BioWare have weathered major backlash from fans following Mass Effect 3's controversial ending and the roundly disappointing Dragon Age II. Though the studio still looks to its community for feedback, Dragon Age's lead writer has spoken out to suggest that the BioWare Social Network forums are becoming "increasingly toxic" and needlessly negative.
“Spending too much time [on the BSN] starts to make me feel negative- not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general,” David Gaider wrote on his personal blog, replying to a gamer who decided to avoid the forums due to the angsty atmosphere. “That’s not a good feeling to have."
“I’m sure there are folks there who would bristle at that comment, suggesting that all negative feedback is justifiable and that ignoring it is the equivalent of us sticking our heads in the sand. How will we ever improve unless we listen to their scolding and take our lumps like good little developers?
“That is, of course, ignoring the idea that we haven’t already digested a mountain of feedback- both positive and negative- and there’s really only so much of it you can take. Eventually you make decisions (informed by that feedback, though only in part- it can only ever be in part) and move on.”
"I think there’s something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general. Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans."
However, Gaider was also keen to stress that the BioWare Social Networks aren't representative of their fanbase as a whole.
"At any rate, rest assured that the BSN is not the only place we go to see what “our fans” think about something," he continued. "I suspect you’d get a skewed opinion of almost any game if you went solely by its dedicated online community. They certainly serve their place, and if you want to gauge the temperature of the hardest of the hardcore’s opinions about core matters there’s probably no better place to go… but representative of all fans? Not in the slightest."
Has the core BioWare fanbase become overly entitled, perhaps? Or does BioWare have a case to answer for not addressing the needs of their player base? As always, we want to hear from you.