Dragon Age 2, Civ 5 and the market tendency

Fabiano79

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Im not sure if you guys are RPGs fans, but I have been think about this and would like to know what you have to say about it.

I just bought Dragon Age 2, and its fun, enjoyable and will sell a lot, but...its so much simplier than the first one and definitely worse.

here one post from the gamespot readers reviews:

"They [Bioware] want a game for many customers and loots of money...
But they forget that they have gained fans with games like baldur gate, neverwinter night, mass effect or dragon age origins.

This game is too arcade. With very poor frp-rpg elements. This is more like diablo then origins or NwN. Hack and Slash tape of game. Thousands of enemy`s. Stupid rapid respawns of npc`s.

This game will have many dlc`s. Cos today we get half finished games and buy other things later. Then we pay one game 100e instead of be 50e."


Lots of plp are saying the same, "the game is made for consoles, its incomplete, DA for Dummies".

Pretty much the same thing I saw here about civ 5.

Is this the new tendency of the market? Are the gamers becoming stupidier or are the companies wrong?

Or you disagree, and the games are every year better and better?
 

Bibor

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Dragon Age was the most boring and generic RPG I ever played tried to play.
SMAC and its future copies (specifically CIV4:BTS) are addictive and fun in their own way, but don't play well if you know what I mean. When you finish a SMAC session you're pale and your mind is numb and it's probably morning. I started to dislike games like that.

I haven't touched World of Warcraft for a few years now, but I still don't see any game on the horizon that can match its quality, even if you measure it by single-player game standards.
 

CivCube

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The industry is in a state of transition that began with the Xbox 360's dashboard. All games can connect to the Internet, allowing more content and payment options. We're seeing games that can be much more modular in content delivery. Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 2 reflect this. I've only played the latter, but I think it hit a home run in how it was able to evenly divide game mechanics. Theoretically, the whole game could have been delivered in short episodes, which could be what they have in mind for Mass Effect 3.

So the delivery system is getting more sophisticated and making the old console/PC divide irrelevant. It's not better or worse. It means that games will longer have the need to have the same intensity of thought put into one development cycle. There's now more room to develop ideas that fans like and put them in the game after release. For now, this may mean more hastily made base games with little depth. Three years from now could be a completely different story.
 

Guardian_PL

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Dragon Age was the most boring and generic RPG I ever played tried to play.
SMAC and its future copies (specifically CIV4:BTS) are addictive and fun in their own way, but don't play well if you know what I mean. When you finish a SMAC session you're pale and your mind is numb and it's probably morning. I started to dislike games like that.

I haven't touched World of Warcraft for a few years now, but I still don't see any game on the horizon that can match its quality, even if you measure it by single-player game standards.
Try chess. It's an awesome game, even on single player :)
Ah, and as for computer games Deus Ex, Bloodlines and Torment instantly springs into my mind. From strategies the invincible HoMMIII WoG.
In recent years The Witcher was not too bad, especially if you're an avid reader of the whole Witcher Saga.
 

Fabiano79

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Dragon Age was the most boring and generic RPG I ever played tried to play.
SMAC and its future copies (specifically CIV4:BTS) are addictive and fun in their own way, but don't play well if you know what I mean. When you finish a SMAC session you're pale and your mind is numb and it's probably morning. I started to dislike games like that.

I haven't touched World of Warcraft for a few years now, but I still don't see any game on the horizon that can match its quality, even if you measure it by single-player game standards.

Sry to hear that you didnt like DA Origins, for me one of the greatest RPGs ever, it is like Baldurs Gate with 2010 graphics.

I played WoW until a few weeks ago, I have the cataclysm expansion, and it is a great game, but Im tired of the MMORPGs.

My question still remains, so you think the games are not becoming simplier? Its just a improvement on the gameplay?
 

space measurer

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I've been playing DA1 on a friend's machine... At first, I was disappointed in the lack of personalization for the characters; it seems like rather than making many decisions that interact with your other choices, you more or less pick GOOD or EVIL at the beginning... All the choices are black and white: "Help the girl escape the demon" OR "Kill the girl and rape the demon" type stuff without any nuance.

Even just coming off Fallout New Vegas, not exactly the broadest choose your own adventure, Dragon Age disappoints. It's not even "too arcade" or too much like Diablo. It's like Diablo if Diablo randomly interrupted you with meaningless decisions to make, offered in 6 different illusory "choices." At least Diablo has a wide variety of equipment and classes... Oh, and its made for the Warrior class. It's like Gauntlet or something...

I guess I really do hate this game.

Although part of the problem the original poster mentioned, is that games are made for a wider and wider audience these days. Video games are Big Business now. Unlike when most of us started playing them and fell in love with our Nintendos or whatever.
 

gingerbill

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i'd say there's more great games than ever . But theres definetly alot more rose tinted glasses being worn than ever.

I know people who say BG2 is the greatest RPG ever who have never played it , its just human nature to say " it was better in my day" , it was because we were younger and not such cynical bastards , and more importantly it was new and fresh .

Personally alongside ultima 7 i rate DAO as my favourite RPG. Not played DA2 yet but im sure i will love it as i enjoyed the demo , time will tell.
 

Winsling

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I've observed a curve in game franchises. The first effort is stripped down, because they don't have the time/resources to fully implement their vision. Historically, hardware was a limiting factor as well, but that's largely gone away. Subsequent releases add more complexity up to a point, often about the third release, and then it starts down again when the marketing department takes control and tries for a broader market.

I don't see any real trends in the market as a whole though - there's always been a mix of simple and complicated games, and it's hard to say how that mix has shifted. Today you can find games of almost unlimited complexity - Dwarf Fortress and Combat Mission come to mind immediately. I just picked up Fate of the World, and that looks satisfyingly juicy as well.
 

gingerbill

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I've observed a curve in game franchises. The first effort is stripped down, because they don't have the time/resources to fully implement their vision. Historically, hardware was a limiting factor as well, but that's largely gone away. Subsequent releases add more complexity up to a point, often about the third release, and then it starts down again when the marketing department takes control and tries for a broader market.

I don't see any real trends in the market as a whole though - there's always been a mix of simple and complicated games, and it's hard to say how that mix has shifted. Today you can find games of almost unlimited complexity - Dwarf Fortress and Combat Mission come to mind immediately. I just picked up Fate of the World, and that looks satisfyingly juicy as well.

i tihink you make a point mentioning some small company games that are good . There's been an amazing amount of small budget games that have been excellent that you just didnt have years ago because of digital distribution . Loads of top notch cheap games from small companies. Also some amazing AAA titles , starcraft 2 and read dead redemption in my opinion are 2 of the greatest games ever made , also made with alot of love and care.
 

MoonFlare

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DA:O is a good game.DA2 is boring.Glad that i didn't waste money on that @$%#.Saved that money for Skyrim and Sins of a Solar Empire:Rebellion:love:
 

space measurer

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i tihink you make a point mentioning some small company games that are good . There's been an amazing amount of small budget games that have been excellent that you just didnt have years ago because of digital distribution . Loads of top notch cheap games from small companies.

Minecraft!
 

AfterShafter

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I think this phenomenon is somewhat blown out of proportion by the forum-going public, as it's something we've actually been hearing about for years - decades - in gaming, both console and PC. Only now, with the internet being such a prevalent and fast means of mass communication and it becoming a cultural phenomenon, there's a bit of a lemming effect surrounding memes. To explain...

Go back to the 80's/90's in gaming. Games were outright unforgiving. Many RPGs operated on save point systems which could leave you running veritable gauntlets to get from save spot to save spot, and anyone who used to play NES era platformers (PC platformers included) would remember how utterly torturous they were to get through. A tough boss in most games these days is one that takes you two tries or a half hour of leveling up to beat A tough boss in the old days was one where you went into the fight, lost, and expected it to be one of those story events where your party was supposed to die because it just seemed so insurmountable - but you quickly realized, yes, you're actually supposed to beat that boss. Games were just harder back then on average.

On average, games a while back were more complex and more unforgiving than games today. The thing is, it wasn't just PC games, it was console games too. With each successive generation, we've seen a slow slide to easier games that tend to be less complex on both PCs and consoles. People never really used to complain about it much, as I think they were just thankful to get away from the unforgiving games of the 80's. But from the early 80's to the early 2000's, I had never once heard someone comment about "consolization" or games becoming simpler. Baldur's Gate all but held your hand compared to, say, Shadows of Yserbius about six years before, or Eye of the Beholder or other such similar genre games. But here we have people saying "Oh, look at Baldur's Gate compared to Dragon Age II - CONSOLIZATION!" - in fact referencing a phenomenon that Baldur's Gate itself was a perfect example of, being so much less difficult than its fore bearers. So why this sudden wave of complaining?

As hinted above, the internet and how we communicate, and the incredible increase in dynamism and virulence of memes is probably more the root than an actual expansion of the simplifying - "consolizing" - phenomenon. If Baldur's Gate was a much easier/more simple game than Eye of the Beholder, where would you complain about it in the mid 90's? Nowhere of consequence - the messages boards/blogs/facebooks/etc didn't exist with even the tiniest fraction of their audiences these days. In the late 2000's, someone who fondly remember's Baldur's Gate being reasonably tough/complex is a few clicks away from an internationally connected forum/blog/twitter/facebook/whatever to start complaining about it - and rallying people to the cause. A term like "consolization" is coined and, probably beyond any actual escalation of a long-term process "consolization" represents which classically hasn't been limited to consoles at all, it becomes a focal point for generating fervour, not unlike the terms politicians drop during their campaigns to get people who have a latent feeling of X to jump up and down screaming X from the rafters. It's not necessarily that "consolization" is that much more real a force in today's gaming that makes the term such a big thing with so many people backing it - it's that an old phenomenon now has a new forum in which to be discussed. And here we are in the internet age where people who thought Saddam was an active member of al-Qaeda are given free reign to rally around this "consolization" phenomenon. Simply put, it's not entirely that this simplification/making easier phenomenon is worse than it was before, it's as much that people are so able to talk about it in this day and age. The long term phenomenon of simplification/making easier/"dumbing down," which was prevalent in the 90's that many of you remember as some sort of bastion of complexity and depth, is just now finding a medium for people to complain about it in. Dragon Age II was no Baldur's Gate and made for a dumbed down audience, is more accessible? Baldur's Gate became popular in part because it was an actual good game that was "dumbed down" from older RPGs enough to let more people get into it.

This is NOT to deny the fact that there have been changes in the gaming industry, but I think to dismiss it as "Oh, publishers just want to make dumb games to cash in on their dumb audience! And us smart gamers are SUFFERING!" is a gross oversimplification. Rather, the gaming industry is bigger and is actually larger than the 1st/2nd edition THAC0 loving D&D nerds that it started with. It's a more mature industry and recognizes that it has now tapped into a market that was always present, but it has only recently been interested in video games. The fact is though, that new massive audience isn't going to go gaga over games like the old Ninja Gaidens with their incredibly unforgiving difficulty, or Eye of the Beholder with its brain-bending stop-your-progress puzzles. The gaming industry which in the past could make things like that the average knows that ease of access is a goal and an improvement for a more general audience. A general audience which the old audience (let's call them THAC0 lovers - if you get it, you'll get it, if not, well...) is only a small part of. But this is a symptom of the maturing of the gaming industry, not just some simplified cash-grab to appeal to a "dumber audience." More accessible games - and that's not a dig - will make more people happy, and more people like gaming than in the past.

But with a growing audience, the production end of the gaming audience has grown too. People mention Dragon Age II being a dumbed down crapshoot, but do they mention Mass Effect I and II? In my eyes, Mass Effect I and II (II in particular) are potentially Bioware's best games to date, and bring as much to the table as any game. Where's our Simant, you say? Ever play Viva Pinata? Honestly, I find they fill a similar role, and the difficulty and complexity of a game like Viva Pinata pairs well against a game like Simant. Why are there no more punishing puzzle games like Lolo? Well, I count Braid as one of the best puzzle games ever released, and it's from this gen. The thing is where in the 80's and 90's Bioware only made Baldur's Gate, now they make a game like Mass Effect which hearkens back to their THAT0 loving roots and a game like Dragon Age II which aims a bit more at the Call of Duty crowd. The gaming industry has room for both, and both are present. If you're scanning the headlines looking for games that could have fit in in the 80's and 90's, you're usually looking in the wrong places - because games that appeal to the THAC0 lovers are still out there.

And yes, some developers have slipped - but new developers have sprung up. The number of new games coming out is *tremendous*, far more than we say in the 80's and 90's. Also, their variety is much greater - games meant to cater to the COD generation, ones meant to cater to the Baldur's Gate generation, and even ones made to cater to those of us who remember being eaten by a grue - us old THAC0 lovers.

As for Civ V? I think it's reception is partially the result of that meme run rampant. Civ V is more simple than Civ IV in some ways, but I think it also ups the complexity of the game in other ways - particularly combat. Pity that is currently hampered by the AI, but in multiplayer at the moment, there is *so* much more thought required to pull out a military win than in Civ IV. And what's more, Civ IV upon release was very much a watered down SMAC - but with no rampant meme of "consolization" for people to rally behind, people didn't really gather the forces to say "hey, why are we playing this consolized garbage - what's up Firaxis?" like they are now. But even as it stands, a good number did...

Ok, that's more than enough on this subject. Not proofread, will be a bit disjointed, but that's my blog/post on the subject.
 

joyous_gard

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lol, I chose to wait on DA2 based on my Civ V experience. All their promos were cutscenes and movies and stuff with little to no gameplay. They also said the story would be more shallow than in the first. OP makes me feel validated!
 

Spatzimaus

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SMAC and its future copies (specifically CIV4:BTS) are addictive and fun in their own way, but don't play well if you know what I mean. When you finish a SMAC session you're pale and your mind is numb and it's probably morning. I started to dislike games like that.

Playing a game until morning is a GOOD thing; the moment you start seeing sleep as preferable to playing a game, you know it's doomed. But the base sentiment has some merit.

Many games have two turning points in them. The first turning point is when the "real" game starts, when it starts being fun because all of the base content is now unlocked. Ever play the original Starcraft's campaign? The vast majority of the campaign missions disabled air units, either through not unlocking them yet or through coming up with some reason why they wouldn't work. So you'd have Carriers and Battlecruisers for only one or two missions per campaign. Obviously the multiplayer matters here, but even then, you really only start enjoying it once you learn enough of the strategies to actually win a match or two.
In an MMO, people talk about "tier 2" for this, where the game doesn't really start until you're high enough for PvP, faction wars, rare items, crafting, whatever. Same basic idea.
Most RPGs have some sort of "tutorial" area/town. You don't have a full party, you're fighting rats with a toy sword, whatever. The game doesn't really start until you leave there. (Example: the Fallout games, where you explicitly are given one last chance to edit your character when you leave the starter area.)
Nearly every game has this sort of thing. Play Minecraft, and try to argue that setting up your first little house is anywhere close to as interesting as constructing a giant Statue of Liberty entirely out of black wool. (Then set it on fire.)
In Civ5, to me it's the point where you finally have an assortment of units to use (bombardment units, naval units, melee units, ranged units, horse units...).

Conversely, most games also have a second turning point, where the game STOPS being fun. In a story-based RPG, it's often the point where you unlock whatever world-travel mechanism will let you go wherever you want and do the content you missed. (This is usually intended to be right before the end, but not always.) In an MMO, it might be where you've seen every zone and raided every major mob; sure, they can add more, but if the new ones are just harder than the old ones (especially if it just takes LONGER or more people) then there's not as much appeal. In an RTS (or hack-n-slash RPGs like Diablo or Dragon Age, it might just be the point where you're fighting yet another wave of enemies that'll die in the exact same way as the previous wave, with hundreds of health potions on hand to ensure you survive, and you get sick of seeing and hearing the same attack animations for the hundredth time. And in earlier strategy games, including SMAC, it was often when you'd spend ten minutes each turn micromanaging what each city built and how its specialists were arranged, or moving your stacks o' doom around. Some people like that sort of thing, but it definitely slows the pace down.
In some games (like Civ5) it's the point at which you're just so far ahead of your competitors that the outcome is long since decided and the rest of the time is just "mopping up". This, at least, can be fixed with balance mods, but the relatively weak AI still hurts here.

Obviously, this'll vary from person to person, but these are a few general trends I've seen. There have been a few classic games in each era that worked hard to make the game still be interesting the whole way through (Star Control 2 comes to mind), but it's more common to see games that fail this and have a gooey playable center between two boring crunchy ends. DLC helps a bit by adding more "good" playtime, though, even if it's usually overpriced. Some games add basic sandbox gameplay, too, figuring that the player will find SOMETHING interesting to do if they're given free rein to roam.

So if DA2 is simplistic repetitive hack-n-slash, and relies on DLC to get a decent number of playable hours in, then that's a problem. I haven't played it, though, and that's not really an indictment of video games in general, since there are quite a few games worth playing out there.
 

Moss

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Moderator Action: Due to the thread being more about the state of gaming in general and not being a Civ V specific discussion, I've moved it to All Other Games. I also think you'll find a little bit more of a wide variety of responses here.
 

Roller123

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But they forget that they have gained fans with games like baldur gate, neverwinter night, mass effect or dragon age origins.

This is more like diablo then ... NwN. Hack and Slash tape of game.

lol

lol

lol

What makes you think they will not gain fans with DA:2? Or in this case, with Civ5. Judging by the list above that guy you quote just put some Bioware games together and not even their best ones, since Jade Empire is missing, and constructed an argument with no binding to reality. The listed games are not even in the same genre.
 

Fabiano79

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Ty for moving, I wasnt sure where to post this. Actually I never saw this section.
 

skallben

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AfterShafter got it right on the "consolization" part IMO. Devs got lazy/out of time a few years back when building the first cross-platform games. PC gamers got pissed off that their interfaces was made for low resolutions and gamepads instead of ultra high res monitors and a full keyboard with bad options for customizing controls. Not really a major deal but angry PC gamers who spent far too much time being ridicilously verbal on the internet blew it out of proportion. Rushed productions are more likely to be the culprit of lacking depth/quality.

From what I can gather there are plenty of titles on the consoles that are not likely to be released on PC because it won't sell to PC audience. I think the massive success of games like Fallout shows that relatively complex games has a large audience not only on PC but on consoles aswell, obviously, making (more) intelligent than average games has it's own market despite platform. At the same time, gaming as a cultural phenomena is becoming older and at the same time more widespread than ever. Look at Hollywood and the movie industry, Hollywood makes some seriously dumb movies but at the same time there are great ones, even less known films that resemble european movies alot.


But well, the world is going to end soon anyways so who cares. At least according to the abrahamitic religions and the everything-is-going-to-hell-very-soon-doom-prophets who seem to breed like rabbits. What else is new, people thought the end of the world was coming in the 17th century and saw signs of decadence and doom everywhere.

Another thing I am curious about;
Anyone who ever played a game like World of Warcraft knows that you can easily bind way over 30-40 key/keycombos for hotkeying abilities. Is this even doable on standard console controllers? How long has it been this way?
 

Venereus

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Video games went mainstream, the market grew exponentially, and then the video game industry finally found a use for the number one rule for selling stuff on our present free market: assume they're all stupid.
 
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