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BioWare Tracking Player Behavior in Mass Effect 2

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 42 comments

BioWare is using player stats to develop the next installment.

BioWare's Casey Hudson, Executive Producer for the Mass Effect franchise, admits that the company is collecting data from gamers who are currently playing Mass Effect 2. Hudson reassured players that the collection process is completely anonymous, and the acquired data will be used to help design the next installment in the series.

"The only data that we get are in terms of events--little things that happen in the game," Hudson explained.

"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."

Recent statistics gathered by Mass Effect 2 snooping revealed that the Engineer is the class least played, whereas the Soldier seems to be the overall favorite. Roughly 50-percent of the people who started Mass Effect 2 actually finished the game, whereas apparently two PC gamers completed Mass Effect 2 twenty-eight times. 15-percent of the in-game dialogue was skipped as well.

"Ultimately what it means for players is that we don't have to guess anymore about what players are doing," he said. "We can actually learn about what they like and what they don't like and just try to focus on building the good stuff."

Mass Effect 2 hit the Xbox 360 and PC back in January 26, 2010.

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  • 20 Hide
    andrewcutter , September 9, 2010 1:08 AM
    at the risk of being thumbed down, soldier call most played, 15 % dialog skipped. so the final game will have less dialogue and be a action packed soldier fest.. * concerened* :( 
  • 18 Hide
    Stryter , September 9, 2010 1:01 AM
    Hey, I'm all for it if it gives us a kickass mind-blowing end to the trilogy. Lemme go play some more of it so I can do my part lol.
  • 15 Hide
    stingstang , September 9, 2010 12:50 AM
    That's an extremely good idea! Nice disclaimer, too. I'm sure someone here will comment on how it can't be anonymous. (haters)
    I played through it twice, and yes, once as a soldier. Who wouldn't like the shield?
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    stingstang , September 9, 2010 12:50 AM
    That's an extremely good idea! Nice disclaimer, too. I'm sure someone here will comment on how it can't be anonymous. (haters)
    I played through it twice, and yes, once as a soldier. Who wouldn't like the shield?
  • -5 Hide
    xyzionz , September 9, 2010 12:55 AM
    Just wonder and curious what are they going to do with those numbers...
  • -6 Hide
    mayne92 , September 9, 2010 12:59 AM
    xyzionzJust wonder and curious what are they going to do with those numbers...

    Just being as nosey as the government...;-)
  • -7 Hide
    Haserath , September 9, 2010 1:01 AM
    It's good to know that they are trying to find what's makes the game slightly better, though I believe they wouldn't need to work on the small inconveniences if they just made the game great overall.

    If I get rated down for this comment I'm just going to have to go play Mass Effect 2 for the 29th time.
  • 18 Hide
    Stryter , September 9, 2010 1:01 AM
    Hey, I'm all for it if it gives us a kickass mind-blowing end to the trilogy. Lemme go play some more of it so I can do my part lol.
  • 1 Hide
    jomofro39 , September 9, 2010 1:03 AM
    Please, please, let us know who are the two that played it TWENTY EIGHT TIMES!!!! But on a serious note, that is really cool IMO. I think it is great that a company cares about the direction the franchise is taking in terms of player reception, but I can only guess what data they took and how they will interpret it. Here's to hopin'!
  • 20 Hide
    andrewcutter , September 9, 2010 1:08 AM
    at the risk of being thumbed down, soldier call most played, 15 % dialog skipped. so the final game will have less dialogue and be a action packed soldier fest.. * concerened* :( 
  • 2 Hide
    danorou , September 9, 2010 1:16 AM
    My bet goes on ThatAverageGatsby on youtube being one of the ones who played 28 times. It's sad that they started collecting data so late, now they will be getting mostly people who have played through before, and are much more likely to skip dialog and such.
  • 3 Hide
    efeat , September 9, 2010 1:29 AM
    xyzionzJust wonder and curious what are they going to do with those numbers...


    I'm guessing/hoping it means buffing of non-soldier classes. Not necessarily because they're weak, but strengthening the unique aspects of each class allows for a more varied playstyle. It will also probably interest a number of soldier class players and draw them to try different things. For example, a friend of mine played soldier because he just liked being in the thick of things and on the front lines. After I told him that sentinels were the most defensive class in the game, he tried one and loved it - he just didn't know that a tech/biotic class would be a tank.

    Edit: Judging from the wordage used by Casey in the article, a fair number of people did not do all of the loyalty missions. I can't believe anything other than completing all of them would be the norm.

    AndrewCutterat the risk of being thumbed down, soldier call most played, 15 % dialog skipped. so the final game will have less dialogue and be a action packed soldier fest.. * concerened* :( 


    Oh gosh, I sincerely hope not...they already gutted more than a comfortable amount of the RPG elements from the first title.
  • -1 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , September 9, 2010 1:39 AM
    I smell ignorance. While BioWare snooping is pretty cool when looked at from their perspective, at this point I would not even want to know they are doing it. If they said, "Hey, we are going to be collecting event data to spawn the next game in the best possible way"... I might be inclined to feel more secure about it. This is like your spouse keeping tabs on you trying to be a better, well... spouse.. but telling you months after the fact that they have been doing it. Just weird.
  • 2 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , September 9, 2010 1:40 AM
    danorouMy bet goes on ThatAverageGatsby on youtube being one of the ones who played 28 times. It's sad that they started collecting data so late, now they will be getting mostly people who have played through before, and are much more likely to skip dialog and such.
    Highly doubt they just started doing it.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 9, 2010 1:47 AM
    I am confused on the purpose of these stats.
    I played through three times each game (never as soldier ironically) as I liked the different classes.
    I never skip any of the dialogue on the first play through as the voice acting and script is fantastic and I don't want that to change.
    Second and Third playthroughs are much faster as I skip most of the dialogue. Don't change too much Bioware, your on your way to the best game trilogy in history.
  • 4 Hide
    lejay , September 9, 2010 1:47 AM
    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety...
    However, for better computer games? Hell yeah.
  • 9 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , September 9, 2010 1:49 AM
    As for Dialog skipped, most people do it when they've played the gmae multiple times.
  • 1 Hide
    sneaky jedi , September 9, 2010 1:51 AM
    This seems like a great way to make a better game. I wonder if this will be used at all to resolve issues concerning which, if any, of the current squad members will be returning in a squad mate role in the next game.
    Also, 28 times is crazy, but still, I've gone through 10 times and don't feel like Ive hit all the major permutations. I can see how people eager to experience the game in every way possible, and see all the outcomes from various ME1 choices, or how ME2 varying choices will affect ME3, would play that many times
  • 1 Hide
    thechief73 , September 9, 2010 1:58 AM
    Creating games as a science, I like it!

    But... with this type of data collection they need to be carefull. As others have said multiple play throughs will result in different player behavior. Also age, personal gaming styles, and many other things could throw them in the right or wrong direction.
  • 2 Hide
    freename , September 9, 2010 2:07 AM
    Prob thumbed down to oblivion for this.. but for people in places with expensive internet/pay per mb is there an opt out for this, or is Bioware spending their customers money to pay for market research?

    Yeah, interesting stats, but it always annoys me when companies collect data about me, use my bandwidth and never mention it until after the fact.
  • 1 Hide
    NeeKo , September 9, 2010 2:19 AM
    Thumbs up for this.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 9, 2010 2:29 AM
    At least they admitted it, albeit after the game was released.
  • -1 Hide
    jerreece , September 9, 2010 2:29 AM
    The fact that people skip dialog is not in and of itself important. I certainly hope they don't take that wrong. They need to be asking:

    1) Do people skip dialog during their FIRST play through.
    - If yes, then the dialog must SUCK, as folks are bored with it.

    2) Do they only skip dialog on their 2nd/3rd play through.
    - If yes, they're just bored cause it's the same old crap each time.

    Then they have to realize, the dialog itself isn't necessarily bad. They may just need better writers if people are skipping it so much. Or, it could just be that in some situations the dialog is too long, and therefore people skip it.

    There's a lot to analyze in just that one bit of data.
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