Some time ago I came across a couple of articles that compelled me to give feedback to your establishment. At first I was hesitant but a friend told me that I should because it would be constructive as opposed to the solely negative feedback that is normally given. The two articles were both interviews with EA executives (one of them being the CEO). I was a bit taken back by these interviews and it reopened the dissatisfaction I felt with not just Mass Effect Andromeda but just EA as a whole this generation.
One statement was one where EVP Matt Bilbey says "I struggle with the perception that we're just a bunch of bad guys". Now I totally disagree how some gamers give feedback so I do not think that EA are bad guys but that statement shows a lack of understanding of the companies recent shortcomings .The other statement given by CEO Andrew Wilson is a bit perplexing as an long time EA customer. Throughout the interview he expressed how social interaction and the network effect was really important for gaming. Please allow me to give you my limited perspective as a customer to show why these statements are confusing.
Last generation the publisher that I gave most of my time was you EA. The only other publishers I may have given more money to is Sony and Nintendo but without a doubt my game time was spent with EA the most. Among the games that I talked about the most were EA published games. It wasn't like I was a loyal EA fan. It just happened that way.I am the type of customer if you give a product I love I turn into a walking marketing machine for that product.
The two games that impacted me the most were Battlefield 3 and the Mass Effect Trilogy. I remember trying out the Battlefield 3 beta being new to the series and playing it for almost 100 hours. I pre ordered and played but even in games I love I get bored so eventually I traded it in. Several months later I see that EA is selling Battlefield 3 with the premium upgrade included for sale.I quickly jumped on the deal and several hundred hours later I enjoyed my experience immensely. I ll never forgot a friend and I have one of the most joyful experiences together playing it. We still bring up those times even today. Fast forward to the launch of Battlefield 4. It was extremely buggy and one of the modes had random crashes. On top of that I liked it a lot but I didn't have that social experience that the CEO mentioned so while its a good game ultimately it didn't get its hooks in me. None of the continual sequels interest me so while I acknowledge those games are quality,they were a huge step back for me personally.
Mass effect was a series last generation that if I said it wasn't my favorite series of the generation and one of my favorite of all time I would be a liar. I bought all the dlc, Origin PS, and Xbox 360 version of Mass effect 3. Re bought the Mass Effect 3 dlc on Origin at full price and put in over 1000 hours total into the series. Also once a year I replay the campaign. That's not even counting the many conversations and watching YouTube and browsing the forums concerning the series. Even though I wasn't 100% percent satisfied with the way it ended, it was more than just a game for me. I met people playing the game who became my friends and we shared many special moments playing the multiplayer and talking about our mutual love for the series. When this generation started I was already sold on Mass Effect Andromeda. I was planning on buying three copies at launch(one for each platform) and buying the special edition with one of them. I would think that any business would love to have a customer that invested into the product but shortly before the launch of Andromeda some decisions that were said by the developers shifted me from all out excitement to cautiously optimistic. Without getting into the details I've always enabled the option that showed how I played the game to Bioware and my specific play style was completely abandoned.
At launch the game became a meme machine and while I was dissatisfied with that aspect I was much more dissatisfied with some of the decisions in the game that abandoned mechanics or powers that I previously loved to use. In other words if it was just the glitches as long as they were fixed I would've quickly forgiven it. Even though I didn't like the story either if at least the previous powers ( ex. warp) and game play mechanics(ex. tactical pause ) were included in addition to the new fantastic mobility, I would have still loved the game.
Only one time in my life have I ever felt burned getting a game and ever since then I have been relatively satisfied with games I choose to buy. Mass Effect Andromeda was a maddening experience for me, especially the multiplayer. Ill never forget being extremely disappointed at the state of the multiplayer. It just wasn't fun and whoever the lead didn't understand why I and others adored the previous multiplayer. I watched dev streams, ask questions, gave respectful feedback, browsed the forums but some of the decisions,reasoning and responses were making me legitimately frustrated.
The overall theme of Mass Effect Andromeda for me was 2 steps forwards 4 steps backwards the game. That's what I tell people when I talk about it. So back to why I 'm am so confused as to the statements of the EA executive and CEO. I don't hate EA but as a customer that was buying and playing your games I feel disregarded. It puts me in a situation where one generation I was all in on your products and for whatever reason you have completely flipped me in the other direction. That's not worthy of hate but that should help you understand why people are so negative towards your company. To the second statement that CEO Wilson said about social interaction and network effect. That is exactly what was happening with my friends and I last generation but somehow you made multiple decisions that deterred me from having the experience you say you want your customers to have. The lack of acknowledgement and not doing something to make things right is disappointing and it makes me a wait for sale customer at best with your products.
Please allow me to make some suggestions. A Mass Effect trilogy remaster with upgrade textures and all the dlc included at a discount price for those who are long time Mass effect gamers. While I personally don't need this, a complete redo of the ending in a way that makes a person feels it takes into account their decisions would go a long way with some fans. Another is to go back into the Mass Effect Andromeda multiplayer and put character/enemies/powers and maps from 3 adjusted to work into the new engine and mechanics. You can even involve the community as to what content do they want to see first and you can explain that its a simulation based off a predictive algorithm to explain the powers and whatever changes you make to them. Give away some packs or free unlocks to veteran players and all of that at least with the multiplayer community will go a long way to dissipate the negativity of the EA brand. I wish you luck and success in your future. Thank you