Confirmation Bias, Video Games, Art, and Interactivity

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Update: Giantbomb says that they spoke with Amazon and open-box returns are a matter of course for them.Report

  2. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    Great summation Jaybird.

    I was wondering myself about the massive price drop, which actually really bothers me on the one hand (though I can appreciate it in general), considering I should have just waited two weeks to start the game then.

    The central element of all this is probably how much BioWare went after the mainstream market with ME3 to the point of neglecting those who had been with the series from the beginning.  The crew on the most recent GiantBomb Podcast basically came to that conlusion.

    I wrote up my own thoughts at length about the day one DLC and ending from a consumer’s point of view here

    One of the most bothersome things added to the new game, via the multiplayer, is the whole concept of Galactic Readiness, and how it relates to what endings you get (as you note above).

    First off, I’m not sure how this works for people who don’t buy the game new, and thus don’t get access to the online stuff.  Second, I’ve been trying to beat the game for 4 days now, but I’ve only ever gotten an hour at a time to play.  I’m right on the cusp of having “enough” war assets to get the “good” ending.  So everytime I step away from the game, my Galactic Readiness falls a bit, and I have to play more multiplayer to get it back up so I can embark on the final mission.  Which I still have not been able to do, because by the time I get my GR back up, I don’t have time to keep playing.

    And the prospects of spending equal amounts of time combing the universe for the few left over assets I haven’t acquired, or inflicting upon myself the tedium of laborious fetch quests, aren’t very inviting.

    Which is to say that this is just one more irkesome thing that has helped me to sour on the game.  I actually really want to go back and replay the first one now, to recapture the wonder and awe that has been dissappointingly lacking in the present iteration.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      There are a non-zero amount of disappointing little miscalculations made by the company that I didn’t mention.

      Day 1 DLC caused a big issue out there when it was found that there were pieces of related data already on the disc (as in this stuff was originally part of the game, then removed, then sold to the customer). Now, Day 1 DLC doesn’t irritate me as much as it may irritate others (but I *DO* think that Dragon Age’s “Stone Prisoner” is the right way to do Day 1 DLC… give people who bought the game *NEW* the DLC for free via a one-use code and thus the people who buy the game used find themselves in a position where they should give the company money if they want the full gaming experience).

      The Stock Photo scandal (there’s a character in the game who gives you a picture of herself… and it’s a shopped stock photo rather than, say, something the game people created for the game itself).

      It’s too early in the morning for me to think of the others but there are others as well. EA/Bioware created a situation where they alienated a significant chunk of their most vocal fans. “Hell hath no wrath something something.”

       Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        Your characterization of the Day One DLC is at best, hyperbole. It was part of the original game design, sure, but they cut it out substantially before they actually went gold, and the art assets were a placeholder. (They did the exact same thing with the DLC for ME2, and even in DA:O with the Stone Prisoner and Warden’s Keep stuff, so I dunno if that’s exactly a new thing.)

        On the other hand, the outrage has generated enough heat that Ray Muyzka has been forced to offer a public response:
        http://blog.bioware.com/2012/03/21/4108/

        From the sounds of it, they’re working on new content to address concerns in addition to whatever new stuff they’d had planned in the pipeline.

        I’m wondering if the announcement that DA2 Expansion’s team assets were pulled, plus the sudden interest in fan feedback for DA, seems to me there’s a lot of damage control going on…Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Part of the issue is how the Day One DLC was handled by corporate… It was argued that the DLC was part of the game, then yanked, then sold. Bioware argued that this wasn’t the case… then it came out that there was code involving this DLC in the game already… now, if the faces worked (and the endings weren’t, shall we say, “controversial”), would this have mattered?

          Not a whit. as it stands, it’s further evidence that EA puts more effort into nickle/diming their players than into, say, testing bugs that appear before the game even begins. Instead of being perfectly understandable that they had to put the code on the disc, it was evidence of priorities.

          (New copies of ME2 and Dragon Age both had codes that came with the game that gave $15 DLC for free. Or, I suppose, for “free”. This DLC did not bug me at all. I actually found myself positively disposed toward it. The Warden’s Keep thing was irritating, I understand, not because it was Day One DLC but because of the guy in your camp who was an ad for the DLC. Since everybody *LOVED* Dragon Age, the complaint was about the method of selling rather than the existence.)Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

            There’s a distinction between code/scripts and art assets. The stuff on the disk was art assets and voice overs. The actual scripting and coding for that content was done at a later date. Should also note that different teams handle different parts of the certification process and development process. This criticism that their QAing didn’t catch something and therefore it’s the fault of the DLC dev team is at best a complete misunderstanding of how the dev process works, at worst, a willful obfuscation to make an argument.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              This criticism that their QAing didn’t catch something and therefore it’s the fault of the DLC dev team is at best a complete misunderstanding of how the dev process works, at worst, a willful obfuscation to make an argument.

              See it as criticism of resource allocation priorities.

              Hey, the Kinect stuff works pretty cool though, right?Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                As noted: The DLC dev team, traditionally would’ve been hauled off to some other project anyway. The post-release support/debugging team is staffed by different people. It’s like arguing the Broncos should’ve used their Kickers to help Tim Tebow by being extra receivers or something.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Perhaps they could have worked on face importation there.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

                How BioWare organizes its development teams, and manages its resources, is its own problem.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                But it’s not JUST a Bioware thing, it’s an industry thing. Very few developers have the luxury of keeping a very large QA/patching team idling while they’re waiting for certification. (In fact I’d wager almost none do) It’s simply a matter of economics. You don’t make sales (or very many) off of patches. DLC or new projects do.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                It’s a perception thing, Nob.

                People who play console/PC games are generally on board with, “I will pay you to make me a game”.  If the game has been out for a while, and you continue to develop for it, the gamers will certainly pay you for new content.

                When you release “new” content the same day you release the game, the gamers think, “Jesus, you’re turning into Zynga.  You just want to farm me for my money.”

                If you don’t want your customers to think you’re farming them for their money, you need to be a little more aware of their perception of what you’re doing.  The actuality doesn’t matter.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

                The actuality doesn’t matter in addition because it doesn’t change the fact that the company spent time developing lesser content for the “core” game to be sold for a one time price, while spending other time/resources developing better content to be sold at a premium for additional money.

                The Day One element is of course key, because it demonstrates that the company could have made that better content a part of the “core” flat $60 price, rather than a “bonus” for an extra $10.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                So you would rather developers NOT make new content and just disband teams and reallocate resources after they’ve shipped a game to certification? Or should developers lose money by keeping idle a team that can be doing something else?

                And it’s simply not true that gamers will pay for new content for existing games. Tracking the sale of expansion packs shows that they sell much more poorly than even a half-baked sequel.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

                Which is to say, 75% of everything the game’s second Xbox disc consists of is a fetch quest with flavor text (read: lore!) peppered in once in a while.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                So you would rather developers NOT make new content and just disband teams and reallocate resources after they’ve shipped a game to certification? Or should developers lose money by keeping idle a team that can be doing something else?

                Er… no?

                And it’s simply not true that gamers will pay for new content for existing games. Tracking the sale of expansion packs shows that they sell much more poorly than even a half-baked sequel.

                Wait, now I’m confused.  If gamers won’t pay for new content for existing games, what’s the point of pay-for DLC?

                I’ll note something in this discussion: like everything else media/entertainment related, the gaming industry is in the middle of a huge transitional upheaval.  What they should or shouldn’t do and/or what they can or cannot do and/or what the market will accept or not accept today, right now, is different from what it was 5 years ago and it is different from what it will be 5 years from now.

                However, if I tell you, “Here’s $50 worth of entertainment” while simultaneously saying, “… and here’s a bonus $10 worth of entertainment!” your marketing message had better be SPOT ON or you’re going to be creating a PR nightmare.  I think anyone who is watching this as an interested observer would say this was a PR nightmare.

                I’m not talking about logistics.  I’m talking about understanding the hive mind that is the gamer community.  If you want to sell things to these people – particularly entertainment, luxury goods! – you need to do a better job.Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                You may not make money from patches but you do lose money off non-patched games.  Twisted Metal 2012 has been hurt badly by a hilariously untested multiplayer that went on for weeks before they finally got a patch out that still hasn’t resolved a lot of issues.  This has hammered game sales so badly that David “I don’t believe in large Betas” Jaffe recently tweeted that the next patch will include Axel (a character model that they were initially going to sell) just as part of a plea to get people to stop returning the game.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                The whole issue would be moot if the developers managed expectations.   They’ve got alpha tester teams:  these teams could work with the player community, explaining what’s going on.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                The whole issue would be moot if the developers managed expectations.

                This.

                Granted, this is very difficult in today’s world and most IT people are really bad at it.  But this is the difference between makin’ money and goin’ broke, in the long run.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                See it as a relationship, Nob. Bioware got a *LOT* of goodwill from making freaking awesome RPGs. They gave the players what they wanted and gave it to them good and hard.

                Dragon Age II shook the relationship. The plot that wasn’t easy to summarize (compare to the plots of all previous games), the lack of choice when creating a character (compare to the ample choices available in previous games), and so on. Perhaps all could be summed up as matters of taste and many were willing to run with such things as the copy/pasted dungeons, beaches, and whatnot for the sake of a new and interesting attempt at storytelling.

                When you have a lot of goodwill, you can do stuff like that.

                When you do stuff like that too often, you may find yourself out of goodwill.

                How EA/Bioware has handled this so far (see that PR guy’s take!) has burned more goodwill than it has generated.

                And allow me to point out again: It’s been fifteen days since the most heavily anticipated release since Skyrim… and Amazon has it on sale. Microsoft has it on sale.Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                In fairness, Bioware has also been dealing with a fan community that said they want Bioware’s writers to be beaten, raped, and killed as well as other threats.  I think that, while Bioware has not handled their PR well, they have some justification in telling their “fans” to piss off.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                That’s certainly true as well. I wanted to write about the problems of treating all of your customers like they’re homophobes when they’re complaining about your game but one of the front page articles (until recently, anyway) for Mass Effect 3 was that one post about how Bioware is abandoning the straight male gamer.

                (Shudder.)Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                In fairness, Bioware has also been dealing with a fan community that said they want Bioware’s writers to be beaten, raped, and killed as well as other threats.

                Having long been a gamer, and knowing lots of gamers, and having logged into a counterstrike server once or twice, I can say that this is pretty standard hyperbole in the gamer realm.

                You cannot possibly program and play video games without having been indoctrinated into this culture to some degree.  I think it’s juvenile and stupid, but come on, you can’t possibly believe that this is based on anything resembling an actual threat of harm.  This isn’t like people threatening to kill or blow up abortion doctors or animal researchers, who have no reason to believe that these threats aren’t real.

                I’d hazard a guess that they’ve gotten far more credible threats of violence from their coworkers, just from working together.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Mr. Jaybird has made the case rather better than I could.   As for why IT can’t manage expectations, I have my own theory on this problem.

                Back when I was a callow youth and new to software development, I had no idea what I was doing.   In my ignorance, I simply asked my client how he did it manually and aped it to the letter, applying a few things I’d learned about matrices and set theory along the way.    It never occurred to me that in the larger world, management would attempt to define the deliverable without much input from the user.   The military had long since taught me that management didn’t want to hear about the day-to-day stuff beyond status reporting and exceptions.

                It therefore came as a great surprise when I learned otherwise.   I kept on with my modus vivendi of involving one low-level user from the outset, creating in that user the Alpha User who would save me from having to explain what I’d done (and the compromises I’d made)  to the rest of the user community.   Over time, I’ve trained up at least 70 coders to my way of doing things, instilling in them the simple virtues of asking the users what makes sense to them, for they must live with the consequences.

                The problem began when every unwashed college dropout wanted to emulate the success of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, neither of whom were particularly good coders and both of them were horrible managers.    Rather than view themselves as problem solvers, they degenerated into witch doctors, keeping the rubes in awe of them, as Gates and Jobs had done in their turn.

                Management knew exactly how to turn them on their back shells like so many turtles.   They became as unrealistic in their expectations as the developers had been in their solutions.  It was the developers’ faults, for they had no practical experience as team players.   They didn’t know how businesses made money.    Most still don’t.   And they remain the prey of every dumb manager’s arbitrary decision, from resources to timelines to deliverable.Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                You cannot possibly program and play video games without having been indoctrinated into this culture to some degree.  I think it’s juvenile and stupid, but come on, you can’t possibly believe that this is based on anything resembling an actual threat of harm.

                Actually, what happened with Jennifer Hepler has gone WAY beyond the pale.  Given that some of the people making the threats managed to dig up that she has kids and where they go to school, I can believe that these resemble actual threats.  Even if you ignored that, it’s a big leap from “your game sucks” to “I hope you get dragged into an alley, raped, and have your head beaten in” in terms of message board antics.

                Hell, Capcom’s Cross Assault didn’t have that much vitrol and look at the backlash on that one.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Actually, what happened with Jennifer Hepler has gone WAY beyond the pale.

                I’m unaware of the specifics, but what you allude to here would way creep me out if I was her, and yeah, it’s totally out of line.

                Posting people’s personal information online is now, unfortunately, par for the course for anybody that pisses anybody off.  For $12 or less I can find out a lot about anybody, really; for free if I just want to spend some time.

                These are our times.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Here’s a little summary over at ripten.

                The very idea, that BioWare wouldn’t specialize to writing over and against development and gameplay.   I write a lot of AI solutions, everyone in my end of the business is absolutely reliant on people like underwriters and inspectors to lay out the story for me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                (One of the legion problems with that particular incident is that she was 100% right in the first place.)Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                Jaybird, in terms of the good will…

                I’m perhaps more defensive of Bioware than I should be. They supported my favorite game for a decade, going so far as to convince Hasbro to allow them to try paid DLC, hosting forums long past the time the publisher gave them money, and keeping flags in the final patch’s executable to make it easier for us modders to keep working.

                As for expectations and the like, I’m still of the opinion the game industry is terrible with project management and design. I even made a guest post about it!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I have a great deal of affection for Bioware myself, Nob. I can’t *WAIT* to play Mass Effect 3!

                My problem is that it was unplayable out of the box and that’s unacceptable. They’ve earned enough good will on my part to have me *NOT* take my game back and demand a refund for misleading advertising (“it says here you can import your face and your choices from previous games!!!”)… but they don’t have enough good will on my part to have me not yell about it.

                They burned that up with DA2.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                On the one hand, Child’s Play.

                On the other hand, Jennifer Hepler.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m willing to bet that the Venn Diagram does not overlap there, Duck.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            To rephrase: it may very easily be true that the Day One DLC was not part of the original game but needed to developed in tandem. More likely true than not!

            Given the other missteps by the company, this *FELT* like being lied to when the code in the game was found.

            The fact that the fanbase (or most vocal parts of the fanbase) immediately felt lied to rather than understanding is an indicator of a deeper problem. Remember: these are the people who bought the game on Day 1 and *BOUGHT* the Day 1 DLC… to find these other problems waiting for them.Report

            • Avatar Pyre says:

              Actually, it’s most likely false but DLC is an industry focus right now.  Frankly, the time to stand up against DLC was 6-7 years ago so it does no good to cry about it now.

              A lot of these debates make me wish that Gone Gold was still around.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I will make a prediction.

                My prediction is that big market game releases that try to go to DLC for continuing revenue are going to explode their own face off.

                WoW made “pay a subscription to play my game” acceptable.  And it somewhat works, although it drove gamers like me (who can’t spend N hours a month, every month, playing the game and thus will never feel like they get their $X worth) out of their market.

                “Pay to buy my game, and then pay me again to buy these modules that make my game better” is not going to fly in big market games.

                It works for Angry Birds, because the modules are cheap and the entertainment is cheap and the form factor encourages people to accept both.  It works for Facebook “games”, such as they are, because the expectations are nil, really, and the investment to get in the door is nothing.

                Pay me half your entertainment budget for the month to get your foot in the door and then I’ll nickle you for additional content is a dead-end strategy.Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                Honestly, I think you overestimate the market.  This is a market with a large segment that defends the industry notion that “buying used=piracy”  This is a market that will belittle people who can’t/won’t buy the DLC no matter how insultingly it is presented (Looking at you, ID).

                We went from “We won’t pay for any DLC” to “Well, DLC is okay as long as it’s trivial” to “Well, as long as it isn’t really needed and it isn’t Day One DLC, story-heavy DLC is okay” to “Day One DLC is vital for the company to continue making these games and thwarting pirates”.  All of that has changed since the current gen came out.  I have no doubt that the progression will continue.  While gamers will yell every so often and maybe a few will quit, gamers (as a whole) are as likely to stop buying DLC as a heroin addict is going to tell off their dealer and actually quit by themselves.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                The thing is I see that as screw-tightening.

                And lots of inertia prevents groups of people from doing anything for a long time when screw tightening is the norm.

                But when screw tightening fails, it fails like a runaway thermal reaction in social media land.  And everyone will look flabbergasted and say, “why is this happening now?”Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                Fair enough.  I admit that sort of crash could happen to gaming a second time.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                It’s also a market where a fair portion of the consumers view piracy as legitimate and/or acceptable if a developer or publisher pisses them off. The knife cuts both ways.Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                Fair but most of those are people who wouldn’t have bought it anyway and are usually just trying to make themselves out to be some form of social crusader.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The thing that makes *THIS* case really interesting is the Child’s Play dynamic.

                $75K is nothing to sneeze at. These are not the actions of run-of-the-mill selfishness.Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

        Having played 99% of the game, I can say that there is a lot in it that is less important than getting an extra squad member, who happens to be a Prothean, has a unique mission, and some of the best written lines in the game.

        My feeling is that they needed a piece of compelling day one dlc that people wanted.  In order to do it, they necessarily had to take/make something that would have been right at home on the original disc, as part of the “core” experience.

        It’s extremely dissappointing.  But that’s EA for you.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I am blessed to be in a position where 800 points is trivial to me. “Essential” Day One DLC doesn’t bug me *THAT* much.

          I can totally see how it’d infuriate someone who only buys, say, two games a year (and wants both to be RPGs).Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Another dynamic that came up is the sheer amount of overwhelmingly positive reviews… and none of these reviews mentioned such problems as the face importation problem.

    The biggest problem that folks have with the game are *NOT* the (universally acclaimed!) “things between the face importation and the ending”. The *ONLY* things that I have heard complaints about, with regards to the gameplay itself, are:

    1) Face Importation not working (and thus making the game psychically unplayable for a sizable chunk of the player base)

    2) The ending is supremely unsatisfying (and multiplayer-related complaints with that problem)

    If the vast majority of reviewers had not played 1 then 2 then 3 (or 2 then 3) then they wouldn’t have experienced the first. If the vast majority of reviewers had “only” gotten 40 hours into the game before reviewing it, they wouldn’t have experienced the second.

    There is a lot of bruised trust out there.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      Face importation IIRC is only an issue for the 360. The PC version works fine, while the PS3 version doesn’t have the issue because ME1 wasn’t released on that platform.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        There are people in the thread who claim to be PS3 players who are also claiming that their faces failed to import from the PS3 version of ME2 (the PS3 had no Mass Effect 1).Report

  4. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    It’s actually kind of depressing to go back to the initial stirrings of the DLC concept, and see this wonderful “a-la-carte gaming” experience described.  Something like, say, Skyrim would cost $10 for the basic game, and there would be hardly any content; you could buy these little $1 or $2 DLC packs that would give your guy a bunch of new outfits, or some different weapons, or add a new area (town or dungeon or forest or something) with some adventures in it.  You would build your game like you were buying Lego blocks, getting only the ones you wanted (or looked interesting). 

    As it turned out, “DLC” was the new word for “expansion pack”.Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

      I totally agree.

      This is what I hate about online passes.  They took a part of the orginal product and put it behind a “buy it new” paywall (for understandable business reasons of course).

      People defend online passes by saying that X part of a game is what you get for buying it new, and by purchasing a product used, your really just agreeing to get a discount in exchange for having access to less content.

      Which I would totally love if you actually had that option, rather than it being forced on the publisher’s terms.

      I’d much rather pay 30$ for the main throughline of ME3, than pay the full $60 for a product that has a bunch of content I don’t want at all, much less the extra $10 for content that I do want, but can only be accessed by making the full initial investment (for instance, I would love to pay $30 for the extremely core experience of ME3, and then gladly pay another $10 for additional content I deem to be of exceptional quality).Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I don’t mind DLC as expansion pack. I *LIKED* expansion packs (I bought each expansion pack Heroes of Might and Magic put out).

      I don’t mind DLC as “squeezing cash from the used market”. That makes sense to me.

      Hell, I don’t even mind DLC as a way to “cheat” in multiplayer (get a five star linebacker for two bucks! get a five star machine gun for two bucks!).

      I mind DLC being used as a way to turn a 90% game into a 100% game.

      What’s the difference between that and an expansion pack? I’d point to the 360 Fallouts, actually.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        Hell, I don’t even mind DLC as a way to “cheat” in multiplayer (get a five star linebacker for two bucks! get a five star machine gun for two bucks!).

        We’ve been agreeing with each other so much recently I’m glad this moment came up.

        This is immoral and wrong and the source of all evil in the universe.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Allow me to amend: if it is possible to level a linebacker or machine gun up to this point without the DLC, I have no problem *WITH* the DLC.

          Some people have more money than time, after all, and it’s not fair that they be hobbled for online play by not having put 30 hours into a linebacker.Report

      • Avatar Pyre says:

        I would point to the 360 Fallouts but I got the GOTY edition.

        Man, deferred gratification feels good!Report

  5. Avatar Pyre says:

    I recently made a post on a Gamespot news article (The subsequent responses made me remember why I don’t normally do that.) about Dragon Age 2’s DLC being cancelled which I’ll share here.  It was about what I think Bioware should do at this point.

    ——————————————————-

    It might be best to just focus on SWTOR for a while. I’m not an MMO fan myself but people keep saying that it might be actually be the WOW killer that people have been saying (instead of the usual thing where the whole thing fizzles after a year).

    It would seem to me that it would be best to build SWTOR up and let the Dragon Age franchise rest for a while. This would allow:

    1) Bioware to really take a look at what did and didn’t work.
    2) allow the hate to fade out some (Seriously. Looking at the comments below, you’d think that Bioware made Cy Girls.)
    3) Get people eager for a new game instead of the half-threatening mood that is running through the fanbase now. Right now, people are acting like they were personally betrayed by Dragon Age 2. However, if they let the franchise lie fallow for a few years, people will start begging for a new Dragon Age.

    Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have it come out on the next consoles.

    ——————————————–

    The third point holds especially true in the light of games like Serious Sam BFE and Twisted Metal (2012).  If those two had been released in a timely manner, the fans would have shredded those games.  But fans have waited so long that they’re willing to forgive poor level design and broken multiplayer.  I myself am going to get Twisted Metal once it hits the $20-30 mark solely because I feel that I ought to.

    And this is what would happen with Dragon Age (as well as any game that revisited the Mass Effect universe if they choose to do so).  By focusing on SWTOR for a few years, not only can Bioware create themselves a cash cow, they will be able to manipulate their fanbase into begging them to come back with another Dragon Age game.  Right now, the attitude on Bioware’s forums as well as the forums of other sites can be described as threatening and that’s on a good day.

     

    At least, one company has benefitted from all this.  Capcom was taking a rising amount of heat for having TWELVE characters as on-disc DLC but all of the negative sentiment about that seems to have been washed away by the Mass Effect outcry.  If I were the head of Capcom, I would send Bioware a “thank you” bouquet.

     Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      Have you looked at Mark Darrah’s recent threads in the Dragon Age forums? He seems to be taking community feedback very seriously.

      As for “focusing on TOR” it would make no sense for Bioware, unless they fired everyone in Edmonton, since they’re done by completely different studios.Report

      • Avatar Pyre says:

        Whether he is taking it seriously or not is besides the question.    When I made the original post, I decided to go and see how Bioware’s forums are and if they were any less hateful than Gamespot’s comments.

        Nope.

        All I’m saying is that Bioware could profit in a number of ways by just stepping away from Dragon Age for a little while and focusing on SWTOR. 

        Blizzard also had two studios when WoW was first released.  Didn’t hurt them any.  (Admittedly, they closed down Blizzard North a year after WoW came out.)  In fact, for a company in Bioware’s position, Blizzard would be a good company to emulate.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          There are some non-sewery threads at Bioware (the ones I posted links to all seemed to be full of genuinely frustrated folks trying to be constructive rather than trying to best describe exactly how they wish to widen the orifices of others).

          One of the cute things they’re doing is having the folks pushing for a change of the ending making “Hold the line” their sign-off for their posts.Report

  6. Avatar Erik Kain says:

    Great post, Jaybird. NOT a mini-post though. Fixed that for ya.Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    It did just occur to me that it’s kind of silly for people to complain about “on-disc DLC” for a game that they downloaded from SteamReport

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I think it’s a throwback to the days when people felt like they owned a program because they bought it, rather than merely purchasing a license to use the program (and additional features require additional licenses, please check the box and click next, next, next, confirm defaults, install).Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Free market, baby. The only difference between video game companies and any other corporation is they have the ability to do this thanks to the product they’re selling. If you don’t think Chrysler, Home Depot, or whomever wouldn’t do the same thing if they could get away with it is simply being naive.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Well, part of what we’re now discovering with Mass Effect 3 is that corporations are beginning to discover that there are very, *VERY* specific circumstances under which they can get away with this.

          If those circumstances are not met?

          Well… we’re watching this in real time.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            The average person who bought Mass Effect has no idea that the Internet is mad about the ending of Mass Effect. I hate to the be the cynic here, but in a year and a half, when Mass Effect : The Story of Shepard Junior is announced for the XBox 720 and PS4, most of the same people complaining about the ending now will be preordering it from Amazon, it’ll get a 90 on Metacritic, and move the same amount of copies Mass Effect 3 did. Oh, and you won’t be able to buy a used copy without buying a $10 “online pass.”Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Perhaps you are absolutely right, Jess.

              If that were the case, though, I’d wonder why Bioware leadership was publicly apologizing. I’d wonder why Amazon and Microsoft are selling the game a short two weeks after launch for $20 off.

              These are not the moves that I would make if I were a confident capitalist secure in the knowledge that the sheeple would swallow whatever shit sandwiches I shoveled their way.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                The wonderful thing about shit sandwiches:  the more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat.Report

              • Avatar Pyre says:

                Easy.  Pacify them just enough to dump any DLC that you want (maybe even a new ending DLC).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The new ending DLC is not something that can just be thrown together.

                I’m pretty sure that if they eff that theoretical DLC up, it’d be worse than if they continued running with the “what, you want Shep to ride a rainbow-shitting unicorn?” defense they ran with for a couple of days.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                On the Amazon/Microsoft deal, they regularly sell new games near launch for $40 near launch. Go look through the threads on CheapAssGamer. The only thing this doesn’t apply to is Call of Duty and Battlefield and that’s about it. So, I don’t really think that’s a sign of anything than people having heightened awareness of it.

                As for the apologizing, first of all, it wasn’t that much of an apology, and this is Crisis Management 101. You make your hardcore happy so they can’t infect the casual crowd. If Bioware had just let this fester (like they did kind of with DA:O), there might be some repercussions. But, make an apology, come out with some DLC, maybe even make it “free” as a goodwill gesture, and six months from now, many people have forgotten all about it or become a punchline, like horse armor. 🙂Report

  8. Avatar BSK says:

    Would it be inappropriate of me to yell…

    “NNNNNNNEEEEERRRRRRDDDDDDDSSSSS!!!!!!!”Report

  9. Avatar James B Franks says:

    I finished ME3 on the PC and my Face import didn’t work.  I had a blast playing the game. Yes the ending is problematic, however it accomplished one important thing; everyone is still talking about it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Granted, but we’re also still talking about Jar-Jar.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        so as someone who only barely got the demo to work and isn’t going to pay 60 bucks for it (29.99 is probably my price point on this) is the ending crazy silly/secretly awesome like the prisoner or, uh, jar jar?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I will rot13 what I know about it. It’s not much but it’s something.

          Sebz jung V haqrefgnaq, lbh qvr, n jubyr ybg bs sbyxf qvr, naq lbh’er tvira n pubvpr gb pbzzvg trabpvqr ntnvafg gur Erncref gur jnl gung gurl jrer tbvat gb trabpvqr gur tnynkl… naq GUR PLPYR PBAGVAHRF NALJNL.

          Ohg gung’f whfg jung V’ir cvpxrq hc sebz gelvat gb nibvq fcbvyref. V unir ab vqrn ubj pybfr V tbg.Report

          • Avatar dhex says:

            that sounds a lot better than i would generally give bioware credit for, actually.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Sadly, from what I understand, this ending (as well as the other possible endings) are all achievable so long as you don’t half-ass the game… making the decisions you made during the game feel less essential.

              I think that that was a big disappointment too.Report

              • Avatar James B Franks says:

                The decisions you make effects who is at the end with you, but you are the hero! How did you think it would all end? How do all stories about non-tragic hero’s end?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This reminds me of the argument that “you really should have enjoyed that sandwich more! What did you expect the sandwich to be like???”

                I’ll point to the thread with the promises made by the developers prior to the release, James.

                *THIS* is what I thought the ending would be like.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                For the record: do you think a single person complained about the ending to Dragon Age: Origins?

                What I heard was how *AWESOME* and *EPIC* the ending to Dragon Age: Origins was. I was one of the people singing the praises of the ending.

                They aren’t doing this here, are they? They’re instead donating money to Child’s Play.

                Now I don’t *KNOW* what the ending was… but I do know that if the ending was as *AWESOME* and *EPIC* as Dragon Age: Origins, we’d have people talking about Mass Effect 3 the way they talked about Dragon Age: Origins.

                They ain’t.Report

  10. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    Finished the game last night. 

    I’ll note for people yet to have done so, don’t worry about war assets, etc.  It doesn’t really matter, and I’m kicking myself for having wasted so much time with my Galactic Readiness bullsheet.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      That’s the biggest problem I’m having with the ending.

      I’ll talk about Dragon Age: Origins instead.

      In Dragon Age: Origins, one of the things you do is gain allies. Human Soldiers, Dwarves, Mages, Templars, Elves, Werewolves. All kinds of stuff. In the final battle, you can call your allies to help fight the hordes (and, seriously, they have an impact on the battle).

      Dragon Age: Origins was awesome.Report

  11. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    By Chris Priestly:

    Edit: Update March 21

    Ok, I have what I hope is some good news.

    We have fixed the issue of faces not correctly importing into Mass Effect 3. It will be included as part of the next Mass Effect 3 patch.

    The not completely good news is that I do not yet have a confirmed date for when the patch will be available. A new patch gets heavily tested by BioWare, EA, Microsoft and Sony before it can be released to the public. We all want to be sure that it fixes the issues it is supposed to fix and doesn’t start any new issues (this is called testing or certification testing ). If a patch fails during testing, it is sent back, fixed again and retested until it passes. Then it is released to gamers. Until we know that the patch has passed certification testing, I don’t want to give even a rough idea of the date, to prevent disappointment should it need further testing.

    So I’m sorry I don’t have the full answer you all want and are waiting for yet. When I can give you the date when the patch will be available I will.

    Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Good news indeed.

      I’m hoping that the estimated date for the patch release comes out Monday.

      One of the wacky things is that the community would react much better to “the last 3 times we did something like this, it took 2 weeks to go through QA, then another week to hammer out the paperwork, making it likely to be 3 weeks (THIS INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE)” followed by “we found a showstopper of a bug, we’re back to the drawing board” followed by two days later “we fixed the bug” followed by the “3 weeks announcement” followed by “okay, it’s official, the patch will be going live on Wednesday the Nth at some point in the afternoon”…

      Than the community would react to a month of silence followed by “okay, it’s official, the patch will be going live on Wednesday the Nth at some point in the afternoon.”

      I suppose that that’s not the wacky part. The wacky part is that it’s much more likely that EA/Bioware will do the latter than the former.Report

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