Baldur's Gate expansion flooded with negative reviews due to presence of transgender character

Traumatized gamers forced to click through NPC's backstory respond with vitriol, Internet posts.

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Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, an expansion for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition developed by Beamdog, marks the first new entry in the beloved RPG series in over a decade. So what better way to celebrate than by a pack of gamers revealing their deep-seated fear of otherness?

Siege of Dragonspear debuted on assorted PC digital platforms on March 31. The expansion adds 25 hours of new content ranging from 70 new areas and four new companions, to the option to import your characters from the base game as well as a new class, the shaman, who can summon monsters to his aid. Another addition, and a major point of contention for some players, is the presence of Mizhena, an NPC who reveals that she was born and raised as a boy but later gave herself a new name after realizing she was meant to be a woman.

The revelation occurs during dialogue with Mizhena, who provides players with her background if asked. And that's the key phrase: if asked. "I would like to start out by saying I don't hate gays or transsexuals in any way," wrote one user. "What I do care about is when this is shoved down my throat and I am forced to mingle with it instead of letting me discover it for myself."

Another user chimed in by asking Beamdog to "please keep your ideology out of a classic game. Don't force us to buy into controversial topics. We are trying to ESCAPE that crap."

Mizhena doesn't flaunt her orientation, and to be fair, Siege of Dragonspear is a brand new expansion, not a port or remaster of a "classic" game with altered content. A few clicks of the dialogue tree that shows the player's willingness to learn more about the origin of her name, and Mizhena will tell you how she created it from a hodgepodge of syllables gathered from various languages to show "the truest reflection of who I am."

Amber Scott, writer and creator on Dragonspear, responded to critics on Beamdog's forums, stating that it is her purview to decide who and what to write about. "I don't like writing about straight/white/cis people all the time. It's not reflective of the real world, it sets up s/w/c as the 'normal' baseline from which 'other' characters must be added, and it's boring. I consciously add as much diversity as I can to my writing and I don't care if people think that's 'forced' or fake. I find choosing to write from a straight default just as artificial. I'm happy to be an SJW [social justice warrior] and I hope to write many Social Justice Games in the future that reach as many different types of people as possible. Everyone should get a chance to see themselves reflected in pop culture."

There's some concern from the Beamdog camp that the onslaught of negative reviews, which as of this writing have mired Siege of Dragonspear's ratings on Steam, Metacritic, and other outlets, may hinder the success of future Baldur's Gate games. Beamdog founder Trent Oster asked players who are enjoying the game to "please consider posting a positive review to balance out the loud minority which is currently painting a dark picture for new players."

Source: Crave Online

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 6:06 AM

      I demand that all NPCs in my vidya gaem be the same

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        April 5, 2016 6:07 AM

        If it ain't white, it ain't right. #Murica

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          April 5, 2016 6:11 AM

          Now, I know that tumblr invented transgenderoids and there ain't no goddamn tumblrs in baldur's gate

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 6:30 AM

      From the first few pages it looks like complaints are more about the bugs and poor decisions in dialog rather than the few anti-LGBT reviews

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 6:38 AM

        I take that back holy crap that's awful

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 6:33 AM

      People have too little to do. Folks get upset about way too much.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 6:39 AM

        Welcome to the Internet. You, FEMALE, are in for a wild ride. :(

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 9:49 AM

        15 year olds

        ¯\(°_o)/¯

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 9:54 AM

          that's a cop out and untrue. of the people i found most scary, the age was between 25 and 35. definitely out of college.

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            April 5, 2016 9:58 AM

            I've been a 15 year old while in that age range.

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            April 5, 2016 10:01 AM

            I agree. I'd think the most accepting people in this day and age are going to be the young without all the predisposed bigotry.

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              April 5, 2016 6:59 PM

              lol. You haven't been called a niggerfaggot in a game recently. Those are the 15-25 year old chive readers I speak of.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 11:29 AM

            I honestly think trying to attribute certain internet behaviors or other internet things to a specific range of ages is utterly futile at this point.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 1:56 PM

        Or have just experienced so little discomfort in their lives that this stuff is worthy of outrage.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 6:52 AM

      does she have a big cock atleast?

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 7:14 AM

      Reposting what I said in the other thread:

      Having played through that part of the game yesterday, I found it pretty much unremarkable. This is a lot of angst over nothing.

      The character doesn't run up and tell you that she is transgendered. You have several dialogue options, and one of them mentions that her name is unusual. If you use it, she then says that her old name didn't fit, so she changed it. If you then press her and ask why her old name didn't fit, then she mentions that she was initially treated as a boy by her parents, but that didn't fit her. She doesn't explain in further detail, and she doesn't get in the player's face about it. It is up to the player to make this dialogue appear.

      Then, having induced the NPC to reveal this information, it is then dropped, because it's irrelevant to anything going on--just like the biographical details of so many other NPCs you meet in the game. I don't see why this particular bit of color is any more distracting or weird than learning that this NPC is seeking revenge, or that one was an orphan, or whatever.

      Also, a repost of my thoughts on the game so far:

      It's good! They have made a ton of tweaks to the Infinity Engine. I think they're improvements. There seem to be some new graphical tweaks--fog, lighting, and particles. Also, they've given the characters the slightest outline--sort of like cel shading--to help them stand out a bit from the background. It looks great. The interface is improved, too. The map view is now literally a zoom-out of the regular gameplay map, and you have the option of making the map show walkable areas (so that you aren't left wondering if there is some way to reach that flat area on the other side of those trees). There are lots of difficulty tweaks, and saving the game is now instantaneous, without the hiccup from previous games.

      The gameplay itself is simply a good Baldur's Gate game. My only complaint so far is that AI was turned on for all the characters, and while I'm sure it's a reasonably good AI in combat, I prefer to give all my characters explicit instructions, rather than let the game manage them. I had to turn it off for each of them, one by one--there's no global setting.

      Oh, one other issue: pathfinding still kind of sucks. There are a ton more NPCs around on some of the maps, now that computers can easily handle them, but this sometimes results in it being difficult to get one's character across the screen. It can be tedious.

      Overall, it's very good. I'm not far enough into the story to tell whether it is any good. I like it so far--definitely better than Pillars of Eternity.

      Most importantly, they got a lot of the original voice actors to return! There are plenty of new lines from Minsc, which is probably all anyone cares about.

      Buttkicking, for goodness!

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 7:54 AM

        I love how people are complaining that it's being 'shoved in their faces' when it sounds like something very easy to miss. I have a hard time imaging why someone would get up in arms over this.

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          April 5, 2016 7:59 AM

          because when they encounter something explicit like that in a game, it effectively mindrapes them with endless lurid visions of hardcore kokujin-grade transgender sex

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          April 5, 2016 9:38 AM

          I can imagine it as thus:

          "Ooh she is hot. I am looking forward to seeing pictures of her online later!"

          *reads the reveal*

          "SHE IS A DUDE!?! HOW DARE THEY TRICK ME INTO THINKING SHE IS A HOT WOMAN!"

          *goes on the internet and complains about how the developers of the game confused their dick*

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 1:46 PM

          Holy shit just go look at the reviews for this game. Out of the thousands of reviews, try to find more than 10 complaining about the transgender character. You won't be able to.

          This expension is shit and the devs are getting shit for it, but rather than own up to their mistakes and try to fix things, they'd rather blame it on stupid shit that nobody care about.

          It literally take 5 seconds to look at what people are actually complain about and see that nobody give a fuck about the trans character, but unfortunatly 5 secs of fact checking is too much for a lot of journalists apparently.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 6:17 PM

            you're full of it, browsing the first couple page of GOG reviews and 2/3rds of them are talking about this issue as one of the things wrong with the game. Looks like you haven't done your own 5 seconds of research.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 10:22 AM

        In what ways is it better than Pillars of Eternity? I only ask because while I liked it, it didn't seem to hold my attention.

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          April 5, 2016 10:32 AM

          The story in Pillars of Eternity didn't grab me at all. I was just not interested in it. Combat didn't seem as deep, either, though the game was very polished.

          Or maybe I'm blinded by nostalgia when I play a Baldur's Gate game. I wouldn't rule that out.

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        April 5, 2016 10:28 AM

        Re: the AI, I wish all games of this type had the programmable party elements like the original Dragon Age. I find that stuff satisfying, and it strikes a nice balance between manual and fully automated.

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          April 5, 2016 10:30 AM

          There is some programmable stuff--you can choose from a variety of A.I. settings, and control auto-pause. I don't remember how programmable Dragon Age was, though, so Siege of Dragonspear may not be as flexible or powerful.

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            April 5, 2016 11:46 AM

            If it's like I remember, the AI settings you're talking about are just choosing one preset from a series of presets? In Dragon Age, it's basic rule creations, prioritized. It's been years, but I think it was stuff like:

            If enemy is frozen, backstab.
            If health is below X%, take potion.
            If friendly health is below X%, cast Heal.

            So you created a bunch of rules like that, and then ranked them. I enjoyed fine tuning that stuff and then watching how efficient I could make my crew. I'd love to see that concept iterated on, but I get the feeling it wasn't a super popular mechanic.

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              April 5, 2016 2:53 PM

              Yeah, Dragon Age and Final Fantasy 12 both have similar systems where you basically get to program the AI's behavior, DA being a bit more open about it right out the gate while FF12 makes you work (and pay) much more for greater complexity.

              I loved that they were available.

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      April 5, 2016 7:49 AM

      So having babies with elves and murder are OK, but transgendered, not ok? wtf?

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        April 5, 2016 8:34 AM

        Because GG, really -- the ones hating on the transgender character are the ones who rail against the eeeeevil "SJWs" for daring to suggest that people other than straight white men should have good representation in games.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 1:00 PM

        When I had babies with murder, it didn't end well. How do you just divorce murder with children in the mix?

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          April 5, 2016 1:22 PM

          You joke at his grammar but in Baldur's Gate the main character is a product of having babies with murder. So its accurate no matter how you take it.

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        April 5, 2016 1:42 PM

        There's no transgenders in the Baldur's gate universe. You can use a potion which make you become the other sex.. You aren't a 'transgender'. You literally become the other gender.

        The writer for this expension would know that if they had any interest in the game, but they don't. They rather push their agenda rather than make a good game (not completely broken) with good writing.

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          April 5, 2016 1:43 PM

          Ah, there it is.

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          April 5, 2016 2:29 PM

          I'm probably going to regret replying to you, however, yes, you are correct on Faerûn and the realms greater, D&D, Planescape, etc... there exist magical means by which to alter one's body, even in a permanent form.

          However that still would imply the character at one point in their life made the decision to make that change (or had it made for them) which means that they would have experienced life differently. In the case of this character, who probably did have have Gender Switch cast permanently upon her, experienced life for a time with discordant body/self-image and then rectified the situation while adopting the new name. It's not like her parents would have known the moment she was born.

          Now the only thing that stands out odd about her is her name, because she is in every other way just a human woman on the Sword Coast who adds a little more detail to the world by offering conversation.

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          April 5, 2016 6:52 PM

          So you're saying it's about ethics...

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 6:58 PM

          "There's no transgenders in the Baldur's Gate universe."

          It is not clear to me how you would know that there are no transgender people in Faerun.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 7:48 PM

            Seriously, if you could just drink a potion to become another gender, then there's probably a shit-ton of transgendered people in Faerun who'd now be content with their lives. If only everything could be so easy.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 7:52 AM

      there are a lot of awful, pathetic people who play video games

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      April 5, 2016 7:56 AM

      Steam's seem pretty tame with legit complaints.

      And honestly, who gives two shits about user scores on Metacritic? They're always garbage and have 2 scores: 0 and 10. The whole user scoring system should be outright removed from that site, and if developers actually pay these unintelligent neckbeards any attention at all, they're doing themselves a disservice.

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        April 5, 2016 2:34 PM

        Just read 2 or 3 pages of Steam reviews, all were negative, only one mentioned the LGBT thing.

        Seems like Beamdog is trying to use a minority of bigots to coverup the majority of negative reviews based on the shoddy gameplay/bugs.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 5:20 PM

          The real shitstorm is on their forums and the comments for each of those steam reviews. I thought the same thing til I read some comments.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 8:13 AM

      Just cast a polymorph spell to change the NPC back to her original gender.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 8:38 AM

      This article triggered me

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 9:20 AM

      Ha. Looks like this article caught the eye of r/KiA. That means you're doing something right.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 9:47 AM

      if they have a problem then don't buy it..i don't see the problem.

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      April 5, 2016 10:04 AM

      People are fucking retarded.

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      April 5, 2016 10:28 AM

      Marketing ploy successful!

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 10:34 AM

      More accurate title: Baldur's Gate expansion flooded with negative reviews due to assholes on the Internet

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 11:16 AM

      #BaldursGate

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 11:40 AM

      To be honest, I've felt torn on this story since I wrote it, and would like some feedback. On one hand, users on r/KotakuInAction complained that I didn't point out legitimate complaints in the flood of user reviews: bugs, insipid storytelling and gameplay, etc. Most of that is subjective, obviously. Even so, I get where they're coming from. Part of me worries that I was too one-sided.

      But on the other hand, I honestly believed (and still do) that I reported on the real issue: a bunch of people acting horrible on the Internet by manipulating review scores to, ironically, push their agenda--the very thing r/KIA accused me of doing.

      Despite the legitimacy of some complaints targeted at game mechanics, storytelling, and technical composition, I felt most of that was lip service. The real issue was people excoriating game designers for crafting content they didn't like, so that's what I chose to write about.

      Was I wrong?

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:43 AM

        People wouldn't be giving it 0 star reviews if it were just a bit buggy.

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        April 5, 2016 11:46 AM

        Kind of hard to tell without playing through the expansion yourself, no?

        Maybe there are legitimate problems and this is a side show, maybe there aren't: there's simply not enough information to make an informed judgement on what a balanced article would be without playing it yourself or being advised by someone you trust who has.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 11:50 AM

          I think we can infer a bit that the reviews on sites that allow reviews without owning the game are significantly lower than on Steam probably means most of the complainers haven't played the game, either, and wouldn't be able to judge what other issues the game has.

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            April 5, 2016 12:01 PM

            We can, but it's still rather uncertain. Direct observation would be preferable.

            I get when you're just rehashing another article then there's not going to be much time put in, especially in this case where it's barely even noteworthy, but then what value does the Shacknews article have over the original other than its here instead of there, hence were getting some adtraffic instead of them?

            Maybe that's value enough. Briefcase does have to pay the bills to keep the lights on after all.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 1:37 PM

            It has a 3 star rating on GoG and 66% positive reviews on Steam. So pretty much the same rating.
            Both website's reviews are pretty much the same. Complaining about the bugs, the broken features and shitty writing.

            So yeah... what you said is complete BS...

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:50 AM

        No man, don't beat yourself up.

        The article was clear and informative and focused on a single, relevant aspect of this release.

        Bugs isn't news. Bad writing isn't news. A bunch of shitheels crusading for close mindedness and stupidity - that's news.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:51 AM

        Have you played the expansion? If so, what are your thoughts on the mechanics, storytelling, and so on relative to the base game?

        One of the problems with these sorts of "discussions" on the internet is once there exists an angle for bigots to hate something, no one is allowed to dislike something without being considered a bigot even if their position is reasoned and justified. Anything you say to criticism the item will be dismissed as some form of -ism regardless of merit.

        In your position, if you want to be "right" you would have to play through the game on its own, weigh your experience vs. what is being said, and make the decision on whether or not to post the news story at all. Unfortunately, trying to craft a more nuanced piece discussing the controversy vs. the product will fall on deaf ears.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:53 AM

        The people who are giving it a zero wouldn't have posted a review at all if it wasn't for the story, so by nature it is coloring their review of the game.

        They are just being disingenuous when they complain about "legitimate" complaints about the game when they are trying to send a message. They are just trying to be a victim.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:57 AM

        Looking at the ratings, a vast majority of the "0" ratings on metacritic reference the game's "political", "liberal", or "SJW" agenda, so I don't think you're wrong about the way that you are writing a story about the game's reception. Even those that don't mention the transgender issue talk about how some characters have been de-sexualized etc.

        I haven't played it, but the questions you are asking here could only be answered by doing so. Based on the dialogue in question, I'd agree that the writing isn't spectacular--but I can't recall a large amount of public outcry about any of the many supporting characters who say a few lines here and there in the worlds of Skyrim, Morrowind, The Witcher, etc., with one the exception of the occasional criticism that it's very repetitive. Here is someone trying to reflect the depth and diversity of the fictional world that they contributed to and they are getting shit for it. Whoops. Better make sure that next time they all say stupidly predictable things like "Be gone, traveler." "Huh?" "Move along." or whatever.

        Personally, I think it's really sad that some gamers interpret anything outside of 'white male protagonist walks around killing half the things he sees and fucking the other half' is "political".

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:58 AM

        I'm curious why you think people acting horrible on the internet is a 'real issue'.

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        April 5, 2016 11:59 AM

        Let's be clear here, if someone starts presenting their argument with "I don't hate X but..." - well, fuck this someone. I'm not racist, but... I'm not saying it's aliens but... IT'S ALIENS!

        Maybe you should have said more clearly how stupid and terrible these complaining people are, but on the other hand you have presented their idiotic "arguments" in all their retarded glory, for everyone to see, so I guess that's good enough.

        This is not about any "legitimate" complaints, it's about gamergaters shitting on their new victim. Your take on the story is fine.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:01 PM

        Thanks for the feedback, Shack. Just wanted to make sure I'd zeroed in on the real story.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 12:45 PM

          So have you zeroed in on the story or did you miss it? Do you think people are upset about a trans character or is it a combination of what is mentioned in this article?

          http://nichegamer.com/2016/04/03/beamdog-addresses-problematic-content-baldurs-gate/


          Do I think it's fair that they are getting 0's in reviews by people who didn't play the game, no, but those scores are as others mentioned pretty much empty, and I, like most, go buy word of mouth and what others are playing, not score.

          I also think that rewriting well established memories such as Baulders Gate is asking for nothing but trouble, you can't win. This is probably why Half Life 3 will never come out.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 1:32 PM

            it's not rewriting anything. it's a new expansion and a new character in a new zone. they didn't just tack this on to an old character.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 3:34 PM

              I know that, I meant rewriting in the sense that you are developing characters that have already been developed in memories. Like using the same main characters and such.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:16 PM

        I see far more complaints about bugs, save corruption, and barely functional multiplayer on Steam than I do about yet more internet SJW/kotakuinaction crap

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          April 5, 2016 12:33 PM

          Because on Steam, you have to own the game to review it. Compare the reviews there with the ones on Metacritic and GOG.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 12:39 PM

            That's why I didn't check metacritic. Metacritic user reviews have been garbage for years and this new internet rage changes nothing about that

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              April 5, 2016 12:43 PM

              Ok but it's still an issue on GOG where you don't need to own the game either. Plenty of Gamergaters there

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                April 5, 2016 1:32 PM

                GoG has the same complaints about bugs, broken features and shitty writing as Steam has and barely anyone mentionning the transgender 'controversy'. So why ever mention it?

                Literally the only people making a big deal out of this are news site looking for clicks.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 2:38 PM

                  I just looked at the first four pages of reviews on GoG. Out of those twenty reviews, eighteen of them complained about the game's 'social justice', 'identity politics', 'progressive ideology', and the like. I think you're being disingenuous to suggest that this is solely due to bugs and writing.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 2:50 PM

                    It isn't as bad on Steam. There are twice as many positive reviews, as there are negative ones. Also, I think Steam requires that you own a game before you can review it.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 2:52 PM

                  Bullshit. I was trying to look up information about the save game editor that works with the Enhanced edition, and the GoG forums are chock full of stupid, baseless complaints about the trans issue, along with the general anti-"SJW" sentiments.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:30 PM

        It depends on your scope. If you were broadly covering BG and it's score, than I would agree with them. If your main point was the about the negative comments/downvotes regarding the transgender character, then you're fine.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 12:33 PM

          Others have mentioned this, and you're spot on. It wasn't my intention to write about the expansion itself, but a particular story involving reaction to particular content in the expansion.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 12:49 PM

          This is pretty much what I was going to post. "Your not-review of the expansion is a crappy review and you left out all of this stuff!" Well it wasn't a review of the expansion ya fucking doofuses.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:35 PM

        lol KIA is a cess pool, ignore anything coming out of there

        https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/4dh6mt/destructoid_claims_bg_fiasco_is_all_about_the/d1qv1a7

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:39 PM

        You reported factually on what is happening in plain view and trusted your instincts. I think you're doing a good job.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 1:48 PM

          There's nothing factual about this article. It's just a copy paste of another clickbait article posted somewhere else. It take 10sec to look at the reviews and see that nobody give a fuck about the transgender characters and the majority of people complain about the game being unplayable.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:04 PM

            Are you sure you're correct there is nothing factual? I see a number of facts in the article, including direct quotes from user reviews.

            Here's two of them:
            "I would like to start out by saying I don't hate gays or transsexuals in any way," wrote one user. "What I do care about is when this is shoved down my throat and I am forced to mingle with it instead of letting me discover it for myself."

            Another user chimed in by asking Beamdog to "please keep your ideology out of a classic game. Don't force us to buy into controversial topics. We are trying to ESCAPE that crap."


            It's interesting that the first one mentions having it shoved down his or her throat. That seems at odds as the dialogue requires the user to actively speak to the NPC. Then ask about their interesting name. Then ask about the significance of that name. Seems that review is the least factual part of this article. I'm curious about your thoughts on this.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 2:37 PM

              for what it's worth, those quotes are exactly the facts i was referring to, so you and i are on the same page at least

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            April 5, 2016 2:41 PM

            You haven't actually read a lot of the reviews have you?

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:51 PM

        Ignore them.

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        April 5, 2016 12:57 PM

        I wasn't kidding with what I said above.

        If someone has taken the time to write a post about how wrong you are on #GG's main subreddit, you're clearly on the right path.

        There isn't a group more disingenuously critical of anything than them. Taking them at their word is a mistake, and your article didn't ignore any important voices in this conversation.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:43 PM

          With any luck it will keep them out of the chatty too!

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 12:58 PM

        Timeline of events

        1. KiA and the Gamergate crowd want to "stop censorship"
        2. Nobody cares
        3. More bullshit
        ...
        89. GG and KiA call for censoring Trans character.
        90. Nobody fucking cares

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 1:13 PM

        If those asshats are pissed at you, you did something right.

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        April 5, 2016 1:36 PM

        Its a smokescreen, just like "ethics" and everything else they use to shield themselves from whatever trash cause they're behind this week. There's one difference between this and every other buggy game that they ignore.

        They're a bunch of fucking pissbabies, don't sweat it.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 3:00 PM

          Actual quote from the expansion: "Really it's all about ethics in heroic adventuring." - Minsc

          I laughed when I read about it.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 1:44 PM

        I'd be careful about taking sides on this kind of issue. There is nothing you can do except lose visitors, no matter which side you take. anti gamergate is just as stupid as gamergate; both of these groups will boycott you for not fitting in with what they are preaching.

        You might think that catering to one group would increase viewership but I think you really only stand to lose no matter what you do.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:42 PM

          "taking sides" means "reporting on it" in this case or am i wrong in your implication which is suggesting he should not have posted this article?

          ignoring something that's happening *is* a kind of stance.

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            April 5, 2016 2:44 PM

            im merely saying that the ideal scenario is for both groups to think you are unbiased, otherwish you lose readership. simple pragmatism, since shacknews is a business.

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              April 5, 2016 2:49 PM

              can i geek out a bit here? first, this isn't really about the topic at hand. i don't want to disagree about that, but i've been doing a ton of writing for my job about this kind of shit, so i am sharing.

              "unbiased" is a bad word to use here. it's impossible to be unbiased, even if we try. instead, we should use the words like "fair" and "just". i actually got this from a lawyer because i kept trying to use words like "objective" and "unbiased" which is, of course, what we're aiming for - but not something we can attain, even if we try.

              so craddock wants to be fair and just, in your opinion (maybe?) - i'd argue that's not something an editorial has to do, a factual lawyer, sure, and for the work i do, probably definitely mostly always, but unbiased isn't really something that's possible and saying you are that is a dumb construct.

              which is hard to wrap my brain around since i've been trying to attain being unbiased forever and now i realized i was going at it the wrong way. i still do things the same way, now i just have a clearer picture of how to speak about it.

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 3:02 PM

                Let me rephrase so that silly nomenclature issues can be side stepped: articles should be written to be informative while pissing off the fewest number of people who bring in income. If gamergate all has adblock and the other tribe doesn't, your article should be skewed. Hard to get metrics on that I imagine.

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                  April 5, 2016 3:08 PM

                  yeah, i think you are wrong. also, journalism as a field doesn't agree with you. there's a place for that writing as well as other writing.

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                    April 5, 2016 3:09 PM

                    it's also not silly nomenclature. it's about ethical and legal constructs.

                    you might not care but it actually matters and applies to business.

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                  April 5, 2016 3:13 PM

                  So, profits should drive editorial direction so that you don't lose out on the segment of the audience who claims to be against pandering and in favor of journalistic ethics?

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                    April 5, 2016 3:17 PM

                    Unless you can start like, a side site and then pander to both groups. At the end of the day there are jobs to pay and mouths to feed

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 3:16 PM

                  Do you want Trump? Because this is how you get Trump.

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                  April 5, 2016 3:24 PM

                  I know what youre trying to say bradsh, but the shack is super hoighty toighty about SJW topics and anti-gamergate positions.

                  Youre saying information should be displayed in a bipartison neutral position that both sides of an issue should consume as to not point either side negatively.

                  Where you were wrong was that maximum SJW is the only shacknews position, and that makes your opinion invalidated and false you shitlord. /s

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 3:35 PM

                    I just think broad appeal is an easier path to ad revenue, but there is something to be said for being a controversy generator too. It's a harder game to play though

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                      April 5, 2016 3:39 PM

                      Its unfortunately the only way to get clicks anymore. You have to say something that illicites an irrational emotional response. And articles like this work. "What?! Gamers hating on the trans community?!" CLICK.

                    • reply
                      April 5, 2016 5:50 PM

                      Why is ad revenue the only thing you care about? What's wrong with having principles?

                      • reply
                        April 5, 2016 5:52 PM

                        Because ad revenue allows craddock to eat and live in a sheltered living space. Seems straight forward

                        • reply
                          April 5, 2016 7:11 PM

                          So what? That means he shouldn't have principles or state his opinions on things that others might disagree with? This is the dumbest possible stance you could take on this.

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                    April 5, 2016 5:48 PM

                    Using the term SJW is basically just a soft attack on people for caring about not being a total mouth breather.

                    It's a blanket term that implies the target is too uptight and should get over themselves.

                    Mostly it just makes the person using it sound like an absolute douche.

                    • reply
                      April 5, 2016 5:53 PM

                      It's more a term for regressive authoritarian liberals I think.

                      • reply
                        April 5, 2016 5:53 PM

                        That said, still obviously has a negative connotation and reveals a great deal of bias

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                          April 5, 2016 6:05 PM

                          GG is calling for boycott and gang low ranking this game because it has a lone transsexuals npc.
                          How is that not regressive and authoritarian attempts to silence viewpoints they disagree with?

                          The fact that people even consider that they still have any leg to stand on is fucking amazing.

                          • reply
                            April 5, 2016 6:07 PM

                            Who's defending that? I wouldn't even call that regressive authoritarian, I'd call it bigotry

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                            April 5, 2016 6:22 PM

                            If you to on reddit, there are entire SJW mod groups that have bots auto banning users who post in subreddits like "/r/kotakuinaction" regardless of the context. Thats what you call authoritarian and group think. Things are beginning to get way too close minded lately, everyones on edge.

                            • reply
                              April 5, 2016 6:46 PM

                              Groups, by nature, are contentious to those not in the group. We're all varying degrees of assholes. Probably even the most altruistic of groups, like those who clean up oil covered birds after a spill, have some degree of it. I don't think it's a "lately" type of thing, it's just human nature

                    • reply
                      April 5, 2016 5:58 PM

                      Its weird, its almost like calling someone a gamer gater is the same soft attack... Almost as if both groups are assholes. Such an interesting parallel.

                      • reply
                        April 5, 2016 6:06 PM

                        Gamergate is the term they adopted to identify their cause.

                        SJW isn't.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 3:45 PM

                  Pandering to openly hateful people is the correct play, because money.

                  Got it.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 3:23 PM

              All journalism is a business. That doesn't somehow invalidate editorials or trying to make a point. One of the worst things about modern mainstream journalism is the nonsense idea that both sides should be presented as equals even when that's clearly not the case.

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 3:24 PM

                I don't think that's modern at all. Dueling editorials are an age old concept

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 3:27 PM

                  They also have the benefit of allowing you to be biased both ways as an organization, bolstering the appearance of objectivism. Kind of like how fox news had hannity and colmes but the liberal guy was completely terrible. Appearance of objectivity while being anything but. It's pretty brilliant. If shacknews wants to sell an agenda I think that'd be a brilliant way.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 5:47 PM

                    You can be objective and still point out where one side's claims are bullshit. Pretending they're not or trying to be clever about it isn't doing anyone any favors.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 3:28 PM

                  Gone but not forgotten.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 5:43 PM

                  That's not what I was referring to. I mean more like when vaccines are in the news and the two guests are an accomplished Doctor and Jenny McCarthy and the anchor acts as if these two sides are somehow equal.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 5:55 PM

                    The correct solution I think is not to give the issue any air time at all because it is so ludicrous. Give air time to outbreaks of pertussis

                    • reply
                      April 5, 2016 7:08 PM

                      Well, no, that doesn't really address the issue though. There's nothing wrong with giving it airtime, it's the mistaken notion that the anchor can't call bullshit on someone if they say something ludicrous that I have a problem with.

                      • reply
                        April 5, 2016 7:09 PM

                        For example, Anderson Cooper asks his guests questions that expose their arguments all the time and it's fantastic.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:48 PM

          I disagree. True, anti-gg people have been annoying at times but they don't organize boycotts or fly off the handle to this degree. Both groups may be bad but one is significantly worse. They represent so little in page hits and so much in negativity and toxicity that their presence here would be a net negative for the site. imho.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 3:48 PM

          Eh, the GamerGate audience is probably one that's worth losing. :p

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 4:11 PM

            Both sides are shrill self righteous complainers who make massive issues out of nothing and think the other side is evil. Ideologues. Never been a fan of tribalism, myself.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 4:44 PM

              I wasn't aware there was an 'other side' in this case.

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 5:08 PM

                Oh there is unfortunately. You'll occasionally find a contracted writer on one of the more mainstream outlets who has more extreme views one way or the other and you'll find them writing entire essays on articles written by people you've never heard of on sites that no one reads incensed that some nobody said something they didn't agree with.

                There's this entire microcosm of gaming media almost entirely separate from our own where they wage their inane wars that occasionally spills over to ours. Obviously there's far more shitty GGers out there and their particular brand of antisocial bullshit is felt more keenly because of it, but their super shitty counter parts do indeed exist.

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 5:51 PM

                There's the side that hates women and hides it behind "ethics" and then there's every rational being on the planet.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 7:06 PM

                  Yup. What Gamergate fails to grasp is that "anti"-GG is literally everyone else.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 2:41 PM

        your reporting was great.

        you can write another article, if you like, about bugs and problems with the gameplay. those facts don't make your truth somehow untrue.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:46 PM

          is a shitty addon really newsworthy though? i think either put it all in the same article or don't talk about the bugs at all. the only story is obviously regarding the internet outrage. shitty mods are released every day to no fanfare at all.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:52 PM

            additional content is reported on a bunch - i guess it's up to the person reading or writing to decide what warrants coverage but i've seen folks cover skins for HOTS (and i read the SHIT out of ones about azmodunk and i have no shame). this seems more than a "shitty mod" to me, but that's just my view of the content. some folks hate all add ons.

            this doesn't feel like "just" internet outrage to me, either, but i write a lot about how we change the standard level of discourse on the internet so stuff like this, i feel, is contributing to the toxicity online and i do believe that discussions like the one we are having will help make that kind of low-quality hate become less welcome online.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 3:00 PM

            Well, this is much more than a mod -- it's the first official expansion to Baldur's Gate in 10+ years, a fact I mention in the article.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 3:05 PM

              Yeah, like I said above, I've never cared about baldurs gate so I have no idea about the actual issue everyone is internet outraging about. Pardon the ignorance

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 3:34 PM

        You messed by not making it a listicle. "Top 5 reasons gaming journalists must have trans people".

        That will get you even more hyperbole clicks! $$$$$$$

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 5:31 PM

        The majority of the reviews are about the quality of the game overall (bugs, poor dialog choices, poor characterization of established characters) and not about the LGBT character but the ones about the LGBT are especially vile to dig into. I saw a number of the reviews saying they didn't play the game but don't want LGBT or 'modern concepts like transgender people' in their games which is just ignorant to history in general.

        That is something that could be part of another story. Why does Steam let people write reviews if they don't own the game?

        If one throw-away conversation is what triggers you then you have way more problems in your life...or not enough problems I'm not sure.

        I'm not planning on picking it up because I don't really like the interface. It looks very dated (on purpose) when compared to Pillars, Divinity or even Shadowrun.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 5:37 PM

          Steam doesn't. The reviews you were reading were the few from people that actually owned it. On sites that don't have that policy, the reviews were much worse.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 5:43 PM

            Ah I reread the review I saw today and they said they hadn't played it yet but must own it. I have stayed away from reviews on other sites. It just sounds like a bad time.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 6:19 PM

        IMO: fuck the haters. if you are not getting hate email or twitter death threats you arent doing it right ;)

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 6:26 PM

        the expansion couldn't be buggier than BG and BG2.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 1:50 PM

      In other news, I'm boycotting coffins because in Dark Souls 2 I laid down in one and had my gender forcibly changed without my consent. I still look forward to Dark Souls 3 but I won't be lying down in any coffins, real or in-game, until this matter is rectified.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 2:40 PM

        i love that feature. i forget, can you reenter the coffin an unlimited amount of times to swap gender whenever?

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:42 PM

          Who knows? I'm boycotting coffins, no way I'm going back in there.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 4:17 PM

        My problem with that was that it removed my tattoo!

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 4:39 PM

          Might just be a bug, it kept my tattoo. Or maybe your tattoo wasn't as tasteful as mine.

    • Ziz
      reply
      April 5, 2016 4:17 PM

      NPC Lives Matter!

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 5:43 PM

      For me it just boils down to this:

      Did the writers add this character to make a political statement? Yes. The writer said she would and she did.

      Is it their prerogative as writers to make whatever statement they fucking feel like? YES

      Does it fit with the Baldur's Gate universe? it's in the game now so the only answer is yes. It's there and it's part of the lore now.

      Does any of this matter? NO. Baldur's Gate is still there, the world is still there.

      If you don't like the transgender lady for whatever reason, roleplay it like you're supposed to and don't add her to your party. If you think someone wouldn't be that forward in this particular time in the Baldur's Gate universe, then make your *character* think that and end the convo.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 7:08 PM

      Make chatty great again!

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 7:09 PM

      On the Steam reviews page, there are twice as many positive reviews as negative ones but ONLY the negative reviews are showing up by default because of the massive flood of people clicking thumbs up on the negative reviews and clicking thumbs-down on the positive reviews. It sucks they are able to game the system like that.

    • reply
      April 6, 2016 9:01 AM

      The problem it's not if transgender is acceptable or not, thats debatable.

      The problem is that when you ask an npc about her life, you don't expect that the writer wrote some out of place crap about his / her gender, you expect things like how he / she ended at the place the character is in the game or what he / she does for a living, recent adventures, etc.

      If you want to reivindicate things about transgender, a game is NOT the place to do so, and the writer should be proffesional enough to know that, but seems shes not.

    • reply
      April 7, 2016 8:32 AM

      "I don't like writing about straight/white/cis people all the time. It's not reflective of the real world..."

      It's reflective of your audience though, if you're writing for a western videogame, and especially a crpg, and some people just aren't interested in modern sociopolitical issues cropping up in forms of entertainment where they don't belong.

      Also I'm not sure why SJWs always blame "the white man" for any and all criticism they receive. There are other ethnic groups out in "the real world" who are way less tolerant of this sort of thing.