Thursday, 24 February 2011

*miming overhead whoosh*

I have yet to play the DA2 demo. But if this note on Destructoid is anything to go by, Bioware completely failed to understand the real problem with the first game.

BioWare's made no secret of the fact that they keep a running tab of player metrics, and Dragon Age: Origins was no different.

They learned a few neat tidbits -- "more people played warriors than rogues or mages" explains lead designer Mike Laidlaw -- but they also learned something that changed their approach to Dragon Age II.

"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?" explains Laidlaw. The Dragon Age team might have chalked some of those lost players up to rentals, but the statistics didn't back it up: a significant number of people simply stopped playing Dragon Age: Origins after a few hours.

"I think what it really spoke to is something RPGs have been wrestling with for a long time: that first impression," says Laidlaw.

So they fixed it.

"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and ... it hits you in the face with a thousand stats. Those stats are very cool, but you may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with them as your first thing to do in the game," he says.

I've talked to a lot of people who quit playing Dragon Age within a few hours.

Every single one of them quit because OSTAGAR WAS BORING.

Even _I_ almost quit because Ostagar was boring, and I've gone on to become a fangirl. Even the geeks of TVTropes admit that Ostagar was a huge drag.

If the stats overwhelmed you, you wouldn't get past the character creator. You certainly wouldn't get a few hours in and then give up in disgust.

What killed the mood was too much time spent with characters and sidequests which were totally irrelevant to the plot, and fairly obviously so, in the name of 'introducing the gameplay'. If you're going to have interactive tutorials, fine, but get them over with fast because they are not fun.

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