BioWare Sending Surveys Asking ‘How Can We Improve Our Games?’

BioWare is looking for some feedback, according to an email the developer is sending around asking some players to take a survey.

With the subject line, “How can we improve our games,” the email forwards users on to a survey that asks questions about what games players are playing, and on what platforms. We didn’t get further than outlining which platforms we use for our titles (I suspect it might be a survey specifically about Playstation 3 players, of which I’m not one when it comes to BioWare games), so it’s hard to say just what feedback, if any, the survey actually looks for.

However, we thought we’d put the question to you. Not as an invitation for trolling BioWare, but to engage some honest discussion. If you were to answer the question, “How can we improve our games?” as posed by a beloved studio such as BioWare, what would you say? Let us know in the comments.

Bonus points if you write something more articulate than “Write a better ending next time” or “I think Electronic Arts is evil incarnate and you should have avoided being bought by it somehow.” We’re hoping for interesting, thoughtful discussion here.


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16 Comments on BioWare Sending Surveys Asking ‘How Can We Improve Our Games?’

Mike

On September 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

The thing that is most important when making great games, is holding onto critical components of your creative team like Drew. When you have crucial employees that are so important to the creation of your world, game, and mythos; rule number 1 is: KEEP THEM HAPPY! This was the case for Igataki and Team Ninja, the former heads of Infinity Ward, and all those other horror stories involving awful working conditions while making blockbuster games. You don’t tick off contractors making your buildings, so why would you tick off the builders of your games? I firmly believe the quality of these games (Ninja Gaiden 3, Call of Duty, and ME3) suffered because of the company’s pressure on the team. For Bioware, the moment they let Drew go was the moment I felt trepidation for their series’ future. Unfortunately I was right…

JC_Denton

On September 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

1 – Stop treating your customers like criminals.
2 – Cut the DRM bull since that only pisses off your paying customers; see #1.
3 – Origin exclusive for the 3rd part of a trilogy? YOU!
4 – BioWare hath failed. Do NOT pass GO. Do NOT collect $200.

BioWare has fallen prey to the EA corporate machine. Get out now while you can and find a job in another company or you will be another ‘EA Spouse’ story sooner than you think.

lee

On September 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Beyond the obvious thing most of us wished they changed I wished they would start listening to there fan more. Also I wished they would make much better dlc like the one I mentioned earlier in another article. Even if they did do that it would be hard for me to trust them once again. Right now I felt that bioware was my girlfriend for many years and she cheated on me with someone twice my age.

SweetPea

On September 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

This means they know there are problems with their games. Good.

1) Get rid of EA of course. BioWare makes RPG-s, which require a lot of time and EA doesn’t like RPG-s. I can’t see how they could ever create a good RPG with EA pushing them.
2) Don’t try to appeal to a broader audience, because it won’t work.
3) Stop making your games easier and simpler, we’re not stupid.
4) Only release the game if you’re completely satisfied with it (requires step one).
5) Be more interactive with the fans. If you screwed up something, admit it and try to fix it.

That’s all I can think of right now.

R.J.

On September 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I can only see this as a good thing. It means that they are seeing that they lost touch with their fans at some point and need to go directly to the source to even have a shot of winning them back. I just hope they take this seriously and that it goes into depth about gamer preferences.

R.J

On September 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

It would also be nice if they included questions about Origin in the survey. On that front, I’d flat out call them on Origin forcing me to login. Before, they said it was only needed for the initial registration, but what they didn’t mention is that the game will not recognize DLC without verifying it on their end. So, despite their claims, Origin is not optional.

Phil Hornshaw

On September 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Hate to say it, guys, but I wouldn’t read too far into this survey idea. Lots of companies do surveys to find out what their customers are playing and on what platforms, and having run through the survey, I can’t say for certain this was anything more than that. Seemed pretty standard. I wouldn’t say that anybody at BioWare or EA sees the company as “out of touch” with fans or anyone else for that matter.

We put the question to you, the readers, because we thought it would be an interesting exercise. But like I said, I wouldn’t necessarily take this as any kind of admission or acknowledgment from BioWare.

Axetwin

On September 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Fire the hell out of Casey Hudson.

Ok ok seriously. How can you improve your games? Bring back the proper RPG. Look go expand into different genres just dont forget what put you on the map in the first place. Stop watering your games down with a checklist of basic RPG elements so you dont alienate players who dont like RPGs. Youre trying to please as many people as humanly possible that your games are coming off as half-assed and that is unacceptable.

EA, Bioware had been a successful gaming company for a decade before you bought them out. They know what theyre doing, they know how to make money and if you stopped sticking your nose into a genre of gaming of which you know nothing about, they could make you so much MORE money. You dont need to keep a close eye on what they do, you dont need to be involved in every facet of the games because all of a sudden youre afraid theyre a bunch of amateurs who dont know what theyre doing.

ToeNail

On September 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Well it’s quite simple:

1. let the entirety of the story creation guys create your stories. Don’t ditch all but two of them ever again.

2.If you’re going to create another series in which you claim all of the player’s choices matter maybe you should actually come through on that promise. Don’t build people up for years and years on a lie.

3. Don’t try to inject story elements from non-bioware games any more. I was bothered by it in Gears 3 but distraught when I saw it again in ME3. No one wanted the mass relays to become halo rings. No one. I’m sure there were better ways to deal with the reapers that didn’t involve space magic. Perhaps some weapon equipped to the fleets that caused ezo cores of attack vessels to go critical? Maybe using some localized method to indoctrinate reapers against other reapers? Not impossible given all the illusive man stuff. Point being you should use your universe to your advantage and not borrow from other stories.

And I guess just as generic advice; Moar cowbell?

Just be true to yourself bioware, all of yourself, design/create to your strengths and don’t lie. Very simple.

Mark

On September 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

The only games I’ve played of Bioware are KOTOR (both), Dragon Age (Origins and 2), and Mass Effect (all).

I’m not a company fanboy so don’t have any expectations of a game just because it was made by a particular company.

However my suggestion would be to forget multiplayer. This isn’t just in regards to ME but also Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Also, don’t bother with trilogies. Mass Effect failed as a series to many people because Bioware didn’t wrap it up in a way (that was consistent with long established writing conventions if I’m being mean) that couldn’t possibly please everyone.

For that reason, I can’t play the other ME games. However even though KOTOR 2 was mediocre, I can easily jump into KOTOR 1 because it was its own contained story. The same goes for DAO. Despite 2 also being mediocre (2 started off good though), Origins is still a gem.

Mark

On September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Also, ignore Axeltwin’s ideas on returning to make a “true RPG”.

Make whatever type of game you like. Hell make an ME sandbox game, set in the citadel if you want. As long as it has good writing and good gameplay, then it doesn’t matter.

R-man

On September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

1) Take TIME with your games. Don’t rush them out the door. True gamers don’t really care how long it takes you to finish it, as long as it’s worth it in the end.
2) Be PASSIONATE about what you work on. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing or making, neither will the people you try to sell it to.
3) Don’t actively try to appeal to new audiences at the expense of your work. Which (like others said on here) means not purposely making everything simpler… If it’s not broken, don’t fix it…
4) If you have a storyline, theme(s), or lore that has already been established within previous games in a series, make sure you do EVERYTHING you can to stick with those… don’t make last second adjustments.
5) Don’t make games for the money… Make games because it’s what you want to do.
6) DIRECTLY TO BIOWARE: If you were to keep on doing what you did before EA started shoving it’s claws into you, you’d still be golden… You need to take your time, and go back to putting real RPG elements into the games… ME1 was great, ME2 was effing amazing, and ME3… well, you know. Forget MP and EA, and go back to doing what you do best. Please..
And bring back Drew Karpyshyn.

Also, if you make a mistake, be like Bethesda… Admit it, as soon as possible, and try to fix it… People like other people who are humble enough to admit when they’re wrong… It shows a lot about a person or company. And it allows people/customers/fans to put trust into said person or company.

Maay

On September 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

to me, it’s all about the STORY. Your greater games had great, passionate, well written stories, with characters I cared for very much, including NPC. Your lesser games forgot that. I had immense fun with ME 1, 2 and 3, right until the story skipped a beat a few minutes before the end.

Ebalosus

On September 5, 2012 at 5:09 am

1 – Stop copying trends from other successful games (Mass effect should be a hybrid shooter RPG, not gears of war with ‘rpg elements’)
2 – Stop nickle-and-diming loyal customers with the misuse of DLC (things essential to the game SHOULD NOT be sold as extra DLC)
3 – When planning a trilogy of games, actually plan how the trilogy will play out. If JMS could do it with Babylon 5 (5 seasons planned out beforehand), then you can most certainly do it with 3 50-hour-each videogames
4 – When making sequels to successful games, build on what was great about the first one, and add new things to enhance the sequel. DO NOT take things out to “streamline” a game. This is both insulting to your fanbase and your customers.

Kaitlyn

On September 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

I don’t think the survey is anything to get excited about. I suppose if anything, it tells them whether it’s better to pander to the PC or console crowd, (the whole Dragon Age 2 interface issue) and such.

To be fair though, they have attempted to reach out to fans with their Question of the Month, (see http://blog.bioware.com/2012/05/14/daquestionofthemonth/#more-4554 .) And note how they are very careful not to make promises or have it become (I have better ideas than you!) I think this is good, at least in theory. (We’ll see how Dragon Age 3 plays out, and whether or not they actually take to heart any of it.)

Besides, EA sucks! and critque that really is more about development and developers than the actual gameplay, I think it’s good for them to provide an outlet for people who actually want to discuss what they liked about the games, and how elements of those games could make the next one better. It should be about how to make the next game better, not how the last game “sucked.”

Naturally, not everyone is going to be happy no matter what they do, but they should care about their customers in general, and I think something like this is at least a good start. This is how they can make games better: Take the elements that work and leave the ones that don’t. They have the tools and the pieces, they just need some good judgement and to understand what people liked and what they didn’t. They’re not going to get everything right all the time, but they can learn from their successes and failures—or they can repeat them.

Let’s hope they choose to learn. (If things like the Question of the Month are any indication, things may be looking up.) I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

CatmanStu

On September 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

You say to be inventive and not fall back on the ‘EA are evil’ shtick, but that is impossible. EA are poison. Everything that EA stands for in this industry is counter intuitive to the very essence of what made Bioware great; engrossing, well written and produced single player experiences with memorable plots and characters.

Bioware are like a bar tender who has a menu full of delicious coktails but has now decided to add rat poison to every future recipe. You can make all the improvements in the world to these drinks but they’ll still leave you sick afterwards.