so, just played through the new DLC
very cool. good couple of hours. hilarious at a couple points too.
original article: http://m.kotaku.com/5632060/bioware...=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+kotaku/full+(Kotaku)BioWare Drops Mind-blowing Mass Effect 2 Player StatsDeveloper BioWare has revealed some fascinating/disturbing statistics mined from players of Mass Effect 2. Unsurprising is the fact that 80% of players chose a male Commander Shepard for their avatar. Perhaps unbelievable is how long some played the thing. According to a report from IGN citing data from BioWare, some Mass Effect 2 players spent upwards of 66 hours meandering through a single playthrough of the sci-fi RPG epic. Impressive, if somewhat mysterious, but not as impressive as the folks who played through Mass Effect 2 an astounding 23 times. Four Xbox 360 players did that, according to BioWare. They were out-hardcored by two PC gamers who dedicated their lives to beating Mass Effect 2 an outstanding 28 separate times.
original article: http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/111/1118657p1.htmlCrazy Mass Effect 2 Stats and What They're Used ForWhen George Orwell wrote the dystopian novel 1984, he laid out a possible future in which the government watches everything in a heavy-handed approach to population and thought control. Big Brother was always watching, a concept that still sends chills down the spines of every privacy advocate out there. Thankfully, 1984 never came to be. But as it turns out, Big Brother is watching; not in an effort to control you but rather to learn from you. You're not just playing videogames anymore. You're actively providing feedback about what parts you like and which you don't. How you play could ultimately help shape the future of videogame design. BioWare is just one of numerous development studios and publishers that have begun collecting anonymous player data. No identifying information is tied to the information harvested, so you don't have to worry about things being traced back to you. You're just a data point amongst millions. I spoke with Casey Hudson, Executive Producer for the Mass Effect franchise, about how this is done and what the studio has learned so far.
Casey Hudson talks with IGN about how your actions are helping BioWare design its next hit.
"The only data that we get are in terms of events -- little things that happen in the game," explained Hudson. "Let's say if we want to know whether players skip lines of dialogue, we can have that become a little event that gets sent up. It's all completely anonymous, so all we get is raw numbers for how many times these kinds of events occur. Then we can start getting ratios and comparing proportions and things like that. It becomes this mass of numbers, and then we have to try to figure out how we would interpret that."
This is a process that is new for BioWare with Mass Effect 2, one that Hudson hopes will aid the team in designing future games. "When we were looking at the Achievements for Mass Effect 1, that's where we realized that there are some really interesting player behaviors there that it would be nice if we could answer more questions for ourselves. [Then] we could understand what's going on and how people play our game. Sometimes you'll design something and think that it's going to be used in a certain way and people will use it in a completely different way. And if you didn't know that, then you would just keep making that system the same as you did before. But once you know what players like and what they don't like, based on the way that they're playing it, then you can make more of the good stuff and less of the stuff they weren't interested in."
This data is used for top-level design and isn't anything that could have been used in the making of downloadable content, or even to alter Mass Effect 2 for PS3. "There are some things regarding difficulty and weapons and things like that and those are easier to tune, but there won't be a huge opportunity to include this stuff for the PS3 version. It's about how you design a game from the ground up. Ultimately it doesn't always give you the answers, but it sometimes raises questions or gets you to ask the right questions?More people played the soldier class than all of the other classes combined. If you know that, then you can start thinking about future games. Is that good? Is that a problem? Should we look at the other classes and start thinking about ways to make them selected as often as soldier? As part of asking these questions, we can design games in the future a lot better."
Just finished the new DLC. WOW! This is an absolute must. I don't want to give anything away, just know it's well worth the 800 points. And knowing the decisions one makes here will effect your ME3 game is great.
people who enjoyed the soundtrack (and if you didn't wtf is wrong with you!) might be interested to know that BioWare have released an atmosphere album from Mass Effect 2. 9 tracks in total and can be downloaded via iTunes for $3.99. download is at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mass-effect-2-atmospheric/id388908972
originally found at: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30143/Analysis_On_FemSheps_Popularity_In_Mass_Effect.phpMass Effect is a game I powered through on the 360 because I was on a bender, having just acquired my first Xbox ever. When it came time to put the controller away, I had finished the first game and its sequel in less than a week. Truthfully, I only played the original because the sequel was coming out. I figured that understanding the story so far is important in this kind of game. What I did not expect was my sudden attachment to the female incarnation of Commander Shepard?fondly referred to as FemShep around the web?during the first game and my continued connection in the second. It?s not that I?m opposed to BroShep/ManShep but something about the female version drew me in and made my gameplay that much more meaningful. I?m not alone in my adoration, either. There have been numerous polls, hundreds of votes cast and countless discussions about FemShep and her alluring nature. It isn?t a stretch to say that BioWare has managed to, seemingly unintentionally, create a female protagonist that has attracted the attentions of hundreds if not thousands of people. The popularity of the female Commander Shepard, as opposed to the standard male one, even extends to some of the products associated with the game. Specifically, the hardcover Collector?s Edition guide has screenshots that walk the player through the game section by section. All pertinent quests, places to go and people to shoot often have an associated picture of the Commander. And they?re all of a blonde FemShep that the person making the guide decided to play. That is to say, the person who had to explore every edifice, speak with every NPC and generally scour the game for tidbits willingly chose to play as FemShep. Mind you, blonde isn?t the default hair color either, so it was a conscious choice on the part of the person taking all of the screenshots.
What, You Can Play As A Female?
The weird thing about the popularity of the female option is that there has been absolutely no marketing for FemShep. Commander Shepard, as evidenced by posters, box art, promotional videos and television advertisements, is male. He is voiced by Mark Meer and the character is modeled after Mark Vanderloo. In some ways, he might as well be Mark Shepard.
Any casual observer may be entirely unaware that playing a female protagonist is even an option in Mass Effect or Mass Effect 2. So why is FemShep so popular? Any standard textbook on marketing will lay down some laws about brand and name recognition. Icons, figureheads and mascots tend to be very clearly defined for just this reason. Imagining a completely unadvertised female version of Kratos is, while sort of sexy, mind-boggling.
There are two main reasons as to why this has occurred. The first and admittedly less academic of the two reasons is pretty simple to explain: female gamers may jump at the chance to play female characters. (Not to mention that anyone wanting to romance Jacob, Thane or Garrus has to play as FemShep.) That isn?t to say that females can?t play as Mr. Commander Shepard but simply that, given the rare option, it seems like women would be prone to trying to play their own gender.
With the more general hypothesis out of the way, the second is that people play as the female version precisely because Commander Shepard is male in all other ways. The lines, the character animations and various other tidbits are male-oriented in a way that makes FemShep more than your stereotypical RPG female protagonist. For one, she wears practical armor. Well, mostly, but it is science fiction after all; we can accept floating visors and the like.
Mass Effect is a bit of an odd franchise because while all the official materials that relate to marketing and the like showcase a man, leading many to assume that the canonical Shepard is one, the story within makes every effort to avoid such insinuations. Pronouns are used sparingly and often tend to be gender neutral at best and at worst the ?he/she? conversion is integrated smoothly into the dialogue. Even in the Mass Effect: Redemption comic series, they refrain from referring to the Commander as one or the other, going so far as to say that it?s difficult to discern gender from the remains they found.
Dude Looks Like A Lady Only Vice-Versa
But even with these intentionally neutral mechanics, many of the other male characteristics seep into the FemShep gameplay. For example, you can choose to dance at the clubs present in the game, be it Afterlife or the Eternity Bar or what-have-you. Because the option was there and I happened to notice it, I figured I?d go ahead and dance a bit. Never know, right? Dancing could, theoretically, be an important part of the game.
And it was.
But that wasn?t because some quest triggered or an NPC wandered up to offer me a job. This was an important moment in my gameplay because Commander Shepard, my FemShep, was doing the standard animation that all the NPC male dancers perform. She swayed to and fro while the other females cut a proverbial rug.
Speaking from anecdotal experience alone, it looks as if many of the character animations were used for both models. As another obvious point of animation-borrowing from ManShep to FemShep, there is a scene when speaking to Miranda where FemShep is sitting in an almost undeniably male position: slouched over in her chair, hands between her legs with said legs pushed out in a v-shape.
The borrowing only becomes obvious when wearing the party dress from the Kasumi's Stolen Memory DLC while talking to Miranda in the previously mentioned scene. Shepard?s hands are through the fabric, for one, and you can see up the dress. There is, in fact, a reason that girls sit as they do in skirts and dresses.
It goes beyond just the aesthetic, though. Shepard presents the same set of lines regardless of gender. Whether you?re telling off the Illusive Man, saving a disease-stricken batarian or pushing some Blue Suns thug out a window, the actions and dialogue are the exact same. None of this proves to be a hindrance to FemShep, nor is she popular in spite of it.
In fact, FemShep is so wildly popular because of it. The moment that FemShep prepares to take on the threat to the universe, she inevitably will give an impassioned speech as to why they must do what they are preparing to do. This is true for both games in Mass Effect and many other franchises. The oddity is that it?s an empowered female doing the speaking.
If we wanted to see yet another righteous man bolstering his troops, we?d watch Braveheart, play Halo or just roll up a ManShep. Watching FemShep, and hearing Jennifer Hale, doing this bolstering is almost unsettling. It shifts our expectations and moves us to the edge of our seats. And we love her for it.
Another thing was that Female Shepard VA > Male Shep VA (courtesy of Jennifer Hale).
Yeah, for real. Male shepard is all "I am strong character I am tell you things I am masculine." Female shepard is like "I've had enough of your shit, let's get out of here." She's so badass.
Another thing was that Female Shepard VA > Male Shep VA (courtesy of Jennifer Hale).
I prefer the paragon path because I don't like playing a douche in a video game, but I'll certainly agree that FemShep's voice acting is better than the male Shepard's.
But I really think this kind of a DLC should have come free for the Cerberus Network subscribers (owners of the original game), since it's somewhat important for the general trilogy story, as well as a few character developments (not to spoil too much here).
BioWare has dated the long-promised and recently teased final Mass Effect 2 DLC mission, "Mass Effect: Arrival," for release across Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Bioware.com (for PC) on Tuesday, March 29. The add-on will be available for $7 (?5.49) or the equivalent platform currency.
Leading players into this holiday's Mass Effect 3, "Arrival" will see Commander Shepard "sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion." Admiral Hackett (voiced by Lance Henriksen) will make a return appearance.