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Default RPGWatch Feature: A Long And Disappointing Summer

October 4th, 2010, 14:09
It's been a long time since we've had one of our Side Quest editorials but VoxClamant steps up with some frustration over recent releases and a rant about industry trends - but optimism about the near future:
And don't even get me going about DLCs. Bioware is a company that to me is on a pedestal no other company in the industry can match. I enjoy and respect them immensely. Yet this summer, they showed me a different side of them that has me deeply bothered. A company that arguably is the finest RPG developer on the planet decided that 2010 was the year of the DLC ripoff. Look at the DLCs for Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age. With one exception, they ranged from overpriced to absolutely valueless. For $5 to $10 (USD) you typically got an hour of shallow fluff.
Read it all here.
More information.
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October 4th, 2010, 14:09
In my school years I used to be just like the teenagers VoxClamant described. Now, I'm 25 yo and pay for any piece of software I obtain. I've learned from my mistakes Pity I actually don't know personally anyone else who wouldn't steal any software…
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October 4th, 2010, 14:31
GAWD what a joke? Bioware finest RPG developer? Arcania demo very positive?
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October 4th, 2010, 14:44
Bioware is one of the best-known and biggest RPG developers nowadays, anyway.

Ask Joe Public at a role-playing convention about video games RPG developers, and you'll get … very few diversity in the answers.


Edit : I read it through now … I agree very much with a lot of the rants. In fact, this could almost have been written by me as well.

But - I don't see the future so bright. I see it rather gloomy. These "trends" within the industry will rather be pursued further thn stamped out. Question marks floating & glowing above heads ? Yeah, this will be the new "industry stndard". I don't think we'll ever get iid of it - and younger games who are just used to that will stmp games without it as "unplayable" in the future. And they re supposed to be our future ? Could you imagine, for example, company leaders or social works being used to floating question marks over their heads ? I can't. Real life just doesn't have it, so I don't find it useful in games. Because games make people become accustomed to habits, imho.

Regarding Arcania … This might become a nice RPG - but perhaps not a Gothic-RPG.
I think one must distinguish between Arcania being an RPG in a broader, general sense, and it trying to be a "Gothic-RPG". It might be that it might fail in one respect, but suceed in the other one.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; October 4th, 2010 at 15:04.
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October 4th, 2010, 15:20
Umm…is there another Arcania demo out there? The one I played showed my a highly dumbed down action RPG, devoid of challenge, immersion, and freedom.

Kay
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October 4th, 2010, 15:20
Terrible article.
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October 4th, 2010, 15:35
Hope you cast 'protection from flames' because everyone and their mother is going to be on you for the Arcania comment. I haven't played it since I have too many other games I'm playing right now, but I'll take your word for it and give it a shot when it's released.

Bioware IS one of the finest rpg companies around…..or they were in any case. Not sure why Gothic thought that is a joke. They've released a ton of great games compared to……..well there are not many companies around anymore to compare them to:

Troika….dead
Sir-tech….dead
Origin…..dead
New World Computing……..dead
Interplay….some zombiefied unlife thing going on there
JoWood……not even close to Bioware
Obsidian….maybe, but Bioware has made better games than they have, so far.
PB….again not even close to Bioware. Potentially better quality games in the future.

I'm sure there are plenty more I could come up with, but none of them are around anymore or have released as many games that have come close to what Bioware has done. People can knock Bioware all they want, but I like what they have released and I like the fact that they've been able to stay in business and continue to make rpgs that are fun………I'm not so sure about their future, but for now they are a top rpg developer.

The only other company that I think makes a better rpg and has the potential to overtake Bioware is CDP, but they've only released The Witcher so it wouldn't be fair to compare them to Bioware.

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October 4th, 2010, 15:43
Bioware IS one of the finest rpg companies around
I guess that depends on how to define "fine"…… mainstream, sell-outs to EA, graphics intensive over a good game, DLC rip-offs. I would say they are the opposite of finest RPG companies…….
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October 4th, 2010, 15:49
In my part of the world it was a classic rpg summer

a) I played through Divinity 2 - Flames of Vengeance (good), Grotesque Tactics (fun) and Drakensang - Am Fluss der Zeit / River of Time (very good), Mount & Blade - Warband (cool), Kings Bounty - Armored Princess (tactical).

b) I'm ignoring DLC-stuff.

c) I'm replaying old classics like Ascension to the Throne, Soulbringer, Ultima 6, Gothic 3 (with fan patch), HOMM-Collection, Fantasy General …

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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October 4th, 2010, 15:50
@GG name a company you think is better, any rpg developer that is still around. Please, I would seriously like to know what you are comparing it to.

I would say indies are doing a better job, but that doesn't discount the fact that Bioware has done a great job staying in the rpg business and making games I like when everyone around them folded.

Their future isn't so bright, but as it stands they have made a ton of fun rpgs. I would call that a top rpg developer on any day of the week.

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October 4th, 2010, 15:59
It is known that I don't have same taste as others here about bioware games, the only one I liked was Jade Empire. But anyway the things I mentioned would go no matter if you are a fan of their games or not.

I consider Obsidian , Piranha Bytes ( don't blaim them for gothic 3, jowood and dreamcatcher never managed to publish something complete ), indies they even create much better games with 1/10000 of the resources. Even if I hated Oblivion I even hold Bethsoft over Bioware. The only ones of the ones mentioned that made games I acctually liked was Piranha Bytes and indies though….
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October 4th, 2010, 16:00
Quote from the article:
Maybe even the long-lost expansions to Drakensang, Spellforce and Divinity 2 will finally show up.
Factual error:
There is no expansion for Drakensang. Drakensang: The River of Time is a new full game. Unfortunately. If they had rushed it out the door with just a few improvements RL would still be in business.
The add-on Phileasson's Secret is for River of Time. And according to the reviews it would be great as 10$ DLC.

And I'm actually not quite sure which expansion for SpellForce you're talking about.
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October 4th, 2010, 16:09
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Hope you cast 'protection from flames' because everyone and their mother is going to be on you for the Arcania comment.
(Equipping my cloak of flame protection +10)

Skaven has a very valid point on my Arcania paragraph. Unlike a review — where I play for hours and analyze every part of the game before putting pen to paper, I just skimmed through this demo because most demos have major parts disabled and do not provide a good picture of the end product. With 20/20 hindsight my brief play missed a couple things in the demo that normally would have raised my hackles.

I remain impressed by the improvements in graphics, responsiveness, and quest lines. The quests and narritive stuck me as large improvements over G3 — they hint that the story line might be much more intertesting than the writing for G3.

But after an email last night I went back and replayed the demo again. There are some areas of the Arcania Demo I missed that bother me — mostly the dumbing down that has occured. While most RPGers (at least in the eyes of the developer "experts") will like this, I think a lot of RPGwatch members look for more in an RPG. I am so used to current RPGs that lead us by the nose that I paid no attention to G4's adoption of maps and prompts that I so dislike.

I guess this makes the point why reviews based on a demo are suspect. I obviously hate dumbing down, but reluctantly recognize that other than an occasional rant like mine in the attached editorial, we are largely forced to accept it. There seems to be little liklihood developers are going to change direction on this. My one remaining hope is that, along with a "select difficulty level" choice, some RPG developer will add the ability to disable map and/or NPC markers. That would be an acceptable compromise, at least, since the developers seem to be absolutely convinced the mass market needs dumbing down.

Thank you for the good point, Skavenhorde. It will be interesting to see how the full product, when released, looks.
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October 4th, 2010, 16:31
Overlord was as good as Shadow Broker in my opinion and definitely worth the money.

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October 4th, 2010, 16:31
What the heck is with all the ranting about DLC? Just don't get them if you don't like them. That's what I do. No one is forcing you to buy them, honest!
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October 4th, 2010, 16:34
The rant was about bioware false advertising as far as I understood, if you like the game and they promise a complete resolution to the witch story… and it is just 45 minutes rip-off people will be pissed I suppose?
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October 4th, 2010, 16:39
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
What the heck is with all the ranting about DLC? Just don't get them if you don't like them. That's what I do. No one is forcing you to buy them, honest!
No fan of communcative power then.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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October 4th, 2010, 16:58
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
What the heck is with all the ranting about DLC? Just don't get them if you don't like them. That's what I do. No one is forcing you to buy them, honest!
Think about what the alternative could be, and then think about why it's not necessarily "no problem."

Your line of thinking is the same as saying: "What's the problem with cars that pollute the environment - just don't buy them."

See?
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October 4th, 2010, 17:13
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Think about what the alternative could be, and then think about why it's not necessarily "no problem."

Your line of thinking is the same as saying: "What's the problem with cars that pollute the environment - just don't buy them."

See?
Hardly a good comparison. Cars that pollute is comparable to 2nd hand smoking - it's bad for you even if you're not the one buying it.

DLCs do not affect you in a similar way if you don't buy them. They're like overpriced candy - if you want to buy some, good for you. Otherwise, stay away from it.
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October 4th, 2010, 17:14
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Think about what the alternative could be, and then think about why it's not necessarily "no problem."

Your line of thinking is the same as saying: "What's the problem with cars that pollute the environment - just don't buy them."

See?
Sorry, bad analogy. If Bioware offers DLC it isn''t going to kill the planet if other people do buy them.

Dragon Age was fine as it was released with no DLC required.
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