Hate if You Want, Bioware Did it Right

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“The ending was terrible!!” “What’s up with all these microtransactions?!” “Day one DLC?!” You or someone you love has probably said one or all of these things regarding Bioware’s masterpiece, Mass Effect 3. Personally, I did not. Like a good book—which is funny because I don’t read books—I accepted what was presented to me, enjoyed it and moved on with my life. Many gamers, however, felt the ending did not provide enough depth or that they were unfairly charged for in-game items and DLC. It’s not that I don’t understand where they’re coming from because I do and, better yet, it’s not their fault they feel this way. Society, as a whole, has lead them to believe that if you bitch enough about something you don’t understand, it will change or go away. Well, I’m here to tell you, you are DEAD wrong. The model shown in Mass Effect is not only near perfection, but it is one that we will hopefully see time and time again until someone comes up with something better.

How many movies have you seen with a bad ending? How many petitions did you sign to get said ending changed? How many times has that happened in the history of movies? Or books? How many pieces of art have been altered because of the public? Right, so let’s just say we ALL dropped the ball on this one. If we want gaming to be truly accepted as the art that it is, rising up against one of the best development teams in the industry and essentially forcing them to change a piece of art is WRONG. Conversely, it was wrong of them to be bullied into changing it. Bioware should have stood its ground and defended its work, but it didn’t, which lead to similar situations like the trophy-title change (“Bros Before Hoes” became “Bros Before Foes”) in God of War: Ascension. As nice as it is to see companies respond to public outcry, Bioware set a dangerous precedent by bending to the whims of the people without a fight. Now any and all titles can be subject to alteration regardless of how solid a piece of work may be. Even in the face of ridicule, Bioware still came back with the perfect answer: a director’s cut ending released as a FREE download. You can’t argue with free and you can’t argue with the level of detail they added in such a short amount of time. Other companies would have been quick to cop a plea and say, “Well, the game is completed and outside of planned DLC, we do not have the resources to add anything else,” and everyone would’ve just had to eat it. Bioware isn’t like that. They are for the people, even if the people are not always for them.

As for the microtransactions, how dare you. Bioware pumped out FREE DLC for the multiplayer mode, provided community based goals to keep things interesting, provided players with gift packs for achieving said goals, gave us new playable characters AND enemies and you have the audacity to get mad about microtransactions! You need not look any further than the name to see how trivial this argument is: MICROtransactions. For anywhere between $1–$3, players can purchase packs containing new characters, weapons, upgrades or single use battle items. The REAL issue here is that most people have no core concept of RPGs in their history. They don’t know what it’s like to grind for hours on end to level up your characters and their abilities just to be able to beat the next boss fight. They don’t know the struggle of mastering Knights of the Round, W-Summon, Final Attack and Phoenix materia just to fight a boss–—who’s twice as powerful as the final battle in the game–—and still get your ass kicked!! I say that to say this: microtransactions can be COMPLETELY ignored if you’re willing to work for your rewards. The same packs that you can buy using actual money, can be purchased using in-game currency. Yes it takes longer, yes you will have to put in hours of fights, but isn’t that what you paid for anyway? Didn’t you pay for hours upon hours of amazing gameplay with friends and strangers alike, defending the universe from various threats for galactic security? I know that’s why I bought the game, but hey, what do I know?

As far as the Day 1 DLC, yeah, that sucked. I really don’t have much for that one. The bottom line is, they need that money. Bioware knew they were giving away tons of free stuff and they had to find a way to counterbalance it. What kills me is, if you feel so strongly about it, why are you getting it? Regardless of what you say, it is what you DO that tells a company if they are moving righteously. Anyone can talk, anyone can make idle threats, but the person or people that actually DO something, that’s who gets the ear of the masses or, in this case, a company. You don’t like Day 1 DLC, don’t get it! One of three things will happen: 1) They make it a free download because they can’t just waste content they’ve already created, 2) they no longer do Day 1 DLC, but release the same content at a later date and time making you wait longer for something you could have already had, or 3) they just put it on the disk as standard content and you will never realize it was something extra. Either way, none of these changes will happen if you keep berating companies online while lining their pockets. There’s a simple concept in economics called “power of consumer,” I suggest you google it.

With all that being said, I would like to see Bioware’s EAmates over at DICE work out a similar system. It would have to be tweaked, of course, because they don’t have the single player focus Mass Effect does, but a combination of free DLC, microtransactions and community events (and not just double EXP). As a matter of fact, I’d like to see everyone adopt this system of after purchase content. Take some money making DLC, sprinkle in some free stuff and add optional microtransactions to taste. It works people. It’s the best set up in town, which opens up another rant, but I’ll save it for later.

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