Want Website Hits? Just Say Dragon Age 2 *Updated*

First off I have always wanted to use that image and this seemed to fit.

Has this game caused firestorms left and right or what? People like Todd complaining about how it destroyed his childhood, SecuROM claims, DLC shenanigans and now this.

Over at Bluesnews there’s a blurb about how an employee at BioWare wrote a 10/10 user review for DA2 on Metacritic and failed to tell people that, well, he’s an employee at BioWare.

Doesn’t he know that’s not proper use of Metacritic? That’s just common sense, right?

The funny thing? Look at the user score now for this game. Holy cow that’s a lot of angry RPG-folk.

Update: EA has responded by telling Kotaku: “Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game. That’s how it works in the Oscars, that’s how it works in the Grammy’s and why I’m betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election.”

Ok who wants to be first to poke holes into that one?

28 Responses to “Want Website Hits? Just Say Dragon Age 2 *Updated*”

  1. Mengtzu March 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    It all just proves Dragon Age’s status as a real RPG – now it has a proper edition war, just like D&D. Eventually the most vocal combatants will band together to hate Dragon Age 3.

  2. anomagnus March 16, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    I understand that NHS is a new site, and that i may not have a huge variety of stories to report on yet, but at this stage, i can pretty much guess before opening the site its goign to run with a DA2 story. Its as if it has nothing else to report on, or care about. Its actually beginning to grate.

    I book marked this site on the recommendation from PA, but really, its beginning to carry a very snide and sour tone.

    As for DA2, i’m 23 hours into it on the PC. Nerd rage aside, its virtually identical to DA:O. Anyone that just assumes they can Mass Effect it, and wade in with hack and slash is wrong. You can complete ME 2 with all squad mates down, in fact on insanity, its basically a tactic, but in DA2, if your squad is down, you’re toast.

    This game is getting more sh*t than it deserves, mostly driven by a small community of people that for some reason, feel slighted that once again they didnt get a return to the mythical BG2.

    Is it any wonder that RPG fans get such a crappy sterotype?

  3. Plankton March 16, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    You just sound like you cannot stand to see criticism for something you like. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow.
    DA2 is a big release and it will naturally get a lot of coverage. Some writers on this site feel disappointed and have the right to be so. It’s not like they aren’t supporting their opinion with arguments and I don’t think their arguments are illegitimate either, are they?
    Based on my anectodal evidence, your point about people feeling “slighted that once again they didnt get a return to the mythical BG2″ is also not quite true. The forum I frequent is just as divided, but the divide does not run along the old-PC-guard/console-kids divide as you might think. There is some harsh, but well grounded, criticism of the story, the production value, gameplay aspects etc. Others, simply enjoy the game. And that’s all fine.

  4. KyleS March 16, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    I think that is extremely unfair.

    DA2 is a huge release, so having a story posted about it even on a daily basis is hardly overkill. It’s not like these stories aren’t being reported elsewhere. Also, if you look at the comments people seem to love talking about it because every DA2 post gets 20+ comments. I am no webmaster but that seems like playing to your audience, no?

    Third, I came here from PA as well and haven’t looked back as I find the writring here funny, smart, relevant, and the coverage widespread enough for what I’m looking for. I would guess that 5% of the posts on NHS are DA2 related. If that.

  5. Bill Abner March 16, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    anomagnus, I do get what you’re saying.

    That said, KyleS is correct in saying that the people do seem to love the DA2 stories. When I posted the headliner for this story I meant every word. The DA2 stories are like traffic magnets, wnd while that’s not the entire goal here I do think posting stories that I think people will be interested in is part of what we’re doing here and a story such as this I think is very much worth reporting on — and yes I still think it was dumb as dirt to do what that guy did, DA2 or not. I’d report that story if this were Bulletstorm, Shogun or Wii Fit.

    As for the game getting more crap than it deserves, I honestly have no clue if that’s true or not as I haven’t had time to play it, but this story had nothing at all to do with the game itself. It could be aces as far as I know. Although I would guess Todd would disagree with you (especially about it being identical to DA:O on the PC) and Barnes would agree because he thinks Todd’s stupid.

    But reporting this particular story I think is both topical and interesting enough to post.

    And the Facepalm picture is just funny.

  6. Haply March 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    I feel like I’m the only person who was mortified by the control scheme in the original DA. After playing Fallout 3 and WoW, I can’t go back to an rpg where I can’t even target the enemy because he’s standing on stairs, 3 feet off the ground. Nintendo perfected control back in the 8-bit era, why do we have to take these backward steps? Who is in charge of these decisions?

    If DA2 isn’t even an improvement over the original, I can easily see why it’s doing so poorly. The game’s weak control interface makes it inaccessible to everyday people, and seemingly, it’s not even good as a old-school rpg.

  7. itsANHonor March 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    I feel bad for the poor engineer who was proud of his baby of two years and decided to hype it on his own only to cause this firestorm.

    Conflict of interest? It’s the pseudo-anonymous user based scorings for metacritic, not investigative journalism for NYTimes. If Bioware had created a fake publication to give Dragon Age a 10/10, then I think people could be upset… but this? Or if EA had gone around and created a faux social network army to raise average user scores, that would be worth getting upset about. But two Bioware engineers reviewing their own product? Come on. Seems a bit ridiculous.

    What bothers me more is that if Bioware had simply kept DAI’s control scheme (good and bad) and rolled with the sequel in a more traditional way, I bet you wouldn’t have this nerd revolution war to find everything wrong with Bioware.

    Personally, I’m loving the hell out of the game; it’s hard, it’s still tactical, and it’s still just plain fun.

    Everyone just needs to take down a notch…

  8. Bill Abner March 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    I haven’t even played the game, but companymen/women shouldn’t post as “regular Joe’s” on a site like Metacritic praising their own product while dismissing anyone that says anything negative about it. I don’t care if it’s Dragon Age, Pokemon, or SimFarm.

    I’d have no issue at ALL if this person posted a user review and was up front about who he was. If THAT were the case the EA rep would be correct. I mean we know Obama voted for himself, right?

    It’s the “hey this game is great and all of these other reviews are wrong” bit that I find a bit disingenuous.

    Of course big picture none of that stuff matters as user reviews on Metacritic are about as important as the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It’s still a dumb thing for that person to do, though.

    It looks petty for a company with the rep of BioWare — fair or not.

  9. Cynic March 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    That’s what EA is saying right now.

  10. Chad March 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    You’ve got quite the reputation already in this little community and so far you’ve done nothin’ but pull aggro.

    It was a petty jab I’ll give you that. Humor was my reasoning and motivation behind the comment. I’m a gamer whether it’s PC, iPhone, PS3, or Xbox (Not the Wii though… that’s for non-gamers)

    I play whichever console I want depending on the game (I own all of them because I’m Oprah rich) I play Assassin’s Creed on Xbox, because that controller is perfect for it. I play Street Fighter IV on PS3, because… that controller is perfect for it.

    If you got offended by the statement then that’s your call and you got some pretty thin skin.

    Bioware offended me by releasing Dragon Age II. I guess I got thin skin too.

    From Game Informer:
    “On all platforms, Dragon Age II caters to an audience that didn’t connect with Origins, while alienating those who did.

  11. Labreya March 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say offended, but it gets on my tits when people try and beat a platform down for no other reason than they didn’t like a game. I honestly wanted to hear why you decided to refer to it as “console edition”. It just annoys me the way people decide console = bad.

    To be fair, I was expecting the usual “Because the PC is better than your uncouthe console” so thank you for proving me wrong on that front.

    I have all the consoles from the last few generations too, and I’ve ended up just ignoring my PC purely because of all the “consoles are for idiots” bull going around. I just got sick of being associated with it.

    As for that Game informer quote, everyone i know that loved DA:O loves DA2. I honestly think this whole thing is being blown way out of proportion, with people hateing on it because it’s “cool” like how hateing on Ea used to be before Activision took over as flavour of the month. Not to say thats why you’re saying you don’t like it, just that thats the feeling I get from a lot of reviews.

    And yes. I get the “You just cause trouble” line a lot. It’s what I do. If it becomes an issue, I’m sure I’ll be banned.

  12. Chad March 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    You speak your mind and are level headed. I hope you don’t get banned, I think I might like you after all.

    “everyone i know that loved DA:O loves DA2.”

    I would hesitantly agree with you. Most of the flak is coming from entitled PC Gamers who played it on PC. Comparing “Origins” to “DA2″ on PC is comparing an Apple to an Orange.

    PC gamers wanted Apple 2, but they got an orange instead and Bioware slapped a 2 on it.

    Apple to Apple 2
    Orange to Orange 2

    Apple 1 to Orange 2 ?????

    The Game Informer quote comes from the PC review which I feel is accurate. If you look at the Xbox or PS3 reviews they actually favored it more.

  13. Labreya March 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    If thats the case, then it may be worth noteing that most of the people I know who are enjoying it have it on the XBox. Only three have it on the PC.

    Thing is though, the demo is available. Why didn’t people just play that, and then not buy the game if it was such an issue? I’m a firm believer of voteing with my wallet, and I think bioware would have realised there was an issue if the PC sales were way down.

    I just seem to hear issue after issue that people had with this game even before release day, and yet it flew off the shelves in droves. There’s something wrong there.

  14. Todd Brakke March 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    No one’s getting banned here for having an opinion. Just be respectful and reasonably fair and you’re good with all of us. Although I’m considering banning Barnes. You know, for sh#ts and giggles.

    Obviously, I’d like to avoid going down the no-win console vs. PC thing, but I’ve always thought the “dumbed down” for consoles argument said more about developers and publishers than players. I think devs/pubs radically underestimate their players sometimes, console players in particular.

  15. Chad March 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    I hate to admit it, but I’m kinda having fun with it too. I’m playing on normal with my brain shutoff and having a blast at the hack ‘n slashy gameplay.

  16. atomicboomerang March 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I’m having fun playing it, and I don’t work for Bioware or EA.

  17. itsANHonor March 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    And you will have to use your brain just as hard as DA:O

    I’m more pissed at Bioware for the ridiculous Act I boss.

  18. Chad March 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    KK Origins wasn’t THAT hard, but come now… Normal on DA2 is like playing Origins on Very Easy

  19. itsANHonor March 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    You’re right. That one guy, probably should have exercised some better judgement and stayed off the internet. I’m sure there were some emotional stakes involved since he was watching people flame the product he’d be working on for two years, but the higher road probably would have been better.

    I’m sure the senior PR manager at EA is banging his head against a desk because one poor employee managed to besmirch an entire studio’s reptuation, but again, I think we should allll take it down a notch. It was one guy making a kind of poor decision, not a systematic hate crime against the gamers of the world.

  20. Bill Abner March 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I can only imagine the temptation to do just what that guy did. You are seeing something you worked on, at least in some circles, get taken to task and want to vent. I really do get that.

  21. BradGrenz March 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    We need a new term to describe the flood of negative “user” reviews on Metacritic, most of which I guarantee are written by butt-hurt PC gamers who haven’t played more than the demo and are giving the game low scores out of an absurd sense of spite.

    Is it a “Review Riot”? Is DA2 getting “Review-Bombed”?

    Whatever we call it, the nonsense about the “streamlining” or “consolification” of Dragon Age distract from the real problems the game has. And, ironically, The Witcher 2 has become some kind of “great white hope” for this crowd of PC fanboys, even though it is far more guilty of the things DA2 is being reamed for (you don’t even GET a party to manage, the combat is COMPLETELY action based, your appearance, gender, name and class are all PREDETERMINED!).

    If you actually play DA2 for any length of time it’s hard to care about things like the interface not being sufficiently adorned with garish bitmaps, or not being allowed to fiddle sufficiently with every companion’s equipment. I miss the isometric view occasionally, but combat encounters are designed such that the things I used it for in DA:O aren’t as important anymore.

    All of that pales in comparison to the game’s terribly misguided use of the “framed narrative” and complete failure to motivate you as the player to do anything. I’m at about 18 hours in and I’ve spent basically all my time doing random favors and earning money there’s nothing worthwhile to spend on. I think the more insidious design influence hasn’t been console games, but MMOs. It’s a terribly static world where I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much more than grinding weasel sphincters.

    At one point, when I wanted to leave for the Deep Roads expedition (in the misguided hope that would lead somewhere interesting), I couldn’t get the game to progress. It took me a while to realize, but one of the random quests I had picked up but wasn’t that interested in following through with was actually a “Main Plot” quest that had to be completed before I could move on. I rarely had need to look in my journal. It’s far easier to just chase quest markers on your minimap. The fact that “main plot” quests were completely unrecognizable as such to me after 12 hours is a pretty huge problem.

  22. Mengtzu March 16, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Main plot quests should have had a stronger representation on the map, I think. You’re absolutely correct there should have been no way for you to mistake compulsory and optional.

    On the story level though, I loved that most of the sidequests (ie not the “hey you lost this” exploration rewards) felt like first-class parts of the experience. Much better than DA:O or ME1′s anaemic sidequests that you mostly do for loot/XP/OCD. If only Bioware had the budget to give them unique level art :<

  23. 4dSwissCheese March 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Regardless of whether or not this was ethical (hint: it was not), this was just plain dumb. Assuming these sorts of user reviews matter at all, the benefits of one positive review are dramatically outweighed by the potential for the internet to go into its “torches and pitchforks” mob mentality that we’re seeing here.

  24. Michael Barnes March 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    The guy should have just come out and said “I worked on this game, and all you illiterate jackasses who can barely write a complete sentence in English to criticise the game can get fucked, because I think we did a great job and I for one am proud of what we did with it”. That would have meant a lot more and been more resonant.

    As for the internet hateathon going on…Where were all these “diehard” DA fans hailing it as one of the greatest RPGs ever released when it was new a year and a half ago? I don’t recall seeing anyone talking about how awesome the interface was, or how awesome anything was in it…I remember a lot of slight disappointment and complaints about the DLC thing. And a lot folks outright disliking the game.

    Times ain’t changed all that much…just now there’s an internet horde that seem personally aggrieved by the sequel. I mean, seriously, some of those Metacritic user reviews are just hilarious…if you’re going to trash something, at least be eloquent about it. I love reading comments from someone and they’re literally written at a sub-sixth grade level.

  25. Labreya March 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    It’s most people just showing their false sense of self entitlement. They think they’re owed something because they bought the first game, and that the second game should be tailor made for their overhyped fantasies. Plus, some people just like to have a big cry.

    Hence why people highlight one or two acctual issues, then spew twenty things the internet told them to hate and give the game a zero. Or people who hated the demo, but decided to buy the game anyway. Or had issue with the DLC distribution, but bought the game anyway.

    As far as I’m concerned, I don’t like Bioware games in general so my opinion is void on the subject (Although, got DA:O on budget and it was a good timewaster for me) and everyone I know who bought it is loveing it, so all the complaints just seem like internet filler to me, with people hateing on the game because it’s seen as the cool thing to do.

  26. Chad March 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    The term “Bio Break” around the office has become “Bioware Break”.

    To say people are unhappy with them is an understatement. The internet is nerd raging.

    I’m still soooo excited for Mass Effect 3 no matter how shitty “Dragon Age: Console Edition” is or how much suck “The Old Republic” will be.

  27. Labreya March 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    “Dragon Age: Console Edition”

    This one term has ruined the validity of so many arguments against the game.

    Seriously, why the need to make a petty jab at console gamers? Are you that insecure about gameing on the PC that you can’t say “I didn’t like this game” without haveing a cheap dig at consoles too?

  28. themanmonkey March 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    I believe it was the Rolling Stones that first used the phrase, “Any press is good press.” The opinions over DAII seem to be just about as diverse as Deadly Premonition was last year. I’ll be interested to see the sales figures next month. Personally I’m wasting for a discounted version, hopefully GOTY edition with all the DLC.

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