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Game News Building a better RPG: The BioWare Way

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age 2

    <p>It looks like BioWare is concerned about the first impression their RPGs deliver ever since they learned that a large amount of people stopped playing Dragon Age after a few hours. <a href="http://www.destructoid.com/building-a-better-rpg-hands-on-dragon-age-ii-s-intro-194232.phtml" target="_blank">First impressions are important</a>, Mike Laidlaw ponders.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>BioWare's made no secret of the fact that they keep a running tab of player metrics, and <em>Dragon Age: Origins</em>&nbsp;was no different.</p>
    <p>They learned a few neat tidbits --&nbsp;"more people played warriors than rogues or mages" explains&nbsp;lead designer Mike Laidlaw -- but they also learned something that changed their approach to <em>Dragon Age II</em>.</p>
    <p>"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?" explains Laidlaw. The <em>Dragon Age</em>&nbsp;team might have chalked some of those lost players up to rentals, but the statistics didn't back it up: a significant number of people simply stopped playing <em>Dragon Age: Origins</em>&nbsp;after a few hours.</p>
    <p>"I think what it really spoke to is something RPGs have been wrestling with for a long time: that first impression," says Laidlaw.</p>
    <p>So they fixed it.</p>
    <p>"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and ... it hits you in the face with a thousand stats. Those stats are very cool, but you may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with them as your first thing to do in the game," he says.</p>
    <p>To keep people from checking out early, Laidlaw's team totally reinvigorated <em>Dragon Age II</em>'s intro. The result is so seamless and subtle that players might not even realize they're being taught to play the game. Sure, there are some button prompts here or there, but the way <em>Dragon Age II</em>&nbsp;introduces its combat and narrative are remarkably elegant.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Are you an emotionally and mentally prepared enough dude for a BioWare RPG?</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/101690-dragon-age-ii-interview.html">GB</a></p>
     
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  2. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    First impression... so basically what the demo is, right?

    :lol:

    From what I've heard on the Dex DAII has got a totally radically utterly invigorated intro. With massive tits.
     
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  3. Spectacle Arcane Patron

    Spectacle
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    Why not just make the entire game one extended tutorial? Culminating with the introduction of the "win" button just as you encounter the final boss.
     
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  4. cocorulverde Educated

    cocorulverde
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    And dwarven chest hair. The pinnacle of subtlety and elegance.
     
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  5. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Emotionally unprepared? Oh wow.
     
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  6. turn_based_fanboy Educated

    turn_based_fanboy
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    Fortunatly Square Enix lend them some developers who taught Bioware than proper narration for RPG works like this:

    cutscene->cutscene-> kill 3 mobs -> cutscene -> kill 3 mobs-> cutscene -> cutscene - > kill mini boss ... ;)
     
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  7. curry Arcane

    curry
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    A few hours is when you get to the Tedious Roads, right? :D
     
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  8. Drog Black Tooth Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    What they did in DA2 is actually a pretty common thing in Japanese games. Hell, it's even a trope.
     
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  9. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    True, Assassin's Creed and Prototype come to mind.
     
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  10. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    Depending on which branch of the wide nonlinear open world(tm) you choose and how fast you play. I guess most people would only reach Lothering in a few hours. My bet is actually on them seeing Loghain's derp betrayal at Ostagar.
     
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  11. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    The wave-by-wave defense of the whatever that village is supposed to be named. That's maximum derp. Good to see that DA2 does away with it by making every encounter in the demo work like that.
     
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  12. Gord Arcane

    Gord
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    The problem itself might actually be worth pondering about.
    How do I get new players into rpgs?

    This might be a shock for Bioware, but someone with reasonable experience will pick up an rpg exactly for the issues described by Mr Laidlaw.
    A more inexperienced, less refined player probably not so much, true. But will this only happen after a few hours?

    Anyway, instead of thinking about a good way of slowly introducing a newbie to the concepts of an rpg, indeed their solution nowadays seems to be to take said concepts out of the game instead or make them mostly meaningless, alienating the fans of (classic) rpgs.
     
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  13. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    Yes. Yes that would fit nicely. As with most of DAO, there were twice too many mobs. In this case twice too many waves.
     
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  14. Excommunicator Arcane

    Excommunicator
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    I have no doubt that I was one of those statistics.

    You go to the trouble of secretly collecting information about the playing habits of every player around the world and then you simply pull conclusions out of the fucking air, "Oh they're leaving? That can only be because OUR GAMES ARE TOO COMPLICATED FOR THEM. WE MUST SIMPLIFY MORE!"

    If it was just the stats, then they would leave during character creation, genius.

    The start is important, and in DA it is boring and badly made. Get it into your head.
     
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  15. Gosling Liturgist

    Gosling
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    Some real gems in the comments section.
     
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  16. torpid Liturgist

    torpid
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    Mentally and emotionally unprepared? They really think their audience is a bunch of retards. Hell, I guess they aren't even that far off the mark. At this point the gameplay of a Bioware game is irrelevant; all that matters is the epic storyline and deep romancin'. They could make a platformer with two or three stats, throw a Gaider-written story and some furry sex on top and tada! RPG of the year. It's the end result of putting story over gameplay and pandering to the emo nerds who want those kind of stories.
     
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  17. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    I have a quiz for you, let's assume you're fighting the dorkspawn and dorkspawn blood makes you lethally sick. What would you do?

    A) try to avoid it
    B) smear it over your nose for teh lulz
     
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  18. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    I also trust Bioware knows what they're doing. I trust they know they're tricking suckers to get their jewgold :smug:

    B, cuz it's the choice that has consequences. I choos to smear the blood over my nose and lulz are consequences.
     
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  19. Gosling Liturgist

    Gosling
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    The true codexian answer would be "lulz"? :M
     
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  20. Excommunicator Arcane

    Excommunicator
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    A) assuming "it" is the game
     
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  21. Demnogonis Saastuttaja Magister

    Demnogonis Saastuttaja
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    If you make a game that could as well be named "Grindmaster the Endless Battle" you better make character developement and loot satisfying as hell. But that's a gameplay thing so I don't think Bioware could understand that.
     
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  22. tehRPness Educated

    tehRPness
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    Sounds like they found out how to make a game that Everyone likes, without being being emotionally overwhelming by having depth or intelligence.

    It's the Da Vinci Code of gaming, and who else but Bioware could have cracked it!

    /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh /cry /laugh *head explodes in fiery particle effects, and my body disappears immediately so as not to cause lag*
     
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  23. Abelon Blanchetourbe Educated

    Abelon Blanchetourbe
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    [​IMG] I want to be a dragon.
     
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  24. Kaanyrvhok Arbiter

    Kaanyrvhok
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    The irony. With the exception of DA:O and Mass Effect all of Bioware's RPGs and most western RPGs are really boring in the initial tutorial phase. Bioware learned to buck that with their recent RPGs. Unfortunately for me DA:O became just as boring after the tutorial phase as games like KOTOR and Baldur's Gate were in their tutorial phase.

    Developers like to over-analyze. They got the beginning of the game right and little else.
     
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