A short while ago, someone emailed me, requesting a comic about the “Jennifer Hepler Incident.” Yet again, a woman had become the target of vicious cyberbullying, which is unfortunately becoming a norm within the gaming community ghettoes of the Internet (and elsewhere online, actually). Don’t like what someone has done or said? You’re totally within your rights to substitute constructive criticism and a calmly delivered argument with personal attacks.
E.g. “Do the world a favour. Go and kill yourself, you fat, ugly whore!”
I have another comic lined up that deals explicitly with the topic of cyberbullying. This week’s strip though focuses solely on the Hepler controversy.
In short, Jennifer Hepler, a BioWare-employed writer (who contributed to Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II) became the hated embodiment of “everything that is wrong with gaming today.” This reaction occurred when someone dug up an old interview where Hepler remarked that, among other things, she wishes there was an option to skip fight scenes in games. In other words, say goodbye to frustrating boss fights simply by pressing the Skip Combat button.
Irate gamers, safely hidden behind the veil of Internet anonymity, responded with fire, acid and poison…
Coincidentally, around the same time as the firestorm struck, I got my hands on Dragon Age II. I’m not a fan of traditional RPGs – give me the hack & slash action-RPG dynamic of Diablo II, Titan Quest and World of WarCraft any day – but I decided to give the game a go.
I played Dragon Age II for all of an hour (including character customization) before putting down the controller. I haven’t bothered to load the game since. There was just nothing engrossing or exceptional about Dragon Age II… with the exception of its gratuitousness. I could imagine the characters wanting to skip combat – but for a reason that’s very different from difficulty.