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  1. #1
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    Conspiracy Theory: ME3 Backlash was fake

    This is not a a discussion about the end of ME3, just the 'fan' reaction.

    This has been an idea that's been lingering around the back of mind like a bad smell in a poorly cleaned taxi.

    I think most of the backlash was trolling. I'd go as high as 75%

    I think a lot of the internet hivemind seems to be on some kind of Bioware hate train, though not without reason, they do have some dubious DLC practices. But then counter to that, internet crybabies couldn't get over that one member of their staff didn't play games and proceeded to attack said staff member online.

    Too many people seemed to complete the game in too fast a time which leads me to think a lot of them were pirates who got the game early (Can a pirate have a valid opinion on art? Do they value what they play the same as a paying customer? - somebody should make a topic about that asap) or didn't play through the game fully, instead relying on youtube.

    The vast difference between Metacritic user and review scores implies something was 'going on' too, plus Metacritic seems to be an easy target for raging internet trolls. The site has been attacked before. A lot of the user reviews talk about how the game was simplified despite the greater level of depth customization over the second game. More reviews from people who didn't play the game? I think so.

    The time spent whining about the game also leads me to believe that it was children over adults making the fuss on the internet.

    How many adults have the time to spend so long slandering a game over such a period of time?

    How many adults have such unrealistic expectations?

    Basically, I think the internet trolled itself into oblivion on this one.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Yeah, there are cases when community trolls itself into believeing things. Not sure if it indeed happened here, but I saw some other examples. I for one finished ME3, said "okay" and moved on. Not that I'm saying ME3 ending was great, but I thought it was passable.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    The Hamburger Helper thing started before ME3 and I'm pretty sure she wasn't a writer for that game.

    I only played the demo of ME3. I read about ME3's story and saw some videos. I think it's a fucking retarded concusion to a great journey. A great journey ending in a car crash is not that great after all! Is my opinion not valid because I haven't personally experienced the crash?

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    It was passable, but that's just it. ME1 had a truly great memorable ending, ME2 had a great ending with a STOOPID giant robot, ME3 had a passable ending.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    Basically, I think the internet trolled itself into oblivion on this one.
    That doesn't even make sense. The internet tried to get some reaction out of itself? How does that work?

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Cooper's Avatar
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    I think the issue was that it was passable, but with a hint that (maybe with, you know, some kind of editing?) it could have been fucking brilliant.
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Of course there was trolling, and attempts to coordinate such trolling can easily be found on numerous gaming forums. Baiting the moderators with puns, for example, was a quite obvious trolling scheme - and not entirely unfunny at times. Was it 75% of negative responses? Who knows. Maybe it was, maybe it was 5%. There's no way to know unless you go about analysing who's posting, making which points, how long, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    I think a lot of the internet hivemind seems to be on some kind of Bioware hate train, though not without reason, they do have some dubious DLC practices.
    Hivemind? Hate train? In any case, more generally speaking, I think the context in which ME3 was released is important. A year earlier, Dragon Age II was seen as a disappointment by many fans of the original Dragon Age. There's that infamous sales numbers graph that shows sales numbers plumetting after the first two weeks as word started getting out about the game. This may have made people more critical when looking at BioWare. Then there was The Old Republic in the fall of 2011, which I didn't play, but I did hear of numerous people, including on this blog and forum, who were either disappointed or otherwise unimpressed by this MMO. A month before release, BioWare offered a demo for ME3, which showcased two zones that weren't exactly high-points of the series, had wonky animations, generally unimpressive texture work, and a storyline that had many people confused (the missing trial, the weird introduction of James, the kid, etc.).

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    Too many people seemed to complete the game in too fast a time which leads me to think a lot of them were pirates who got the game early (Can a pirate have a valid opinion on art? Do they value what they play the same as a paying customer? - somebody should make a topic about that asap) or didn't play through the game fully, instead relying on youtube.
    Too fast a time as decided by who? I played through ME3 on the weekend following the Friday release of Mass Effect 3, which took about 20 hours or so. Americans could have finished it by the time the European release rolled around by just playing a couple of hours a day. Besides, people who kept a clear schedule that week to play ME3 are perhaps the biggest fans of the series, though this must of course be a suspicion only. Not everybody can take time out of their usual schedule, after all. I don't see any reason to discount the opinions of the early-finishers, so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    The vast difference between Metacritic user and review scores implies something was 'going on' too, plus Metacritic seems to be an easy target for raging internet trolls. The site has been attacked before.
    MetaCritic scores are not entirely inaccurate, though they do of course have their fair share of problems. You do, for instance, have to account for the numerous people that can't look beyond the Google/Facebook level of critique (LIKE!/DISLIKE!) and throw around 10s and 1s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    A lot of the user reviews talk about how the game was simplified despite the greater level of depth customization over the second game. More reviews from people who didn't play the game? I think so.
    What 'greater level of depth customization' is that? That's not sarcasm, it's not apparent to me what you're referring to. On the other hand, topics that come through in the criticism, and might speak to the simplification point, is the decreased amount of 'information'-dialogue options (traditionally the left side of the wheel) and neutral responses (traditionally the center-right option on the wheel). There were less squad members to go around in ME3 as compared to ME2, the ending wasn't more advanced in terms of tying it into the earlier game or even games than Jade Empire had been almost a decade earlier (the choice as to how to treat the dragon) etc. I don't want to declare support for any of these, but they were quite prominent and probably not entirely inaccurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    The time spent whining about the game also leads me to believe that it was children over adults making the fuss on the internet.

    How many adults have the time to spend so long slandering a game over such a period of time?

    How many adults have such unrealistic expectations?
    Plenty, I'd say - but we'll never know what the demographic makeup of the disappointed ME3 fans is like.
    Last edited by Tritagonist; 02-07-2012 at 06:38 PM.
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    Regarding "simplification": ME 3 brought back weapon customization, had a lot more weapons than ME2 and a deeper leveling system with mutually exclusive upgrade choices. I'd say mechanically it was a lot less simple than ME2 and arguably ME1, which had tons of weapons and upgrades, but very little meaningful choice involved in picking which one to use (most were just straight upgrades), while ME3 has a lot more interesting (and therefore meaningful) options to choose from.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    All I know is how I felt after playing ME3 and that was extremely disappointed. I avoided anything Mass Effect related on the internet from a few weeks prior to release until after I completed the game (as to avoid spoilers).

    My feelings on the ending were completely unbiased, I love the ME series and have no malicious intent towards Bioware as a company. I just was really disappointed by the ending. Also the crap Tali photo.

    As for the conspiracy theory? Bleh. I'm a skeptic at heart so you'll have an extremely hard time convincing me.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Even if there was some trolling, which is possible for sure, the finale had some god awful writing. This is at least partially evident in the number of retcons made in the extended cut, along with just how obvious they were too. There's no way supposed trolling would have been able to have maintained itself if it wasn't based on some sort of substance.
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  11. #11
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    Yeah, I think a lot of the disappointment was genuine (mine sure was!). The absolutely mind boggling hate that erupted on the internet however still surprises me a bit, but maybe it was just a very extreme form of hype backlash, fueled by the feeling a lot of people had that Bioware had lost what made them special after the DA2 fiasco (though I still think that game isn't that bad), the DLC controversy etc.

  12. #12
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    I think the way the internet is nowadays, everything gets blown out of proportion. Someone reads one negative review, then tells someone that this game is bad, and that gets spread around until half of the people complaining are just bitching because everyone else is. The internet forms a consensus of opinion that's hard to ignore, even when you're conscious of it. I haven't played Mass Effect 3 (waiting for the price to come down) but I've heard so much about the poor ending that my opinion of it will probably be affected. We have numerous forums, blogs, review sites, facebook...people's time is limited, and judgment is rendered on things without much thought. So I would say that it's less a conspiracy regarding Mass Effect 3's reception, and more just the nature of the internet.

    On another note, do the last five minutes of a game really matter all that much if the experience until then has been excellent? Was the purpose of Mass Effect to tell a great story? I just completed Rage and it had the most half-assed ending I've ever experienced, yet I'd give it a positive review, since most of the game was pretty good.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gganate View Post
    On another note, do the last five minutes of a game really matter all that much if the experience until then has been excellent? Was the purpose of Mass Effect to tell a great story?
    The story is important to the Mass Effect series. The combat is pretty basic, and the RPG elements aren't very intricate either. The story, with the characters and conversations, makes the series worthwhile. Even if it's not thought-provoking literature by any means, it's still good fun.

    With regards to Mass Effect 3; pretty much everything you do is building up to that ending. You're solving problems mainly because their resolution will allow the involved parties to focus on the battle against the Reapers (the ending). Then that is all wrapped up in the two short London and Citadel missions, which are pretty lacklustre and the perceived problems with them are well documented. The feeling that the ending was so underwhelming also made the journey leading up to it (that is; the rest of the game) less compelling, and devalued it in some sense, at least it did for me. So yes, I think the ending is quite important - and since it's the ending of an entire trilogy, perhaps it was more important than in most other games.

    Here's a decent talk about the importance of the (patched-up versions of the) endings by a guy who was pretty vocal about, and critical of, the original attempt: http://jmstevenson.me/2012/06/27/mas...-extended-cut/
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
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  14. #14
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    Thinking about this practically... if this was a trolling effort by 75% of the people claiming to hate the ending, how and where were they coordinating their trolling efforts? Because that's a lot of people doing a lot of troll-based communication, and there doesn't seem to be much evidence of it anywhere online.

    I think it's more likely that a lot of people genuinely thought the ending was complete tripe. I know I did. The outrage was genuine- histrionic in places, yes, but genuine.

  15. #15
    Network Hub DzX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gganate View Post
    On another note, do the last five minutes of a game really matter all that much if the experience until then has been excellent? Was the purpose of Mass Effect to tell a great story?
    Given the only innovation the series attempted was to do with its story [choices and personality carying across a trilogy] I'd say the answer is yes to both questions.

  16. #16
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    I'm skeptical of any kind of 'conspiracy' to cause such a backlash. ME3's ending just left me with hollow disappointment. It didn't make me rage, if anything it's worse than that, it just dissolved the last of my ability to care about anything Bioware do. I know that 90% of the game was great, but the ending was so deflating it's entirely killed off my desire to touch it or any other Bioware game again.

    I think the rage over the endings was inflated by the fact that this is the Internet; land of the angry, self-righteous and entitled. But at the same time the backlash was there and I think it was quite real. The end of ME3 didn't just fail to meet expectations (by the end of this trilogy these were so high I personally thought it impossible for it to meet them), it failed to even be a 'decent' ending (I just took a look at the extended ones on Youtube, those are what I'd call 'passable', and still not even close to good enough) and closed Bioware's flagship franchise with a fairly enormous finger to the fans. I don't think there was any way there wouldn't be a backlash.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkFenix View Post
    I don't think there was any way there wouldn't be a backlash.
    That was always going to be the case though. It's such a big game series, so much going on, so many ideas, themes, story-threads. I didn't need the internet to tell me the ending was going to be a let-down. Few great pieces of storytelling have amazing or even decent endings.

    I don't think the backlash was fake, but I think it was inevitable regardless of what Bioware did. An ending that satisfied everyone would have been so big it'd be an entire game itself. In many ways that's what ME3 was. But the final choice was always going to be a damp squib of an ending.

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    I think the negative reactions to the ending were genuine, and helped along by the fact that for some of us, this series managed to get us emotionally invested in characters like no games have before.

    But I think the reason things got so intense have a lot to do with the nature of the internet. On the one hand, you had the detractors being exposed to many others sharing the same opinion, and therefore becoming emboldened to go to higher and higher extremes.

    On the other hand, you had lots of people who never even played a ME game or who didn't like the series, weighing in because they were offended by the concept of fans "demanding" a new ending. They by necessity had no inkling of the attachment hardcore ME fans have *or had* for the series.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Eh, maybe so. I think what truly bothered most people was the fact that there was literally nothing different about the presentation of the different endings besides different colored explosions.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I disagree that this was a massive troll. Did some people take it too far? Undoubtedly. Expecting a complete explanation about the reasoning of the Reapers (who should have remained enigmatic) is a bit too much but that bit of deus ex machina we got with the 3 choices felt a bit ridiculous.

    Much of the flawed logic behind the AI can easily be explained as "It's an enigmatic AI who, like a dementia patient, always believes it's right even if it's clearly wrong." I think people took that point a bit too far presuming that Shepard could have total and absolute control over the situation. But the endings provided pretty much no closure; the red and blue endings seemed to be bad period, while the green middle of the road ending just seemed like a pointless addition. That backlash was genuine and justified in many ways (though a "You win with absolute awesomeness and nobody else got hurt THE END" ending would be a bit dumb too).

    The other thing I found amusing was people complaining that their choices didn't dictate the ending. They did to an extent (if you didn't get the war assets up past minimum you lost, period) but if you'd gone through the whole series only to be told "You did this, this, and this, but not this, so therefore you lose" or something like that I'd imagine the backlash would have been much stronger.

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