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Excuse Me, Bioware: What The F#*% Are You Doing?

So Western RPG hot-spot Bioware is one of gaming’s Sacred Cows.  They’ve given us such gems as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic, and more recent franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.  So why would a company with such an arguably flawless track record want to screw over their image and isolate their fanbase?  But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  Let’s take a closer look at the inner workings behind the scenes of Bioware’s latest work-in-progress: Mass Effect 3.

According to this interview with OXM [1], senior designer Christina Norman was quoted as follows:

“We want to enrich the role-playing aspects of the game, while making sure that they’re always meaningful in combat,” she said when asked about how the faster, fluider combat gelled with the game’s RPG systems….We don’t want to have any meaningless behind-the-scenes stat games, where the output is very minor in combat. Every single thing you do has a real impact in the battle.”

Essentially it boils down to cut out roleplaying elements…to enhance roleplaying.


So what does this mean for you, the end user?  In short, an RPG with no stats and tacked on combat powers to keep their street cred.  Lovely…  First Dragon Age 2, and now this shit.  “We want to enrich the roleplaying elements of the game!  By removing them all!”

It’s funny when you think about it, because when they released that chart showing what they learned from player feedback after ME2, more RPG elements was central to it.  So basically, they took everything that the players said they wanted… wiped their ass with it… and threw it out of a FUCKING window.

"Ha! They posted it again!"

What was once chess has become checkers.

At this point, it’s perfectly rational to question Bioware’s logic.  Why change the formula for something that’s garnered them success and critical/fan acclaim in the past?  What’s worth the risk?  In short, a wider audience.  More specifically, Modern Warfare’s audience. [2]  They’re honestly believing that  an overhaul to the system to isolate their finicky yet tirelessly devoted fanbase will appeal to an even more finicky and (let’s face it) unreliable fanbase.

Pictured: Bioware's new target audience.

As if the audience for this game isn’t already huge as it stands…  I mean seriously!  They said DA2’s team was different from ME’s team!

At this point you may be thinking to yourself, “Oh no!  What ever shall I do to rescue my beloved franchise from the clutches of the dreaded Frat-ocracy?”  Here’s where the glimmer of hope glimmers onwards like a glimmering glimmerer.  Although misguided, Bioware is one of the few remaining companies that still takes stock in what their fans say (believe it or not).  So make yourself heard!  Make a rational appeal on their forums! [3]  Hell, if you’re savvy enough, snag one of the developers’ email and pour your heart out to them!  Let it be known that you want to keep the RP in your G!  Hold them to their promise of more robust RPG elements! [4]

We’ve got to draw the line somewhere with developers!  Next thing you know, they’ll be telling us Dark Souls has a difficulty setting.