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Default BioWare - RPS Interviews Gaider about DA2's weaknesses

March 31st, 2013, 19:29
David Gaider has been interviewed (again) by RPS. This time he's talking about the weaknesses of DA2.
A quote about the forums:
RPS: You mentioned the forums. BioWare is a company that seems very tuned in to what people are saying about their games - even if you don't always manage to please everyone.

Gaider: Yeah, it factors not as much as some people would think, but more than some others would think. If you aren't getting feedback from somewhere like a game forum, then where are you getting it from? The worst thing is to just ignore it utterly and work entirely in a vacuum. Even with the input from the fans, the feedback from the fans, at some level you have to make what you think is right. With something like the forums, their opinions are all over the place. Often when a fan will speak on a forum they speak as if everybody on the forums agrees about their concern and they all think exactly the same thing. I've never found that to be true.
And Gaider on the themes in DA2:
RPS: Yeah, you were just sort of surviving. Is that what you were intending with that story?
Gaider: Yeah. The themes that were going on in Dragon Age II weren't about heroism, necessarily. That wasn't a theme. It was about freedom versus security, which I thought was a good, timely issue. How much freedom do you let people have versus how much security is necessary for people? Like the mages versus templars. That had more application than just that, that struggle between the need to have a secure society versus the struggle for individual freedom. We had family as a big issue we wanted to focus on. That came up a lot in the game. Maybe we had too many themes going on?
Thanks to Willowhugger in this thread at the Bioware forums.

More information.
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March 31st, 2013, 19:29
I'm part of the minority that found DA2 somewhat enjoyable; at least enough to play to the end game. It sounds like the handful of things I found irksome in DA2 are being addressed in DA3, although I haven't heard about the camera angle annoyance yet. Still, I'm hopeful.
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March 31st, 2013, 20:28
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Still, I'm hopeful.
Hopeful that it will play offline for at least a few minutes.
Hopeful it won't come with more than 2 pieces of Day 1 DLC.
Hopeful that it won't microtransact more than $100 off me for castle 'upgrades'.
Hopeful that the game will complete the main story arc without needing 3 more DLCs, 2 Felicia Day animes and 1 Gaider Comic to make "sense" (or as much "sense" as a terrorist chantry bomber or deus ex machina god kid made in the last products).
Hopeful that it won't go even further down the 'press X for Awesome' route.
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March 31st, 2013, 21:21
Ok, in hindsight I see the topic "Freedom VS Secturiy", and while in RL this is an idea I think of relatively often, in the game it never dawned to me to be the case, somehow. Either I was dense, or it was just badly presented.

The bottom line in DA2 for me was, the *my* influence, the influence of Hawke, was zilch. I could not influence the Templars, the Chantry, the Mages, anyone. Whatever I did, all turned out the same anyway. I was merely witnessing events. And that felt just wrong in a video game, where I expect to play a person with impact.
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March 31st, 2013, 22:43
I do love Bioware articles. There full of nothing but hate and hopelessness. Don't change anyone. We have heard every line that can be used by now.

People can bitch and moan but at least I have played many games that are worse.

The whole point of the game is you can't change society. We all live are lives like this. Were all powerless in the face of certain situations.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; March 31st, 2013 at 23:25.
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March 31st, 2013, 23:15
Yes, i was also amazed and astounded by this - freedom vs. security - and also about the whole survival theme - and the whole failure theme….and so on and so forth.

As I played through the DA2 game, I really couldn't see these themes, well maybe the freedom vs. security theme. But wasn't that already in the first game, DA:O….

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March 31st, 2013, 23:43
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
The whole point of the game is you can't change society. We all live are lives like this. Were all powerless in the face of certain situations.
Oh right, that HAS to be the point of the game. Sure.


Not.
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March 31st, 2013, 23:46
DA2 was a huge failure. Dot. In every aspect of the game.
No need to prevaricate again and again.
If Bioware wants to shine once again, the first thing to do for them is to turn this shameful chapter once and for all.
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April 1st, 2013, 01:49
Originally Posted by Cacheperl View Post
Oh right, that HAS to be the point of the game. Sure.


Not.
Thanks for proving my first part of my post right. Keep up the usual hate and grumbling. It never gets old.

Just to be sure you did play the game right? The whole point is your powerless. Nothing you do will stop what happens. At best you alter small parts. I used to hate and grumble but now don't really care. I've played it a few times and as I said it's not bad.

I'm starting to post like rune_74. Somebody stop me. At least I see how he/she feels sometimes on these topics.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; April 1st, 2013 at 10:21.
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April 1st, 2013, 02:06
Bioware needs to pretend DA2 doesn't exist, just like Larian never mentions Beyond Divinity!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 1st, 2013, 10:47
I maintain that the problem with Dragon Age II was not story, themes, romances or that your choices made small difference in the scheme of things. It was a bland, generic and repetitive game world. It's a testament to how rushed it was, that the game was simultaneously much smaller and more repetitive compared to the previous game. In particular, the "dungeons" were horribly bland.

The time lapse idea was great in theory, but the city of Kirkwall should have changed more over the years.
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April 1st, 2013, 11:45
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
I maintain that the problem with Dragon Age II was not story, themes, romances or that your choices made small difference in the scheme of things. It was a bland, generic and repetitive game world. It's a testament to how rushed it was, that the game was simultaneously much smaller and more repetitive compared to the previous game. In particular, the "dungeons" were horribly bland.

The time lapse idea was great in theory, but the city of Kirkwall should have changed more over the years.
This. DA2:s problems werent in the writing, the changed perspective, or even the lack of influence on the game world.

I had no problem seeing the "freedom vs security" conflict and that's what I based my roleplaying on.

The game would have been ok to good if they reversed some stupid technical solutions such as map recycling and wave combat.
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April 1st, 2013, 12:05
I found the writing to be average to awful - but then again, that's how I feel about most of what they put out.

I especially hated the dwarf character - as he was excessively implausible and seemed to SCREAM "look at me - I'm so cool" all the time. Ugh.

The whole introduction interrogation sequence reminded me of a bad US TV show - and it made me cringe.

I just don't think there's any vision left - and they really don't seem to know what to do with their games these days. Except, of course, to try and please the shareholders.
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April 1st, 2013, 12:35
It was nice to play an RPG where you aren't the chosen one saving the world from the ultimate evil. I appreciate that they wrote a game full of smaller scale character stories with a unifying theme rather than more 'big scary thing is coming and YOU are the only one who can save it!' bullshit. It's a smarter game, by far. All DA2 proved is that CRPG fans are as dumb as everyone else.
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April 1st, 2013, 12:41
Different isn't better unless it's better.
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April 1st, 2013, 13:03
The idea of doing away with the 'nameless hero saves world' is fine. This is not at all the problem most had with DA2.

But if you do try to go for a 'personal' story over 'kill ancient evil', you have to do it right. The narrative has to grab the player and make them identify with the protagonist and his 'little' world. This is not helped at the outset by Hawke being voiced, and paraphrasing his own lines. But more importantly, the world around the player should evolve and react to actions. The politics, economics and dynamics of "my" Kirkwall at end of game should be noticeably different to "your" Kirkwall. DA2 failed hardest in this. Whatever you did, the world was 99.99% the same, right down to final decision of siding with faction A or B (the game forces you to kill both).

For example there was one quest where you had to investigate something for the chief prosecutor (or something similar) of Kirkwall. You investigate and find the crime was done by his son. You report back, and he tells you to hush it up, with the game suggesting that if you do, this will earn you a powerful political ally. If you don't collude, you'll get reputation as a "just and good" guy via the victim's word of mouth. Reality - zip. Nothing. Whatever you chose, there are no consequences and no further quests involving the prosecutor. All that changes is the quest either ends with him saying "thank you" or "you'll pay for this!" (and you never do).

And I think CRPG fans weren't dumb. The dumb ones were those who believed the BioWare marketing machine that suggested the negativity was due to players being mentally unable to deal with a "sophisticated" plot with no "save the world" (as opposed to players having problems with the lazily designed, dumb action game as a whole).
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April 1st, 2013, 13:14
Originally Posted by Gaxkang View Post
And I think CRPG fans weren't dumb. The dumb ones were those who believed the BioWare marketing machine that suggested the negativity was due to players being mentally unable to deal with a "sophisticated" plot with no "save the world" (as opposed to players having problems with the lazily designed, dumb action game as a whole).
I think you hit the nail on the head there.
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April 1st, 2013, 13:25
I find the notion that I'm supposed to be dumb because I didn't like how Bioware handled the storytelling in Dragon Age 2 extremely amusing

Even if the game had been a masterpiece in terms of storytelling - it would still have had endless recycled content and god damned enemies dropping into combat from the sky!

That last part of the game is just about the dumbest and most inexcusable design decision you could possibly make for the game.

It actually had a pretty cool character development system - but they had to go and ruin everything by making the tactical considerations during combat meaningless.

Good job!
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April 1st, 2013, 14:49
I, as usual, couldn't care less about the story or if you can influence or not the outcome, I'm ok either way, but the gameplay was definitely worse than DA1
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April 1st, 2013, 15:28
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
The bottom line in DA2 for me was, the *my* influence, the influence of Hawke, was zilch. I could not influence the Templars, the Chantry, the Mages, anyone. Whatever I did, all turned out the same anyway. I was merely witnessing events. And that felt just wrong in a video game, where I expect to play a person with impact.
Hawke was just the point-of-view character of the narrative. It's nothing new in literature, comic, movies/anime, theater and video games (DAII isn't the only one, FFXIII/Oblivion come to mind). They are always hit and miss, because some people just hate to feel powerless in a narrative (or to be the puppet of the real protagonist).

If you could have influenced the events, you would have been the Big Bad of the game too.
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