Expectations, patches, and killing the zeitgeist

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sweep

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Edited By sweep  Moderator

There's something invigorating about being caught up in the zeitgeist of a videogame. Being able to compare notes and impressions, swapping stories and sharing discoveries, is part of why videogame communities like this one are such vibrant and interesting places. Being included in a sub-community of enthusiasts during a launch window is what drives people to pre-order and rework their whole lives so they have as much time to play as possible. That's a potent factor surrounding the hype and enthusiasm for videogames in general; It's about inclusivity, and solidarity, and it's important.

It's also why I have so little sympathy for companies that push out rushed videogames and then apologetically attempt to make good with proposed patches and updates.

Aaryn Flynn, general manager of Bioware, has announced that, fair cop, the quality of Andromeda is somewhat lacking in certain areas of the game. Bioware acknowledges these issues and, now they have your money, they're committed to fixing those problems with a series of increasingly convoluted patches. One of which is Fixing Ryder’s movements when running in a zig zag pattern. Cool?

No, not really.

I didn't buy Andromeda, after being put off by multiple reviews, so I'm indifferent towards what exactly is being fixed. What irritates me more is that this is slowly becoming an acceptable form of doing business; games are swapped for money and then, if people complain loud enough, the developer grudgingly agrees to deliver the level of quality which was expected in the first place. In the case of some, such as Bioware, those expectations are the result of a company pedigree. Others seem a little more deceitful. I'm looking at you, No Man's Sky (though I wish I wasn't, because you look bad).

And this sucks, because the zeitgeist is important! People want to be caught up in the opening-weekend excitement, and by relying on a series of ongoing patches you deny them that experience. Not to mention the fact that most people, having struggled through your broken-ass game once already, will be reluctant to do so again in a month regardless of what you add in a patch.

Not to bang the same drum, but pre-orders deserve some of this blame once again. I'd like to think that no developer is deliberately trying to push out a shitty videogame, but they have little incentive to make improvements if hordes of fans are already locked in to buy it regardless of launch quality. But let's look at the silver linings here:

  • Doing something is better than doing nothing. At the very least they're acknowledging the problems and trying to fix them. For the sake of people who brought the game, I hope those changes are meaningful.
  • The review scores aren't going to be changed regardless of patches. A lot of studios measure their success in meta-critic ratings, so this fuckup is now on Biowares permanent record. Hopefully they learn from this and we see improvements next time.
  • Maybe less people will buy into this preorder bullshit now they've been repeatedly burned. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Thanks for reading

Love Sweep

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SpaceInsomniac

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I originally wrote this in a different thread, but this is how I feel about the game.

If ME2 was The Empire Strikes Back, and ME3 was the prequels (mostly for the ending), MEA is The Force Awakens. Not as good as the best of what came before it, but nowhere near the worst of the series, either. It's allowing me to enjoy Mass Effect again, which is great.

I'm closing in on 40 hours with the game, and I still have loads of secondary quests and loyalty missions to do. The characters, while not as good as the cast of ME2, are also WAY better than the assortment of unlikable people in Inquisition. And yes, doing away with the "power" structure that was found in Inquisition also feels a lot better, and way less repetitive.

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RikiGuitarist

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#2  Edited By RikiGuitarist

It's hard to tell where the BioWare blame ends, and where the EA responsibility begins with this. With the released product being so obviously unfinished and unpolished to the consumer, the developers clearly knew about it when they pushed it out the door. It's not the consumer's onus to know the inner workings of a game's development to give it a pass, either. So I'm kind of torn about how I feel on Andromeda being an enthusiast in the video game industry and a consumer. Even with its lukewarm critical response, I'm sure Andromeda still sold well in its opening weeks. Surely enough to make a sizeable impression before the fiscal quarter ended. Given that, I think it will be near impossible for publicly traded corporations to have enough confidence to allow extended game delays for the sake of the game's quality, rather than mandating a certain deadline to meet monetary expectations.

I also think completely killing off the pre-order culture will be hard to do. I think a decent portion of people who've pre-ordered Andromeda are mostly satisfied with it. They don't feel the need to go on messages boards or make YouTube videos on their feelings. So the overall consensus of the public's opinion is skewed towards the passionately vocal. As long as there is that crave for the day 1 zeitgeist, and publishers creating pre-order incentives, pre-orders will maintain its place in video games.

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ripelivejam

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This should have *been* a good game, but i have a feeling it will be a good game, eventually.

it's quite alright, though. it allows me a bit of a breather.

i know it's not excusable, but compounded intricacies in game making coupled with publisher pressure tends to lead to most games being varying levels of unfinished..

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BoOzak

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I had a similar experience except with Recore. I didnt get it despite thinking it looked interesting and being a big Metroid Prime fan because I didnt want to pay for an unfinished game. But waiting several months for them to (hopefully) finish it has killed a lot of the hype I had for it originally. (that and hearing about the buggyness and pacing issues)

As for Mass Effect Andromeda i'm glad I was along for the bumpy ride. (and I didnt scan very many planets) It's not the game I was hoping for, but I had some fun.

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OurSin_360

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Well im sure andromeda was rushed do to pressure from the publisher, and with the amount of money put into ths game by today's standards(40 mill about half as much as the Witcher i believe) i get why they had to wait for copies to be sold to fix it. I wouldn't blame developers for having to rush to market they are a business and at the whim of the publisher who pays for the development.

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TheHT

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I'm having fun with the multiplayer, and I also managed to get what I wanted (mostly) out of No Man's Sky at launch, so I'll consider myself lucky on both counts, but yeah. As much as this seems like it was pushed out for fiscal year reasons, it's still pretty fuckin lame.

I'll say this though, I'm kinda over the whole zeitgeist thing. I mean, I'm not immune to the hype of it all--I'll sometimes be moved to pick something up or put it on my radar because of it (i.e. Civ V, Persona 5)--but being a part of that communal excitement doesn't much factor into my purchasing decisions. It's much more enjoyable to play a game whenever I'm in the mood for it and have the time for it, and if I happen to miss the hooplah-window then that's A-OK by me.

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deactivated-5ba16609964d9

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Even if they fix Mass Effect Andromeda it's still never going to be better than okay. Take away the glitches and wonky animations and you're still left with uninspired dialogue, boring side quest, and a bog standard paint by numbers story. I've never gone into a Mass Effect because of the gameplay it's always been about being immersed in that world(s) and its characters. The most positive thing I can say about the single player outside of combat is that I like that they got Kumail Nanjiani to voice a Salarian. I'm a huge fan of his stand-up and he is hilarious on Mike Judge's Silicon Valley.

I'm taking a break from the game to play Persona 5 (a game that just oozes style and charisma) and clear out a bit of my back catalog. Hopefully when I comeback to Andromeda I will be over that initial disappointment and have fun with it.

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mems1224

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It's a shame because underneath the bad design decisions like planet scanning and squad limitations and the mountain of technical problems there is a damn good game under there that I mostly enjoyed.

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RobotSquad

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If ME2 was The Empire Strikes Back, and ME3 was the prequels (mostly for the ending), MEA is The Force Awakens. Not as good as the best of what came before it, but nowhere near the worst of the series, either. It's allowing me to enjoy Mass Effect again, which is great.

Now that you mention it, the series follows the Star Wars releases pretty closely. ME3 would be ROTJ though. A game that a lot of people had problems (Ewoks) with but most still agreed was pretty good, even if not best in the series. That makes Andromeda, the first in a new trilogy, The Phantom Menace. Long awaited by fans, but released without any of the craft or vision of the original trilogy.

If this holds up we're due for another bad one, then a pretty good one! Can't wait to get into Mass Effect again in 2023 :)

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SpaceInsomniac

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@spaceinsomniac said:

If ME2 was The Empire Strikes Back, and ME3 was the prequels (mostly for the ending), MEA is The Force Awakens. Not as good as the best of what came before it, but nowhere near the worst of the series, either. It's allowing me to enjoy Mass Effect again, which is great.

Now that you mention it, the series follows the Star Wars releases pretty closely. ME3 would be ROTJ though. A game that a lot of people had problems (Ewoks) with but most still agreed was pretty good, even if not best in the series. That makes Andromeda, the first in a new trilogy, The Phantom Menace. Long awaited by fans, but released without any of the craft or vision of the original trilogy.

If this holds up we're due for another bad one, then a pretty good one! Can't wait to get into Mass Effect again in 2023 :)

I assume you've seen The Phantom Menace, but have you actually played Andromeda? At most, it's kind of bland and uninteresting when compared to ME1 and 2, not completely fucking horrible Phantom Menace style.

Sorry to those who grew up with the prequels and considers them a part of their childhood. I'm in my mid-thirties, and I do not.

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deactivated-5a923fc7099e3

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I would much rather play a fully patched game a few months after release for a reduced price then a broken game at full price. It sometimes takes some restraint to not buy the latest and greatest but I've learned to let go of that urge for the most part.

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Deathstriker

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I originally wrote this in a different thread, but this is how I feel about the game.

If ME2 was The Empire Strikes Back, and ME3 was the prequels (mostly for the ending), MEA is The Force Awakens. Not as good as the best of what came before it, but nowhere near the worst of the series, either. It's allowing me to enjoy Mass Effect again, which is great.

I'm closing in on 40 hours with the game, and I still have loads of secondary quests and loyalty missions to do. The characters, while not as good as the cast of ME2, are also WAY better than the assortment of unlikable people in Inquisition. And yes, doing away with the "power" structure that was found in Inquisition also feels a lot better, and way less repetitive.

I'm 30 something hours into the game and I agree about MEA. I still think people were too hard on ME3, since it just needed more side missions/exploration and a redesign of the last mission. It has some of the best moments in the whole series like Mordin's death, legion's mission, and so on. The internet has tried to make MEA out to be the Phantom Menace, when really, it's The Dark Knight Rises - not as good as the previous installments with obvious flaws, but still better than most. Youtube guys have gotten a ton of hits and therefore money off hating the game. I see videos with created characters literally looking like clowns or people on PC doing the waddle run thing on purpose, then people who never played the game think/act like that's the normal run when it's a glitch they do on purpose.

The game should've been delayed and I think the patches show that EA didn't give them enough time. If the founders of Bioware never sold to EA then bailed I doubt MEA, or even ME3's troubles, ever would've happened, so I do feel a little bad for the devs, since the publisher should've given them more time. I've had a lot of fun with the game, it's probably my second favorite RPG this gen with Witcher 3 as number one. If someone wants to boycott them that's fine, but seems overkill to me and possibly hypocritical if they bought a Bethesda game, MGSV, or anything like that, since those are more buggy and unfinished than MEA.

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donchipotle

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Addison doesn't look like a monster anymore so game's fine.

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WarlordPayne

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For me it's less about zeitgeist and more about buying a game then being told that if I play it without waiting a few months I'm playing a dramatically inferior version of the game. If I was buying into early access then sure, that's what I signed up for. But I bought a full priced $60 dollar game on a disc, and now I get to sit around and wait for them to fix it.

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