Fan communities are an important thing to nurture, but the online community for BioWare has been increasingly hostile towards the developer and games it claims to love. David Gaider, the lead writer for Bioware’s Dragon Age, acknowledges that the forums have become toxic and therefore are a harder place to parse out any real feedback as a result.
“Spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative- not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general. That’s not a good feeling to have,” Gaider said. “I’m sure there are folks there who would bristle at that comment, suggesting that all negative feedback is justifiable and that ignoring it is the equivalent of us sticking our heads in the sand. How will we ever improve unless we listen to their scolding and take our lumps like good little developers That is, of course, ignoring the idea that we haven’t already digested a mountain of feedback- both positive and negative- and there’s really only so much of it you can take. Eventually you make decisions (informed by that feedback, though only in part- it can only ever be in part) and move on.”
“Eventually you get the feeling like you’re at one of those parties where all anyone is doing is bitching. It doesn’t matter what they’re bitching about so much as, sooner or later, that’s all you can really hear,” he continued. “I think there’s something to be said there about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gamer communities in general. Perhaps there is also something to be said about whether the games BioWare makes still satisfy our core fans.”