Dragon Age Writer Calls BioWare Forums "Toxic"

The Wooster

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Jul 15, 2008
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Dragon Age Writer Calls BioWare Forums "Toxic"


David Gaider admits he avoids the BioWare Social Network Forum because of its "increasingly toxic atmosphere."

It's no secret that attitudes towards BioWare have soured in recent years. Their acquisition by corporate hate sponge, EA; a slew of controversial, if not reviled, releases and, of course, that ending have left the once darling studio facing wave after wave of bad press and fan outrage. According to veteran developer, David Gaider, the studio's forums have turned into such an unpleasant whine-festival that he's been forced to flee.

Responding to a fan question about the increasingly hostile social network, Gaider explained his reasons for avoiding the forums.

"They are certainly a group of passionate folks, and while I wouldn't say they were all "utterly gross" as you put it I do agree that the overall tone of the forums has become increasingly toxic," he wrote. "I tend to largely avoid them these days, myself. Why? Because spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative- not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general."

Gaider has been with BioWare for 14 years. Since his promotion to lead-writer for the Dragon Age series, he's made no qualms about answering criticism and wading into debates with both arms swinging. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/108722-Dragon-Age-2-Lead-Writer-Blasts-Homophobic-Fan]

"I imagine that can happen to any online community," he continues. "Eventually the polite, reasonable folks stop feeling like it's a group of people they want to hang around. So they leave, and those who remain start to see only those who agree with them- and, because that's all they see, they think that's all there is. Everyone feels as they do, according to them. Once the tipping point is passed, you're left with the extremes... those who hate, and those who dislike the haters enough to endure the toxic atmosphere to try and combat them. Each clash between those groups drives more of the others away."

While Gaider's remarks will likely be met with ridicule from those who've taken up bashing the studio as a recreational sport, one small sentence might just give them pause. In fact, it might just sum up everything that's gone wrong with BioWare's relationship with its fans in the past half-decade.

"I think there's something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general," he said. "Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans."

Source: The Bittersweetest Thing [http://dgaider.tumblr.com/post/39544291251/on-fandom-and-toxic-environments]

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VanQ

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Oct 23, 2009
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I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. I honestly don't play that many Bioware games so my opinion is only that of an outside spectator.
And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.
 

The Wooster

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Jul 15, 2008
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VanQQisH said:
I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.
I figured I would head off the angry hordes at the pass.
 

LordDPS

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Jun 4, 2010
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I'll admit, Bioware fanboys are some of the worst forum goers around. Still, The way Bioware have been putting their fingers in their ears for the past 3 games whenever criticism rears it's ugly head shows how childish Bioware writers have become.
 

bigfatcarp93

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Mar 26, 2012
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I can't say I blame him. Every since the middle of the year, it seems like someone's bitching about the ME3 ending around every damn corner. I mean, yeah, the ending sucked, sure, but it's been fucking months and people are still banging on about it.

So, yeah, I would avoid those forums too.
 

Falterfire

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Jul 9, 2012
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I have to say, most of the forums I've seen do a toxic self destruct have been for games that, even if they didn't deserve it, at least had a few serious flaws. Never as bad as the worst detractors made them sound, but flaws that were definitely there all the same. A few games even recover from such a thing if the game devs own up to mistakes and work to fix them. (This happened to Age of Empires Online last summer when an AI improvement unexpectedly caused every mission to get significantly harder, rendering the game unplayable for all of us noobs who aren't very good at the game)

The solution is NEVER to blame the community though, even if they are at fault. The people with legitimate complaints feel as though they've been lumped in with the bad apples and the problem people see it as an excuse to run rampant. (or worse, as a victory since they falsely believe any acknowledgment is better than no acknowledgment) And after they've let it run as far as it has, I'm not sure there is a solution to be had.

For some games the only answer is to just wait until all of the angry people finally move on. I honestly figured that's what would've happened to Bioware by now. The absolutely terrible Magic the Gathering: Tactics forums are even usable now simply because even though the game is terrible, the only people who still post are those few who actually like the thing.
 

Tamrin

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Grey Carter said:
VanQQisH said:
I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.
I figured I would head off the angry hordes at the pass.
You are going to have to work some magic then like somebody we are all familiar with.



That horde is going to be loud, angry, and ugly.
 

stranamente

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Jun 13, 2009
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To be fair he also did this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.274827-David-Gaider-says-Bioware-decides-what-dead-means-in-Dragon-Age-2?page=1 , that ended this way: http://social.bioware.com/%20http:/social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/304/index/6589945/10 .
I think it's fair to say that both parties have a fair share of blame.
 

Fappy

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Grey Carter said:
VanQQisH said:
I do have to admit after checking out their forums during the whole ME3/TOR episodes, they made /v/ look absolutely charming and well mannered. And did you first your own article with an image macro? I've never seen that before.
I figured I would head off the angry hordes at the pass.
I'll give you that one. That image was obligatory anyway, so it might as well have been you posting it.
 

cynicalsaint1

Salvation a la Mode
Apr 1, 2010
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Say what you will but the man is right.

Grey Carter said:
"I imagine that can happen to any online community," he continues. "Eventually the polite, reasonable folks stop feeling like it's a group of people they want to hang around. So they leave, and those who remain start to see only those who agree with them- and, because that's all they see, they think that's all there is. Everyone feels as they do, according to them. Once the tipping point is passed, you're left with the extremes... those who hate, and those who dislike the haters enough to endure the toxic atmosphere to try and combat them. Each clash between those groups drives more of the others away."
I can attest to this personally, in fact the BSN forums are how I found the Escapist, thanks to someone posting a link to one of their March developer-battles.

I actually used to like hanging out there but eventually I got sick of all the bitching and fighting that when down in that place. It ceased to be a place to talk about games I liked a more a place for people to piss and moan about whatever stupid ass problem ruined their "favorite" game forever. And so I left.

Its not that people hate BioWare its that people don't are at least willing to have a rational intelligent conversation about things are sick of dealing with mouthy haters who talk about every little problem they have with a game like its the end of the fucking world. Combine that with the fact that for some reason something about being on the internet has a tendency to make people feel the need shout their opinions from the top of the nearest mountain, and refuse to consider other points of view ... and well, yeah.
 

Hagi

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Apr 10, 2011
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Completely agree with the guy.

Even if Bioware completely sold out and is making game purely and only for monetary reasons that's still no excuse for some of the vileness seen on those forums.

A community shows itself through things like this. Even if it's a case of a silent majority that majority still isn't contributing anything so you're left with a minority that contributes negatively and a majority that does not contribute at all, or worse a majority that contributes negatively. It's completely rational to avoid a community like that, there's other communities around.

The only problem really is that the community in question is using the official Bioware one, which means that Bioware itself is part of that community. It's kind of sad when a lead writer essentially publicly calls out the community managers of his own company for failing at their jobs (and yes, those people are responsible for however that community ends up, that's their job).
 

Atary77

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Feb 27, 2008
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I'm not surprised the BioWare forums have become nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villiany. To me the problem isn't really BioWare but it's EA. A lot of the problems that Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 had I'm certain were the product of the rushed development needed in order to meet the strict deadlines publishers like EA mandate. There's a reason people hate on EA so much. They buy up all these talented dev studios only to bleed them dry until nothing is left but a named husk that they slap onto the box of their next product.

I don't blame you David, I blame EA. They took what talent and love BioWare had and killed it.
 

stranamente

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Jun 13, 2009
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Atary77 said:
I'm not surprised the BioWare forums have become nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villiany. To me the problem isn't really BioWare but it's EA. A lot of the problems that Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 had I'm certain were the product of the rushed development needed in order to meet the strict deadlines publishers like EA mandate. There's a reason people hate on EA so much. They buy up all these talented dev studios only to bleed them dry until nothing is left but a named husk that they slap onto the box of their next product.

I don't blame you David, I blame EA. They took what talent and love BioWare had and killed it.
As I said, the blame is on both of 'em, just look at here [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.274827-David-Gaider-says-Bioware-decides-what-dead-means-in-Dragon-Age-2?page=1] for how David Gaider treated the folks of the forums.
 
Aug 3, 2010
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"I think there's something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general," he said. "Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans."


You know, I used to think of David Gaider as the last reasonable man at BioWare. But statements like this... ugh.

If BioWare wants to make games that satisfy their core fans, they may want to consider that sweeping every single criticism under the rug of "gamer entitlement" isn't going to get them there. I greatly enjoyed both DA2 and ME3 (minus That Ending) but even so, those games had flaws. Big ones. The fact that trolls are running amok at the BSN doesn't mean those flaws aren't there, or that Gaider shouldn't feel obliged to learn from past mistakes.