BioWare says fans are taking criticism a bit too far.
BioWare has been the target of lots of hate ever since Dragon Age 2 came out in 2011. Since then, it’s just been one things after another- first, Dragon Age 2 itself, then Mass Effect 3’s ending, then BioWare’s DLC policy, then the not so impressive release of The Old Republic.
BioWare has been taking fan feedback into account while developing their next games, but recently, the developer feels the feedback has become more harmful than constructive due to its overly negative nature.
Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider admits that BioWare no longer uses the BioWare Social Network forums for feedback since people there are becoming “increasingly toxic” and reading some of the negative comments their “depresses” the devs. He says that BioWare does take constructive criticism into account, but after a point it becomes a bit too much.
“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 wrote in a blog post. That’s not a good feeling to have.”
“I’m sure there are folks there who would bristle at that comment, suggesting that all negative feedback is justifiable and that ignoring it is the equivalent of us sticking our heads in the sand,” he continued. “How will we ever improve unless we listen to their scolding and take our lumps like good little developers?
“That is, of course, ignoring the idea that we haven’t already digested a mountain of feedback- both positive and negative- and there’s really only so much of it you can take. Eventually you make decisions (informed by that feedback, though only in part- it can only ever be in part) and move on.”
“I imagine that can happen to any online community,” he went on. “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.”
He then assured readers that BSN is not the only place BioWare goes to for feedback. “At any rate, rest assured that the BSN is not the only place we go to see what ‘our fans’ think about something,” he wrote. “I suspect you’d get a skewed opinion of almost any game if you went solely by its dedicated online community.
“They certainly serve their place, and if you want to gauge the temperature of the hardest of the hardcore’s opinions about core matters there’s probably no better place to go… but representative of all fans? Not in the slightest.”
You can see the cynicism and bitterness in his post, and it’s completely understandable. Despite what the haters have been saying, BioWare has been doing an excellent job over the decades, and equally so in recent years. The hate has become a bit too much, and people are forgetting the good stuff and choosing to focus on the negatives, and in turn, they’re spreading this negativity.
You can read the full blog post here.