Haters gonna hate – thoughts on some things I saw at PAX East

Mike Laidlaw made a statement at the BioWare Dragon Age panel on Friday that was very true; We get off the internet and realize there are still people out there that want to connect in real life too.

Yup. Hence why things like PAX East happen. We need a spot to get together and celebrate our love of all things game. It’s great to make those face to face connections with people.

Laidlaw also said that when he gets off the internet, he realizes that there are people that really do love the products they put out, and though they may have criticism about what they did, they still have an appreciation for what it was.

The thing I realized in walking around PAX with JayRain yesterday after that panel was that haters gonna hate. We saw people walking around with signs  protesting the end of Mass Effect 3, and a few other games that had flaws, in their opinion. Now, none of the games that were being protested are ones that I have played, so I can’t speak to my opinion on any of them. But what I can say is that there are definitely people that appreciate BioWare for what they have done, and wish them well for the future.

So, after giving some thought to what Laidlaw said, I realized that there are people that are jerks online, just because they’re mad about what happened. And when they get off the internet? They’re still going to be jerks about it. But really? There’s a big difference between telling a million dollar company “You guys suck because this didn’t go the way I wanted it to!” and “Here’s what I thought was lacking and this is what I think would rectify it.” Constructive criticism is much more helpful than just shouting about the ending.

Already, there has been a post about the BioWare Dragon Age panel on Game Trailer and the people who are angry about ME3 and DAII are coming out of the woodwork, again. I thought the article was very fair, considering I was at the panel, and it was accurate to what was said in the panel. A very unbiased writing. But people launched right of saying things like “Decisions that matter? Oh, you mean you get to make choices in the game that seem to matter up until the end choice for red, green, or blue death? F— you Bioware.”

Seriously? How is that helpful to them. Okay. So. Tell them what you want them to do about it? They don’t live in a vacuum people. Laidlaw, David Gaider, et. al. are all very approachable people. They’re not some scary guys sitting in big chairs in an office far away. They WANT to receive your input. They wouldn’t come to these panels if they didn’t. They’re normal, every day people. (I even said to JayRain that David Gaider looks like a perpetual 6 year old with a goatee.)

So, I know this blog post isn’t going to change how people react to companies like BioWare. But it gives me the chance to put my thoughts out there about it. Because, regardless of whether you believe it or not, they DO care about what their fans have to say, and they WILL do something about it. Every new game is going to have some issues with it. Rarely does a company get it “right” on the first try.

Prime example: Wizards of the Coast and D&D4. Now, I play 3.5, but that doesn’t mean it’s flawless. If it had been flawless the first time round, I doubt there would be websites upon websites and books upon books about how to play it and information on monsters and… and… and…

I doubt there would have been a D&D 4. Hell, if they’d nailedt it on the first try, TSR probably would have sold more than 1,000 copies in 1974, and there definitely wouldn’t be a 3.5 edition either. WotC probably wouldn’t have announced a 5th edition in January of this year either.

So, is some of what BioWare said “Cover Your Ass” statement? Possibly. Are they  trying to do right by their fans? I think so. Next time you go to leave a comment on a page, take it down a few notches and put in your two cents about what would have worked better. They just might listen to that.

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5 thoughts on “Haters gonna hate – thoughts on some things I saw at PAX East

  1. Amen to everything you said. It’s like those two guys sitting next to me, commenting on EVERYTHING throughout the movie (during Dawn of the Seeker). I’m positive that if I ran into them on the internet they’d behave the exact. same. way. They’re the type of people who think they know better, even when they don’t. Heck, especially when they don’t. ANd if they really do, they need to do just what you’re saying and present it constructively.

    • It’s true – and like a lot of the people in the movie too. I think the people that were there to really watch the movie and be appreciative and critical were few and far between, which was really unfortunate.I have feedback for Bioware/Funimation about it, but like we said, it was good for what it was, just like Dragon Age II. Would I love to see more expansions to correct some of the problems in DAII? Sure, but I’m not telling Bioware/EA that they’re jerks for not doing it.

  2. bearonthecouch

    I feel like a lot of this goes back to the lesson we learned as kids: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I don’t that’s true, actually, but I think it goes to what’s already been said – you can say not-nice things, but be smart about it.

    The thing is, that’s actually a LOT of work! It’s one of the most useful things I’ve learned in graduate school, actually, how to really be constructive in criticism: to really take something you don’t like apart and come up with ways that might help to fix it. To say “I disagree with [specific thing] because [one or more specific reasons] and [my solution to the problem is]. Or as my dad put it: don’t volunteer yourself for the job unless you really mean it (said most often to anyone who whines about politicians in any form).

    Unfortunately, there really are plenty of people on the internet, and in life, who are just jerks to be jerks. They were there on the playground when I was 6, and I distinctly remember the first time I crashed into “that guy” in a chat room when I was 10, and I learned how to ignore those people.

    I’ve been involved in many a discussion re: the entertainment industry since film school, and I think you’re right about video games so rarely getting it right on the first try. The business aspect of it all though makes it very difficult to take risks. Especially when bad word-of-mouth can so easily crash a project. I think it’s awesome that Bioware is willing to experiment, and really wants to listen to their customers and fans when they present constructive feedback. There is a reason that there actually is such a thing as “the Bioware community.” The internet, being an always-accessible two-way street, is changing the way we do the “entertainment industry.” It’s sort of up to us to make sure the loudest screamers don’t derail the train.

    … And oy vey, that basically should’ve just been a blog post (incredibly long rambling is incredibly long)

    • Heh – I think I did the same to you once, so we’re even.
      But you’re right – it’s the lesson we learned as a kid, but it IS a lot of work to be constructive, and people are either lazy and don’t want to be bothered, or they just don’t want to take the time.

      They say that when someone has a good experience with something, they tell three or four people, but when someone has a bad experience, they tell ten. So I think the negative word of mouth definitely is a factor. But I agree, it’s awesome that Bioware is willing to listen to their fans and expand on the feedback they get. Some companies just say, “Well, be lucky we gave you anything at all, so deal with it!”

      And you’re right, too, about the loudest screamers derailing the train. I told JayRain at PAX East that I wanted a job solely doing PR for Bioware (conventions and the like). I would love to have a job defending a company I enjoy!

  3. […] as the pictures started coming up, I was able to write my post about the haters who are gonna hate, because I saw some stuff about the ending of Mass Effect 3, or various other games that people […]

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