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BioWare Founders Retiring!


Merin

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So, when are we going to get ME3's combat in a DA game???

 

It wasn't perfect, but if you want to focus on action, it wasn't too shabby (that's a compliment in my native language).

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein
 

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You can justify it all you want but the fact of the matter was some of those people were probably kids that you guys were swearing at

 

Actually, the sad thing is that I bet they probably weren't. There's no shortage of 20 and 30 year olds that act like petulant twits as well. Furthermore, the kids aren't the ones that grew up with games like Baldur's Gate and I know for a fact that some of the people that got on . I think it'd be decidedly eye opening if anonymity were suddenly gone on the internet and people were immediately accountable for past comments.

 

I can understand someone stating it was unprofessional of how Aaryn and Jen initially responded (it was), but to pull out the "but the children" argument? I mean, they possibly swore at children (that were being foul mouthed belligerents). To quote Kurtz: The horror the horror.

 

The main point I was focusing on was the comments Bioware made in response. I wasn't just thinking it was horrible to swear at kids. I was thinking it brings you down to their level and acting like kids when you respond in kind. The same goes for if they were adults acting like kids.

 

Bioware can't control those people who get upset at them and criticize them, they can just control how they react to them. Instead of justifying their actions and blaming the consumers they should take a look at themselves. Pretty basic stuff that should go without saying.

 

Part of listening to feedback is dissemenating genuine complaints and what is just loud and boisterous individuals that feel slighted. People wonder why it took a while to approve the extended cut, but we have to make sure it's not just some near militant group that vocal but ultimately quite small. It happens with every game (some guy told me that I should have been aborted as a fetus so that BioWare could have hired more competent QA before releasing a piece of trash like DAO), and you're deluding yourselves if you don't think it makes us (even on the DA team) go "Hmmm, that was quite the reaction ME3 got. In what ways is this bad? Are there any ways that it's good? What should we do differently and how should we do it?"

 

My question to that would be why would you even need to ask yourselves that after seeing the ending? If you played ME1 and 2 you'd know it makes almost no sense and throws everything out the window. Did you guys ask the same questions after DA2? Were you surprised that game wasn't well received too? It must be hard being objective and rational when you spend 1 to 2 years developing a game. I don't understand this irrationality and why people are so quick to defend you developers for making bad games. For example you're just developing a dialogue system and making sure it works. You're not writing for it and not one of the guys deciding everything, so what's preventing you from judging the game objectively? If it's crap, it's crap.

 

Developers make a living. They get paid for their work. It's not like they need to be protected from criticism on their games because they're so emotionally invested in their games they can't think straight. Right? So why be so upset if people don't like a game you played a small part in creating?

 

Exactly. Instead of stripping out features and making them skip-able, they should work on making those features fun instead. Combat is a pretty big staple of RPGs. There shouldn't be a button to skip it. There really shouldn't even be resources dedicated to that. They should instead invest in making it fun. There really isn't any way to take Hepler's comment out of context. Her position is pretty clear.

 

Since RPG can't even be consistently defined, it's probably best to point out that this is what you value in an RPG. There's no shortage of people that don't particularly care for combat in RPGs, and frankly BioWare's combat in some insanely popular games like KOTOR is frankly pretty lackluster. It doesn't stop many people from considering it BioWare's best RPG experience. Nor does it stop people from challenging that notion.

 

Given that I find the best RPGs are the ones that enable the player to minimize combat, I frankly disagree with your idea that combat is essential to an RPG. That it's roots were in D&Desque dungeon hacks from the 80s that were all combat is irrelevant. To be perfectly frank, combat is often one of the weakest aspects of RPGs mechanics-wise, and gamers have historically been all too willing to excuse shoddy mechanics and questionable gameplay decisions. Alpha Protocol is one of my favourite RPGs but many of it's game mechanics (and I don't mind the Deus Ex/Mass Effect style of skill progression) are clunky and in many cases random. But the conversations are the best I've ever seen and the level of reactivity in the game is pretty mindblowing. I've already mentioned that PST's combat is pretty crap (especially early in the game) but it's my favourite RPG of all time. The best ending as far as I'm concerned is where you don't even fight the final boss (it's also what I loved about Fallout, which is easily #2 on my favourite RPG list)

 

I'll agree that most people's favorite RPGs tend to have weaker combat systems and more focus on story and interesting characters and settings, but that doesn't mean combat isn't and hasn't been essential in RPGs. Combat is still a main component in those games. There is also a difference between creating a game that has noncombat options to succeed at and putting a button you can press so you can completely skip the combat situations you'd have to fight in. People try to say it doesn't hurt anything to have those options, but I think you and I both know that takes resources and time to put into the game. It also takes emphasis off of combat and making it challenging in favor of making it easy to "ego stroke" the player. I also think better combat systems can be developed and perhaps haven't been because developers didn't have time or resources to. Play through Knights of the Chalice. One of the best turn based combat systems based on DnD and one guy did it by himself. It's a great game. It's only weakness is it doesn't have a lot of classes to choose from which the sequel will rectify. Great combat, classes, feats, encounter design. I'm playing through Icewind Dale right now. Also has great encounter design. Challenging combat. I get through about 3 or 4 encounters before having to rest. It definitely forces you to use your surroundings and use your spells and attacks wisely. My only complaints are that game lags when there are a lot of units on the screen making the UI slow/difficult to use and pathing sucks. The problem I see with RPGs is there is a focus on combat or story and characters. Good combat RPGs tend to be weaker on stories and characters and vice versa. That doesn't mean the other isn't important and both can't be well done, it just means it hasn't yet.

 

I played through DA2 a little bit when it was released just to see what it was like. That game had a ton of problems. I won't go into them all because it would take forever. I played it before the huge patch that looked like a list of changes in a MMO was released. A wave mechanic a few times in a game might not be bad, but if you intend on sticking with it and just adding a reason to it (like mobs waiting to ambush you every time) you're going to be sorely disappointed when you get that same negative reaction. It tends to be unrealistic and it ruins the whole tactical/strategic approach because after defeating the wave of enemies others appear out of nowhere and ruin the battle for you. There is no way to account for how many waves and what types of enemies you'll be fighting so you either have to muddle through the waves blindly, which is god awful when it's every time, or you die and reload with knowledge of what you'll face. Even if you die and reload there might be waves you missed so you still might not be prepared for what you'll face. So someone might die through 2 waves, reload, make it through 4 waves, die, reload, etc.

 

One of the great things about IWD is that it throws all the enemies at you at once. From there you know what you're dealing with and you can plan accordingly for the encounter. They're also challenging and offer something different on every dungeon floor. DA2 had that crappy third person camera. Isometric is so much better. You can see what's going on in the battle field. It's a lot harder with that third person perspective.

 

I think the real reason you guys are sticking with waves is because you guys are slaves to console limitations and graphical demands of your fanbase. You can't just put 10-20 enemies on a screen at once and have everything run smoothly, but if you can you should just buff up those mobs so the encounters are challenging, instead of throwing wave after wave of enemies at a player. It's a terrible idea.

 

About fan reaction. This is just a hypothesis so it may be wrong, but I think Bioware somehow brings out the worst in people/their fans. I don't know how exactly. But you don't hear about these kinds of reactions on other websites. Either that, or they downplay them a lot better. Maybe it's just the kind of people your games attract. or the fact that you try to listen to those people that are too emotionally invested in your characters and flip out easily. Mentally unhealthy people who flip out when you don't give them what they want because they're so use to you giving them what they want. It's not like Bioware is even the biggest RPG developer out there. Blizzard and Bethesda sold 10+ million copies of their games. I'm guessing Bioware only did about 2 million on DA2 and around 3 million on ME3. So why is Bioware's fans the most vitriolic?

Edited by Grimlorn
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Why are you making excuses and defending them?

Now you are getting emotional again.

Nope. Quit making stuff up or maybe you're just trolling. I don't know.

It works both ways...

 

Look how emotional you're getting.

Quit making stuff up or maybe you're just trolling. I don't know.

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein
 

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Since it was brought up in a different thread, my #3 RPG is probably Ultima VII which also didn't really have very interesting combat. But it's still the best "living world" I've ever experienced.

 

I really should play Ultima VI again as it's actually the first one I ever played that got me into the series (even though I was brutal at the game and had no idea what to do. Though it did have better combat :p)

Edited by alanschu
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If you felt burned by the second one I'd probably encourage you (and anyone else that felt that way) to wait and see. We aren't really interested in scrapping everything we tried in DA2 that was different, so it definitely won't be DAO, though we do recognize DA2 had its faults compared to DAO (some more obvious than others).

 

We're aiming to dial some things back to DAO style (while still trying some new things). Though where we actually land is actually hard to say since a lot of systems are just starting to come online and some of the stuff I'm really looking forward to (crafting!) I don't think actually exists in engine yet (that may have changed... I had the last week off for a holiday), so it was still mostly concepting and prototyping.

 

 

I'm excited for DA3, but eh I was excited for DA2 and DAO as well, so take that for what it's worth. (I like to think it's a good thing that I'm excited for the games I work on, even if we're releasing games that destroy lives, kick dogs, and punch babies :p)

Edited by alanschu
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I suggest they scrap the entire universe and license a decent IP. (and no, not Dungeons and Dragons)

 

 

Do we really need another Dragon Age game?

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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Do we really need another Dragon Age game?

 

Well we don't really *need* games in general I feel, so that's kind of a moot question. You definitely feel like you don't need anything Dragon Age though, as you've stated time and time and again. Personally, with all its flaws, I appreciate Origins and its expansion, and I feel like something potentially interesting could be done with the setting, so I take a wait and see approach.

 

If you felt burned by the second one I'd probably encourage you (and anyone else that felt that way) to wait and see. We aren't really interested in scrapping everything we tried in DA2 that was different, so it definitely won't be DAO, though we do recognize DA2 had its faults compared to DAO (some more obvious than others).

 

We're aiming to dial some things back to DAO style (while still trying some new things). Though where we actually land is actually hard to say since a lot of systems are just starting to come online and some of the stuff I'm really looking forward to (crafting!) I don't think actually exists in engine yet (that may have changed... I had the last week off for a holiday), so it was still mostly concepting and prototyping.

 

I had essentially three problems with DAII: 1) it cut a lot of stuff that I thought had potential of the original, like the Origins, and generally went into a more Mass Effect direction (not to say that you can't make a good RPG like that, but Origins was a promising sign because it looked like BioWare wasn't trying to standardize all of their games); 2) the combat felt hectic but not tactically interesting and none of my problems with DA:O's combat were solved (balance issues, poor encounter design, and a rather obscured/non-transparent ruleset); 3) the storyline, which pre-release seemed to be the most promising thing, was.. yeah.

 

What I will do is basically wait and see if any of these three has been improved on, try a demo if it eventually is released, and decide based on that.

 

EDIT: Just to be clear, I don't own DAII and my impressions are based on the demo, various Let's Plays of it I watched, and what I heard about the game from other people that own it. I guess I *could* listen to Nepenthe and try the full game, but to be honest, I'm fairly sure I'd feel like I wasted my money afterwards.

Edited by WorstUsernameEver
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I had essentially three problems with DAII: 1) it cut a lot of stuff that I thought had potential of the original, like the Origins, and generally went into a more Mass Effect direction (not to say that you can't make a good RPG like that, but Origins was a promising sign because it looked like BioWare wasn't trying to standardize all of their games); 2) the combat felt hectic but not tactically interesting and none of my problems with DA:O's combat were solved (balance issues, poor encounter design, and a rather obscured/non-transparent ruleset); 3) the storyline, which pre-release seemed to be the most promising thing, was.. yeah.

 

This is pretty much how I feel as well. The story was interesting on a conceptual level, but fell apart at the end. The combat style with more visceral and flashy effects I didn't mind, but the removal of the detached camera made a complete mess (especially when switching between characters, or using teleporting moves). Basically, it felt like the combat in DA:O was designed for you to control a party, that you could also put ai in place in case you just wanted to control one character, while DAII felt like it was designed to rely more on the AI and not bother with other characters than your own.

 

So yeah, if DA3 gives me back the camera control of DA:O and doesn't rely on a single gimmick for 90% on it's combat, I'll probably give it another look. Otherwise I'll conclude the series is no longer for me and move on.

 

As far as the insults to (and from) bioware developers go, I just want to say I agree with alanschu in everything he's written on the subject. No one should have to take that kind of abuse, and if a person who gets those kinds of messages all the time on occasion break down and lash out in response, that's just being human. And no, RPG isn't essential in a RPG. A lot of RPGs would have been made better without combat, although Bioware's RPGs typically aren't among those (because the story and reactivity tends to be fairly bland, but gameplay itself can be more enticing). but this is my opinion and if someone loves the storytelling in Bio RPGS, but hate the other gameplay mechanics, it does make sense for Bioware to look into how they can best get that player to still buy the game.

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There's is no way in hell that any new DA title will be like DAO (as old school/hardcore) I don't believe the suits would ever agree to that or they wouldn't have made DA2 so different in the first place.

Edited by Drowsy Emperor

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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Wasn't very old school/hardcore if you played on default difficulty though, but nightmare mode was insanely fun. but we'll see what the suits say. DA2 did sell worse than DA:O, so maybe they want to go back to a formula that sold more copies.

 

I don't expect it, but I'm hoping.

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I actually read both Dragon Age books and found them pretty decent, so I think the DA universe is just fine as a setting. My whole problem with DA2 comes down to one situation:

 

Early on you are trying to enter the city, and there are a lot of refugees trying to do the same. A group of deserting soldiers actually attack you and all the guards to the city. That is possibly the most ridiculous scenario I have ever encountered in a game. It is right at the beginning, and it set the tone for the whole game.

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You know its silly - and I'll say I can't defend it at all there was a lot of silly in DA2. The above "We'll attack the city to get in!" moment, the false dichotomy in leadership leading to the end where you just ramrod through everyone, some of the cameos, some of the companions, opponents dropping from the sky.

 

And yet I still enjoyed playing it. It is a total guilty pleasure game for me.

I cannot - yet I must. How do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do "must" and "cannot" meet? Yet I must - but I cannot! ~ Ro-Man

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Wasn't very old school/hardcore if you played on default difficulty though, but nightmare mode was insanely fun. but we'll see what the suits say. DA2 did sell worse than DA:O, so maybe they want to go back to a formula that sold more copies.

 

I don't expect it, but I'm hoping.

Nightmare was a joke, especially with the wave mechanic. Also a lot of the combat moves didn't work properly. For example I would use, I think it was Mighty Blow, (which is just a jump and vertical swing down on the enemy) and it would hit my party members standing to the left and right of me. I don't think the game was ever meant to be played with friendly fire. And with the whole third person camera view it makes it a lot more difficult to see what's going on around you. IWD is just so much better than it. Edited by Grimlorn
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Early on you are trying to enter the city, and there are a lot of refugees trying to do the same. A group of deserting soldiers actually attack you and all the guards to the city. That is possibly the most ridiculous scenario I have ever encountered in a game. It is right at the beginning, and it set the tone for the whole game.

Instead, enlisting the guards to try to get in through violence (last resort) or by causing a distraction should've been one of several options. It's just incredibly lazy design unworthy of a AAA studio like BioWare, especially since nowadays action RPGs like Risen/Two Worlds have many quests that can be solved in multiple ways.

Edited by Drudanae

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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And no, RPG isn't essential in a RPG.

 

This must have meant "combat" ;)

 

A lot of RPGs would have been made better without combat, although Bioware's RPGs typically aren't among those (because the story and reactivity tends to be fairly bland, but gameplay itself can be more enticing). but this is my opinion and if someone loves the storytelling in Bio RPGS, but hate the other gameplay mechanics, it does make sense for Bioware to look into how they can best get that player to still buy the game.

 

I personally feel that BioWare's games have always been a bit too combat heavy, going back to even the BG days. Combat as a means of conflict resolution is better, but I think I've typically preferred Black Isle/Obsidian stories due to what I feel is an improved focus on non-combat areas.

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I've recently replayed VTMB, I found myself thinking realistically about certain things and actually having to use my brain to solve puzzles.

The opposite of what happens when I play a BW game, not only I suspend my disbelief but my IQ as well. Not always a bad thing that since BW is really good at shifting focus so that nothing is looked at too closely.

I don't know what the hell happened with DA2, but i'm sure there's an interesting story behind its development. Or at least a guide of what not to do.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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The only puzzle games I know of in VMBL are the sneaking games... sneak there, place camera, sneak there, acquire that etc.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein
 

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There are things like working out who Therese and Jeanette are ahead of time or wondering about how the taxi driver knows so much that could count as puzzles too- though they're more obfuscated (ahahaha) storyline elements.

True, I remember figuring that one out when I saw only one bed(although, I really hoped that they cuddled with each other every morning). There was also the key in the potted plant, I remember thinking that it would be a logical place for a spare and voila, there it was. The prophetess basically tells you the ending without spoiling it, so you survive if you remember not to open it.

 

The game has a way to keep you on your toes with its story until the end.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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