Dragon Age 4 - Before and after GaaS

Yup, BioWare, as I loved, is dead. Had been dead, and EA is now doing unspeakable things with the corpse.

It’s like Weekend at Bernie’s, except far more sad and horrifying.

Wait, what happened to this from last month?

Now EA is mandating GaaS?

I will say, as far as the “Joplin” version of the game is concerned…yes, the ideas sound cool and I’d have liked to see that game…but there’s no mention of followup for the pretty substantial plot beats dropped on us by the Trespasser DLC for Inquisition in that take on things, and it’s a little difficult to see how they’d be relevant to Tevinter spy heists. And I’d rather have that than the heists. As much as I’d enjoy both.

That isn’t automatically “make everything an always online server-based multiplayer game.” The coop multiplayer horde modes in ME3, ME: Andromeda and Inquisition were essentially Bioware’s sop to that.

BioWare IS EA now, wholly-owned aka EA Edmonton.

Yes it does. Kind of reminds me of The Council, a neat little game that was released (episodically) last year. I picked it up on sale a couple months back and played through the first chapter. At the and of that (and in between each Act) it gave you a rundown of each voice you made, what you missed, and alternate choices you could have made. The actual writing was kind of mediocre, though, and it would be amazing to see someone like Bioware (of old) take that framework and run with it.

I don’t see the contradiction.

If we’re being completely honest here, the heist theme seems vaguely dorky to me, like film nerds who are trying too hard.

It could’ve been awesome though! If they ever stick it to the man and make an old-fashioned single-player game again, I’ll give it a shot.

AAA quality games are so extremely expensive to create these days that GaaS has become a way to mitigate the risk associated with that type of investment. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. If you could tell EA, with proof, that you were going to have 1 person work on a game for 5 years and it would sell 20M copies at $30 (eg Stardew Valley), they might not mandate GaaS. From a business point of view, however, when you have a team that is going to pour $100M into a game, I think it’s legit to ask what the revenue tail will be. The film industry has the same problem but have managed to find solutions through merch, DVD sales, product placement, etc.

When I read the heist thing I thought maybe they were chasing GTA5. Now everyone is chasing Destiny or whatever successful GaaS is out there. Soon people will be chasing ???

Game trend chasing instead of setting trends/doing what you do best is killing a lot of formerly great companies. IMO, obv.

Edit: it reminds a lot of how Hollywood does business. Portfolio guys looks at X that made boatloads of $$$ and then want everyone in their employ to copy X. Money guys are always the enemy. Big publisher acquisitions of studios will ultimately destroy said studios artistic vision.

Yep, the GaaS follies seem remarkably similar to the MMO follies that came on the heels of the success of WoW. The potential for massive amounts of thrown-away money and destroyed development studios seems equally like a “We’ve been here before” proposition.

GaaS when it means “after finishing the game, we will move everybody to other game and leave a skeleton crew”, I don’t think is going to work for the players.

Nothing lasts forever, but the concept behind GaaS, increasing player engagement over a period of (at least) months by continuously releasing new content, is perfectly fine.

As it so often does, the problem comes in implementation. They release starkly incomplete games, with the expectation being that they’ll patch in the missing stuff later, and if the game isn’t popular that never happens. And then there’s the monetization, which is slowly retreating from cosmetics only back towards pay2win, which is particularly egregious and offensive in a full-price game.

You can do GaaS well. Guild Wars 2 is a GaaS, as is Path of Exile, Warframe, The Division, Neverwinter, and a bunch of others. These games regularly release new content for their players and are monetized through a combination of box sales and ongoing microtransactions, but only services and cosmetic stuff. Nothing predatory. They’re hugely successful and players love them.

That’s the trick, really. If you make a great game, you can make money without being predatory. If your game is mediocre or laughably shit like Fallout76, whoo boy. You’ve got this huge live team, full of great guys who busted their asses for years, and they’ve all got to pay their mortgage. Their kids need braces. So you do what you gotta do.

I think Ubisoft does Games as a Service pretty well. Not just The Division, but Rainbow Six Seige, For Honor, Ghost Recon Wildlands. What’s really impressive about them is that they do it even when a game doesn’t sell well. I don’t think Seige did that well on release, but they kept releasing more and more content for it, and eventually it caught on and was successful. Same with For Honor.

Agreed. The only stumble so far may be Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s optional XP boost offer that some people think is predatory. Whether or not that’s true, the offer creates a perception that it could be, which bogs down any discussion into arguments about artificial grind, etc. I wish they had just not offered the damn thing at all.

Someone is going to jump in and strongly disagree with me on this, but I read a couple articles saying the AssCreed:O XP boost was essentially how the game was meant to be played, because it eliminated grinding for XP. I got the XP boost for free through the Google thing. I never had to grind, and I didn’t outlevel my enemies, because they scale up to your level in that game anyway (but don’t scale down).

So I think that article was essentially correct, and the existence of the XP boost negatively impacted the design of the base game. If you disagree, it’s because you like grinding XP and you do you, friend.

This is what I’m talking about. It’s impossible to discuss the perception of the XP booster offer without delving into a debate on grind, whether or not it was meant to push you into buying it, and eventually devolving into a back and forth on people’s tolerance for RPG progression. It’s exhausting and if Ubisoft just had never offered the item, there wouldn’t be this issue.

I have strong suspicions that when you see this happen, most of the time it’s very much intentional and built into the roadmap from day zero.

My experience is that every negative stereotype and suspicion that players have about monetization is basically correct. Burn that whole shit down. It’s a plague on society.

(I’m generally fine with MTX design like GW2/PoE, which are the classic examples that always get brought up. But even then, I’d argue that things like stash tabs in PoE are borderline at best. I mean, I buy the things because I enjoy the game and I am a grown-ass man with a big-boy job, and they’re orders of magnitude less obnoxious than loot boxes, but there are still better game-design ways to solve those problems that don’t lend themselves quite as well to currency extraction and so the game is undeniably diminished.

If that’s the price of doing business – and it undoubtedly is – well, nothing’s perfect. But I will continue to argue that it’s a net negative to the game, and to games in general.)

My problem with GaaS is that it seems to skew heavily towards making things online and/or multiplayer. If people wanted to continue to release fun singleplayer content for my fun singleplayer games, I would be thrilled (preferably continuing the story, or standalone, since I am not going to replay). I don’t even object to a small subset of online games or optional coop, since I do enjoy those things. But they are absolutely not what I want as the dominant approach to games.

Stash tabs are actually a very poor form of monetization, because they are permanent one-time purchases. Yes you can buy a ton of them if you want, but most players don’t need to do so.

@Adam_B: I really don’t think so. The developers were extremely clear that Fallout 76 would only sell cosmetics. They weren’t lying, they meant what they said at the time. But the game suckled goat balls, and they were faced with either firing people and giving up on the game or taking the first slight step towards pay2win and maybe getting a few precious months to turn it around, so they did what they had to do.