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Default Mass Effect 3 - Interview @ Penny Aracade plus Q and A @ Reddit

February 26th, 2012, 20:46
Penny Arcade has an interview with Ray Myzyka and Greg Zeschuk, the two co-founders of Bioware. They mainly talk about the SW:TOR MMO, but there's also talk of ME3 and the chance of MMO in the Mass Effect universe. As always, a snip, this time about the lose ends:
I brought up my favorite loose ends from the past games, such as the Genophage and the Rachni. Muzyka counted them off on his fingers, saying each one will come to a conclusion. “Pretty much everything that people want to see wrapped up, or to be given answers, will be,” he explained. He also pointed out that you should feel confident playing if this is your first Mass Effect title. “You don’t need that prior knowledge. We want this to be the most accessible entry point into the series. We wanted this to be the game that answered all their questions… if you’re wondering if three is a good place to enter, absolutely. Yes. It’s the most emotionally powerful entry point. It’s the most polished of the franchise.
In other ME3 news, community manager Jessica Merizan answered people's question over at Reddit. A quote about how Bioware collects fan feedback:
this is a GREAT question and accounts for quite a bit of my job Right now, we have daily "sentiment reports" that go out to our marketing team, and the leads for the development team (such as Casey, Aaryn, Preston, Derek Watts, Mac and sometimes even Ray). These reports are a rundown of what people are saying on the forums, on Facebook, on Twitter — and sometimes external sites like IGN, Penny Arcade, and Kotaku — and a rough percentage of the number of positive, neutral, and negative comments…….. I can personally point to several things in ME3 that I directly influenced based on what I gathered from the community and my own thoughts as a "super fan". People worry about whether their opinion really matters, and it does. In fact, my only wish is that MORE people would speak up. And that more people would tell us what they LIKE. Because we hear so much about negative features, it's sometimes difficult to gauge what we're doing right. Community works as 90-9-1. 90% of the community will consume content but not say anything (….) 9% will contribute to the dialogue, posting comments, "liking" a picture on FB, sharing etc. 1% will create new content like funny memes, costumes, fan art, or even as simple as creating a new forum thread.
And a quote about the day 1 dlc situation:
I think there's a lot of misinformation out there and I wish the guy who made the initial video about it would have had an open mind before jumping to conclusions based on a leak we weren't ready to address. Since I'm a BioWare employee, I know people won't automatically trust me, but I hope people will consider that it wasn't cut content from the larger game. I was in Edmonton when we were finishing the game in November/December and I was in Edmonton again last month when they were working on the Day 1 DLC. It definitely was only possible to do because the main game was in certification (which means we had to wait for people to test it and make sure everything was good etc before we could get the greenlight to sell it). I also played the game WITHOUT the DLC in my first playthrough and honestly, it's an awesome addition but I was more than happy with what I was given in the game. It's bigger and more expansive than ever. Of course, I understand the concern but I hope we can all have an intelligent conversation about it and cover what the facts are in this situation.
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February 26th, 2012, 20:46
It's an awesome addition does not cut it I'm afraid. The marketing department is the cause of most problems.

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February 27th, 2012, 00:41
The marketing unfortunetly is the publishers.
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February 27th, 2012, 03:24
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
It's an awesome addition does not cut it I'm afraid. The marketing department is the cause of most problems.
Agree. It's not just that though. I'm sure they planned this as their first DLC while developing the game. I'm sure they had an idea for a Prothean squadmate and decided to release it as a DLC instead of in the main game because people would almost certainly buy it because it's a Prothean. And after hearing about it before release people think it should be a part of the game. Not to mention it spoils part of the game, that you'll likely run into a Prothean community and that they have likely been working on a weapon to fight the reapers the past 50k years if they ever came back. Would've been a better surprise to find while playing the game.
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February 27th, 2012, 07:31
My thoughts exactly Grimlorn. I think it's incredibly shabby of them, to release this as a DLC. Anyone that thinks this isn't jut a BLATANT money grab, is wearing blinders.

Very shabby indeed.
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February 27th, 2012, 14:46
Of course it is a money grab. Why are you surprised?
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February 27th, 2012, 19:20
I'm still undecided about whether to purchase ME3 or not. But this certainly doesn't help them in my eyes - I never buy CE's of anything, and i think it would have garnered a huge amount of good will if they had 'given' this to all legitimate game purchasers. As they have done before. I don't think the quite appreciate how bad press can damage a game's sales…Lesson 1 - 'hell hath no fury like gamer scorned' ;-) Quite frankly I no longer have much time for Bioware and their money-mongering overlords. I'll probably pick this up on the cheap - there are other games coming out which I'd rather play, and I have a big backlog as it is….

I loved Ms Merizan's parting comment:

Of course, I understand the concern but I hope we can all have an intelligent conversation about it and cover what the facts are in this situation.
…because anyone who disagrees with her must be irrational and unintelligent? Lesson 2 - don't suggest that your target audience idiots - probably not good for business ;-)
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February 27th, 2012, 20:11
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
I loved Ms Merizan's parting comment:

Of course, I understand the concern but I hope we can all have an intelligent conversation about it and cover what the facts are in this situation.
…because anyone who disagrees with her must be irrational and unintelligent? Lesson 2 - don't suggest that your target audience idiots - probably not good for business ;-)
That's the typical Bioware attitude toward the fans who have legitimate concerns.
Its you not us basically. Look at all the DA2 interviews and damage control.

There still in business because the new fans eat up everything they put out. The old fans can disappear for all they care.

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February 27th, 2012, 21:56
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
There still in business because the new fans eat up everything they put out. The old fans can disappear for all they care.
In their defence, that group of new fans is probably infantasmally larger than the group of old fans. I can see how that translates to, "People want to see this! And not this!"

And yes, that means more money for them. But you don't make this sort of game for X amount of money, if you can actually make X * 3 amount of money if you adapt the game because a majority says they want it like that.
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February 29th, 2012, 07:29
It's almost funny that they just don't get it. This should be the anticipated reaction - and its not like they shouldn't have a mountain of first-hand data from which to make such a prediction. If you make DLC availible on day one that either costs extra or is only included in certain editions (such as collector's editions or exclusives offered by specific retailers) then some people will be annoyed. Some people will buy it, some people will ignore it, and some people will feel this makes the product incomplete regardless of whether or not it is extra by any definition.

Thinking you can solve this problem by explaining how wrong people are to feel this way is about as effective as explaining to your girlfriend/boyfriend/giraffe why she/he/orly is wrong to be angry at you. Whether or not you are correct - meeting anger with an explanation of why that anger is a mistake on their part is somewhat condescending and fundamentally demonstrates disrespect for the fact that they do actually feel that way none-the-less.

It doesn't matter whether the day-one DLC was budgeted for separately from - as well as above and beyond - the man-hours and overall resources slated for the core Mass Effect 3 game. They seem to feel their mistep - at least from a PR standpoint - was not being more preemptive in their messaging about the nature of the DLC. Perhaps this might have indeed reduced the to which people perceive the content as being sliced out of that which would have otherwise been in the initial release. The degree to which that would result in a lower overall negative reaction would be proportionally less than any shift in perception of the nature of the content itself. More relevantly - its also completely counterproductive as it is an argument that will only be well received by those who do not already think otherwise.

You'd think their comment mines might have dredged up an inkling that there is a population of gamers that find day-one DLC in general to be annoying at best - and far more so when it is not somehow part of the base purchase of the game. Some people don't like the idea that the product they purchased was somehow less than complete the day it when on sale. The time-value of money and budgeting definition of complete should not expect to automatically transpose to the consumer interpretation of completeness or perception of the product. This sort of expectation would be along similar lines as expecting that video game trailers might be more effective if they included more pie charts and per-unit cost analysis breakdowns.

Imagine a trailer where an overexuberant announcer proclaimed "Buy ME3 we anticipate to have spent 22 USD per unit at 5 million units sold. Comapred to the industry average of 13 USD per unit nomralized to 5 million units sold that's a projected 59% more content budgeted for your enjoyment than the " You'd think you were watching this ad for Windows 1.0

How this relates to bacon - and why most fast food restaurants which offer them at all have at least one dollar/value menu items with bacon included.
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Last edited by jhwisner; February 29th, 2012 at 07:53.
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February 29th, 2012, 09:39
Bioware just keeps shooting themselves in the foot. They are running out of toes.
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February 29th, 2012, 09:42
There's no way SWtOR is the fastest growing MMO at this point. I have to call bullshit on that. Maybe during the first month - but not now.

If it is, then humanity is truly lost.
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February 29th, 2012, 10:13
Why shouldn't SW:TOR be the highest growing MMO at this point? As I remember the interview, Rau and Greg explains that they have had more early adopters (I think this is what it is called?) than any other developer and publisher for their SW:TOR MMO. And it could actually be a good and fun game to play.

As with the DLC situation we on the Watch, on the Bioware forums etc. have become a minority when playing games. We can lament and grive about this - of course - but if Bethesda can sell over 2 million horse armors for Oblivion, then the times indeed have changed.

As for the DLC situation with Mass Effect 3, they were caught of guard because Microsoft revealed it way too soon. They were ready to make an announcement about this last Friday that is on the 24th of February. And then it suddenly got revealed on a the Tuesday or Wednesday before that. Why Microsoft or Sony did this, I don't know.
The DLC From Ashes will be included in the Collector's Edition when it launches next week.
People who buy the normal edition can get this DLC for US 10 Dollars, since multiplayer is now the big selling point - or rather way to get people to get the game early. I guess this means that if you get the game used and wants to play multiplayer, you'll have to pay for a multiplayer pass or something like that. Which to me makes much more sense that people who bought the game get a dlc character for free when people who buy used have to pay for that dlc character/mission. But that's just how I see it.

And as I recall many people on the Bioware forums were - well - not happy with that they had to pay for the dlc character/mission if and when they've bought the game used.

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February 29th, 2012, 10:17
Why shouldn't SW:TOR be the highest growing MMO at this point? As I remember the interview, Rau and Greg explains that they have had more early adopters (I think this is what it is called?) than any other developer and publisher for their SW:TOR MMO. And it could actually be a good and fun game to play.
Because it's a truly horrible MMO. It works OK as a singleplayer/cooperative experience for a while - but at the end-game it all breaks down.

I just don't see vast numbers sticking around for long - and I'm almost certain the game will all but die within the year. As in, not actually die - but drop down to 100-500K subscribers.

In my opinion, that is.
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