AoP's blog

AoP's blog

Every player who reaches the upper end of the level range and sets foot into Orr knows the Cathedral of Glorious Victory aka the Temple of Balthazar and the chain of map events that is supposed to allow the PACT troops to claim it from Zhaitan’s minions. In theory, it is a very well designed and motivating group experience. In reality, it is synonymous with some of the most severe design flaws that Guild Wars 2 has to contend with, hence this waypoint, skillpoint and Karma merchant being unavailable 95% of the time. In my opinion, the reasons are fairly obvious.

gw046

  • Losing in the early stages is way too easy. The final battle against the Risen Priest of Balthazar is preceded by a lengthy escort mission. During this mission, the PACT troops may not lose their fighting spirit, represented by a morale bar that quickly drops from the initial 100% and can not be brought up again. Fallen PACT members despawn and can not be revived. Naturally, they draw a lot of attention from ambushers and just love AoE.
  • The fight is ridiculously tough. 10 minutes to take down a Legendary type champion, that behaves unpredictable, deals AoE damage of enormous proportions and spawns minions is pretty tough already. Getting people up from a downed state is very challenging since the priest prefers to attack field medics. Getting people up from death is nearly impossible.
  • Whether you’re forcing people to run back from Rally WP, the only waypoint in this half of the map that is not contested 90% of the time, or you’re reviving people in groups hoping to get them up before the medics go down – all that is damage not hitting the boss – or the minions that heal him. Again: 10 minute time limit!
  • People won’t come back. Racing through hostile-infected territory, getting crippled, immobilized etc. hoping to maybe make it back in time just to get butchered again – or see the event fail? Not what people are looking for – let alone repair costs after one death already exceeding the coin reward.
  • People need to know the event, the boss behaviour and the whole group has to coordinate efforts to even have a chance at this. More people increase the chance of mistakes, weakening the effort. Not ideal for a task as huge as this.
  • Last but not least, and I firmly believe this is what many other events suffer from as well – there is little to no incentive to participate. This is a level 75 event, meanng “Gold” reward in case of success is 13,650XP,  356 karma and 1 silver 75 copper plus a chest which, “glorious” or not, usually holds crappy items. [1] Even looking at twice the reward, for both, escort and boss fight, does not make this more appealing, not lastly because the escort is time-consuming as well. In the end, one might be doing several smaller events in the same amount of time. Even getting the skillpoint is easier in a dedicated push from a small group of players than hoping for this event to succeed and take it afterwards.

Why do other similar events work better?

  • Dungeon pre-events are essential since people want to play dungeons.
  • The Straits of Devastation are not an 80 zone. Players will travel through but not necessarily stay around when they’re done – or fed up, since Malchor’s Leap and Frostgorge Sound both cover the same level range while including 80. Therefore, the population to draw from will be lower.
  • Other temple assaults are easier to do or more intuitive, Temple of Grenth aside maybe, or more rewarding even in case of failure. The Temple of Grenth event might not be very intuitive either, but profits from being located in a level 80 zone with a dungeon, which means the zone will often have a large amount of active players around.

It seems at this point that the Temple of Balthazar event will need to be redesigned or at least significantly adjusted if it is not supposed to become permanently ignored. In its current state, the event is plain and simply not attractive and not worth the effort.

[1] http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Defeat_the_Risen_Priest_of_Balthazar_before_it_can_summon_a_horde_of_Risen

1. Hotfixing

Weeks, even months with bugged weapons like the M26 or the Aug A3/underslung smoke launcher? Unacceptable. These issues have to be dealt with quickly, if need be rather temporarily disabled than kept for server admins and community to deal with – or endure. Find ways to make it happen. You already enforced Origin on us which seems to be suited for the task.

2. Own up to your mistakes

The MAV is an excellent tactical device, helpful and easy to use. First and foremost though, it is a great helper in griefing and exploiting bugs: glitching into the map, running over people etc. The ways of abusing the MAV are more numerous than the advantages of it having a physical body – so why bother keeping it? Be honest in admitting – even without words – badly designed features and go all the way in shutting them down. Don’t deliver half-assed attempt after half-assed attempt at fixing that stuff, in particular when the advantages are negligible.

3. Accept that the community does and knows a few things better

Since the days of BF2, the community created, provided and maintained its own server administration tools. Some of them were very good and thus prevailed. This, much rather than pandering to x fan sites, would be where you should seek to improve community relations. Have people sign an NDA and closely work with them on creating tools to reliably administer game servers. Give server owners the means to really create the environment they seek to. Reward the hard work of the truly dedicated, not just those that regurgitate your developer blogs and announcements and consider that „journalism“.

4. Proper physics and geometry

Players in Battlefield are soldiers, not snake people who can bend their bodies in unnatural angles or magicians who magically store their legs in their backpacks or nearby boxes when they get in the way. Don’t let players go prone or crawl to where their bodies wouldn’t fit. If need be, REMOVE PRONE. Don’t make things easier on campers. Same for “head glitching”: people are not submarines!

bf3-messyphysics01bf3-messyphysics02bf3-messyphysics03bf3-messyphysics04

5. Incentives to try out different things

If you’re a nade spammer, moving on from BF game to BF game is a small challenge: whether you spammed on Karkand or spam on Metro doesn’t make much of a difference. But that shouldn’t be the way you as developers want your game to be remembered: after all, BF prides itself of being the true “combined arms warfare experience”. Reward players for seeking that diverse experience as opposed to seeking the fastest shortcut to rank 145. You have all the means at your disposal: ribbons, medals, assignments and heck, even bonus XP. Reward players for playing all maps, multiple kits (per round?) etc. BF should not be one-dimensional.

6. Client-side hit detection must go

Hit detection has always been an issue in Battlefield games, only in BF2142 and BC2 was it close to acceptable. BF3 might have the best hit boxes in the series so far, but with the messy hit calculation, this is completely overthrown and neutered. Too many deaths that don’t make sense absolutely ruin the experience.

7. Stop pandering to everyone and their cat

I’m sick and tired of people trying to point out how BF3 is not CoD. Close Quarters might easily have been a CoD map pack. Gun Master mode is blatantly ripped from Counter Strike. Are there reliable numbers how many converts this pandering brought? Can’t have been that many, seeing how there are about 12 million subscribers for CoD Elite – probably more than total sales for BF3. You have to realize: the only way to ever beat the competition is when somebody decides to pull the plug on it. Until then, why not stop being an imitation and focus on being a good original. You’ll never please everyone. Have faith in your own game and focus on developing its strengths instead of mixing a little bit of everything in and not getting any of it right. The vast majority of loyal players from other games will only accept intrinsic reasons to turn on them!

8. Stand by your announcements

Prior to BF3 release, your announcements seemed so convincing: you had brought competitive players in, given them an early glimpse at the game and listened to their concerns. Now please explain why even many of those competitive players still left in the game don’t consider it a proper esports title and why the game lacks so many features widely considered standard in today’s esports scene. There’s really no point in bringing in experts if you’re not going to make use of their expertise.

9. Proper esports support

eslDon’t go down the “could”, “would”, “might” road any further. Do it properly – or don’t do it at all. Teams like 20ID, rivaL, Dignitas, epsilon and dozens others quite obviously would love to support your game by building teams even for your trademark game modes, not just the ones you copied from other games or introduced to attract a more casual crowd. More than 400 people watched each of the last two EPS season finals – via live streams from the players’ perspective. Imagine what an actual caster switching between hot spots and following the action around could do! Support this scene properly! Furthermore, an esports scene presenting itself well will definitely attract new people.

10. Optimized GUI (HUD & map)

BF3′s GUI is, in many ways, a huge improvement from previous iterations, but unfortunately a huge step in the wrong direction in many other ways. There is a point when “more information” becomes “too much information” and BF3 clearly crossed that point, cluttering the screen with non-essential icons, symbols, writings, often blocking line of sight and confusing more than assisting. Provide an option to hide non-essential info, even better allow it to be turned on/off via a button. This should include everything except for squad member icons and maybe requests for heaing/ammo/repairs if you’d be able to answer the request.

If you were interested in Blizzards AAA blockbuster Diablo III but unsure or even appalled because of the negative coverage surrounding the game, here’s your chance to form your own opinion. Blizzard has launched the D3 starter edition on Battle.net. You’ll be able to play the game up to character level 13 and take down the first boss enemy, the skeleton king with all 5 classes.

You can get the FREE Starter Edition in any of the following ways:

 

  • Log in to your existing Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net, and sign up for the Diablo III Starter Edition through the “Your Game Accounts” section.
  • Create a new Battle.net account here, and the Diablo III Starter Edition license will be added to your account automatically.
  • Grab the Diablo III game disc from a friend, install the game, and then log in with your Battle.net account. The Diablo III Starter Edition will be added to your account automatically.

Curious? Check out the Diablo III Starter Edition FAQ.

Viertelfinale

01.08.12 20:00 CET

wolfpack (#3) vs. n!faculty (#6)

wolfpack wählt Grand Bazaar
n!faculty wählt Sharqi Peninsula

!! Kein stream !!

 

Team Acer (#5) vs. w4sp – wild 4 sports (#4)

Acer wählt Seine Crossing
w4sp wählt Grand Bazaar

Stream von Acer.kazam: http://www.twitch.tv/kazam

Starting at 21:00 CET

HivE eSport.EPS (#11) vs. Team Acer (#6)

 

w4sp – wild 4 sports (#4) vs. iPLAY eSports e.V. – BF3 (#2)

 

n!faculty (#5) vs. wolfpack (#3)

Let us approach this slowly:

 

The purpose of this text is to comment on story elements of Mass Effect 3 and how the recently released extended cut changed some of them and my personal perception of the game. Therefore, it is almost impossible to work without spoilers. I apologize, but I believe a proper analysis is not possible without directly referring to certain events of the game, especially since throughout the whole debate about the Mass Effect 3 ending people felt compelled to comment on the issue without either even having played the game or even worse any of the franchise’s games. That is downright stupid and ultimately makes any expressed opinion invalid. Commenting on elements of the story of a so story-centric game as is Mass Effect, without even having experienced the elements in question simply makes commenting seem like arguing for the sake of it, not arguing about the issue in question. That is quite obviously equal to wasting everyone’s time and considering the effects that some expected the discussion to have it is dishonest and even dangerous to both, the gaming industry and the gaming culture.

After release, I had given myself about two days to complete Mass Effect 3, from beginning to end with an imported character from the previous game. When the end credits rolled, I sat there stunned, unsure about what I had just seen and experienced. I loaded up a close-to-the-end save game, trying to experience all three actual endings. I closed the game, shut down the computer, and, since it was late at night, went to bed. I remember lying awake for several hours, unable to make sense of what Bioware had decided to present as the ending of their critically acclaimed science-fiction trilogy. To be blunt, I could not. I was not even sure what I felt. I felt empty, hollow, and betrayed. There was no sadness. I knew sadness, because during the game I was forced to experience deep, deep sadness several times, seeing some of the characters I had grown to like and even considered friends die, some for good reasons, others not. I was not sad, I was empty and disappointed. Still, I forced myself through the game two more times with two different characters, to see whether some of my decisions would actually have an impact on the outcome, from different love interests to decisions of a more universal nature. After seeing that, basically, that was not at all the case, I shut down the game and considered my options. In the final 2 to 3 min. of the game, Bioware had not only managed to utterly destroy the amazing journey the three games had been to that point, it had ruined the memory, the mood and taken any desire to play any of the games again.

Quickly I realized I was by far not alone with my feelings about the ending, since a vocal protest movement had formed and let Bioware know about the extent of their disappointment. This should have an impact: Bioware announced that further down the line there would be free DLC expanding on the ending. The result of this is the recently released extended cut.

Okay, so?

Long before the release of Mass Effect 3, it was known that the third game would be Commander Shepard’s final trip to the stars. The Commander’s death was not inevitable, but certainly a tested and likely option to ensure that. The often sarcastically mentioned Hollywood-type happy end was therefore not what most would have expected, though certainly what some would have hoped for.

Bioware made good decisions in the extended cut, indeed not changing the basic parameters of their originally introduced endings, but being much more elaborate on the impact of your decisions, on both, your friends and the universe as a whole. Not only does the EC tell you what happened to your friends and crew members, but also to the fleets gathered in the final battle and the countless aliens supposedly stranded after the destruction of the mass gates.

In a way, Bioware has given a “happy ending”. It might not be the full-blown romantic sunset on the beach, but I personally feel a lot better knowing that my crew and the various other characters you met along your journey are alive and safe after the big final battle. It comforts me to know that the losses, from Virmire through maybe ME 2’s suicide mission throughout the inevitable losses in ME3 until the final confrontation have not been in vain.

There are a few things though, that still trouble me about the extended cut. There are still several unanswered questions, some of them quite severe and important, which are likely to remain unanswered. Furthermore, a true happy ending, one that preferably sees Shepherd united with their love interest, would have been downright fantastic. After all, the journey to that point has been tough and definitely taken its toll, so a little luck would have been a nice reward for that and the small feat that apparently is saving the galaxy.

The big issue I personally have is as follows: before buying ME3 I had 12 to 15 character saves, of which at least half had seen actual playthroughs in both previous games and all had successfully completed ME2. In ME3, I don’t see myself playing the game ever again after only three actual runs, furthermore I don’t even see myself playing any of the previous games either. I am just unsure what the reasons might be, built-up frustration about the original ending, the harsh and definite nature of the ending, that basically does not encourage further playing or plain and simple the fact that I felt not properly rewarded for my efforts. Now, to be completely fair, the game does not deserve that feeling. It is really just the last couple of minutes which spoil an overall amazing experience for me.

About dark energy and indoctrination

I was not sure if I should even pick up these two subjects. For one, I am not sure whether or not I fully understand the stories behind them and secondly, because they do not matter in regards to the extended cut. Still, a few words should be said. The indoctrination theory was something like a last straw to cling on for people like myself, who could not at all come to terms with the original ending. People have put great effort into fleshing out this idea and giving it actual substance, to the point where, I’m almost certain, even Bioware found the theory quite convincing. I will not get into the details at this point, but simply suggest you start your research on YouTube if you are interested.
Dark energy is a whole different story entirely. The idea of dark energy probably had its most prominent appearance in the trilogy during the mission to recruit Tali’Zora in ME2. As far as I understand a leaked script for Mass Effect 3, surfacing some time in 2011, saw this as the whole grand scheme and topic of the final confrontation. As said, it has not resurfaced in the extended cut at all, which is not necessarily a big loss. If this piqued your interest, feel free to ask Google about it. I was able to control my curiosity without much effort.

Bottom line

Did Bioware make the best of what they had? In all honesty, they quite likely did not. Looking at the epicness that is Mass Effect, looking at some of the twists and turns they let the story take, looking at the overall great quality the storytelling throughout the series had – and yes, that of course includes this concluding part of the trilogy, it is probably fair to say that even the three new ending cut scenes are not necessarily the best that was possible in terms of ending the trilogy and in particular the story of Commander Shepard. Bioware simply used to deliver more compelling content. Opinions on the extended cut are probably just as divided as they used to be on the original ending. Considering the really, really bad situation Bioware had maneuvered themselves into, and considering it is simply impossible to please all members of such a big following, it is probably safe to assume that at least under the circumstances Bioware achieved the best result possible.

After all, what remains after the extended cut, is a restored faith in Bioware’s ability to tell amazing stories, new faith in their actual interest in listening to their fans, and of course one of the most amazing soundtracks ever created for a videogame. While I personally had planned not to follow news about future Bioware games after the original ending and the news about them dropping support for Dragon Age 2, I am now opening up to the idea of buying future Bioware titles again.

Derzeit befinden wir uns noch in der Relegationsphase für die kommende ESL Pro Series Season, der Summer Season 2012. Die Aktivität innerhalb der ESL Ligen sowie die Teilnehmerzahlen der Relegation haben allerdings gezeigt, dass wir für die anstehende EPS Season ein paar kleine Veränderungen vornehmen müssen.
Leider haben immer mehr Teams Probleme ausreichend Spieler für die kommende Season zusammen zu bekommen. Auch haben sich bereits einigen Teams im Vorfeld der nächsten EPS Season aufgelöst oder ihre Teilnahme abgesagt. Daher haben wir uns zusammen mit dem Spielerrat einige Ideen angehört, um diesem Trend ein wenig entgegen zu wirken.Es wird für die kommende Season daher ein paar kleine Veränderungen geben, die vor allem eine Gruppe an Spielern hart treffen wird – die Piloten.

  • In der kommenden ESL Pro Series Summer Season 2012 in Battlefield 3 wird zwar weiterhin im 8on8 Conquest Modus gespielt, allerdings ohne die Unterstützung aus der Luft (d.h. ohne Jets und Helis).
  • Des Weiteren wird der Mappool von ursprünglich 11 Maps auf 6 Maps reduziert. Dies bedeutet dass 5 Maps während der Season doppelt gespielt werden.
  • Um die Vorbereitungsphase auf die Maps etwas zu entschärfen wird innerhalb einer Kalenderwoche, also an zwei aufeinanderfolgenden Spieltagen, dieselbe Map gespielt.
Wir hoffen mit diesen Änderungen den Teams etwas mehr Freiraum und Luft zu gewähren, um ein leistungsstarkes und erfolgreiches Team für die kommende EPS Season aufstellen zu können.

[Quelle: ESL]

Bitter für die Leute, die viel Zeit und Energie in den Aufbau eines Airteams respektive in die eigene Skillentwicklung gesteckt haben, von da her ist ein gewisser Frust auf Spielerseite sicher verständlich. Liest man die Kommentare unter der Meldung, kann einem dennoch ganz anders werden. Einige Spieler scheinen zu vergessen, dass “Pro-Gamer” auch immer eine gewisse Verantwortung gegenüber dem Team und den Sponsoren bedeutet und sich aufzuführen wie ein Haufen Pubertierender auf dem Pausenhof sicher nicht dabei helfen wird, den eSport massentauglicher und damit interessanter für Sponsoren zu machen, die dringend benötigt werden, um die Überlebensfähigkeit der Szene zu sichern.

Der einzige Vorwurf, den man der ESL meiner Meinung nach machen kann ist der, sich von der einzigen Abteilung bei EA einlullen zu lassen, die ihren Job fehlerfrei macht: Marketing und PR. Warum man sonst einen Titel so stark supportet, der so weit an allem vorbeientwickelt wurde, was den Vorgänger (BF2, nicht BC2) so groß, so erfolgreich und so langlebig gemacht hat (Modding, Battlerecorder etc) und Monate nach Release noch vertrösten muss, wenn es um Features geht, die in anderen erfolgreichen eSport-Titeln Standard sind (allen voran natürlich Spectator-Modus), ist schwer nachzuvollziehen. Nach BC2 hat DICE effektiv den zweiten wenig eSport-relevanten Titel vorgelegt und klar gemacht, dass trotz vollmundiger Ankündigungen und Taktiken der Marke “Tarnen und Täuschen” (Mitglieder der Szene mehrfach bei EA in Köln und DICE in Stockholm) die Kohle der Casual Gamer wichtiger ist, als die Loyalität der eingefleischten Supporter.
Das sollte spätestens bei den Planungen der Teams und der Liga für BC3 berücksichtigt werden.

Für die Liga selbst bzw. für die EPS scheint, sofern die Summer-Season 2012 nicht schon das Ende für BF3 in der eSport- Bundesliga bedeutet, der Wechsel hin zu 5v5 oder 6v6 dringend angeraten. In Verbindung mit einem Spectatormodus könnte sogar die Abkehr vom BF-Trademark Conquest-Modus hin zu einem Spielmodus mit klarem Action-Fokus einen Option sein. Kleinere Teams und der Verzicht auf teilweise schwer zu meisternde Fahrzeuge könnte zudem die Eintrittsschwelle weiter senken, und damit für etwas Belebung und vielleicht mehr Langlebigkeit sorgen.

The game is a couple of weeks old, so chances are the number of people playing Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer for the first time will increase rather than decrease. The following text is supposed to make life easier for those, but also for everyone willing to consider different strategies and approaches. What you will not find here is a patent solution, no “go here, do this, win” step-by-step guide. These tips are not supposed to make you top scorer in each and every round to play – though you might be surprised by how often you’ll end up in the upper half of your scoreboard.

It’s co-op first, multiplayer second

This is something many players seem to forget. It’s about cooperating first and foremost, because in the end your individual results won’t matter: the same amount of money and experience points is being given to every team member. Yes, the scoreboard will provide each individual’s achievements in detail – but so what? Taking down a brute might take as long as taking down a bunch of cannibals and husks and not earn you as much XP or an achievement – but it might keep your team from getting flanked and overrun.

Remember: it is a team game. There are up to four players on the field and you are all responsible for each other.

This leads to these extremely important aspects:

  1. Get to know the maps as soon as possible!
  2. Be aware of your surroundings at any time!
  3. Do what’s necessary, not what seems most fun!
  4. Together you’ll stand, divided you’ll fall!

Ad 1.: If you’ve played the Mass Effect 3 campaign, you’ll realise that all 6 current multiplayer maps are – an optional – part of that campaign. I’d suggest taking the chance to play these maps in singleplayer, because unlike your squadmates in multiplayer, your AI buddies will support you unconditionally and you’re also being introduced to the various types of objectives in multiplayer. Knowing the maps is key to survival: where to run when a banshee is after you? Where to take cover while protecting a squadmate? You’ll get to know the spawning locations – and spawn system with experience, but by that time you should already know the map layout.

Ad 2.: Mass Effect does not only look good – it sounds even better. Make use of that!

  • Squadmates will announce an enemy type at the beginning of each wave, usually indicating the most threatening type of that wave, especially helpful if you’re playing with random settings.
  • Various types of enemies do have very distinctive sounds. Listen closely to get an advance warning on Geth Hunters or Phantoms decloaking, look out for the start-up sound of the Atlas mech, the heavy roar and trampling of the brute, the biotic jump sound and shrieks of the banshees and dozens others.
  • Listen to the announcer as he has vital info for you: squadmate down, objective completion, time remaining. etc. You are not an island on the battlefield – listen to what’s going on.
  • Look around you! Yes, it is seductive to keep staring straight ahead, especially when lots of enemies are headed your way, but you should still look around you every now and then as the game tends to send enemies in flanking manoeuvers occasionally.

Ad 3.: Okay, you chose a bad spot. The majority of enemies hits your 3 squad members, you’re fighting off random stragglers. Write the wave off as boring and reposition yourself in the next wave. Don’t just wander off and give up the flank. Yes, you might score an additional kill, maybe 2 assists… but you’ll leave your team in a vulnerable state. As mentioned earlier: the game tends to send enemies from more than one direction. Your team got wiped out because something rolled over it from behind where you used to be/should have been? Unnecessary and avoidable.

Remember: combat in your location might seem tedious, having to start over will be worse.

Ad 4.: Yes, this is close to the initial point about this mode being co-op, but it’s important, so another repetition won’t hurt: it’s a team effort, no one is in this on their own. Move together, strike together, stay close to each other. These two screenshots show behavior that isn’t helping much:

roaming01roaming-evac01

In case of screenshot 1, two people are wandering off. What if both go down? The two remaining members will be forced to fight their way through to revive – or fight the remaining enemies on their own, maybe even complete objectives. It is a decision that might weaken the team significantly, even put team victory in jeopardy. In addition, this being a default spawning location, it forces new spawning positions for the enemy, allowing what could be target practice to turn into a surprise attack by an overwhelming force on a separated player team.

Screenshot 2 shows a player wandering off SOLO 20 seconds into the 2 minute evac time. What to do if he goes down? Simply accept the 10k xp penalty for the partial extraction over a full extraction? Fight through waves of enemies, hoping to get there in time to revive? Risking more players to go down, maybe even a team wipe with less than 2 minutes to survive until the mission would be a success?

Remember: it’s a co-operative effort. You’re usually safer with your squad than without. Avoid straying away.

To be continued. Topics: build suggestions for certain classes, tactical positioning, strategies.

Before

MassEffect3 2012-03-31 18-40-10-407MassEffect3 2012-03-31 18-42-09-275

After

MassEffect3 2012-03-31 18-43-41-339

I did my part Smiley

It’s one of those times when one doesn’t know whether one is faced with cold calculation or naivety, whether you’re being played or the other side simply has become careless. With word of the “Retake Mass Effect 3” donation drive in favor of Child’s Play exceeding $70,000 and the heat on BioWare for ultimately botching the trilogy’s ending in no way getting less, another player stepped onto the stage. Whether Mark Darrah, executive producer for the Dragon Age series at BioWare, has been sent to draw some fire off of the sister franchise or some suit decided it might be a good time to force another bitter pill down the community’s collective throat – or whether it’s all just carelessness and coincidence will never be known, but the following excerpts from a statement by Darrah, posted on the BioWare forums, were received with little love.

With last week marking the one year anniversary of the release of Dragon Age II, I wanted to take the time to share some news and some great milestones we’ve had lately with Dragon Age.  And though I can’t say too much, I also want to briefly address what is coming in the future.
[…]
And finally, while we will still be keeping an eye out for any issues that might crop up in DAII and supporting the community should any emergencies should arise, we’re moving the entire team’s focus to the next phase of Dragon Age’s future.

Further down the thread, Darrah explains what this means:

We will try to bring some closure to Hawke’s story but likely not in a playable form. Originally we had planned to do an expansion pack but had to stop to focus on what we are working on now.

In other words, the lifespan of a highly advertised AAA title, a game generally met with critical acclaim (metacritic rating of 82% for PC,PS3, 79% for Xbox360), will end after effectively less than one year. Instead of giving players closure on the fate of a character many grew to like, BioWare will yet again change setting and scenery for the third full game in the Dragon Age universe. Darrahs announcement could mean anything, from book or comic pickup of the topic to the trick tried in DA2, namely cameo appearances of former party members reporting of Hawke’s fate to an actual reappearance of Hawke as an NPC in DA3.

It remains to be seen if this strategy will pay off for the developer. Other than a group of naysayers out of principle, the events surrounding DA2 and ME3 are creating and nourishing a group of people with legit concerns regarding BioWare’s games. The studio certainly managed to damage its reputation as a developer strongly tied with the players, snubbing long-time loyal parts of their community.

What seems certain though is that it will take more than alibi-gestures of good will to regain this faith and confidence. For many, BioWare squandered their advance credit with questionable moves and decisions.