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Dragon Age writer avoids “toxic” fan culture, still enjoys challenging feedback

Thursday, 10 January 2013 01:40 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider has said he tends to avoid the notoriously angry BioWare Social Network forums, which he says are “increasingly toxic”.

“The BioWare Social Network doesn’t constitute the be-all and end-all of BioWare’s fans. They are certainly a group of passionate folks, and while I wouldn’t say they were all ‘utterly gross’ as you put it I do agree that the overall tone of the forums has become increasingly toxic,” Gaider wrote in response to a question on his Tumblr.

“I tend to largely avoid them these days, myself. Why? Because spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative – not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general.”

The writer said he’s aware that he and his team need to take negative feedback in their stride, but said not only has BioWare already heard plenty, the “signal-to-noise ratio” of useful comments to angry ranting is getting worse, as more polite users leave in disgust.

“Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans,” Gaider added. “Though one need only attend a con to see there are plenty of positive, enthusiastic fans out there.”

“Personally I’d really like to seek out positive interactions and not engage with those who are out to attack me. Best to take a breath, smile and remember there are a lot of really genuine, positive people to talk to. People who challenge you in a way that doesn’t make you feel worse about yourself.”

Dragon Age 2′s story in particular came under heavy fan criticism for a number of reasons, and both core Dragon Age games have been criticised for unfortunate depictions of minority groups – although there has been plenty of praise for BioWare’s inclusivity and narrative design in other areas.

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition will take into account fan feedback in bringing back party member armour customisation, among other features.

Thanks, Kotaku.

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37 Comments

  1. YoungZer0

    Yeah, i bet a lot of the fans become toxic once you decide to censor them.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Stardog

    This kind of guy is the worst. They don’t want to hear anything negative about anything. They’re the same ones who think that every film reviewer who gives a negative review is out to make a name for themselves, whilst ignoring other reviewers overrating the film.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. NeoSquall

    @2 that’s exactly what he DIDN’T say.

    He said they (BioWare) welcome feedback of any kind and are open to discussion with people who have genuine and challenging questions, but are bothered by the dumb posters whose only interactions are, taking Mass Effect as a related argument, “BOOOOOOOO SHITTY ENDING!!”, “LOLOLOL RGB ENDING FAIL!!”, “SHITTY TALI STOCK PHOTO, YOUR LAZY!!” and so on…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight

    @3

    Agreed except David shouldn’t have to deal with those comments since he is not on the Mass Effect team.

    @2

    You obviously not been in the forums. David Gaider has been there from the get go and he has responded to most reasonable threads dropping hints or giving feedback. He doesn’t ignore the the negative comments just have to take them in moderation.

    @1
    “Yeah, i bet a lot of the fans become toxic once you decide to censor them.”

    What are you smoking? David has never censored anyone.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Telepathic.Geometry

    Yeah, a vocal minority of internet posters display ignorance, stupidity, bad manners and no desire to engage in meaningful constructive conversation at all…

    #5 2 years ago
  6. C71

    I want more of good story and less fan service romance option, maybe no romance at all.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Night Hunter

    That dude has got my full support. The BioWare forums are filled with some of the worst people ever to haunt the internet. Plus too much fan service ruined the Mass Effect romances …

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DarthKate8215

    The fact that people in this industry can openly apply derogatory labels to their consumers like this and get away with it paints a really sad picture. Even if the fans’ complaints were completely unfounded (which they are not)it would not change the fact that they are the customers–they get to whine and complain as loudly and as often and as obnoxiously as they want because they are the ones forking over hard-earned cash for the final product. It is Bioware’s job to serve them, not the other way around. Furthermore, Bioware/EA have consistently proven to be incapable of managing basic PR in the last year or so, and it’s no-one’s fault but their own. They deserve all of the “toxicity” that they get at this point. Suck it up and EARN the fans’ loyalty back, Mr. Gaider. You’re not going to get it free of charge.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Sini

    This guy is on DA team, after DA2 he deserves all the shit he gets thrown his way.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Telepathic.Geometry

    When you pay for the game, I don’t think there’s a clause written on the back of the box stating that the writers are forced to listen to you spewing obnoxious bile on the internet.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight

    @8

    Wrong on so many levels. If you have unwarranted expectations of a game, you are the one to blame and not the developers its not their fault you got caught up in the hype and didn’t do the research. You also don’t get to tell Bioware or any developer how to make their game. This isn’t Burger king and this isn’t have it your way.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Joe_Gamer

    “the overall tone of the forums has become increasingly toxic.”
    – Gaider

    Buried in the back of my closet I literally have one or two copies of EVERY single game Bioware ever made, right up until DA2. Even the sequels to Bioware games made by “other” developers. Practically everything Bioware ever touched made it’s way into my gaming and literature collection. One simply cannot consume that much of media without a bit of it getting into your heart as well, I was emotionally invested in a for profit organization, as human being are foolishly wont to do.

    The truth is that I never visited the Bioware forums until I had an axe to grind, when the feed was good I was happy to sit at the trough and enjoy my repast in isolation, I had my games, my mods, and my books, a valuable reprieve from the 9-5 grind that is most of our lot in life. It was only when the food turned to bile of the most noxious sort that I lifted my gaze and frantically trawled the interwebs in search of some explanation, some reason why, some faint redemption on the horizon, and all I at found at Bioware was the constant, stifling, condensation, and censorship “end of line”

    So I submit to you Mr Gaider, that your forums are merely a reflection of your(Bioware’s) games. Until the day I die I will probably count ME3(and to a lesser extent DA2) amongst my greatest disappointments in media. I certainly cannot imagine that a greater failure to live up to potential will ever exist in this era.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Tormenter

    Bioware blow now…. and Gaider had been acting like a grade ‘A’ prick for a few years, for the shit he’s talked about the community in general the guy should have been sacked.

    …And yes.. with his mod rights, Gaider MOST CERTAINLY IS responsible for censorship on the boards, I’ve seen it.

    Phoenixblight, you are the worst kind of ‘fan’.. your denials hurt no-one except the community of players to which you belong by blindly supporting and agreeing with Bioware’s increasingly BLATANTLY aloof attitude towards the section of fans who are perfectly aware of what a thoughtful, engrosing, stimulating gaming experience is.. and I’m not talking about the 2D cardboard rpg’s (inverted commas) or the piss poor run and gun they try to pass off as an rpg.. The day’s of Bioware’s good games for intelligent people ARE LONG GONE.. all they produce now is mass market purile rubbish.. and they seem to be quite happy to provide for the lowest common denominator of players.

    Anyway.. what kind of loyalty to their fans can a company actually have when they suddenly DUMP the market that kept them going FOR SO LONG, whilst pandering to a different market and finally allowing an outsourced version of said pandering product to be ‘graciously’ given us, then deny ALL requests for the game to be fucking fixed.. Jade Empire I’m looking squarely at you, no widescreen support (for a PC game???????? no 16:10??) and bugs up the arse, tut tut.

    Bioware are utterly irrelevant to the PC market now, lol not even 1m sales for ME3 on PC… The day’s of the BG’s heights are gone and they’re no longer are entitled to kudos for it. You’re only as good as your last game and they’ve all been pretty piss poor for a long time.

    They are due to be closed soon anyway, TOR was the final coffin nail for them… EA are seeing an increasingly smaller return for their products, which are not the unique experiences with the built in loyal fanbase that they once used to be (apart from Gaider and someone’s son, do any of the old guard still actually work there anymore, it’s almost a completely different company now with regards to the ‘talent’ they have) and in the end they’ll hand their franchises to a different, cheaper, company.

    RIP Bioware, rot in purgatory.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Telepathic.Geometry

    I think you need to take a step back and look at what it is that has you so riled up. Yes, it’s a game. I hate what Peter Jackson has done with The Hobbit (mainly filling it full of filler, and not editing it well), but, I’m not going to tell him that he’s a cunt on the internet just to satisfy my childish feeling of entitlement.

    Just get over it FFS. Find a new game, play it, enjoy it, get on with your life…

    Jesus.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Telepathic.Geometry

    Actually, as it happens I have just downloaded From Ashes and Leviathon (went on a crazy DLC shopping spree, Deus Ex – Missing Link, Dead Space 2 – Severed, Dark Souls – Artorias).

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Phoenixblight

    @13

    Yes yes I enjoyed their games and that makes me denial blah blah EA is bad, blah blah cry some more.

    Did I ever attack anyone on this thread? No, I have not so you going after me just prove how very little you actually know and how wrong you are. Ad Hominem.

    “They are due to be closed soon anyway, TOR was the final coffin nail for them… ”

    Thats funny because they are actually hiring in bulk for TOR development once again. So if they are about to be closed why are they bulking up development and also Mass Effect 4 and the next Dragon Age Game being made? Yep, Bioware is definitely dying and by that I mean continuing development. I bet that just pisses you off to know that you are wrong on every front especially since Mass Effect 3 and Dragon 2 sold more than their previous titles but their games sucked right? Apparently not enough for EA to keep funding them along with giving them other IPs to work on.

    ALl I can see the reason why to attack me is the fact that I can enjoy their games for what they are and not on a fantastical idea of what it “should” have been. You feel you can do a better job? Go learn to make your own games.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Joe_Gamer

    @16, I believe DA:O has to date far outsold DA2, since we’re talking Gaider franchises. and I wouldn’t bet that ME3 outsold it’s predecessors either, perhaps on the strength of it’s marketing campaign it had good sales but I’d wager they did not recoup the cost of all that marketing in terms of total profitability vs ME1/ME2

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Tormenter

    @ #14, I’m not really riled at all..I long ago gave up expecting anything even approaching Bioware’s previous heights. It’s just that it’s 4:45 am here and I’m too tired to be diplomatic.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Phoenixblight

    @17

    Oh?

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2011/04/05/dragon-age-ii-sales-top-1-million

    http://investor.ea.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=574530

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Joe_Gamer

    @19 OOH, a MILLION, holy cow…..Wait….the exbawkes version of DA:O alone sold 2.4M

    http://www.vgchartz.com/game/33505/dragon-age-origins/
    http://www.vgchartz.com/game/44012/dragon-age-ii/

    First of all, sales numbers are not the be all, end all measure of profitability, maybe ME3 outsold ME1, but the Gaming market has also gotten much larger in the intervening years so a percentage of target market comparison would be much more useful. ME3 also cost far more to develop and market so it would have to sell far more to remain equally profitable, these sales figures are all terribly inaccurate anyway. I’d like to see steams numbers…oh wait, dragon age 2 is an origin exclusive…yet another reason why DA:O beat the pants off of DA2 in terms of sales AND profit.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Clupula

    @17 – a bad sequel is usually not hurt in sales if it had a good game before it. DA2 probably sold quite well because of how well-received DA:O was. The real test is in how many people buy DA3 after being burned by 2.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Clupula

    @15 – How is Leviathan? I’ve found that most Mass Effect DLC is better than the actual disc missions (with the exception of From Ashes, but Javik makes the game so much better). I really enjoyed the Omega DLC and I thought all the ME2 DLC stuff were the best parts of ME2.

    How long does Leviathan last around? Hopefully, longer than From Ashes.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Telepathic.Geometry

    Dunno yet mate, I’m still at work, I have it all downloading back home even as we speak. I’ll be finished work and back home in a few hours, I’ll let you know when I know. :)

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    @20

    I put links of info coming from EA where you post a site that is known to be completely inaccurate.

    BTW Dragon Age 2 is not exclusive to Origins you can buy it through a variety of DD just not Steam because of their TOS with how the DLC is distributed.

    http://www.gamestop.com/browse/pc?nav=16k-Dragon+AGe+2,138c

    http://www.gamefly.com/Download-Dragon-Age-II/5000704/

    @21

    Absolutely right but with DA3 having a much longer development cycle than DA2 and ME series. They also releasing some tid bits of the game it sounds like it will be quite good.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Joe_Gamer

    @ pheonix Your link to EA’s stock report contains no specific sales figure “more than 2 million”? Where as DA:O in total is more along the lines of 4 million across all platforms…I’ll never understand why people on the internet are so god damn incapable of admitting fault, it’s perfectly understandable that someone would assume that DA2 sold more but when faced with any evidence at all to the contrary it just devolves into boo hoo those numbers are inaccurate, Yes, they are somewhat inaccurate, I said so myself, but that doesn’t mean they are useless. The margin of error on vgchartz would have to be ASTRONOMICAL to put the DA2 sales where you imagine them to be. Whatever, be blind to reason and logic if you like.

    If DA2 had sold more than DA:O it would have been trumpeted on every game site in existence, But it wasn’t, because it didn’t. Find me one reputable source that says “DA2 outsold DA:O” and I(unlike you) will gladly admit to being wrong, because I am an adult and that’s what we do.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Phoenixblight

    “pheonix Your link to EA’s stock report contains no specific sales figure “more than 2 million”? Where as DA:O in total is more along the lines of 4 million across all platforms”

    WHere is that number? Vgchartz is not a credible site.

    EA would have boasted if DAO series had hit that number. THe largest number they have reported is the game shipped 3 million. I repeat Shipped thats not sold. If EA said 4 million I would believe it not some fansite that makes numbers up.

    Just look where VGChartz says for DA2 it said it only sold 1 million units where EA is reporting more than 2 million.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Joe_Gamer

    0.98 for the xbox
    0.66 for the PS3
    0.47 for the PC

    Just over 2 million total sales for Dragon age 2, lines up precisely with EA’s own claims.

    Compared with DA:O
    2.4 for xbox
    1.5 for PS3
    .41 for pc
    4.31 million sales

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Phoenixblight

    Not seeing that number. I click global and it reports 0.98 million nor am I seeing a 4 million number for DAO I see 2.4 million. Right through your link it says:

    Dragon Age: Origins

    Global Total as of 29th Dec 2012 (units): 2.40m

    Dragon Age II

    Global Total as of 29th Dec 2012 (units): 0.98m

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Joe_Gamer

    Yes, I can see now that scanning the database for three different versions of a game and then adding up the totals is quite beyond your abilities, don’t trouble yourself any further.

    http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=Dragon+Age%3A+Origins
    http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=Dragon+Age+II

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Phoenixblight

    @20
    You posted the link so I callz like I see it. Its your job to post info I posted mine from the publishers source where you are posting it from a site that has no way of determining the actual numbers and as I said EA/Bioware would have boasted that number just like they did for Dragon age 2 and gave users, Mass Effect 2 for free.

    Not getting anywhere with this argument. I don’t accept your site as facts and you do. BTW you being a dick and making fun of someone really doesn’t help your cause with proving anything.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. f1r3storm

    “I tend to largely avoid them these days, myself. Why? Because spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative”

    From my own experience: He’s right.

    Also know several more people who don’t post there anymore because of it.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. YoungZer0

    @4: I was talking about Bioware. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Daodan

    Gaider is completely right. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the BioWare forums. They’re the deep, dark bowels of the gaming internet. Around the time DA2 was being developed, I truly couldn’t believe how utterly pessimistic, cynical, nasty, unreasonable and downright toxic the people were that visited the forums.
    When ME3 came out, in came a new shitstorm. BioWare fans are some of the worst. The amount of blatant hate after the game came out that was spilt on the forum, is unbelievable. Still, with every post on their Facebook page that BioWare makes, at least 40% of the comments consists of bashing the ending, which is usually completely unrelated to the actual news post.

    Everyone bashing BioWare for their attitude is being very short-sighted IMO. They’re a company that is very invested in their community, does their best in incorporating player feedback, and does everything to make their games the best products. They messed up with the ME3 ending, but the amount of scorn they gathered for that is completely unreasonable.
    I fully believe BW has indeed accumulated enough ‘feedback’ for DA3. They’ve had more than enough material to choose from…

    #33 2 years ago
  34. absolutezero

    My impression of the Bioware forums were not that they were negative more that they were filled with sycophants and blind adoration for a developer of video games.

    Really any complaint about ToR was shot down instantly by both the moderation team and the community itself. Everything was sacred there.

    Then you add on the most terrible fetish based ERPing and it slowly becomes worse than even most Sonic communities.

    I guess the company attracted the community it deserved. Fucking autists.

    Ding dong Bannu. End of Line.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. NeoSquall

    @4 I know that, but the difference between the DA and ME haters is minimal, they’re both a very vocal minority of supposed “BioWare fans” whose only purpose is to throw shit at everything the company says or does.
    I even think that some of them actually liked when the Newtown ignorant shitstorm hit the Mass Effect page.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. sh4dow

    Haha just the BioWare Social Network? Man, I largely stopped engaging people directly in forums years ago (and whenever I do, the inevitable realization that it was a mistake follows quickly) because there are simply too many assholes online these days.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. bugmenot

    You know a company is screwed when they take the attitude that the problem isn’t with the product, but with the customer. Has Gaider forgotten what the BSN was like before they started producing crap? 90% biodrones posting adoration (I was one of them).

    @Phoenixblight – Dragon Age Origins sold 3.2 million per EA as at end of 2009. Since then it’s been selling extremely well by word of mouth and by EA EOL-ing it – at one comic con an ME dev boasted it was nearer 4.5m.
    http://www.ea.com/news/bioware-dragon-age-origins-reaches-triple-platinum-sales

    As for Gaider – anyone feeling pity for him should see his posts on the bsn – if he wasn’t a mod, he’d be banned for trolling. Just google Gaider Leliana death. http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z389/The_Undead_Half-Dragon/Gaider.jpg

    #37 2 years ago

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