Does Bioware understand its fans?

4 min read
39

Mass glitch

In many ways, Bioware is one of the last studios that I love and rely upon. They have made such awesome games and franchises that people adore. But lately they’ve been making some announcements that aren’t making their fans particularly happy.

What makes Bioware so special? I’d argue that it’s their fantastic storytelling and characters. Gameplay is often enjoyable but with some key issues – combat, inventory management and exploration are not always their strongest points. However, the experiences are excellent and replayable, garnering them some die hard fans.

However, the past two major announcements out of the studio aren’t exactly in line with what the core audience wants. First we had Shadow Realms at Gamescom. While it’s not nearly as awful as I thought it would be, it’s still not exactly the sort of game that we were hoping for from Bioware. Featuring 4v1 multiplayer, the game is always online and doesn’t seem to be able to build the same immersive storytelling that we’re used to from Bioware.

Next, we have the co-op multiplayer announced for Dragon Age: Inquisition. In essence, it sounds like a copy of the multiplayer that we saw in Mass Effect 3, only this time with zero influence on the single player experience. For those who don’t know, Mass Effect 3 allowed you to engage in multiplayer co-op missions to increase your galactic readiness and final war readiness – otherwise, your character in single player was not impacted by your multiplayer experience. The only thing that transfers from co-op to single player in the Dragon Age experience is the knowledge you gain about use of skills and party combinations.

While some people are keen to play a few multiplayer rounds with their friends, it seems like most people are disappointed with this addition. Dragon Age: Inquisition is all about the expansive storytelling; it sounds like we’re finally getting the Dragon Age game that we’ve wanted all along. Why tack this on? Why add a multiplayer that includes micro transactions and “premium” subscriptions when players really just want to jump into the world of Thedas and explore what the new story holds?

Read  No, EA hasn’t removed refunds from Battlefront II

On the one hand, I can’t help but feel like Bioware has forgotten about us. They’ve forgotten what their fans enjoy. At the same time, they are making a game that was truly expansive, immersive and simply wonderful when I got to play it. They are listening to us where it counts, but adding on something so very strange. I can’t help but feel like this is simply to appease some people at EA who demanded online elements with micro transactions. They protected our precious single player by offering up a sacrifice of multiplayer.

Meanwhile, I know there are people who enjoy the multiplayer, too. Maybe this will be a nice break from the epic gameplay experience – take a breather from the story by jumping into a 20 minute dungeon crawl with your friends. It sounds alright, but I’m just not sure it’s something that I will touch at all, especially since there probably won’t be couch co-op support. Besides, if I want to play multiplayer, I’d rather jump into a game built for that experience – this feels like an add on to me. At least it’s not DLC.

Last Updated: August 27, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Bioware hasn’t forgotten anyone. Bioware is owned by EA and does what EA wants, just like every other EA studio & no matter what they did in the past.

  • Admiral Chief Assassin

    Indeed, they have forgotten… WHERE IS KOTOR 3??????????

    • Brady miaau

      only one upvote allowed, sorry

      • Admiral Chief Assassin

        ๐Ÿ™

      • R4ziel

        Ill give another!

        • Admiral Chief Assassin

          What a trooper!

          • HvR – 2 days

            If I give you upvote what do I get in return?

          • Admiral Chief Assassin

            Upvote is not for me, it is for KOTOR3!

            I take none for myself, I really want KOTOR3!

          • HvR – 2 days

            O you are a non-profit upvote organisation. Well there you go.

          • bossification

            Be careful, I think Admiral Chief Assassin is embezzling upvotes.

    • BacchusZA

      Heh it’s called Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it’s actually pretty decent ๐Ÿ™‚

      I know what you mean though, and as much as I’ve enjoyed TOR, I’d love a fully realised and proper single-player sequel to KOTOR 2.

      • Lardus-Resident Perve

        ToR is not bad at all. Like how they did it, but would have preferred it non-MMO. I don’t like being stuck online and then have group quests and other people running around. Though it did show how multiplayer RPG could work. Each start on his own planet doing starting quests then getting together in a mission and taking things from there.

        • BacchusZA

          What I thoroughly enjoy about TOR is that it feels like a Bioware SP game, that you can MP, *if* you want.

          Each class story isn’t as deep as say Mass Effect, or KOTOR, and by a long way. But they’re still good, solid Bioware stories that are good fun in and of themselves. And on top of that you have the regular MMO gameplay we’re all familiar with.

          There is however absolutely no need, at all, to engage in ANY group or MP content at all, if you don’t want to.

          You can play the entire MMO, from start to finish, in terms of engaging storyline at least, as a single player game, *8* times over, and have a different story each time.

          And you can do that for free now, given it’s FTP. Tell me that’s not a freaking bargain.

          You’ll have to pass on some group content if you treat it like an SP game, like the 2 and 4 man heroic quests and flashpoints, but you can play everything else in the game solo and have a great time in a solid Bioware game while you’re doing it.

          It’s not their best game ever, by all means. I think Mass Effect 3 gets that honour, “flawed” ending none-withstanding.

          But Bioware have actually done a pretty damn good job with TOR, and I really think they don’t get nearly the recognition they deserve for it.

  • Rags

    Yeah, I also did not want Mass Effect 3 Mutiplayer before its release. But what I did not foresee is that I would end up sinking hundreds of hours into it. If its quality content. Why not? I leaned my lesson. Give them a chance to prove you wrong too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Labey-Kun

    Bioware was true to their fans until ME3 happend and I don’t know where they got the idea from that we would care about multiplayer in a game such a Mass Effect. it’s Just greed and money in EA’s eyes these days nothing more.

    • Rags

      Give it a try. Its pretty sweet.

      • Labey-Kun

        I have the game lol been jamming it since release, just lost interest I guess because BF3 also came out and all the hype went into that lol.

  • Rock789

    Yeah, the tacked on co-op, although I have no doubt it’ll be ‘fun’, is not the Bioware way. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into and exploring Thedas and a great storyline in the new Dragon Age. Just don’t care much for the co-op… Or what it might imply for future Bioware games…

  • Kromas of City17

    I was the MOST vocal person when it came to ME3 and multiplayer but then I actually played it and liked it and if you own most of the DLC you really do not need any multiplayer to get your War rating high enough.

    So in essence …. not nearly as big of a deal.

    • Johan du Preez

      Yeh thats great hey if I dont want to play multiplayer i must buy a DLC to get the war rating up.

      Not a big deal at all yeh rofl what a joke.

      • Kromas of City17

        Did you even play the game? DLC aside you literally needed 1 successful easy multiplayer match to get your war rating up to requirements assuming ofc you did most the single player stuff. A minor inconvebnience if multiplayer was not fun.

        Good thing it was.

        • BacchusZA

          You didn’t need to touch the MP at all to get enough War Resources for the good / less bad ending, it was just quicker to MP than doing side missions and scanning planets for things you could find.

          And has been said, as reticent as I was when it was announced, the MP was a surprising amount of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. Quite a few people are eviuently *still* playing it for that matter.

          • Kromas of City17

            I know … I still play it every now and then.

  • Kyratic

    Whiners! ๐Ÿ˜› Blame EA for the microtransaction, but, I believe that this in no-way detracts from the single play experience, and allows me to enjoy additional content, fully single player games never have much replayablilty. a few play throughs at best, multiplayer however…

    • Jackie

      Your “missing” the point. This is just the start. How many good old games that we all enjoyed had DRM, and money schemes?. Im just worried about the future, if we accept it now, it WILL be forced in the future. Take destiny… Its useless untill the developers tell us we can play. Is that gonna be the norm from now on?

  • Jackie

    I agree, Bioware has to bow to their Templar… EA overlords. Money. Micro transactions. Always online -pay to win’s, and morals more loose than some people’s mom’s… Cant we just get someone to Fire EA?? Potato. #thatisall

  • Simon

    I imagine the conversation went like this way back in 2012:

    Bioware: we need to release in fall 2014 not 2013 so we don’t disappoint our fans again.

    EA: Okay but only on one condition, non-negotiable.

    Bioware: (sigh) what?

    EA: Multiplayer with micro transactions! (rubbing hands together)

  • HisDivineOrder

    If you want proof that Bioware is just in it for the money, consider that even AFTER Microsoft got rid of Microsoft Points, Bioware is still locking their DA2 DLC behind the always-MSRP, always-high-priced Bioware Points system.

    No sales, no drops in price. They forget about it and so we’re all supposed to pay many, many times the base cost of the game to get 2 hours worth of content. I’d love to play that content, but I won’t pay way above the base game for it. And THEY refuse to even bundle the base game with all its completed DLC to make a Gold Bundle (certainly not GOTY).

    If that ain’t fleecing you, I don’t know what is.

    Also, if I had asked for multiplayer in DA:I (which I didn’t), then I’d have said they needed it to be more like Dark Souls where people drop in and out, making little impact co-operatively except being physically there.

  • Ryanza

    Bioware sold their soul to the Devil. The Devil here being EA. So Bioware only gets told what to do. Bioware don’t care what fans have to say. EA makes sure to burn fan letters and label all fans as spam.

    If you want a gaming developer that still cares about what fans have to say, CD Projekt RED is for you.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I don’t know but I’m with Total Biscuit on the destructive nature of hype…

  • Buk Lau

    No they dont Understand us

    because if they did, they NEVER would of signed on to EA

    and they would release KOTOR 3 & Jade Empire 2

  • Kensei Seraph

    I don’t particularly care as long as the single player campaign does not suffer for it.
    I will probably play the co-op with a friend but that won’t be my focus for this game.

  • Nikola

    Honestly don’t care about multiplayer when it comes to game like DRagon Age I want to play it for it’s singeplayer story and that’s it..

  • Andrew Eckhart

    Why isn’t bioware allowed to grow and expand the scope of its offerings? Once the Sun became a thing literally every car manufacturer jumped on board. Does this detract from the fact that Cadillac still creates beautiful sedans?

    I think the disappointment in this article is misplaced at worst and over emphasised and least.

  • Aussious

    Very few companies survive the departure of their core leadership team…

  • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

    No more Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk has clearly showed a shift in the attitude and focus of the company. If they really wanted, they could get the D&D license back and make Baldur’s Gate 3 or Icewind Dale 3.

  • Mkaela Lafond

    I’d rather have deathblows over MP

  • Nereus77

    If its giving money to EA I won’t buy it. Even if its Bioware. Sniff.

  • Gerard Matthews

    If you did not play ME multiplayer then you lost out. I believe they included it because so many people played ME3 MP for so long. They did not forget us, they remembered that we got totally obsessed with ME3 MP. Sure there are fans of ME who did not play it and that is fine but for those who did well it’s another welcome addition.

    Also, sure it has micro transactions but guess what. You don’t have to spend a cent if you don’t want to.

    I still play ME3 MP BTW (could not resist the acronyms).

Check Also

Star Wars Battlefront II – What went wrong?

Star Wars Battlefront II showed promise. It had a single-player campaign, it looked like E…