BioWare Employee Busted in Dragon Age 2 Review Scandal - UPDATED

Coldie

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vrbtny said:
Ooooh, busted!!!

Maybe this is BioWare trying to counter those several million 3/10 user review scores....
Actually, the 10/10 scores came first, shortly after the release. 0-3/10 scores came a bit later, possibly when someone noticed the connection.

And then BioWare posted this [http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bioware.ru%2F2011%2F03%2F10%2Fdragon_age_2_vote_on_metacritic.html] on their Russian community site (on local release day), telling about the "abnormal number of negative reviews" and asking the fans to defend the game.
 

tofucyborg

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What a non-issue. 1) He is an individual. 2) He may actually be enthralled with the game, ESPECIALLY after working on a small part of it (apps are far from level design, sorry). 3) He posted a USER review.

This article is an overreaction and a blemish on the Escapist name.
 

Ekit

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Oct 19, 2009
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I just lost a lot of respect for BioWare.

Such a stupid and unethical thing to do...
 

Lorechaser

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ZeroDotZero said:
This just makes me, a genuine fan of the game, look like a Bioware employee.

I can't say I blame the guy though, you would want to try and do something positive to balance out the negativity towards something you worked on. The best intentions, right?
I'd be willing to bet that this guy wasn't told to go out and do this. He was just a guy that worked on the game, a huge fan, and thought "You know what would help? A good review." Bad choice, but I don't see this as a systemic issue with Bioware.

I've seen similar things happen in the past in other realms - people trying to help, but making stupid, stupid choices.
 

rsvp42

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Big flipping deal. No wonder some employees wanted to counter the bilious reviews on that site. It's a bunch of people who didn't get what they expected and are reviewing the game based on that. I'm playing the game. It's fun. Combat is more enjoyable. Story has more punch. People should review this game based on what it is. It's not DA:O.

Apparently the game's only failure is that it didn't appeal to some particular subset of RPG players. And those mouth-breathers apparently have enough free time to slam sites with bad reviews. I wouldn't say that if the game were actually bad. If the game were actually worthy of this kind of hate, I would be right there with them. But this game is getting the kind of heat that only disgruntled fanboys can produce.

And besides, why is the Escapist highlighting all these articles? Didn't you guys give it like, 5/5?
 

Preacher zer0

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Jun 13, 2010
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Hah! Amateurs!

Give it an 8 or a 9, point out a few inconsequnetial flaws.
Don't give it a perfect 10 and flame anybody who doesn't like it!

I bet the guy who wrote that review was the kind of idiot who wrote his own name on the desk in school lmao.

That said, DA2 is definatly lacking, there's just something ...bland about it.
Despite the clumsyness of the combat in DA1 on console (which was perfect on PC), the game had a feel that was unmatched, it felt epic and sweeping and fresh.

DA2 feels a little stale, it's a 7 imo.
 

Carnagath

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stranamente said:
You know who else gave this game a 100% in its review?
The escapist [http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/dragon-age-ii].
I'm pretty sure Greg Tito wasn't paid for it, and doesn't work for bioware. Nonetheless his review is far more optimistic than the game deserves, while the preview from Rock, paper shotgun [http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/03/14/wit-the-opening-hours-of-dragon-age-ii/] seems much more reliable...
Agreed, and worth quoting. If you've been coming here for a while though, you might already have noticed that the majority of reviews on the Escapist are not very good. To their credit, they do support user-submitted reviews by dedicating a whole subforum to that, where you can read and compare multiple different opinions before making your decision.

As for the whole employee reviews business, if it's true, it's shockingly immoral and retarded. It leaves me thinking that Bioware need to stop shooting themselves in the foot and get their shit together, now, while there's still something worth missing if they disappeared from the industry. Get your heads out of the cocaine bucket, remember your roots, remember your audience and stop acting like 12 year olds, or vanish. Simple.
 

maantren

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For those of you questioning why metacritic matters at all: the professional review score average matters a great deal to developers & PR agencies, who often have some form of compensation tied to it ('produce us an 85 game'). The amateur reviews matter because they are seen to represent some aspect of word-of-mouth, and if the ratio of negative to positive ones gets too high this is believed to affect sales.

From experience, I'm pretty sure astroturfing (though usually in slightly subtler forms) is rampant around the release of most new games. This is likely seen as an increasingly crucial part of a good marketing/PR strategy, and a counter to the problem of angry, vocal fanboys.

Anyone who can't see why disclosure of a conflict of interest is important in these sorts of things needs to crack an ethics book or just grow up by a few years.

Cheers

Colin
 

rsvp42

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Ekit said:
I just lost a lot of respect for BioWare.

Such a stupid and unethical thing to do...
I just dislike that one employee's action has to reflect on the entire company. Obviously that's how things work, but I really don't think this guy was acting in an official capacity. He was probably just passionate about his studio and its work. Besides, the other reviewers don't seem to be playing fair.
 

GonzoGamer

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ProtoChimp said:
DUMBASS. Not exactly the best looking way to get a promotion now is it... dumbass.
That is a dumbass move right there.

Joining LA Noir in the "is the game really so bad you have to resort to that?" file.

Is DA2 really that bad?
 

Preacher zer0

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tofucyborg said:
What a non-issue. 1) He is an individual. 2) He may actually be enthralled with the game, ESPECIALLY after working on a small part of it (apps are far from level design, sorry). 3) He posted a USER review.
It doesn't matter if it was his honest opinion.
Employees are not supposed to write reviews simply because it will inevitably cause suspicion and uproar like this.

The reality of the situation is it will cause controversy, as we are now seeing.
Therefore employees should refrain from writing reviews on sites like MC.

Besides, he would have known all this, everyone who works in the industry knows it... So obviously this was a sketchy attempt to bump the score.

I wonder if EA or Bioware will disavow any knowledge of his actions.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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I can't blame the guy after the nonstop, petulant, self-entitled WHINING this game has invoked amongst the worst that gaming has to offer. I just finished the game a few hours ago and did it have problems, yes, it did, some worthy of marking the game down to 6's and 7's. However, this childish score-bombing is unacceptable and all it does is make gamers look like spoiled brats.

Anyway, I don't see how this is THAT terrible. It's one guy posting a user review; as far as we know he wasn't paid or coerced into doing it. And considering the fact that he worked on that game I can see why he'd want to help up the score a bit. Criticism is fine, BASHING IS NOT.
 

luvd1

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Sad. So very sad. It's not a bad game either..... Lacking in parts and in some parts insulting. But it's a good game. Such a shame.
 

Raven's Nest

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plikis1 said:
Arisato-kun said:
Because one Metacritic user score really matters right? God forbid an employee likes a game from the company they work for. I don't consider this a big deal at all.
Seriously, you don't see anything wrong with a guy making a Metacritic account just to do the most shallow, stupid, PR-like review on a game he worked on? This was (given that this is was not a really smart troll attempt) the most blatantly obvious act of desperation I've seen in a long while. Have you ever heard of 'conflict of interests'? If you have, think for one minute before posting.
There's no proof that this was even the case or that the user even worked on DA:2. Bioware is a huge company...

And I don't think it's a particularly big deal either. It's Metacritic, not the Academy Awards Committee. One lone 10/10 isn't going to change the world, it won't affect sales and it won't change anyone's opinion of the game. I would pass it off as harmless self promotion in a world where one can anonymously post a review on a public reviewing site.

If it turns out that it was a Bioware employee that did this then he'll probably just get sacked and the world will move on.

Back when [url+http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20218]Spore was released and mountains of bad reviews were pulled from Amazon's review section[/url], that was a big deal... This is just one, or a handful of people giving a game 10/10 which regardless of how it was intended, is an exercise of free speech... Not exactly scandal of the century.
 

Wolfram23

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This is NOT A SCANDAL.

Seriously, wtf. Who gives a shit. If I made a game I would have every single person who worked on it go write a review on it. Why wouldn't I? User reviews - you don't think the people who made the game are users?? It's not like they're a professional reviewer. There's no code of ethics for USER reviews.

BLECH! Seriously, let it go.
 

Rooster Cogburn

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It is just too hard to believe this person failed to mention their connection to Bioware in the review but was not intentionally or at least knowingly misleading their readers. While I can sympathize with an employee who wants to see his work turn into future career prospects, that doesn't make deceitful behavior OK. Also, I have assumed all these many years that the term "user" as in "User Review" excluded people who worked on the game themselves and stand to gain by it's success. Sorry if that makes me an idiot.
 

Carnagath

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tofucyborg said:
What a non-issue. 1) He is an individual. 2) He may actually be enthralled with the game, ESPECIALLY after working on a small part of it (apps are far from level design, sorry). 3) He posted a USER review.

This article is an overreaction and a blemish on the Escapist name.
How you find nothing wrong with a developer reviewing his own game with a perfect score and under an alias is beyond me. I understand that you like Bioware and stuff, but surely that doesn't filter all the logical processes of your mind...?
 

Fappy

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Bioware's just adding more wood to the fire. Stop shooting yourselves in the foot! Its sad to see a developer become so obsessed with Metacritic (if you've seen any interviews lately they talk about it all the time, even pre-release).

Please stop Bioware... I love you :(
 

maantren

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Rooster Cogburn said:
It is just too hard to believe this person failed to mention their connection to Bioware in the review but was not intentionally or at least knowingly misleading their readers.
Seems to me that's exactly what happened here - I mentioned earlier that astroturfing is usually a little more subtle. Perhaps it reflects a narrow education/outlook on the developer's part more than anything, which is a bit sad: the basics of ethical conduct shouldn't be some exotic knowledge IMO.

Cheers

Colin