Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Adul » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:41 am

*giant drawn-out sigh*

Well, the game is out now, and I need to vent. I haven't actually played much of it yet, so this is not about the game, at all. Rather, what I need to vent about is the stupidity of people.

As you probably all know, we are living in the age of over-sensitivity, where you can't say, much less do, anything without a horde of ideologues jumping down your throat. This has gotten to the point where I need to utter this morbid sentence: the Baldur's Gate fanbase is engaged in a massive gender politics flame war.

It all starts with an NPC named Mizhena, who is found somewhere in this sprawling 25-hour-long expansion. Mizhena is a cleric of Tempus, the god of war. You meet her in a warcamp, literally surrounded by dozens of other soldiers and refugees. If you talk to her, you can ask about her name, to which she replies by explaining she chose it herself late in life, as she was born and raised as a boy. Now - regardless of what anyone's opinion on transgenderism is - I would think, since this is an entirely optional throwaway line from an entirely optional, unimportant NPC, no-one in their right mind would care about this.

Haha, silly naive ol' me...

This has sparked a giant flame war, with several new topics popping up every hour and each of the main ones at the heart of it getting at least one reply per minute, on average. It's a sprawling mess of shouting and rage, and even the developers managed to tangle themselves up in it. I'd say overall it's about equal parts funny, perplexing, and depressing.

There are, of course, other juicy bits to the whole story. Apparently, negative reviews have started popping up of the game on Steam, GOG, and Metacritic, either (depending on who you ask) due to technical issues, or due to bigots who cannot stand the thought of gender-queerness in their Baldur's Gate. (My guess is the truth might be somewhere in the middle, if anywhere at all.) This has led the CEO of Beamdog, Trent Oster, to go to the forums and (I'll use very specific phrasing here) ask players who liked the game to leave positive reviews on these websites. This is very surprising to me, because this guy is not new to the video game business, and as an experienced creator of creative media, he should have known that this kind of behavior is not only distasteful, but also always, almost without exception, a mistake. Now the topic he started is the hub of the flame war and the review scores are dropping more rapidly than before.

Another thing that people keep bringing up is an interview Kotaku made with Beamdog writer and PR person Amber Scott, who made some unfortunate comments in said interview. She mentioned that the Dragonspear devs tried to address some issues with the original game, like "the sexism". To support the claim of the original Baldur's Gate being sexist, she brought up the examples of Jaheira being a nagging wife and Safana being a sex object. Now, in my personal opinion, this is a dumb and shallow way of looking at creative writing (especially coming from a writer), but this is not the point. Regardless of how much merit Miss Scott's comments may or may not hold, people managed to overreact to them. Some people have demanded their purchases to be refunded over the "radical agendas" that had been rammed down their throats. Others have been getting on Scott's case and dredging up personal stuff about her. It turns out she's even a Twitter follower of... wait for it... Anita Sarkeesian! Dun, dun, dun!

So, as you can imagine, people are taking this whole thing as seriously as possible. The Baldur's Gate official forums are a sinking ship, and it's all thanks to a throwaway line from a random, unimportant NPC.

It's as if sense has left this world completely.

:uhuh:

PS: I'm sorry about the giant wall of vent. I've been staring at what's happening over at the BG forums dumbfoundedly, and so far I've managed to muster enough self-respect not to participate in any of it. But that also means that this has been building up in my frontal cortex the whole time, and I needed someplace to unleash it. My apologies.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Jac » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:03 pm

Gog.com has it for $20 USD if anybody's interested. I'd get it but I haven't even really started the original ones (the EE that is), I'm still playing Skyrim, and I haven't finished The Witcher 3 or the new Dragon Age DLCs so I'll be busy for awhile...

As for your wall of text, Adul, what else do you expect in this over-sensitive Internet culture? Hell, Blizzard removed a "sexy" pose from one of its female characters because people complained about it. Now there's a petition to do away with the guns! Though I'm pretty sure the petition is a joke.

Speaking of Dragon Age, it had a trans-gendered character and I don't recall seeing a whole lot of hoopla raised about it. Iron Bull's second in command was a female living as a male and Bull said he didn't care as long as he did his job. That was the end of it. I guess Bioware can get away with stuff like that because they have both straight only and gay only potential relationships as well as bi. Gender identity is a slippery slope: if you're doing it just to do it, you're better off leaving it out. However, if it's essential to the character's development, then you had better damn well write it properly and not as a "I'm gay and I'm proud!" type of slogan. Most people don't care what gender their companions are or their sexual preferences unless the game developer decides to bring it up. I think Beth did the right thing in Skyrim by making any marriageable character able to marry either gender. If you're a dude and don't want to marry another due, that's your right. If you are, then that's your right as well and nobody says nothing about it. Which is how it should be.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Adul » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:51 pm

I agree completely, Jac. I've seen some transgender posters point out they don't appreciate the tokenism aspect of the character in question. Most of these posters were also very reasonable and said that a minor character like that has little impact on the game as a whole.

There's also been talk of a particular line of dialog in Minsc's voice set, poking fun at GamerGate. And while I'm far from being offended by any of this, it still seems distasteful. If anyone should be left out of all this ugliness, it's our old friend Minsc. He shouldn't be used by the writers to poke fun at or attack anyone. He's Minsc.

And now I've seen another Beamdog PR person tweet out that GamerGate is attacking their game. Oh, man. It's almost as if they're determined to see how deep they can dig this hole they are in.

Unfortunately, it looks like Beamdog has taken a side in a culture war, and their game is paying the price. I hope this doesn't sabotage any future projects they may have worked on. While I think their attitude in all this leaves much to be desired, I still enjoy their products and the passion they have for their games, and I'd prefer to be able to play more of them in the future.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Jac » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:34 pm

I looked at the reviews on Gog and I think I'll skip it. Between Beamdog writing a stupid line for Minsc & all of the bugs reported, they don't deserve my money, especially given the unprofessional way they've been handling this controversy. I'll wait and see if they get their act together before I buy anything else from them first.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Mr.Shadow1234 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:23 pm

What the fuck is wrong with people?

It's as if everything everywhere has been overrun with bigots and prudes.

One line, one picture...and everyone is up in arms ready to butcher each other. And that petition to remove the guns in stupid...what do you do in a shooter without weapons, throw your shoes at the enemies. Oh wait, that can hurt those bundles of pixels too.

And now an old company who has been in business for how long? 20 years+, is digging a hole so deep I don't think they'll be able to climb out of this one.

Ah, well, I have Tides of Numenera, Witcher 3 and its expansion packs, I'll go play those.

The world sucks more you look at it.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Adul » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:30 pm

You can get BG:EE, BG2:EE and IWD:EE 85% off until April 29 if you own the original games on GOG (60% off otherwise):
https://www.gog.com/promo/special_promo_beamdog_games_2
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Adul » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:03 pm

Controversy update.

Two days ago CEO Trent Oster made a statement on the forums saying they've been listening to feedback and will be making some changes to the game content that has been causing contention. In particular, Mizhena will be rewritten in a future update in attempt to make her backstory less hamfisted, and Minsc's Gamergate voice line will be removed.

They will also be addressing multiplayer bugs in the next patch, which seem to comprise most of the technical issues with SoD.

I'm glad about Minsc's voice set in particular, and good on Beamdog for getting the damage control rolling so quickly. I still haven't played the game much, but I'll be sure to come back with some actual thoughts about it once I had.
Last edited by Adul on Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby neildarkstar » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:26 pm

The bottom line is that insanity has reached such epic proportions that it is now accepted as the norm, and sanity is held in contempt and outrage. I can't really say whether I'm saddened, disgusted, or encouraged by the thought that it will almost certainly get worse before it gets better.

I also spend a lot of time on a political site (no, I don't really want to discuss politics with you guys). The people who frequent that site have always prided themselves on logical argument, polite discussion, acceptance of dissenting opinions, and a complete lack of ad hominem attacks. for months now, it has been like a war zone as people choose sides and do their best to tear each other apart in any way possible. I've never seen such a hate fest... Well, there was this one site called "Argue With Everybody"... but you knew what you were in for when you signed up, eh? :D

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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Jac » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:54 pm

Glad to hear that, Adul. Hopefully Beamdog will get their act together and fix this game.
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Re: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Postby Mr.Shadow1234 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:40 am

Well, then i guess I'll get this game if they fix technical issues.

Voicesets and backstories don't really bother me so much that I won't play the game, just make me sad.

Looks like the world is going in reverse my friends.

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