shitload of one off characters, and instead of saying "no, we're going to do this our way this time," or "fuck you, we're better than that," or "can I have pizza?", Shepard brainlessly nods and takes it at face value, and wanders off to commit suicide. Even when, as a player, we've actually engineered events to disprove that argument fundamentally.

It's not that (most) players wanted a happy ending, they just wanted one that made any goddamn sense.

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.

would you like 2K (or other) to rescue bioware from EA? if yes then
its time to assemble the fanboys.

Feedback is like that.

Most reviewers are nice about it, but, popular opinion is what sticks, not scores on a review sheet.

So, if people are being sour on your forums, probably time to do something with your games that changes their minds.

Forums for specific games and developers tend to be that way. They attract the most vocal fans and antagonists, and the average person is repulsed by the resulting atmosphere. It's a tale almost as old as the internet. Even ye olde BBS sites could be vitriolic as hell, too.

Denamic:
Forums for specific games and developers tend to be that way. They attract the most vocal fans and antagonists, and the average person is repulsed by the resulting atmosphere. It's a tale almost as old as the internet. Even ye olde BBS sites could be vitriolic as hell, too.

What's interesting, and telling, is usually the vocal fans win out. In Bioware's case, they managed to alienate a lot of those vocal fans, turning them into their most vocal antagonists. I mean, I remember when I couldn't show my face on there without being butchered by the fans, but now, I'd probably get jumped on by the antagonists for not being radicalized enough.

Good word though, "antagonists."

My big issue with Dragon Age II was the time jumps between chapters. They always gave me the feeling that the most interesting parts of Hawke's personal story happened off screen.

If Dragon Age II had been better received I do wonder how much of that time skipping would have been filled in by DLC.

A poster above touched on my big complaint about the Mass Effect 3 ending. This being has just told us that it created and controls the Reapers but Shepard blindly accepts its word on how to stop them? No, sorry I don't see how Shepard as presented throughout the trilogy would respond like that.

Edit to keep on topic: That I think has a big impact on how people are on the Bioware forum. They seem to let the fans get whipped up into a frenzy and then reply in a sarcastic or dismissive manner.

Just picking on ME3. Posters put a lot of effort into explaining what they didn't like about the shipped endings, why they thought they were bad or ill-fitting to the series. Would it really have hurt Casey Hudson and Mac Walters to post, even a locked one on the Bioware Blog, explaining why they thought it was a fitting ending?

You'd still have those who'd shout and complain but such an explanation could have calmed the majority of folk.

votemarvel:
My big issue with Dragon Age II was the time jumps between chapters. They always gave me the feeling that the most interesting parts of Hawke's personal story happened off screen.

This pissed me off to no end. Especially at the beginning.

Hawke: "Oh hey I will do the mercenary work to get into the city!"

years later.

Random NPC jackass: "Man you are one of the best mercs I have ever worked with."
Hawke: "Thanks man, ima go into the city now."
Me: "WHAT THE SERIOUS FUCK?!"

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