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Default Dragon Age 2 - Building a better RPG @ Destructoid

February 24th, 2011, 21:29
Building a better RPG at Desctructoid discusses how BioWare designed the opening sequences of Dragon Age 2 in response to player metrics. We've heard these metrics before but apparently the whole framed narrative "no, that's not it went" is part of their response:
"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?" explains Laidlaw. The Dragon Age team might have chalked some of those lost players up to rentals, but the statistics didn't back it up: a significant number of people simply stopped playing Dragon Age: Origins after a few hours.
"I think what it really spoke to is something RPGs have been wrestling with for a long time: that first impression," says Laidlaw.
So they fixed it.
"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and … it hits you in the face with a thousand stats. Those stats are very cool, but you may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with them as your first thing to do in the game," he says.
To keep people from checking out early, Laidlaw's team totally reinvigorated Dragon Age II's intro. The result is so seamless and subtle that players might not even realize they're being taught to play the game. Sure, there are some button prompts here or there, but the way Dragon Age II introduces its combat and narrative are remarkably elegant.
For an alternative view, Rampant Coyote points out these comments at I Whine About Games:
I've talked to a lot of people who quit playing Dragon Age within a few hours.

Every single one of them quit because OSTAGAR WAS BORING.
In other Dragon Age 2 news, BioWare is promoting the soundtrack source:
BioWare has teamed up with the Grammy Awards’ Best New Artist nominee Florence + The Machine for an exclusive re-imagining of “I’m not calling you a liar” that you can only hear in-game in Dragon Age II.The song appears in-game as “I’m Not Calling You A Liar (Dragon Age II: Varric's Theme)”. Keep your ears open as you play Dragon Age 2.
More information.
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February 24th, 2011, 21:29
I just played through the full PC demo. I enjoyed the preview of the skills in the first "exaggeration" area but I think they screwed up as a demo in another area.

They start you out in an extremely ugly environment. This goes on for a long time. It felt like you're on that stupid road for the bulk of the demo, probably because you're still trying to figure things out and it simply takes longer. The Flemeth part looks a little better, but at the end is where it shines.

The city looks great. I bet many players who aren't really into RPGs like this will drop off after about thee or four battles in the ugly-ass beginning.
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February 24th, 2011, 21:36
I hope there is more to the prologue then what was shown. After having doubts Im still neutral. Some changes are nice but others have me shaking my head.

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February 24th, 2011, 21:43
"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and … it hits you in the face with a thousand stats. Those stats are very cool, but you may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with them as your first thing to do in the game,"
Dragon Age hit you with a thousand stats that emotionally and mentally drained you?

I seem to recall a rather engaging intro sequence, and a very simplistic character creation sequence - where you picked 1-2 skills, and a tiny portion of attribute points. Oh, and you had to endure picking a race and class as well.

Wow, that must have been tremendously hard to handle, mentally, for most people.

I'm sure in the let's-be-cool-like-the-24-TV-show-sequel, the Chantry-babe using insightful language like "Bullshit!" in her sexy french accent - will make a much more profound impression.

Good work Bio!
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February 24th, 2011, 21:43
"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?" explains Laidlaw. The Dragon Age team might have chalked some of those lost players up to rentals, but the statistics didn't back it up: a significant number of people simply stopped playing Dragon Age: Origins after a few hours.
"I think what it really spoke to is something RPGs have been wrestling with for a long time: that first impression," says Laidlaw.
So they fixed it.
"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and … it hits you in the face with a thousand stats.
Ugh … Uuugh … Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh … They managed to jump at the WRONG conclusions ?????????

Where's the facepalm picture ?

“ 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)
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February 24th, 2011, 22:06
"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?"

Have they seen the lot of people disengaging at half an hour from their painful demo? Haven't seen such a failure since a long time.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:06
Some people don't like stat-heavy RPGs. Bioware designs the very beginning of their RPG to maybe help win over some of those people.

And there's something wrong with that? WTF? Is every RPG supposed to conform to some internalized ideal for each and every one of you perfect little RPG snowflakes?

They're trying to sell games, people. It's not a charity for old-school CRPG nerds.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:09
Originally Posted by Ovenall View Post
Some people don't like stat-heavy RPGs. Bioware designs the very beginning of their RPG to maybe help win over some of those people.

And there's something wrong with that? WTF? Is every RPG supposed to conform to some internalized ideal for each and every one of you perfect little RPG snowflakes?

They're trying to sell games, people. It's not a charity for old-school CRPG nerds.
Is there some reason we can't dislike what they're doing?
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February 24th, 2011, 22:27
Who's talking about crpg's, old school or whatever?
Everything in their demo is completely wrong. If you can't see that, well….
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February 24th, 2011, 22:28
No, you can dislike anything you want.

The amusing part is when I read statements like this:

Wow, that must have been tremendously hard to handle, mentally, for most people.

I'm sure in the let's-be-cool-like-the-24-TV-show-sequel, the Chantry-babe using insightful language like "Bullshit!" in her sexy french accent - will make a much more profound impression.

Good work Bio!


That's not "I don't like it." That's "Bioware is stupid and doesn't know what it's doing"

I bet it will make a more profound impression on most people, which is what Bioware is trying to do. Again, we're talking about the first 20 minutes of a 20+ hour game. Why the fiery sarcasm and anger?
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February 24th, 2011, 22:33
Originally Posted by Risine View Post
Who's talking about crpg's, old school or whatever?
Everything in their demo is completely wrong. If you can't see that, well….
Everything is wrong? And if I disagree?

The comments around here can be really amusing. I do not think that "everything is wrong" with the demo. I have some problems with it, but overall I enjoyed it.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:36
Originally Posted by Ovenall View Post
No, you can dislike anything you want.

The amusing part is when I read statements like this:

Wow, that must have been tremendously hard to handle, mentally, for most people.

I'm sure in the let's-be-cool-like-the-24-TV-show-sequel, the Chantry-babe using insightful language like "Bullshit!" in her sexy french accent - will make a much more profound impression.

Good work Bio!


That's not "I don't like it." That's "Bioware is stupid and doesn't know what it's doing"

I bet it will make a more profound impression on most people, which is what Bioware is trying to do. Again, we're talking about the first 20 minutes of a 20+ hour game. Why the fiery sarcasm and anger?
Bioware aren't stupid. I'm pretty sure the people in charge over there know exactly what they're doing, and they certainly know how to make money these days.

But while they're making all that money, they're also abandoning the original foundation they built for themselves - bit by bit.

I'm not sure if you think that is particularly smart - but I'm certainly not impressed.

However, I have no fiery anger towards them.

More like a perpetual sadness and disappointment when reading in disbelief what kind of reason they have for changing their games.

You see, unlike you, I'm not impressed when people take the easiest route to lining their pockets. Especially not when you take something good and then ruin it, so you can get richer.

I wouldn't say it's "wrong" - because obviously, I don't know if they really want to be rich and artistically corrupt. I just know I think it's sad.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:36
Losing people after a few hours of play pretty much happens in every game and you can't stop that even if you try to "fix it" and that is because everyone has different tastes so some people will like it and some won't. If you change it for the next game you may get some of the people who disliked it before but you will lose people who liked it before.

PS. I was one of the people who quit soon after Ostagar but from what I have seen of this game I may not even play it at all.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:38
I recall the first few hrs in the Witcher were off putting, but encouragement from others spurred me on - and I then loved the village area.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:43
Easiest route to lining their pockets?

Oy vey. Bioware keeps pumping out really good games. The latest Bioware game is always different from the previous Bioware game.

I've pointed this out before, but here you go again. When Baldur's Gate came out, Bioware was excoriated by many for "dumbing down" the RPG and following the trend of Diablo by making the action real time with pause. Now here we are many years later, and there's a bunch of people complaining that Bioware's latest game is "dumbing down" the RPG by doing [fill in the blank].

World goes around, turning, turning…
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February 24th, 2011, 22:47
Originally Posted by Ovenall View Post
Easiest route to lining their pockets?

Oy vey. Bioware keeps pumping out really good games. The latest Bioware game is always different from the previous Bioware game.

I've pointed this out before, but here you go again. When Baldur's Gate came out, Bioware was excoriated by many for "dumbing down" the RPG and following the trend of Diablo by making the action real time with pause. Now here we are many years later, and there's a bunch of people complaining that Bioware's latest game is "dumbing down" the RPG by doing [fill in the blank].

World goes around, turning, turning…
Maybe if you didn't see people as one entity - you'd have a better chance of understanding them?

I don't recall bashing Bioware for Baldur's Gate - and I thought it was a great game.

I started disliking their direction upon playing Jade Empire, and it has been a pretty steady decline ever since.

They have yet to make a truly bad game - but they're certainly getting there.

So, what reason do I have to support them, seeing as I think they're getting increasingly worse?

It's fine that you've accepted their way of dumbing down games, and you seem to be condoning it.

I haven't, though. I think it's bad for the genre and for enthusiast fans.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:49
As far as I'm concerned, there is no anger, just a big disapointment.

Everything is wrong? And if I disagree?
Has someone prevented you to disagree ?!!?
That doesn't change anything to the fact that this demo is just a failure in every aspect.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:52
It's simply your opinion that the games are "dumbed down." That's all it is. An opinion. There's no objective game Smart-o-meter to look to. Sorry.

It is a different game. No one ever claimed or promised there would always be top-down strategic CRPGs that immediately start off with a bunch of stats and in no way try to win over people who don't enjoy stat-heavy CRPGs even at the beginning.
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February 24th, 2011, 22:53
Originally Posted by Risine View Post
As far as I'm concerned, there is no anger, just a big disapointment.

Everything is wrong? And if I disagree?
Has someone prevented you to disagree ?!!?
That doesn't change anything to the fact that this demo is just a failure in every aspect.
Wait- so it's a fact that the demo is a failure in every respect? Where did you find this fact? In the Bible or in volume three of Smart-Guy's Guide to RPG Demos?
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February 24th, 2011, 22:56
Want that players play your games is definitely an interesting approach, I totally applaud the idea but for the result I'll see in the full game.

If you want make money, your primary focus should be on attracting players up to make them buy the game. But not really to have them finish or even play more than few hours the game.

For the demo, I don't think that in those modern times it's a good idea to make a demo at release and even worse before release. The point is the population of players have evolved a lot, players tend be much more negative, and now whiners are much more vocal and can quickly form significant mass of discontentment.

For this reason it's much more wise to release the game, wait a little fans capture the game and few month after release a demo.
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