Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bioware politely kicks ass, takes names.
March 26, 2011 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Bioware has been well appreciated for their integration of LGB inclusive play options into Dragon Age, but recently, Dave Gaider has warmed hearts and hopes with his response to a player disgruntled by this.

previouslyish
posted by Blasdelb (202 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was watching this unfold with glee. Or Glee. Whatever.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:50 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


And he's not dead!

I was watching this unfold with glee. Or Glee. Whatever.

Ooh, an internet debate in the form of a musical? Sign me up!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:52 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as "political correctness" if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They're so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don't see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what's everyone's fuss all about? That's the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

Bt george I think he's got it.
posted by Splunge at 2:53 PM on March 26, 2011 [71 favorites]


Fascinating. It seems noteworthy to me that few of the 'Straight Male gamers' the complainant goes on about are likely to be mages or rogues (I guess a few might be warriors) and yet he seems to get this part of the concept of role playing without any problem.
posted by biffa at 2:55 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't own any bioware games at the moment. That response and hearing about the inclusive content in the game, however, is enough to make me think of checking dragon age II out.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:58 PM on March 26, 2011


EXCUSE ME, THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OPTION TO VIEW THIS MESSAGE BOARD HAS A CANADIAN FLAG ON IT. OUT OF SENSITIVITY TO THOSE OF US WHO ARE AMERICAN AND WHO DO NOT WISH TO HEAR ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES, PLEASE ELIMINATE THIS OPTION
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:03 PM on March 26, 2011 [45 favorites]


"It makes things very awkward when your male companions keep making passes at you."

So as a straight male this guy perceives he should have the ability to dictate when sexual advances can be made in video games, just like he already does in reality? That is so very messed up. What an interesting example of male privilege explicitly acknowledged.
posted by mek at 3:03 PM on March 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


Internet Poll: Did the designers seep to push Anders at the player?

There's more discussion in the related thread about the relationship options with Anders, if you haven't played the game and don't know about the game dynamics.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on March 26, 2011


That response is perfect. I love Bioware even more now.

I'm also rather intrigued by the idea that the interactive nature of video games can lead to unique and important teachable moments to people about their privilege.
posted by naju at 3:06 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


That angry straight male gamer really needs a hug.

One would think that the game being developed by Polish producers would not be able to connect with a English speak audience.

Classic!
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:07 PM on March 26, 2011


Internet Poll: Did you find the Anders Romance...forced? Like there seemed almost no way to avoid a romance with Anders without taking drastic measures to avoid it?

When that guy from the other office made a pass it you did it seem like there was almost no way to avoid a romance with him without taking drastic measures to avoid it or did you just blow the whole thing way out of proportion because it made you uncomfortable?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 3:09 PM on March 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


One would think that the game being developed by Polish producers would not be able to connect with a English speak audience.

The mind boggles. Next thing, you'll be telling me the Japanese might connect with a worldwide gaming audience.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"EXCUSE ME, THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OPTION TO VIEW THIS MESSAGE BOARD HAS A CANADIAN FLAG ON IT. OUT OF SENSITIVITY TO THOSE OF US WHO ARE AMERICAN AND WHO DO NOT WISH TO HEAR ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES, PLEASE ELIMINATE THIS OPTION"

psssst! Bioware is a Canadian company!
posted by Blasdelb at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Over our vacation two weeks ago, I sat and watched my husband play hours and hours of Dragon Age. Now I'm wishing he had been playing Dragon Age 2. Although I would've missed Alistair. The YouTube commenter who called him the "most manly virgin in the history of mankind" was right. Sexy, sexy, sexy.

I have the hots for a video game character. Oh my word, I'm so ashamed.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The original poster is correct though, in that DA2 is remarkable for its foregrounding of unconventional and problematic characters. It's hardly perfect, but they are making an active effort to engage the player in interesting ways, which open up these sorts of discussions, so, good for them.
posted by mek at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2011


I'm so impressed with the quote Splunge posted above. It is perhaps the best summary of privilege (whether it be white, male, straight, whatever, just privilege) that I have ever read.

I've often found myself needing to "prove" that there is such a thing as privilege at all, and been unable to articulate it. That quote does such a great job of putting it very succinctly.
posted by !Jim at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Love Bioware games. HATED Dragon Age 2, for reasons unrelated to this.

My male rogue Hawke romanced Anders, and it led to nifty end-game consequences.

But I have no urge to slog through that game again and do it differently to see another outcome.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2011


The disgruntled player is kind of a dick:
It's odd to me that David realized that not all straight male gamers like the same thing, yet thought it prudent to try to include a cast that would be liked by straight male gamers, straight female gamers, gays and lesbians with a development time of 18 months. I just hope that the next game BioWare will get its priorities right or spend more time making the game.

...

Seeing as how this post has been linked by a few sites, I thought it'd be proper for me to write a response to Gaider's reply:

I don't see how Gaider's reply was in anyway blasting my arguments. In fact, what Gaider basically said was that "You're right. Dragon Age 2 was not made specifically for "straight male gamer" in mind. It was made to be all-inclusive." And that was exactly the accusation I was making. I'm not here to debate the moralities of homosexuality, I personally find it to be digusting but others will feel different, that isn't the point of this thread.
In short, "I (the straight male) am your only target, make this game only for me and people like me!" Dave Gaider's comments made me think of some of Brandon Sanderson's previously discussed comments - that you can't make the world different or more simple by ignoring the parts you don't like or that make you feel uncomfortable. By including the option for bi/gay romance, the games just got more realistic, in some small way. Maybe the scripting was still off, or the options for dialogue were weird, but they were there - the chance for people to experience in-game relationships they have in the real world.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I suspect the subtext might be that The Witcher provided a superior gaming experience because it has boobies in.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


While I am a straight male gamer, a number of male and female characters I've played have had homosexual relationships. This doesn't threaten my sexuality, because I am not my character.
posted by skymt at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2011 [27 favorites]


... well appreciated for their integration of LGB inclusive play options

What, no "T's?"

Bigots.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:22 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


this video game about elves and dragons does not cater enough to the way i live my life
posted by p3on at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2011 [53 favorites]


What, no "T's?"

Actually, I'm pretty sure just making characters of either gender equally viable ends up qualifying as T-friendliness, all things being equal, though I'm all kinds of cisgendered so I'll let other people make that call.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2011


Right outcome, wrong reasons.

"The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one."
posted by pla at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2011


I've often found myself needing to "prove" that there is such a thing as privilege at all, and been unable to articulate it. That quote does such a great job of putting it very succinctly.

Here. Print this out, and put it in your wallet. The next time you need to prove such a thing, you'll have a great list of the assumptions of privilege.

It's not as succinct as that quote, but it's worked for me in the past.
posted by hippybear at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


As I said before, I estimate that the number is around 80% (this includes straight males gamers who plays a females). Now if my numbers are at all wrong (that in reality the split is 60-40-10 (male, female, gay), then consider this post to be null and void, I've wasted your time (No doubt some of you already feel that way).
Dude is bad at math and at logic.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:28 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not a gamer, but it sounds like pretending to be straight is hard when there are other options.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm amazed and gratified that the moderator explicitly brought up the concept of privelege. Very few people in 'mainstream' contexts (i.e. people who aren't involved in activism/academia) seem to understand it, and fewer still accept it.

The original complaint is a classic example of what happens when somebody's privilege is challenged and they're too immature to deal with it.
posted by anaximander at 3:32 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


mek : So as a straight male this guy perceives he should have the ability to dictate when sexual advances can be made in video games, just like he already does in reality?

Um, in real life, you can usually tell, at least to some degree, how someone will respond to your advances before making them; and if totally uncertain, you can also take baby-steps in your flirting, rather than coming right out (no pun intended) and asking the guy in the next cube for BJ out of the blue.
posted by pla at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2011


I suspect the subtext might be that The Witcher provided a superior gaming experience because it has boobies in.

Boobgun!
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on March 26, 2011


I suspect the subtext might be that The Witcher provided a superior gaming experience because it has boobies in.
Oh Dragon Age 2 has boobies in, but according to dude, those are "exotic" boobies. I don't even know what he means by that.
posted by juv3nal at 3:34 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


you can also take baby-steps in your flirting, rather than coming right out (no pun intended) and asking the guy in the next cube for BJ out of the blue.

No no. That's doing it wrong. You don't ask for a blow job. You offer a blow job. That's how it works. The other guy may say "I'd rather blow you", but you never go around trying to get other people to suck your dick. That's, like, ultimate douche behavior.

(If that's how you REALLY want to roll, buy a light blue bandana and put it in your left rear pocket.)
posted by hippybear at 3:36 PM on March 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


Wait, I don't play these games, but I assumed you killed orcs or dragons or took Ordure or something. What's with the "romances" and fuckery?
posted by orthogonality at 3:37 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in the middle of a Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2 playthrough and goddamn those games are good and also I found a Planetes (!) reference in the Cerberus News Network entries, a PLANETES reference, a reference to my favorite work of science fiction of all time that practically nobody has ever seen but there it is right in my Mass Effect and

what I'm getting at is I fucking love Bioware so fucking much today.
posted by pts at 3:38 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wait, I don't play these games, but I assumed you killed orcs or dragons or took Ordure or something. What's with the "romances" and fuckery?
On the plus side, I am probably going to be having some gay elf sex any day now.
posted by juv3nal at 3:40 PM on March 26, 2011


I'm still trying to contain my outrage that there were no homosexual characters in World Of Goo.
posted by hippybear at 3:42 PM on March 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wait, so this guy is freaked out because a video game character made a pass at him? Seriously? Is that what this is about?
posted by EarBucket at 3:44 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't really have a wide stance. I'm just drawn that way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:45 PM on March 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's so much evil, fucked-up, ignorant shit in that fanboy's block of whining that I'm struggling to pick just one example - let's go with this fucked up notion, though:

The fact that a "No Homosexuality" option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point

Wow. Yeah, Pat Robertson has the same issue with real life. It just ain't fair sometimes, you know? Does anything get caught in beta testing anymore?
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:46 PM on March 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


those are "exotic" boobies. I don't even know what he means by that.

Haven't played much through DA2, but I'm pretty sure he means "not white" by that, so tack on another dimension of privilege the guy is complaining from.

Love Bioware. As a straight, white, male gamer, who almost never plays straight, white, male characters, I really appreciate it when there's some attention given to gay, bi, and "exotic" options.
posted by mrgoat at 3:46 PM on March 26, 2011


So I guess this means I should buy this game, right? Will it take away the pain of having done pretty much every single version of the Alistair and Zevran romances available?
posted by NoraReed at 3:47 PM on March 26, 2011


(If that's how you REALLY want to roll, buy a light blue bandana and put it in your left rear pocket.)

Now, there is an idea for a video game: Bandana Code -- "Gotta Get 'em All!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:48 PM on March 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


"hanky code"...

I'm just wondering whether gameplay would involve more than simply having the camera pan to a lighted candle and then fade out.
posted by hippybear at 3:49 PM on March 26, 2011


As someone who usually completely ignores achievements, I've got to say, I would go after that as a border collie would a ham frisbee.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:54 PM on March 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


So a video game player can't get laid even in the game? That does seem like a problem to me.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:59 PM on March 26, 2011


juv3nal: You're quite right. Specifically, what The Witcher has over Dragon Age 2 is bare boobies. Dragon Age love scenes keep the underwear on, which must be a slap in the face for straight male gamers.

Slightly more seriously, on the "No Homosexuality" option, I've been playing a game by Positech (creators of Gratuitous Space Battles) lately called Kudos 2. It's a life sim - you play a man or woman who has just turned 20, and has to get a career, a social circle, education and so on. That has a button which you click to enable same-sex relationships, which is off by default. Clicking it, as far as I can tell, makes all the player character's friends bisexual, so everyone becomes a potential romance option. Which struck me as an interesting game design choice.

(It also reminds me of Robert Yang's quite lovely Half-Life 2 mods, Radiator, where the first-person perspective briefly concealed the fact that the player and his husband were men, leading to an impassioned post to his forum reading "I demand you remake this game without the GAY". Ah, gamers.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:01 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


As someone who usually completely ignores achievements, I've got to say, I would go after that as a border collie would a ham frisbee.

The first Dragon Age gave achievements like "First Knight!" for romancing Alistair the Templar, and "Witches Gone Wild!" for romancing the female mage. The second one is a little more oblique but it is interesting.

The interesting thing about the game is that anyone looking for cues should totally have picked up on the possibility that Anders was bi. Idle background comments about how "Everyone knew everyone" back at his old circle of mages, hints at his prior relationship with another male mage who has to be rescued in the game, and dialogue options that (in the game) are clearly leading up to romance in the game.

I, too, was playing a male character and had decided I wanted to avoid an Anders relationship, primarily because of... other baggage that his character is toting around. The moment in the dialogue tree that the original disgruntled gamer complained about came up, my character hemmed-and-hawed a "We should just be friends" answer, and I had to spend a little time regaining positive friend karma with Anders after the hit I took from turning down the relationship.

The relationship handling in the game isn't exactly high literature, but it's certainly more fluid and integrated than most other games. There are problems in DAII, but straight male gamers who feel violated by the fact that a character says, "We should... spend more time together..." are definitely deep in the throes of privilege.
posted by verb at 4:08 PM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I love Mass Effect, but I wish the ME team would take a cue from the DA team on romance options. Casey Hudson had typical bullshit excuses for why there's only het options in ME 1 and 2, except for possible lesbian romances that don't even count (they try to claim Asari aren't female, and Kelly only counts as a fling). No gay male possibilities at all.
posted by kmz at 4:09 PM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm a straight male gamer and I accidentally made out with Anders. I was just being friendly, but then I didn't have the heart to send him away, so now he lives with me, apparently. Also, my character looks like Leonard Nemoy if that excites anyone.
posted by cmoj at 4:15 PM on March 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


I love Mass Effect, but I wish the ME team would take a cue from the DA team on romance options.

Seriously. Given the dialogue about interspecies...complications, you'd think gay sex wouldn't be that hard to deal with.
posted by yeloson at 4:15 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not a hardcore gamer, but one of the reasons I'm not is that games seem to be mostly built for folks like the guy whose whinging that brought on Gaider's answer. I don't know that I want to learn to get into games, but I'm glad someone knocked down my prejudices and proved them wrong.

(And now I need to go find my friend's negative-sounding review of this game and figure out whether I need to bitch him out for complaining about this. I hope my faith in you isn't in vain, friend.)
posted by immlass at 4:17 PM on March 26, 2011


Also, for my money DA1 was better. It wasn't so polished and it felt more like figuring out things within a preexisting system rather than taking on the strategic character builds that are built in to the game. Also, more importantly, the character creation system allowed you to make much wackier looking people, which made parts of the game pretty hilarious.
posted by cmoj at 4:17 PM on March 26, 2011


I'm playing a female character that I decided early on was pretty heavily gay, and have the pirate chick as my girlfriend. All well and good.

..but I found it annoying how hard it was not to have Anders think you're in love with him. I found myself screaming "I need a healer but I DON'T GO THAT WAY!"

I'm really enjoying this game....
posted by lumpenprole at 4:19 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


EXCUSE ME, THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OPTION TO VIEW THIS MESSAGE BOARD HAS A CANADIAN FLAG ON IT.

Honestly, using the flag of a bilingual country to represent English is pretty irritating to me!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:25 PM on March 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dragon Age love scenes keep the underwear on

I burst out laughing when I saw what Merrill wears in bed.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:27 PM on March 26, 2011


This is great from a sociological point of view, sure, but as somebody who has put about 60 hours into DA2 so far (nightmare mode, baby) it's kind of lazy storytelling. Some people are straight. Some people are gay. Some people are bi. It breaks suspension of disbelief for everybody to be willing to hop into the sack with everybody else regardless of gender permutations. Isabela was established as bi in the first Dragon Age so no problem there. But the characterization of Anders is so off from Awakenings that it's jarring. I don't buy it.

So, yeah, Gaider's response was great. But even better for the game would be to maintain consistent characterization. It doesn't feel inclusive, it feels forced. DAO had both straight and gay characters of both genders and it did not feel forced, so I know they can do it. For all the things I really like about DA2 it absolutely could have cooked for another 6 months or so before release.

Also: I wish The Isabela and Aveline Show was on every day on every channel. I've never been so "oh shit!" at a game before. Damn do they get all up in eachother's business. Two lines from the greatest scene in history:

Isabela: Wasn't Lady Man-Hands married?
Aveline: I've had just about enough of your loose lips. Like many, I'm sure.

O SNAP. I can't believe she went there.

In summary, if Ashley Williams isn't in the ME3 Arrival DLC in a few days I'm going to burn this motherfucker down.
posted by Justinian at 4:32 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a shame this kind of thing probably won't make it in to The Old Republic.


/prove me wrong, Lucas, I'm sure Bioware would be on board.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:33 PM on March 26, 2011


I'd really only want a homosexuality option if one of the characters looks like David Bowie. As pretty much all elves look, to some extent, like David Bowie, my first question regarding this game is as follows:

Does it have elves in it?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:36 PM on March 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's kind of odd how dudes of this type often seem to have this idea that "gay guy makes pass at you" = "you become gay and will give in to his desires like a helpless boykitten." Instead of just saying "no thanks."

Reminds me of that one Republican guy who was against gay marriage (I think) on the principle that Teh Gay would be too irresistable to any man, and all straight marriages would fall apart once men knew they could choose dick over pussy. Was that Santorum? Can't remember, but it certainly raised a few eyebrows at the time.
posted by emjaybee at 4:37 PM on March 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes. There are elves.

And Fenris, the ferociously vengeful warrior elf, looks like a cross between Thin White Duke era Bowie and Jareth from Labyrinth.

You're welcome.
posted by grabbingsand at 4:38 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here he is. Does he remind you of the babe?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:40 PM on March 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


What, no "T's?"

I always have to remind myself the Mass Effect games are supposed to be way more cis than I've thought of them since way back in ME1, when I created a 'female' Shepard and called him James.

Quite comfortable in being considered a 'he' but with having acquired some fierce implants and collagen before he signed up with the Alliance navy, James Shepard's heartbreaking, reporter-punching, Illusive Man-upsetting adventures are the stuff of erotic and slightly terrifying legend. Also, like all trans people, he can launch himself directly forwards at a hundred miles an hour with the power of his mind. He doesn't know who Jacob is. Miranda hates him. He was last seen hurriedly informing the whole crew to under absolutely no circumstances tell Garrus that's not what all human females look like downstairs. The Reapers don't stand a chance.
posted by emmtee at 4:44 PM on March 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


What babe?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:44 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's basically making the majoritarian argument based on a self-perpetuating cycle, namely, that if you consistently and exclusively cater to the straight white male gamer, the majority of gamers will be straight white men. And he doesn't see a problem with that. In fact, the only problem that he has with that scenario is that Witcher doesn't have the same budget as DA2, so the boobies are not as boobalicious as they could be.

I swear. Bioware should give Jack in ME2 a strap-on, for use on either gender of Shepard, just because of this guy.

OK, just because, period. Don't tell me you didn't think of it first.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:46 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I burst out laughing when I saw what Merrill wears in bed.

"Merrill... are you a bee?"
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:48 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


What babe?

The babe with the power.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:49 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"The babe with the power."

What power?
posted by Blasdelb at 4:51 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, another piece of DA fan fuckery: apparently somebody made a mod to make Isabela blonde, pale skinned and with blue eyes. Yeah.
posted by kmz at 4:52 PM on March 26, 2011


Only just started playing this. My pretend dude is pretend-going after Isabela. Pretend-pursuing Merrill just seems...wrong. She looks and sounds like she's about 16. I pretend-flirted with Fenris for a bit but he's really obnoxious and keeps picking on my pretend sister.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:53 PM on March 26, 2011


What power?
The power of voodoo.
posted by juv3nal at 4:54 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


What power?
The power of voodoo.


Who do?
posted by verb at 4:56 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


You do!
posted by lumensimus at 4:57 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found myself screaming "I need a healer but I DON'T GO THAT WAY!"

I swear I've heard something very similar to this at one of the "not a gay bar but here's our open customer policy so deal with it" bars here in the Spokane area.
posted by hippybear at 5:00 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You do!

Do what?
posted by Snyder at 5:09 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think Bioware should drop all pretense and just make a "Dragon Age: Visual novel edition" game. They seem to hate developing the combat parts of the game already, so why not just remove them completely?
posted by ymgve at 5:09 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do what?

Remind me of a babe.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:14 PM on March 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


It doesn't feel inclusive, it feels forced. DAO had both straight and gay characters of both genders and it did not feel forced, so I know they can do it. For all the things I really like about DA2 it absolutely could have cooked for another 6 months or so before release.
Technically, no. It had two bi characters and two straight characters. The only "plot-centric" characters were the straight ones. There were no homosexual characters. After the release of DA, they actually got a lot of pushback for that. Dragon Age II on the other hand has four bi characters, one chaste character, and one character that just doesn't get it on with anyone. Of those two bi characters, two of them take a ridiculous amount of work to woo regardless of gender and two will hit on you at least once without prompting. The dialogue and decision paths feel no more forced than playing with, say, Zevron's constant flirtation in the first Dragon Age. At least, IMO.

BioWare RPGs could always cook for another six months and be better for it. But six months wouldn't have created new characters to round out straight and homosexual characters in addition to the bi ones. In a game where every single line of dialogue has high quality voice acting, I don't think it's lazy storytelling to say, "No, we're not going to add two or three more party members, balance them for gameplay, write new backstories and quest trees for them, build game assets for them, and so on..." versus just saying, "They swing both ways and we've integrated that into the story.

I was prepared to gripe about the changes in DAII, but for what it's worth they've done a much better job of making a compelling narrative inside the constraints of an asset-heavy RPG than before.

Also: I wish The Isabela and Aveline Show was on every day on every channel. I've never been so "oh shit!" at a game before. Damn do they get all up in eachother's business.

Only if the Isabela and Fenris show is on afterwards. Or Isabela and Varric. Or pretty much anyone and Isabela. The side-conversation dialogue is excellent.
posted by verb at 5:16 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Bioware should drop all pretense and just make a "Dragon Age: Visual novel edition" game. They seem to hate developing the combat parts of the game already, so why not just remove them completely?

If you're complaining about Dragon Age II's combat system, it's clear you've never played a Final Fantasy game.
posted by verb at 5:18 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I may have to reconsider my position of saving about $80 and waiting two years for a game of the year edition. Damn you BioWare!

But honestly, the response just rocks. Yes, it was done for ease, but as a long time devotee of the Baldur's Gate games, I cannot tell you how happy I was during the one game where I accidentally changed my female character to male (Wild Magic) and thus started the romance side quest with Viconia. It was a little weird because a lot of the dialogue is gender specific, but I was too pleased that my character didn't have to romance Anomen to care.
posted by Hactar at 5:27 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's have a big hand for the "Dance magic dance" re-enactors, who struggled on tbrough discussion irrelevant and combo-breakers unnumbered to finish the job. Everything they've done, they've done for you.
posted by No-sword at 5:33 PM on March 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


apparently somebody made a mod to make Isabela blonde, pale skinned and with blue eyes. Yeah.

Mod sites have always been a terrifying look into the collective psyche of the PC RPG player; if you're so inclined you can play with infinite gold, superweapons, and naked giant-breasted women all around you, like Hugh Hefner. If Hugh Hefner had superweapons.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:33 PM on March 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Only if the Isabela and Fenris show is on afterwards. Or Isabela and Varric. Or pretty much anyone and Isabela. The side-conversation dialogue is excellent.

Yeah, I know some people are down on Isabela because she's so Miss Giantboobs McSluttyPants, but her dialogue really is very often hilarious (transcript of all her banter, spoilers obviously).
posted by juv3nal at 5:35 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're all Miss Giantboobs! Even Hawke's mom. I was looking for the dialogue option that was like "Mommmmmm!"
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:38 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What, no "T's?"

Maybe the same impulses that let you play muscled barbarians and spellcasters also mean you don't have to play a character that's trapped in another gender's body.

Also, body switching has probably been built in for quite some time -- Nethack can't be the only RPG that's had something like an amulet of change for while...
posted by namespan at 5:39 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The biggest disagreement my girlfriend and I have had in our 6 year relationship was our respective choices of sexual partner in Mass Effect 2. She went for Miranda (boring) and I went for Garrus (obviously). Our choices are probably more psyhcologically telling than either of us are comfortable admitting.

More on topic, I have great respect for Bioware for making games that people remember for the characters and virtual relationships rather than the (somewhat hackneyed) storylines and game mechanics.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:39 PM on March 26, 2011


>> I burst out laughing when I saw what Merrill wears in bed.
> "Merrill... are you a bee?"

ok, curious...
posted by ryanrs at 5:42 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Our choices are probably more psyhcologically telling than either of us are comfortable admitting.

T'other half and I have observed that in Dragon Age 2 we each chose the romantic partner whose personality most closely matched our own. I don't know whether we're narcissists or just deeply unwell.

Merrill for me, Isabella for hir
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:44 PM on March 26, 2011


ryanrs It's a sort of... black and yellow striped one-piece.

Elf. Blood mage. Bee.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:51 PM on March 26, 2011


Honestly, using the flag of a bilingual country to represent English is pretty irritating to me!

Canada is bi? Man, those guys are so progressive.
posted by Bonzai at 5:55 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


You can see the sexy Merrill bee suit in all its glory in this clip. Warning: spoilers! Warning: obviously non-canon beardy male Hawke!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:02 PM on March 26, 2011


Choice of camera angles for the kissing scenes in Bioware games always makes me laugh. These days they're better at hiding the limitations of their engine, but in Dragon Age: Origins the romancing looked like a couple of crash test dummies bouncing off each other.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:04 PM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


apparently somebody made a mod to make Isabela blonde, pale skinned and with blue eyes. Yeah.

Yes. And another very popular mod at the major DA modding site leaves Isabela's skin tone and eyes alone but puts pants on her to cover her up a little. I don't think the former is necessarily any more informative than the latter. There are people who make mods for almost anything.

I'm tempted by the "Isabela Pants" mod myself. I mean, what the hell is she wearing? Did she run out of time while getting dressed or something?
posted by Justinian at 6:06 PM on March 26, 2011


I feel upset that these fantasy roleplaying games often lack classes that reflect realistic jobs for the people playing them.

For example, I am currently studying computer science at college. I imagine many other people playing these games are also college students. It'd be silly to have my occupation be a position as a student, but maybe I could play as a programmer, who specializes in perhaps C++ or Python. Instead, I get offered things like mage, warrior, cleric, rogue, bard, etc. I have never met people with these jobs. It's clearly catering towards people in niche positions who probably don't even play video games that often in the first place.

In short, among other reasons, this is why I found it hard to be immersed in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:10 PM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's a sort of... black and yellow striped one-piece. Elf. Blood mage. Bee.

When I hear 'bee costume', I pretty much just think of pugs.
posted by ryanrs at 6:11 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have the hots for a video game character. Oh my word, I'm so ashamed.

That makes two of us. And my boyfriend who laughs at me. If Alistair were a real person, I'd be very, very interested.


Technically, no. It had two bi characters and two straight characters. The only "plot-centric" characters were the straight ones.


Technically, the only "plot-centric" companion is Alistair, as you can kill everyone else or send them away if you wanted to.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:12 PM on March 26, 2011


Elf. Blood mage. Bee.

Is this the new "rock paper scissors"?
posted by hippybear at 6:14 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


If Alistair were a real person, I'd be very, very interested.

Would you be prepared to darn his socks and wash his trousers, though? He'd just live in his own filth without Wynn.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:14 PM on March 26, 2011


Dragon Age II is severely underrated, IMO. I'm in the middle of writing like 5000 words about it now actually, bbl
posted by danb at 6:15 PM on March 26, 2011


Technically, the only "plot-centric" companion is Alistair, as you can kill everyone else or send them away if you wanted to.

True, though Morrigan is definitely more plot-centric than, say, Zevron. The two bi characters in DA are ones that you can actually miss entirely if you do things in the wrong order, or don't deliberately follow certain conversation paths. Playing through the game and never discovering a non-het character in DA is very easy.
posted by verb at 6:15 PM on March 26, 2011


In short, among other reasons, this is why I found it hard to be immersed in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.

mccarty.tim, I'd like to introduce you to Living In Oblivion.
posted by cortex at 6:16 PM on March 26, 2011


Oh, also, David Gaider is a stone cold motherfucker. Love that guy.
posted by danb at 6:19 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dragon Age II is severely underrated, IMO. I'm in the middle of writing like 5000 words about it now actually, bbl

I loved it, too. The overhauled combat system was a tonne of fun, enough that my second playthrough isn't solely to be the obligatory "second playthrough aggressive cock", but also to try a totally different party mix to the 2h warrior tank + magespam of my first run. I've used console commands to give my new Mage!Hawke Bethany as a party member though, because I tried it with Carver and oh god his voice acting bored me.

That they ran out of time stands out in virtually every scene, but the writing was still there even if the textures weren't, and I came out of it satisfied and wanting more. Like, please, more. Now!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:22 PM on March 26, 2011


Oh, don't sweat it ArmyOfKittens, there were like 20 pieces of downloadable & unlockable content made available on the day of release, and I'd suggest there will be 40 more before the inevitable "expansion pack".
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:24 PM on March 26, 2011


Okay so basically I read this thread and immediately went and rented the game. Should I be a male or female Hawke?
posted by NoraReed at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2011


Depends on what kind of ass you want to be looking at for the entire game.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm an equal opportunity ass-starer. Are both of the asses nice to look at?
posted by NoraReed at 6:32 PM on March 26, 2011


I've heard LadyHawke has a better VA than DudeHawke, but I don't think it's a slamdunk difference like Jennifer Hale vs Mark Meer.
posted by kmz at 6:32 PM on March 26, 2011


Man-Hawke has a pretty good ass, but chances are they're both going to be obscured by armour and bits of leather and stuff, so it's hard to say. I played both Mass Effect games as a female, and the three Dragon Age games as a male. I guess I'm equal opportunity as well depending on the period.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:35 PM on March 26, 2011


LadyHawke it is.

Also, I would play a Bioware Japanese-style dating sim SO HARD.
posted by NoraReed at 6:36 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


IMO Lady Hawke's voice acting is a bit better than Bloke Hawke's.

On preview: if you could have had Mark Meer's clothes as well as his voice I would have rolled manshep in a heartbeat.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:36 PM on March 26, 2011


You can see the sexy Merrill bee suit in all its glory in this clip.

Somewhere out there, a Romulan beekeeper is bookmarking this video.
posted by ryanrs at 6:38 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man-Hawke seems to be channeling a bit of Ewan McGregor-as-Obi-Wan in his voice acting. Afraid I haven't heard the Lady-Hawke. What easily-identifiable piece of pop-culture audio could be attributed to her?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:38 PM on March 26, 2011


I wonder loud that asshole gamer also complained about the lack of a "No black characters" option for the Elder Scrolls games. I mean it's important to know if he's just a homophobic asshole, or if he's an all-around white-privilege asshole.
posted by happyroach at 6:39 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would also like to go on record as wishing I could ask Mom Hawke to dial down the breasts a little, or maybe put on a cloak. Particularly as we're leaving Lothering -- I was surrounded by darkspawn, wondering if Mom's shoulders were getting cold.
posted by lillygog at 6:39 PM on March 26, 2011


You can see the sexy Merrill bee suit in all its glory in this clip.

Did you see the size of that lute?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:42 PM on March 26, 2011


I find it amusing that the name Anders was chosen for a character of "alternate" sexuality. Anders means different or otherwise in German.
posted by parrot_person at 6:43 PM on March 26, 2011


I would also like to go on record as wishing I could ask Mom Hawke to dial down the breasts a little, or maybe put on a cloak. Particularly as we're leaving Lothering -- I was surrounded by darkspawn, wondering if Mom's shoulders were getting cold.

Yeah, that's Varric's fault. You haven't gathered that he isn't always the most reliable of narrators?
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on March 26, 2011


...
Do what?
Remind me of the babe.


I have never been more proud, MetaFilter.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:48 PM on March 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reading about this on Kotaku the other morning gave me the greatest HELL YEAH moment I've ever had on that site, which granted, are pretty few & far between to begin with.

trying to hold out on getting DAII until they release the final edition with all the DLC. But my palms are itching pretty hard...
posted by smirkette at 6:52 PM on March 26, 2011


Yeah, that's Varric's fault. You haven't gathered that he isn't always the most reliable of narrators?

I'm only about one-third through, and this comment will greatly increase my enjoyment of the game going forward. "The Champion's breasts were huge. Isabela's too. The woman that sells trinkets -- also very large. Where was I?"
posted by lillygog at 6:56 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not making it up. Compare Bethany's bust size at the very start of the game when Varric is exaggerating with her appearance later. Varric is, ah, padding his story.
posted by Justinian at 7:12 PM on March 26, 2011


So is Dragon Age II actually a good game or what? I'm finding myself not super interested in it, even though I loved Dragon Age: Origins.

To me, the cut&paste dungeons and general half-assedness of it (based on what friends have said about it) makes it a deal killer.
posted by empath at 7:13 PM on March 26, 2011


We just met the jailbait character in FFXIII. As interesting as the tug-of-war between my neocortex and limbic system seems, I can't help but thinking that DA2 might be the healthier choice. They both still beat "drag the girl around by the arm" Ico for sociological health; I can only play that in small doses several weeks apart before I get utterly alienated.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:19 PM on March 26, 2011


My (straight male) friend was trying to sell me on Fable 3 yesterday and he was like 'you can marry a woman, move to another town, and marry a guy'. To this sometime RPG fan having insane amounts of options is what the genre is about. Yeah, as a straight male I'm PROBABLY going to choose that path but even just knowing other options are there makes the game more expansive and better in my eyes.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:22 PM on March 26, 2011


To me, the cut&paste dungeons and general half-assedness of it (based on what friends have said about it) makes it a deal killer.

Matter of preference, I think. People who really enjoyed micro-managing their companions' inventory, and really enjoyed collecting large bulk quantities of herbs to make healing potions, and really just wanted Dragon Age: Origins II... they're going to be disappointed. I found the dialogue trees in Dragon Age: Origins distractingly clumsy, with lots of pure-text trees buried all over the place and occasional pockets of voice acting littering the landscape.

The faster pace of the combat, the elimination of companion-specific inventory, and the (relative) simplification of the rune and crafting system are probably the biggest changes to gameplay mechanics. Skill trees have actually become MORE complex.

DA:O also suffered from the same overuse of recurring "sets" for things like wolf attacks while travelling, but it was also the first game of the series and not a sequel, so it couldn't be blamed on sophomore sequel laziness. The only really big annoyance for me was the fact that even though companions manage their own custom armor and can't be loaded down with alternate cloaks, boots, etc, you can still FIND gear that is restricted to them. If I can't Do anything with that mage-only ring, it shouldn't appear in the game's shops IMO. Minor gripe, though.

It's a matter of taste, but IMO the stuff they sacrificed wasn't missed beyond the period of adjustment. It's a Dragon Age game, through and through, and there are ample improvements to match the annoying stuff.
posted by verb at 7:27 PM on March 26, 2011


Wow. I did not think it would be possible for the blood to get more ridiculous than in Origins, but it did. Is everyone so busy complaining about the gayness that they have not complained at all about the fact that you cannot get into a single fight without looking like the Archdemon used you as a tampon?
posted by NoraReed at 7:31 PM on March 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've heard lots of complaints about this game that don't revolve around gayness.
My last Bioware game was Baldur's Gate 2. Will DA scratch the same itch? And will it look ok on an XBox with an SD TV?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:40 PM on March 26, 2011


I'm a little mixed on DA2, overall. There's a great deal to like; the voice acting and writing are outstanding, the combat system is good, and the talent trees are interesting. I especially like the smaller-scope story of DA2; you're not Saving The World this time, you're just a refugee trying to make your way and provide for your family in a city that doesn't particularly want you there. Your actions end up having a great deal of impact, but it was never intentional on your character's part. I absolutely LOVE that, and I wish more games were similar.

That said, the game suffers from a rushed development process. The thing that bothers me most is that there only about twenty or twenty-five total locations in the game. They re-use the same maps over and over and OVER and OVER. Each time you revisit an encounter map, different sets of doors will open and close, but they don't even change the minimap to reflect the fact that this is "a different area". Everything is still visible there, even parts that you can't reach on the present visit. You'll visit many of the maps twenty or more times, and 'secrets' are almost always in exactly the same spots.

DA1 did this a little bit with the random encounter areas, but it's just so enormous in comparison... I bet it's ten times bigger in terms of actual visitable, unique areas. Just the Mage Tower alone is several floors, each of which is big and complex and hides multiple secrets. Yes, the modeling and detail on the new zones is higher quality than DA1, but the sheer overwhelming repetition gets very old.

One of the major drivers for me in role-playing games is the sense of exploration, and you've seen about 95% of the total areas in the game by the end of Act 1.

My other major gripe is that the plot doesn't hold up very well in Act 3. I can't be terribly specific without spoilers, but numerous things happen that don't make a lot of sense. One (very minor) example is where one of your party member essentially announces to a Templar that he's an apostate mage, and the Templar doesn't even blink. (In this world, mages are hated and feared, and imprisoned in Circles, watched over by Templars, and lobotomized if they get out of line. This isn't as unreasonable as it might sound, as mages are prone to corruption and are terribly dangerous if that happens.) So the Templar not saying anything was extremely odd. That was just a minor passing conversation of no particular consequence, but there's quite a bit of that in Act 3.

On the whole, I'd call it inferior to DA1. The writing is better, and the central plot is a lot more interesting, but it needed more time and budget to get up to world-class. If DA1 was a home run, DA2 is a triple, and it just barely got on base.

And no, I'm not fetishizing DA1, either. That game had plenty of problems. Combat balance was particularly messy. But, regardless, I thought it was a better game than its sequel.

I'm exactly the other way on ME2; I enjoyed ME1, but was just absolutely hooked by 2. I don't mind changes if they're fun. A lot of the DA2 changes are fun, but the limited development budget... well, not so much.
posted by Malor at 7:50 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've heard lots of complaints about this game that don't revolve around gayness.
My last Bioware game was Baldur's Gate 2. Will DA scratch the same itch? And will it look ok on an XBox with an SD TV?


Yeah, it wouldn't be a Bioware game without game-crippling release bugs. I finished it without being hampered by them, but some folks are definitely annoyed. The "OMG TEH GAY" response seems to be pretty much restricted to that one dude on the forums.

DA:II is definitely a game that wants an HDTV. I played it on a 26" 720p TV and it felt like I was missing detail.
posted by verb at 7:51 PM on March 26, 2011


Both of the DA games are probably best on the PC.

If you've got a DX11 card with at least a gig of RAM, you can download a high-res texture pack for free that really sharpens the game up.
posted by Malor at 7:54 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


verb - It's a Dragon Age game, through and through, and there are ample improvements to match the annoying stuff.

Ok, so more Dragon-Age-ey and less Baldur's Gate... I don't have discretionary income or time, but is this Dragon-Age-ey/Mass-Effect-ive enough to give it a skip (at least until a full DLC version at a lower price comes out next year)?

I liked Origins, didn't end up playing Awakening. Mass Effect was interesting and totally fun but loaded with annoyances. ME2 was more streamlined and still somewhat fun but loaded with different annoyances (but with *awesome dialogue*; both seemed really concessive to console limitations. Only finished them to "get the story" and "get better kit." Finding it hard to finish Falllout: New Vegas since, near the endgame, you're kitted out and just trying to get everyone on your side to get a good ending. Lots of grinding. Fallout 3 was great; the post-ending DLCs were interesting but not compelling, though.

From 3rd party surface impressions, I'm disappointed in Bioware - more dumbing down and trying to appeal to a greater audience. Bethesda totally disappointed me with Oblivion: so much promise, so much goodness, so much fail (levelling opponents).

I guess Skyrim is my next "I hope you don't suck" title.
posted by porpoise at 8:04 PM on March 26, 2011


Wow. I did not think it would be possible for the blood to get more ridiculous than in Origins, but it did.

I don't feel like it's really significantly bloodier—I spent a lot of mid- or post-fight cutscenes in DA:O just as flecked with splatter. Though better yet, in both games, are the cut-scenes that happen while area effects persists, so a mild snarky conversation about how "well that went well..." happens amidst Bruckheimer-scale flames for no particular reason.

That said, I don't remember if there was this problem in the original, but the blood on the teeth? Awful. Not in a squeamish way, but in a half-assed way: blood on your teeth wouldn't be nice and static and red here, white there—it'd be all smeary, dammit. As it is, it just looks like your melee characters are wearing blackout or have been playing hockey or something. And symmetrical at that! Feh!

My last Bioware game was Baldur's Gate 2. Will DA scratch the same itch?

It's something like Baldur's Gate meets Knights Of The Old Republic, though if you haven't played KOTOR I suppose that doesn't help much. It's definitely got some of the tactical fiddliness joy from BG et al and a lot of the same motley crew, moral/ideological intraparty conflicts, no-simple-way-to-keep-everyone-happy stuff that made the NPC interactions in the BG games more interesting than the railroaded cameos of the Final Fantasy franchise.

Each time you revisit an encounter map, different sets of doors will open and close, but they don't even change the minimap to reflect the fact that this is "a different area". Everything is still visible there, even parts that you can't reach on the present visit.

God, yes. A bit of reskinning (different wallpaper, something!) and a modified minimap would go a long way to at least recognizing the problem. The asset recycling thing is really surprisingly overt this time out, and I don't know if it's more an issue of time crunch or developing more for the console side this time out (and where is my far-zoom tactical view, you bastards?) but it's kind of silly.

Details on what is otherwise a game I'm enjoying a great deal. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the Mass Effect 2-ification of this game but on the balance I'm enjoying it well. I don't miss scrounging for herbal components I'd end up hardly using; if I want to go that particular sort of mad, I'll play an Elder Scrolls game.
posted by cortex at 8:09 PM on March 26, 2011


I loved Alistair so much in DAO I had my very own "Queen of Ferelden" t-shirt made. (No judging!) I am super-thrilled that Gaider's getting less wishy-washy about challenging the bigots' expectations (that comment wasn't terrible, but the latest one's much, much better).

I think the DA2 characters are pretty great and I'm thrilled all the romance options are available to any player. I'm not sure I'm going to pull off the all-four hat trick in this playthrough, but I may in a future run, if I can stand going through the game again (the rumors I have heard about the third act worry me greatly).

The storyline, well... I do love the idea of a BioWare game not based around fighting a single big bad evil, and developing a home for a character over a longer period of time rather than traveling around the standard four locations. The execution's not what it could be (not by a long shot), but I have hope they'll get it more right in the next iteration. And the repetitive areas are just horrible, even if they're each done very prettily. You'd think they could at least have managed to get the inaccessible parts of the area off the map.

I'm not pleased with the changes to combat in DA2 (speeding it up, making it even bloodier), especially since I decided to play a rogue. She looks like a squirrel on speed bouncing around the screen, dousing herself in so much blood that I find it hard to follow the action. I've played both on console, and the requirement that you mash a button for each attack is just ridiculous (in general, but especially for rogues with their quick attacks). The amount of tedious work involved in fighting is enough that it has the opposite effect intended (the idea was to engage the player more in combat). There's no room to enjoy the squirrel-having-a-refreshing-blood-shower animation when I've got to hit that button as fast and often as I can.

In summary: the best part of the game so far is the conversation in which Isabela asks Fenris about his "magical fisting." Now, time to go try again to kill the boss at the end of the Deep Roads. I'm sure I'll get it this time!
posted by asperity at 8:12 PM on March 26, 2011


I don't feel like it's really significantly bloodier—I spent a lot of mid- or post-fight cutscenes in DA:O just as flecked with splatter

It's not the end-of-fight part that's so much bloodier, it's the actual fighting. Where I felt like the spatter of blood you'd see in the cutscenes in DAO was reasonable, in DA2 I figure the characters ought to look like they'd just washed their hair in it.
posted by asperity at 8:15 PM on March 26, 2011


And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least.

Gaider really sums up the hateful, selfish attitude of homophobes here, with the bonus of it being applicable to racists, sexists and a bunch of other -ists too.
posted by harriet vane at 8:29 PM on March 26, 2011


That said, I don't remember if there was this problem in the original, but the blood on the teeth? Awful.

I am playing the original now (I love it! It is great) and so far the only thing I've noticed is that everyone's got these amazing horrible brown teeth. I don't think that was intentional decision on the part of the game makers but I was reminded of Kate Beaton's strip. "I've like, never ever brushed my teeth."

There are apparently mods to fix the brown teeth and that is not something I plan to install.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:39 PM on March 26, 2011


Where was the ass-kicking and name-taking part? I read one right-wing guy defend majority privilege, and the Bioware guy politely disagree. Seems like a sad day for internet discourse when this counts as a huge victory, and probably more evidence of the failure of the web to function as a public forum because of the tendency for people retreat to their respective echo chambers.

The Bioware guy even signaled this: "You can write it off as 'political correctness' if you wish..." as if he knew that no-one would be swayed either way. It's depressing to me that we celebrate this, having our own voices heard. You read something and think "Yeah! I agree with that!" and feel satisfied, not caring if your side actually won the argument or not.

It's like how a few years ago, you'd see some progressive like Michael Moore go on O'Reilly and get into it with him, and it would be a big news item on Daily Kos: "Michael Moore stands up to the bully O'Reilly!" But if you checked Free Republic, you'd see a link to the exact same video: "O'Reilly leaves Michael Moore speechless" or something.

That's why Jon Stewart is wrong about civility - unlike Moore vs. O'Reilly, this was a very civil exchange, but it was still just an empty spectacle.
posted by AlsoMike at 8:40 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see it, Mike.

Of course he's probably not going to convince the obliviously selfish asshole right now.

He could very well change the minds of others reading it.

He could also very well contribute to the changing of the mind of the selfish asshole in a couple years.

I'm significant more mindful of the language I use than I was when I was 19, as well as more concerned with the impact my words have on others. That change in attitude came about in part because of many small interactions.
posted by kavasa at 8:56 PM on March 26, 2011


Heh, I'm generally on board the "fuck civility" train but that's about as kick ass a response you are going to get directly from a company on a question like that. It's a response in a professional context, not a cable news show.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:15 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wife was watching me play DA2 this last week and a bit, and she DEMANDED that I bang Anders despite my time honoured tradition of making strictly red-headed lesbian characters in Bioware games.

As I type this, she is sitting behind me playing DA:O with a nude patch so that she can get it on with Alistair.

Yeah.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:19 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So is Dragon Age II actually a good game or what? I'm finding myself not super interested in it, even though I loved Dragon Age: Origins.

I loved DA:O too; it was the first video game I finished in years, and I played it through multiple times as different classes. I've just started DA2, and so far, I find it really underwhelming. The cinematic elements are nice but the gameplay feels shallow and rushed to me. I've read complaints that the difference between them is because DA2 is really designed for consoles instead of PCs. If when DA3 comes out it's like DA:O, I'll get it, but if it's like DA2, I won't bother.

...But maybe I'm just being grumpy and Merrill will help me feel better about it if I keep playing.
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on March 26, 2011


And Fenris, the ferociously vengeful warrior elf, looks like a cross between Thin White Duke era Bowie and Jareth from Labyrinth.

You're welcome.


The only Fenris I'm familiar with is the member of Darkthrone, and thinking of him as a ferociously vengeful warrior elf just fills my withered, blackened, Nordic metal heart with joy.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:03 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus, do they teach kids nothing about Ragnarok in schools these days?
posted by Artw at 10:28 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't talk to your kids about Ragnarok, who will?
posted by asperity at 10:37 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


So am I the only one who hates Fenris? Because A: he looks like he wandered in from a JRPG from 1997, and B: he's the new Morrigan (as in, whenever you try to be nice to him, he'll just be a giant dick to you. Well, fine, jerkface! Take your emo haircut and fuck right off back to Tevinter!)
posted by Rangeboy at 10:48 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I just needed to get that off my chest.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:52 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you don't talk to your kids about Ragnarok, who will?

Papa Odin: Where did you learn to navigate a ship made of fingernails and toenails of the dead?

Little Loki: I learned it from watching you!
posted by homunculus at 11:23 PM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm getting a bit of a Jaheira-y vibe off of Aveline, though it might just be some... parallel story elements. (I'm just at the beginning of the game.)

I'm pretty happy they have a "turn helmets off" option. And by pretty happy, I mean thrilled. And I wish they'd started doing that ages ago, like in KOTOR era, so I wouldn't have had to suffer through those weird double Bluetooth thingies.
posted by NoraReed at 12:12 AM on March 27, 2011


Aveline has done nothing but become increasingly hostile to me after pretty much every encounter. It's all +5 rivalry this and +10 rivalry that. Just trying to make some honest coin, man-hands.
posted by tumid dahlia at 1:00 AM on March 27, 2011


Also I just accidentally paid 48 gold for this kickass ring from the emporium...RIGHT before what I'm guessing is the near-final mission in Act I where we're about to pop down to the Deep Roads, after I pay 50 gold to invest. So now I've only got like 31 gold. Gonna have to find me a lot of torn trousers to hock.
posted by tumid dahlia at 1:02 AM on March 27, 2011


tumid dahlia, they've got you covered. Check around in Lowtown and the Docks if you don't have enough cash. You'll find a dwarf with an offer you can't refuse. :)
posted by Malor at 1:13 AM on March 27, 2011


I think I want to kill Isabela. Nobody does that to me! Nobody!
posted by Justinian at 1:15 AM on March 27, 2011


I haven't met Isabela in this game yet, but I never did mange to get her to sleep with me (either alone or with Zev, Leiliana or Alistair) in the first one. I'm still a bit disappointed in myself for this.

I do dig the way the beginning part opens up and you have to do quests for cash. I might get sick of it soon, but it's reminiscent of Baldur's Gate II, except without the guilt trip of spending your time running around in town having fun doing quests while the princess Imoen languishes in jail waiting for you to rescue her.

I am not a huge fan of how skinny the elves are-- particularly how the elf women seem to be approximately 1/2 size of the men and they still are all, like, C-cups. I'll get used to it-- I managed to eventually get used to Tear in Tales of the Abyss-- but it looks like you could snap them in half if you poked them the wrong way.
posted by NoraReed at 1:38 AM on March 27, 2011


Both of the DA games are probably best on the PC.

If you've got a DX11 card with at least a gig of RAM, you can download a high-res texture pack for free that really sharpens the game up.


In 2010, Bioware released this, Dragon Age II, their most accomplished game. I think their undisputed masterpiece is the same-sex romance, visuals so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of sexual ambiguity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the company itself.
posted by rodgerd at 1:43 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goddammit, I just realized I screwed something up and have to restore to back before the end of ACT 1. What kind of moron doesn't keep a save at the start of Act 2? This kind.

Fighting the ancient rock wraith on nightmare again is not what I was hoping to do tomorrow.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 AM on March 27, 2011


I'm actually considering knocking the difficulty down to normal and just blowing through everything until I get back towards the end of Act 2. I'm so ashamed.
posted by Justinian at 1:59 AM on March 27, 2011


Has anyone cried "elaborate marketing trick!" on this yet? Because if not, I will. The "straight male gamer" just isn't believable. He has way to much self-awareness of his own privilege, for starters, and helpfully tees up a string of stupid arguments for the Bioware rep to swoop in and knock over, showcasing the game's gay-friendliness in a media-digestible way. It's probably his own sock-puppet.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 2:31 AM on March 27, 2011


Is there any reason not to do that, Justinian? I've never been the type to invest any particular pride in skills in video games, but it seems like going through it in the way that is most fun instead of the way that makes you not feel shame is the best philosophy. It's not like Bioware is the type of company that inserts objects that make fun of you if you play on easy.

I say this as someone who started on Normal but will probably kick it down to Casual once I die a few times. I actually wished there was something below Casual in DAO; fighting my way through the horde at Denerim got pretty damned dull.
posted by NoraReed at 3:05 AM on March 27, 2011


Fighting the ancient rock wraith on nightmare again is not what I was hoping to do tomorrow.

I just gave up fighting it on Normal. I might try again later, I don't mind having a few goes at particularly difficult opponents, but I'm smelling bad game design just leaking out of the pores of this particular encounter.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:11 AM on March 27, 2011


Unless there's a trick I'm missing outside of "hit it with everything you have, run away, heal, repeat". Because usually there's something like that, I'm just not spotting it.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:13 AM on March 27, 2011


When it launches into the air and starts AOEing you can break its line of sight by hiding behind pillars. It's a good moment to heal and pot up. When it starts rolling around just make sure you're spread out.

I thought that boss was a decent enough idea, sloppily executed.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:27 AM on March 27, 2011


Yeah I figured to get behind the pillars to hide from his ray gun. It's just...I dunno. Just a taxing battle. Not really a challenge, just a drawn-out event and when I get around to beating him it will be "oh good I've finally beaten him, on to the next level" rather than "BOOYA!" which is what you should feel after a boss fight. Cool boss, though, I'll admit.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:54 AM on March 27, 2011


I agree. I'd love for games like Dragon Age to borrow some of the precision boss mechanics from, say, Bayonetta, but first they really need to fix the hitboxes and just tighten up in general.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:19 AM on March 27, 2011


Yeah those Bayonetta boss battles - or, as I affectionately refer to them, Triple-B's - were tremendous. Challenging, compelling, and satisfying. If you lost the fight, it's because you needed to do it differently, and not just because the bad guy had a bajillion hit points and insane attacks that you couldn't get out of the way of.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:54 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, body switching has probably been built in for quite some time -- Nethack can't be the only RPG that's had something like an amulet of change for while...

In Baldur's Gate there was a Belt of Gender Bending, which was one of the first magical items you ran across iirc.

That said, I haven't even played DA:O yet. 80 hours is a bit too much for me right now.
posted by ersatz at 7:23 AM on March 27, 2011


My wife loves DA2, and her stated goal is to sleep with as many NPCs in the game as she can. But she's not a Straight Male Gamer, so...?
posted by Huck500 at 7:35 AM on March 27, 2011


MetaFilter: generally on board the "fuck civility" train
posted by hippybear at 7:37 AM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has anyone cried "elaborate marketing trick!" on this yet? Because if not, I will. The "straight male gamer" just isn't believable.

I respect your skepticism but do not share it. I find the whole thing gallingly, embarrassingly believable; a great deal more so than a respected creative dude at Bioware trumping up forum drama from whole cloth, certainly.

There's a lot of self-regarding bullshit out there. Some of it is bound to dress up in paragraphs now and then.
posted by cortex at 7:46 AM on March 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I respect your skepticism but do not share it. I find the whole thing gallingly, embarrassingly believable; a great deal more so than a respected creative dude at Bioware trumping up forum drama from whole cloth, certainly.

Yeah, recent history has demonstrated that gaming culture doesn't exactly have a shortage of people who feel that welcoming a diverse audience is an imposition on sixteen-to-thirtyfour-white-males.
posted by verb at 8:22 AM on March 27, 2011


There's a lot of self-regarding bullshit out there. Some of it is bound to dress up in paragraphs now and then.


Agreed - and, you know, this Bastal guy isn't exactly the poet laureate. When he gets agitated, probably because he is trying to sound clever, his syntax falls apart.

The one thing I think Dave Gaider did wrong, personally, was to praise his politeness. Prejudice and privilege expressed without obscenity (and Bastal did manage to make it through the whole initial post without sharing his belief that homosexuality was "disgusting", so well done him) may smell better than the same expressed in a torrent of all caps hate speech, but it's still prejudice and privilege.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:46 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't met Isabela in this game yet, but I never did mange to get her to sleep with me (either alone or with Zev, Leiliana or Alistair) in the first one. I'm still a bit disappointed in myself for this.

You need three levels of coercion, if I remember right. Schmooples doesn't join in, though, so the rumors about greased nugs are greatly exaggerated, sadly.
posted by homunculus at 8:51 AM on March 27, 2011


running order squabble fest: "There's a lot of self-regarding bullshit out there. Some of it is bound to dress up in paragraphs now and then.


Agreed - and, you know, this Bastal guy isn't exactly the poet laureate. When he gets agitated, probably because he is trying to sound clever, his syntax falls apart.

The one thing I think Dave Gaider did wrong, personally, was to praise his politeness. Prejudice and privilege expressed without obscenity (and Bastal did manage to make it through the whole initial post without sharing his belief that homosexuality was "disgusting", so well done him) may smell better than the same expressed in a torrent of all caps hate speech, but it's still prejudice and privilege
"

Also agreed. Any pretense at politeness was dropped by then. You don't praise a bigot. You slap him down.
posted by Splunge at 9:56 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing I think is a shame about Dragon Age 2, and I think it's at least part of the reason why I didn't find my Hawke as memorable as my Shepard, is that it lacked the downtime built in to Mass Effect and DAO.

In Origins you had the camp, and in Mass Effect the Normandy; in both places you could wander from companion to companion, sharing stories and getting to know your party/crew, and engaging in dialogue that for the most part had nothing to do with advancing the plot. Love scenes aside, DA2 missed that, and I think Hawke missed a lot of character progression because of that.

I can tell you how my Shepard would react to any given situation, because the game showed her at rest, shooting the breeze with crewmembers and friends, as well as under stress. Unlike some players, I didn't go into the game with an idea of who I wanted her to be; I picked dialogue options and let the game show me. Hawke... didn't really show me anything much. I don't know who she is. I only know she likes sex with bee people.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:24 AM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not to be too much of a Pollyanna and not to interject myself into a conversation about which I know very little, but reading Mr. Gaider's response on this issue makes me feel like not only more prone to join a gaming culture I thought I'd aged out of, but shows that it has, at least in some corner, matured more than my younger self would have ever dared imagine.

And to put it in terms that everyone can understand: $$$
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:37 AM on March 27, 2011


MCMikeNamara: I had a very similar conversation with a friend yesterday after discussing this whole thing with him. Afterward, I had to admit that, being outside the culture, I tend to carry a kind of negative stereotype about who a lot of gamers are, what they would like, and what game creators are creating and offering gamers. It's nice to have my (admittedly bigoted) assumptions blown apart.
posted by hippybear at 10:42 AM on March 27, 2011


Well, DA2 still has that downtime thing to some extent, it's just less obvious; instead of visiting the camp where everyone is hanging out at varying distances from the main fire, you visit your party members' homes. Same let's-chat thing, same ala carte character development at least in principle though maybe in smaller doses this time out and that's a bit of a bummer.

As for the Mass Effect games, I felt like my Shepards were actually pretty much exactly as unformed as my Hawke is in DA2: when I played a sharp-tongued xenophobic hardass scrapper goth vixen, or when I played a noble-minded, prudish Space Amish beardo, all of the supporting characterization that made either of those "work" with my roleplaying conceit was in the dialogue I chose, not so much with things that happened in spite of me. All I got from the intrinsic Shepard was that they were a Person Of Action when you got down to it.

I miss the more explicit paths to characterization that came with the silent, wordy protagonist of DA:O, but I think the new game is far more like ME1 and ME2 than the original was in this respect.
posted by cortex at 10:44 AM on March 27, 2011


I came in late, took a chair in the rear (ow!) but would just like to say that as a straight male gamer I pursue pretty much any piece of ass a game will throw at me. Why? Because it's interesting and often times more of a challenge than yet another (plz to be killing 10x wabbits) quest. For me, the ROLE in RPG is usually something wholly outside of myself. Otherwise half the fun and challenge of playing an RPG is making choices you wouldn't otherwise. Being the asshole psycho for example, does not come naturally, but by forcing myself to play that way sometimes creates an extra layer of content within the game. Same goes for relationships, not just gender but dealing with issues of monogamy, loyalty, etc.

That's all I got.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 10:51 AM on March 27, 2011


The one thing I think Dave Gaider did wrong, personally, was to praise his politeness. Prejudice and privilege expressed without obscenity (and Bastal did manage to make it through the whole initial post without sharing his belief that homosexuality was "disgusting", so well done him) may smell better than the same expressed in a torrent of all caps hate speech, but it's still prejudice and privilege.

I'd be shocked if the kid that wrote this was older than 17 or 18 or so. People can grow out of this stuff. Calling them an asshole just feeds their sense of persecution. Having an 'important person' take the time to thoroughly deconstruct your bullshit rant -- calmly, rationally and politely, is the kind of thing that makes young people stop and pay attention.

I used to be, when I was a sheltered white kid from the suburbs, very conservative-- i'd say even mildly racist and homophobic, the whole deal... What woke me up to what an asshole I was being, wasn't liberals calling me an asshole -- I thrived on confrontation. It was a poli-sci professor that I respected, who calmly and rationally refuted all of my points and objections in class and even made time after most classes to continue the conversation and give me more stuff to read. Even when I was being jerky, she never called me a jerk, only listened to what I said seriously and made me think about things like privilege and fairness, etc.. I wasn't a liberal when I left her class, but I was a very, very confused person who had to rethink everything I thought I knew about the world from the ground up.

Not everybody who is a racist or a homophobic or misogynist is an enemy who needs to be destroyed. Sometimes they really just don't know any better, as implausible as that may seem, and can be brought around with a little bit of knowledge and effort, and yes, politeness. I think in the absence of evidence that a person has bad intentions, rather than misguided, its possibly worth making the slightest effort to communicate with them, rather than shun them.
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on March 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Not everybody who is a racist or a homophobic or misogynist is an enemy who needs to be destroyed.

Wowser. Did I argue for the destruction of Bastal? That's weird. Maybe I was typing drunk again. Could you cite? Only, as far as I can tell, I suggested that he shouldn't be praised for being polite while expressing privilege and prejudice.

Could you point out where I said "destroy this guy", empath? Or, indeed "call this guy an asshole"? I'm empty.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:10 AM on March 27, 2011


(In this case, of course, being responded to politely and seriously has inspired Bastal to tell the world that he has been proven right by Gaider's response, that he finds homosexuality "disgusting", that the idea of privilege is "ridiculous", and that there is a "mob" of homosexuals and feminists who want to silence him and people like him. Praising him for his politeness has given him the permission to be less polite, because he now knows he has plenty of room to descend before he hits bottom. But that's only in this case.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:27 AM on March 27, 2011


I'd say, rather, that praising him for his politeness has only given him the opportunity to remain in his hole and keep digging. Anyone with even a smidgen of intelligence has gleaned from the exchange which party is correct, and that Bastal continues to defend his position only paints him in a worse and worse light.

He may attract a few followers or whatever the equivalent of favorites is, but they're a dying breed, and if they are, indeed, the youngsters which others have suggested earlier in this thread, society itself is going to outpace their loathsome bigotry and they will either learn to keep it inside or they will finally be educated by life and change.

I have no fear of Bastal's awfulness. Even if he reaches out in the real world and acts on his hate, he will find there is nothing defensible about his position, and he will eventually vanish.
posted by hippybear at 11:39 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority.

Unexamined assumption alert!
posted by John Cohen at 11:59 AM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


running order squabble fest: "Not everybody who is a racist or a homophobic or misogynist is an enemy who needs to be destroyed.

Wowser. Did I argue for the destruction of Bastal? That's weird. Maybe I was typing drunk again. Could you cite? Only, as far as I can tell, I suggested that he shouldn't be praised for being polite while expressing privilege and prejudice.

Could you point out where I said "destroy this guy", empath? Or, indeed "call this guy an asshole"? I'm empty
"

I said "slapped down". You can yell at me if you want. I won't change my opinion though, sorry.
posted by Splunge at 11:59 AM on March 27, 2011


Not everybody who is a racist or a homophobic or misogynist is an enemy who needs to be destroyed. Sometimes they really just don't know any better, as implausible as that may seem, and can be brought around with a little bit of knowledge and effort, and yes, politeness. I think in the absence of evidence that a person has bad intentions, rather than misguided, its possibly worth making the slightest effort to communicate with them, rather than shun them.

The problem with this is that it perpetuates the idea that prejudice is merely a difference of opinion - in other words, if you act this polite towards somebody who is displaying prejudice, you are giving them the impression that you think being prejudiced is a legitimate stance to take. I'm not saying that you need to start frothing at the mouth or just shut somebody down completely, but in a case like this I think there's such a thing as being too polite.
posted by anaximander at 12:06 PM on March 27, 2011


Just to be clear, splunge, I didn't say "Not everybody who is a racist or a homophobic or misogynist is an enemy who needs to be destroyed" - that was empath. I was confused that he felt that declining to praise Bastal for his politeness would be equivalent to destroying him.

Personally, slapping down doesn't feel like an inappropriate response, in this context, however - especially once Bastal felt entitled to describe homosexuality as disgusting. That's got nothing to do with game design; it's just telling a bunch of readers that they disgust you.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:27 PM on March 27, 2011


Hrm, is Dragon Age the successor to Baldur's Gate?

In terms of narrative, certainly. DA delivers on many of the same tropes Bioware has been plundering since BGII. In fact, I'd say that DA2 is a bit of a departure for Bioware because so much of the action centers on the character's relationships with other people, unlike most of their games where the earth-shattering crisis is introduced in the first hour of gameplay. I'm midway through Act II and have only the slimmest idea of what the overall story arc is about.

Of course, RPGs heavy with party drama are what Bioware delivers. If that's not your thing, there's plenty of other games out there.

In terms of game mechanics, I'll point over to Spiderware's Avernum, Geneforge, and now Avadon as the masters of the isometric top-down tactical RPG, if you're willing to deal with graphics that have only been incrementally updated over the last decade.

In terms of Gaider's remarks, I have mixed feelings about it. Bioware has a mixed history about this including arguing that those plots are not profitable, and a pretty ugly episode over discussion of same-sex relationships in the Star Wars franchise a few years ago. Still, I'm not going to look a gift horse too closely in the mouth on this one.

I suspect the change in attitude comes from data collection of achievements. And I suspect a heavy boy-love/slash influence given that we get the two broodiest characters and not the dashing and wickedly funny bear.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:56 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


" I'm not here to debate the moralities of homosexuality, I personally find it to be digusting but others will feel different, that isn't the point of this thread."

Uh, Bastardl, that's why people are thinking you're pretty homophobic. If you want to excise an entire group of people from something you didn't make because you think it's squicky, and then try to defend it by saying that you find nothing wrong with a tyranny of the majority, you might just be a bigot.

I personally don't find heterosexuality disgusting, just queer. You don't see me trying to remove it from any games I play. (Why would I? Some of my best friends are straight!)

"If your goal is not to make as many fans as possible happy but to enact some form of social crusade then please, market and advertise the game as such. If you believe there are a substantial number of players who would appreciate those features, then advertise it and create trailers for it, don't lead me to believe that this game was crafted for the straight male. If you truly believe that the straight male gamers are not important enough that you should focus on them, then I would like to see your marketing reflect that."

He has a good point here, that's been unpacked elsewhere: the marketing for this game has, in many cases, shown the female characters with lighter skin and racier outfits. So, yeah, marketed for the straight male with a thing for white chicks.

That said, why the fuck does a game have to be made with the "straight male" viewpoint in mind? Can't a game be made with the express purpose of being a good game?
posted by qcubed at 8:46 PM on March 27, 2011


The problem with this is that it perpetuates the idea that prejudice is merely a difference of opinion - in other words, if you act this polite towards somebody who is displaying prejudice, you are giving them the impression that you think being prejudiced is a legitimate stance to take.

OK - being polite to someone implies that expressing their opinion doesn't risk social ostracism? I'd turn that around and say that calling someone an asshole implies that their prejudices are merely forms of rudeness and the culture has somewhat arbitrarily decided that they shouldn't be expressed in polite company. All you achieve is the stigmatization of public expressions of prejudice, which is not necessarily meaningless. For example, the fact that it became publicly acceptable to debate the merits of torture was an sign of a moral regression. But that's only because it was universally rejected as a moral problem first, and that's obviously not the case with homophobia.

What if straight/white/etc. people take a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" approach to bigotry because seeing it and hearing it happening to other people is how we experience it? But just as social stigma doesn't make homosexuality go away, it may not make prejudice go away either. Or rather, social stigma makes it vanish for people who don't experience it in the first place.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:12 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


AlsoMike: For example, the fact that it became publicly acceptable to debate the merits of torture was an sign of a moral regression. But that's only because it was universally rejected as a moral problem first, and that's obviously not the case with homophobia

With respect, that's a curious analogy. It became publicly acceptable to debate torture because it was asserted that the US was committing/enabling torture without there having been a public debate. Homophobia isn't the same as Watergate - there isn't a public interest served by making sure it appears in the media.

All you achieve is the stigmatization of public expressions of prejudice, which is not necessarily meaningless.

No, but it's not a bad start. Quite possibly we'd all rather nobody ever had a homophobic thought, or made a racist joke in their front room with their poker buddies, but that's probably not realistic. Having people not tell homophobic jokes on Saturday Night Live, or not tell racist jokes on Two and a Half Men actually does send out a message. It sends out the message that, if you are in the office and you want to tell a racist joke, you need to watch your back while you do it, and be careful who you do it in front of. Which makes it statistically less likely that your coworkers from ethnic minorites are going to hear a racist joke that day. The social stigma makes it vanish precisely for people who do experience it in the first place.

qcubed: Can't a game be made with the express purpose of being a good game?

To be fair, Bastal covers that. He says that with unlimited time and budget a game might be made that satisfies every possible person who might play it, but given time and budget constraints games should be made to appeal to their core audience - The Sims for women, Dragon Age for straight men - and that straight men want games with more numerous and less exotic female romance options and no homosexuality.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:23 AM on March 28, 2011


AlsoMike, there is a difference between ostracizing somebody for their views and merely criticising them. I sometimes get the impression that there's been a gradual shift towards believing that disagreeing with somebody is tantamount to censoring them. Telling somebody that what they believe or say is prejudiced is not the same thing as trying to remove their right to say it.

I don't believe that we should reply to prejudice in the same tone and manner as if we were replying to an academic difference of opinion, yet this is what a lot of people who espouse prejudice seem to think we should do - because, I assume, they'd rather not have to face up to the consequences of what they're saying.
posted by anaximander at 4:41 AM on March 28, 2011


running order squabble fest: It became publicly acceptable to debate torture because it was asserted that the US was committing/enabling torture without there having been a public debate.

The response should have been knee-jerk outrage followed by prosecutions, not weighing the pros and cons. The less reflective and thoughtful, the better.

It sends out the message that, if you are in the office and you want to tell a racist joke, you need to watch your back while you do it, and be careful who you do it in front of. Which makes it statistically less likely that your coworkers from ethnic minorites are going to hear a racist joke that day.

Watching what you say and who you say it to is a standard rule in any highly bigoted society. You don't make misogynistic jokes in polite company, in front of your wife, etc., you do it with your buddies at the poker game. What you're calling a "realistic" goal is no different from the goals of polite, prejudiced 1950s society.

And in any case, we're not talking about someone who made a bigoted joke.

anaximander: AlsoMike, there is a difference between ostracizing somebody for their views and merely criticising them. I sometimes get the impression that there's been a gradual shift towards believing that disagreeing with somebody is tantamount to censoring them.

Yeah I agree with that, and I think this is an effect of society becoming more balkanized. Effectively, ostracizing someone is no big deal because society isn't organized into a single set of values any more. Bastal generated a whole bunch of outrage and risked ostracism from one group, but so what? He’s part of a different group that regards that as so much political correctness anyway. Rationally criticizing him is much worse, because it implies that his views aren’t just contextually offensive - because he’s in polite company, or among a bunch of liberals, and those are just the norms; instead, it implies that his views are objectively wrong, regardless of what cultural values he personally identifies with. The existence of one group that rejects bigotry is obviously better than none, but the strategy of growing that group so that it becomes hegemonic is undermined by people simultaneously believing in an ideal society that reflects diversity and where one group is never hegemonic.

And even though people like to talk a big game about how outraged they get about bigotry, we all know what really happens when someone makes a racist comment in real life. There’s an awkward pause, people pretend not to have heard it, or stare at their feet. Maybe getting really outraged would have a big impact there - but doing that anonymously on the internet where you don't really risk anything doesn't have the same effect.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2011


So, more reflective and thoughtful with bigots, less reflective and thoughtful with torture, and you somehow know how we all really behave in real life? Fair enough.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:59 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Which is to say, I imagine we probably have the same ideals here, in many ways, but I don't think this discussion is going to go anywhere. Ironically, although appropriately, I don't think arguments are generally universally recognised as rational, however rational they may seem to the person making them - one person's rational argument is another person's bad-faith rhetoric. Bastal, I can tell you with some confidence, is stone-cold certain that his arguments are rational. The mix of responses that would unlock that certainty are probably at this distance unknowable. His life experience may make him a better person, it may not.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:15 PM on March 28, 2011


Okay, so I'm seven years into the game. I picked Anders as the love interest. He's a bit sappy, and I think I'll probably reset and go for one of the elves next time.

I read a few of the posts, though, where people said that Anders is bad because he is too stereotypical a representation of gays. And I have to say, I, too, find him to be far too stereotypical a representation of bisexual mage would-be revolutionaries.

I also made out with Isabella a bit and I have to say, that cutscene was totally worth the price of admission. Rawr.
posted by NoraReed at 2:30 PM on March 31, 2011


I have actually discovered the problem at the heart of this issue. Merrill is being voiced by Eve Myles. It's the Torchwood Effect. Everyone's bisexual all the time.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:47 PM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has anyone seen the petition? I find this hard to believe.
posted by Splunge at 11:40 AM on April 1, 2011


Man, people start online petitions for vaseline on toast.
posted by cortex at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2011


Concern troll, surely?
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2011


Okay, wow, the rival romances in this are great.

Also, Anders never came on to my DudeHawke mage.
posted by NoraReed at 8:13 PM on April 6, 2011


I also made out with Isabella a bit and I have to say, that cutscene was totally worth the price of admission. Rawr.

But it wasn't worth the friendship bug. WTF, Bioware.
posted by homunculus at 9:54 PM on April 6, 2011


Dragon Age II Is A Bit More Playable On PC Today
posted by homunculus at 9:09 AM on April 13, 2011


- Merrill no longer refers to the aftermath of "A New Path" before the plot has been completed.

Two very confusing moments in my playthrough are now no longer confusing. I'm going to pretend that Merrill was having a psychic premonition or something.
posted by cortex at 9:30 AM on April 13, 2011


« Older Dianna Wynne Jones, author of many many excellent ...  |  The history of Hawaii, as told... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments