A Tale Of Dragons And Memes: Why Dragonspear’s Writing Is Horrid

baldurs gate the siege of dragonspear 0-09-15-2

This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.

In the months leading up to Dragonspear’s release, I was easily caught up by the hype. After all, how could I not? As a devoted D&D fan and someone who – at the expense of my backlog – still plays the nearly two decade old Baldur’s Gate, it seemed like an easy sell.

Creating more content for a game that is in desperate need of a revival at a time when CRPGs are finally coming back into vogue was a great idea, and had I been a game developer, I would have jumped at the chance to do it myself.

Of course I was warned, both by friends and by readers of this site posting in comments on Dragonspear news articles I posted, that the game wasn’t going to be worth the money.

“They hired Gaider, you know what that means”

“Did you see how bad that stream was”

“You know they’ll screw it up.”

Naturally, I didn’t believe them. Call it putting the nostalgia goggles on, but I couldn’t possibly believe Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate expansion would be anything but a continuation of the same events and personalities that made the original so timeless and memorable. Not even a curmudgeonly CRPG elitist like myself could believe that. While most of my friends on Steam decided they’d adopt a “wait-and-see” approach to the expansion, I went all in and pre-ordered it.

Now, to be fair, my initial experience with the game was a positive one. Though I’d later find several gameplay imbalances and poor design decisions (which will be touched upon in my coming review of the title), my first impression of Dragonspear was quite favorable. I enjoyed the smoothed out sprites, the GUI enhancements, the improved AI scripting, and the new Shaman class. Though I disliked the new method at which they spread information over the character sheet, I soon found out that was the least of my problems.

After five hours with the game, I encountered numerous situations where a combination of very poor writing and social justice pandering began to weigh the game down. Technical and gameplay missteps were one thing, but the sheer amount of modern 2016 Tumblr-level politics turned what was once a grand medieval swords & sorcery epic into the equivalent of a emotional teenage girl’s self-insert fanfic. So, after documenting these odd inclusions to the game, I went to check to see if /v/ was upset about it as well.

You’ll notice that the linked 8chan /v/ thread in my article had a user with the ID 334484, and it was this user that posted several screenshots that revealed some of the social justice themed events in the game. That user was me, and the video posted in the thread was uploaded by me to my youtube channel. The 8chan /v/ thread was relevant to the story – and therefore cited in the article – since it was the first place online where these added features were revealed to the gaming public. Say what you will about the maturity of /v/, or even 8chan as a whole, but you are unlikely to find another place as unfiltered and timely with their information as they are. Especially since a good many of the gaming press lurk the threads looking for news there.

Getting to the crux of this editorial, a fair amount of people seem to be content with pushing the false narrative that Dragonspear’s problems begin and end with the NPC “Mizhena” and her speech about her male-to-female transitioning. While it certainly is the most obvious and outrageous example of Beamdog’s tumblr-ization of the game, it is not the only one. Sadly, because many accept what they read online to be true, or simply despise doing any research beyond reading PR blurbs, you have a great many folks who are parroting the “It’s just one trans-gendered NPC” lie.

First of all, there’s the issue of Corwin. She is an NPC that you meet early on that essentially acts as your guide through the early part of the game. She is, initially, the person that informs you of your new status as a legendary hero and keeps a watch on the player’s actions, being sure to reprimand them if they act inappropriately. Though an archer, she acts like a Paladin. That, however, is not the issue with Corwin.

Her first flirtation with annoyance comes by way of her daughter, Rohma. In a conversation shortly before leaving to face Argent and her rampaging army, you are given a series of responses to Rohma in hopes of reassuring her of her mother’s safety while in your party. Playing the noble warrior, you may opt to tell Rohma that you will make sure her mother returns unharmed. A simple and sincere gesture, especially considering you’re talking to a pre-teen child. The response you get, however, isn’t one you’d expect.

“My mother can take care of herself.”

Fair enough. A little precociousness from the tyke is nothing to be upset by, nor is it bothersome when Safana chimes in and mentions how much she admires the girl’s attitude. I do have to admit though, it struck me as odd.

It wasn’t until later when, completely out of the blue, Corwin hit on my female mage main character and propositioned her. There was no discussion with her, no reputation building, no romantic conversations, no interest shown at all…but Corwin immediately hit on my main character all the same. Besides being extremely odd given the fact that my character and Corwin barely exchanged more than 4 sentences up until this point (all of which rather curt dialog that hinted she was a figid shrew), it seemed incredibly hackneyed and forced. Why would she, completely out of the blue and so soon, ask my female mage to sleep with her? Thankfully, it let me end the burgeoning relationship right then and there, but it was the first sign that something was terribly wrong with this game’s writing.

After that, I encountered Mizhena, which those working at Beamdog insist is the only reason anyone is upset at Dragonspear. For brevity’s sake, I won’t retread any ground concerning her character here.

Secondly, and perhaps even worse than Corwin’s broken mess of a character, is the modification done to Safana. While I understand Beamdog’s writers were angry at Safana for being a man-teasing “slut”, I never saw her character in such a way. To me, she was a manipulative woman who learned she could coerce men to do her bidding by complimenting them. Any woman who has had a successful first date after the age of 13 is well aware of the truth in that strategy. Though considering your average bitter female 30-something social keyboard warrior dines with cats and spends every night dampening their iPhone with tears shed while swiping through Tinder profiles, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you that they despise having to admit that fact.

So what did they do? They completely altered Safana’s personality. No longer is she anything close to resembling the sultry seductress that defined her character both in vanilla Baldur’s Gate and various user based mods over the last 18 years. Now, she is a sarcastic, sometimes ungrateful, always spiteful thief who begrudgingly follows your orders. The difference, especially if you’ve ever ran an evil party with Safana, are extraordinarily profound.

Thirdly, as if altering a beloved NPC’s personality and crafting a textbook example of the JeannaDArchetype trope wasn’t enough for Beamdog, they decided to cast an unrepentant Mary Sue as the main villain.

Caelar Argent isn’t too bad, as antagonists go, but for as brutal and violent and unforgiving as she is, she is still cast in a very favorable, if not downright flattering light. Citizens crowd refugee camps, blood and fire drip down the mountains, chaos and death linger in Argent’s path…yet she is still worshiped and adored as a leader. Even Irenicus skirts out of her way, seemingly to idolize her at one point when he approaches her camp and sizes her up in a small intermission between chapters. She is portrayed as a divine, ass-kicking, power-girl that can do no wrong and is more fearsome than the gods themselves.

The big problem with this is that it’s just sloppy writing. Irenicus was a great villain because he had obvious and hampering flaws. Mellisan, the main antagonist of Throne of Bhaal, also exhibited flaws, though hers were mainly tied to her arrogance and megalomania rather than Irenicus and his cleverly-written jealousy. In Argent’s case, her only flaw is that she ultimately has to fall and make way for your character.

If you’ve ever played tabletop with a first-timer, you probably know the type of character I’m talking about. The first-timer makes a self-insert, super-powerful, fearsome character with little to no flaws who has flames shooting out of their eyes, a flaming longsword, and a mysterious past. That’s exactly what Argent is. A poorly written, one-dimensional Mary Sue with flaming eyes and a flaming sword. It makes her a very poor villain and does not in any way make the player feel anything besides pity for the person who wrote her. Unlike Bodhi, Sarevok, and Irenicus, Argent is perceived from the start as a valiant warrior who is adored and feared in equal measure. This, in my opinion, is an incredibly lazy way to write an antagonist.

Coming in fourth, behind all the self-insert, fanfic-level writing that pollutes Dragonspear, are two instances of smartly hidden in-jokes.

You probably know these as well, since both the goblin crying “Racism” and Minsc making a Gamer Gate joke were covered in our own article about the game. While these utterances are one of the “rare select” sounds that only play once every blue moon when selecting a party member, the fact that they are uncommonly encountered doesn’t take away from the cringe factor they create.

Some of the game’s defenders (of which there are very few), say that this is no big deal either. They compare it to the Bob Newhart Easter egg in vanilla Baldur’s Gate and see nothing wrong with putting tumblr memes into a game. While I’ll agree, Easter eggs and in-jokes are nothing new to Baldur’s Gate, Oster & company don’t understand there are two gigantic differences between their joke and the Newhart joke: Timing and delivery.

Beamdog CEO Trent Oster gave an official response, via Techraptor:

I find the controversy ridiculous.  Yes, we have a transgendered character.  I know a number of transgendered people and they are genuine, wonderful humans.  Yes, we also have a character who cracks a joke about ethics.  The original Baldur’s Gate had a whole sequence about the Bob Newhart show.  If this generates controversy it makes a sad statement about the world we live in. 

As for my post on the forums, I merely asked people who were enjoying the game to share their positive feedback. I know our fans can become engrossed in their enjoyment and I really don’t want potential fans to miss out on the series because of protest reviews by small minded individuals.
As for Amber’s interview, I also believe in strong female characters and I feel she did an excellent job bringing dimension and interest to Safana with her writing in Siege of Dragonspear. Her “Too bad” comment, I chalk up to a long day of interviews, having personally done such interviews.

The Bob Newhart show had been off of the air for 8 years prior to it being parodied by the three wandering kobolds in Baldur’s Gate. Most teens playing the game were still soiling their diapers when Larry, Daryl and his “other brother” Daryl were America’s funniest “wacky neighbors”. The joke went over most younger folks’ heads and, like all good Easter eggs in a game, was something that was done within the lore of the game. For all non-Newhart fans cared, it was just three comically insane kobolds bumbling through the forest. As strange as the joke was, it actually fit within the world lore.

Having to explain this in an editorial feels ridiculous, since you’d think anyone old enough to access the internet by themselves would understand the difference between a “lore friendly” joke and a mindless meme. Though when you consider the fact that people like Borderland’s Anthony Burch have made entire games based around nothing but stale, left over 4chan memes, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

With all of these instances of poor writing, lazy characterization, blandly written gay characters, and irresponsible meme’ing, I can’t understand how anyone wanting to defend the game can use the “It’s just one trans-gendered character” lie with a straight face. Anyone clinging to that lie is either out to manipulate buyers into ignoring the community’s warnings and purchasing Dragonspear, or they are simply ignorant of its obvious faults due to having never actually played it.

Looking at any forum where discussion of this game is taking place, you’ll find scant few people defending it. Other than Beamdog employees or non-players attempting to virtue signal, the vast majority of the forums are full of folks who are fed up with the sloppy writing and token-ization of gay characters that are so prevalent in the game.

I could, if I had the time and felt I could keep your attention here long enough, explain how escapism matters and that social justice folks are offended by anyone wanting to escape the real world. I could tell you that their guilt over being so white, so “basic”, so rich, so privileged, and so elitist is what drives them to lick the altar of “white guilt”. I could tell you that they secretly feel so guilty being privileged themselves that they spend their entire adulthood pushing their insecurities on others, all in the hope of somehow silencing that little voice in their head that tells them they’re worthless.

And this is why you have people defending a poorly written mess of a game and trying, yet again, to use it to paint any rational gamer as a misogynistic miscreant.

Here’s a novel idea: how about you call a poorly written game a poorly written game?



Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.

  1. deadeye
    April 4, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    All I’m gonna say is this. If you *really* want to have a pop-culture reference or “meme” in your game, then it needs to be able to stand on its own feet and make sense in context.

    If it doesn’t, then at best, some people will get it now and have a chuckle, but three years from now people won’t really get it. At worst, people NOW won’t even get it and will be confused by it.

    Also, if these guys want to make a whole bunch of social justice games, then they can go ahead and do that. Make a game where every character is gay and they talk about how much they love being gay. Whatever. Just…maybe use your own creative works. Don’t use someones creative works as a platform for your ideologies.

  2. GhoulSlayeR
    April 4, 2016 at 11:43 pm


    Yeah, am I’m le Shakespeare.

  3. erobotan
    April 4, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    I think Amber_Scott is right as he have a right as that’s his creation. Only I don’t have to agree with his ideology so no more Beamdog games in future for me unless they change their writer.

  4. Landale
    April 4, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    The need to make sure things fit well if they’re getting forced in is something these people will sadly never grasp. Seeing mention in this article of Irenicus being able to pop up makes me stand by a statement I made in the last about this; If they wanted to stuff that stupid “It’s about ethics” shit in, they should’ve given it to Anomen.
    Have him tucked away somewhere as an NPC, talk to him to get one of his rambling, utterly impossible, stories of his “heroism”, reply “What was the point of that story?”, “It’s about ethics in heroic adventures.”.
    That, cringe worthy as it is, at least fits. It is perfectly in line with Anomen before all of his development. Nobody would be able to immediately tell it was a stupid Gamergate jab unless they already knew of it.

  5. Heavily Augmented
    Heavily Augmented
    April 4, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    “I find the controversy ridiculous. Yes, we have a transgendered
    character. I know a number of transgendered people and they are
    genuine, wonderful humans.”

    This is the quote that infuriates me the most. They act as if people are up in arms about that sole fact that there’s a character who is trans when that isn’t the case in the slightest. People are angry because they’ve shamelessly plugged in a transgender character with the only reason why is to fit their agenda and nothing else in a classic franchise beloved by many. Along with the altercations to other classic and defined characters with perplexing unnecessary changes just to desecrate the fans even more. They don’t even bother even mentioning the bugs, broken modding and multiplayer, and other broken parts which this expansion has brought in. Even as a person who isn’t a big fan of the Baldur’s Gate games, this type of contempt towards someone’s audience is baffling and isn’t benefiting anyone at the end of the day. Thank you Carl for bringing these points up and this excellent article (especially since many other sites aren’t) and I look forward to the review in the future.

  6. Mel ฅ•ω•ฅ
    Mel ฅ•ω•ฅ
    April 4, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Great article and especially in-depth on the points that are wrong, without going out of the way to find issues anywhere. While I would say that little bit at the end can come off as kind of abrasive, I don’t think it’s unwarranted considering how this issue has been covered in other corners of the internet (and considering the people actively pushing that angle on it).

  7. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 4, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    That’s why I always hated Anomen as a character. To me, he was a parody of the typical fanfic hero. Sure, he had family issues and that gave him attractive flaws, but he was nauseatingly annoying.

    My healer in BG2 was Aerie. Especially since she developed a relationship with poor, depressed Minsc.

  8. Ardens Anima
    Ardens Anima
    April 4, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    So….Fire Emblem Fates didn’t teach them that memes tossed in a medieval/fantasy setting doesn’t friggin’ work?

  9. Bitterbear
    April 4, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Uh.. Four hundred thousand units sold in 9 days disagree with you.

    It sucks but one must realize that while we are the bread and butter for the niche market, to everyone else were are nothing more than a small annoyance.

    That doesn’t that we should bow down an accept though. Hafta fight ’till the bitter end.

  10. Cy
    April 5, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Great article. This game is awful on pretty much any level you can judge a game, the shoehorned SJW crap and the terrible writing are just one (important IMO) part of the whole bigger mess. I’m grateful the game was made, though, even if I am pissed that they essentially ruined one of my favorite RPG series; because now everyone knows *exactly* what happens when SJWs make games, and pretty much everyone hates it.

  11. Louis
    April 5, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Of all the issues one might have with a transgendered character, my biggest one isn’t how they handled her or why they decided to add her; it’s the fact that they tried to discuss gender identity politics in a universe where sex changing spells and potions are present, and even exist in the game (and yet, you can’t give her the cursed girdle). The nature of the game’s setting runs counter to the message they try to deliver. I have this same issue with Dragon Age, and any other world where body-changing magic exists.

    That, and the fact that she made herself a new name out of random syllables from different languages. That is the very definition of a special snowflake.

  12. Sand Ripper
    Sand Ripper
    April 5, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Why is Dee asking Feminist Frequency and Jezebel for help? My grandmother has more teeth than them.

  13. Llama Adventure
    Llama Adventure
    April 5, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I didn’t like the Bob Newhart reference in the original game and it completely flew over my head the first time I saw it. It’s just another example of the risks of shoehorning references into your games.

  14. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 5, 2016 at 12:37 am

    The sad thing is that it is not hard to write characters that don’t conform to their genders without sounding condescending and patronizing.

    Chrono Trigger is a beloved game more than two decades after release, and Flea was a pretty cool boss who decided that being male didn’t fit her, and transmorphed into a woman. It not only seemed to fit in just alright in the game story and tone, but since it was well woven and surprising, Flea came out as a memorable boss. On top of that, it was a trans character that appeared in a 1995 game, back when games were “just for kids”, and it happened with minimal fuss.

    But what do I know? I’d probably be labeled a “racist bigot white male cis scum” by the average SJW out there. Have been in the past.

  15. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    April 5, 2016 at 12:48 am

    You mean him.

    Also the name thing makes no fucking sense and is a clear sign of a monolingual idiot. Except for social justice nothing is more embarrassing than trying to do “cool” things with language when you only (barely) know your native one.

  16. Figuratively Shaking
    Figuratively Shaking
    April 5, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I think it’s disingenuous to pretend that those old references were always universe relevant or lore-friendly and I don’t think you even need to do that to differentiate them from this drek anyway.

    When you’re referencing something it either needs to be so big that the average person in your target audience is guaranteed to get it or it needs to be completely innocuous to everyone except whoever you want to get it. Internet memes, with few exceptions, are neither. They’re obvious even when you don’t understand them and are so fleeting that even the people you want to get them won’t remember them in a week.

    There’s also a significant difference in overall feel between something like a reference to something that one of the devs was passionate about, which is what the vast majority of old CRPG references were, and a weird reference to a memetic reference to a group the dev is clearly butthurt about.

  17. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    April 5, 2016 at 12:56 am

    3 hundred thousand, and that’s actually really low when you count the SE as multiple games, seperated the game into multiple parts and the low increase over FE13 despite the before mentioned tricks with tracking, heavier marketing, and heavy lifetime sales of FE13 that should convert to early sales of 14 but didn’t.

    They also never mentioned sales again. If they were good they’d be bragging about it.

  18. FireWatryIntotheSun
    April 5, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Wow shocking, you sucked off Gamergate again. What a surprising opinion.

  19. Louis
    April 5, 2016 at 1:01 am

    And other opinion articles suck off anti-Gamergate regularly. What makes one less acceptable?

  20. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:07 am

    This is SJW content creators in a nutshell. They are creatively deficient. Parasites. They lack the courage to work hard and risk rejection by creating something new that people may reject. So they opt instead to change something that already exists and has brand recognition. Because if it fails (which it always does) they can scream sexist/racist/bigot and absolve themselves of responsibility. Responsibility: the one thing perpetual children that are SJW embody shamelessly.

  21. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:10 am

    While I do think it’s good to go over the game’s writing and point out other examples of how it’s a disservice to the original, you should really lay off the needless personal attacks that ended up in there, particularly the paragraph about SJWs dining with their cats. All that’s doing is detracting from the real point for the sake of having a cheap jab that people can then turn and twist against you.

  22. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Stop being such a fag

  23. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Good work, you’re just as much a bane on the credibility of the game’s detractors as that paragraph was.

  24. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Tone policing fags who can’t handle the banter deserve to be taken less seriously than the most rampant juvenile name calling cretin.

  25. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Your memes and pop-culture references have to be separate from the game itself. Solely as Easter eggs or rare occurrences.

  26. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Stop being a dumbass. There’s a time and a place for this sort of thing. When you want to make a serious analysis of the game’s actual content, stuffing in pointless and petty insults isn’t helping your point, it’s just making more ammunition for people to deflect to and use against you. This is a situation where people should just focus on the facts, because the facts are what they can’t argue against.

  27. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Don’t forget that Dragon Age 2 sold ‘really well’ for its first week or two, then died completely while the first hung around and gradually sold less and less over time and even spiked back up significantly once or twice as word of mouth got around. You need to keep tracking for sequels beyond the first week.

  28. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:18 am

    If you weren’t so naive you’d realize that facts do not work on SJW types. They are immunized against them. Only appeals to emotion, emotional attacks and shame work on them.

  29. dsadsada
    April 5, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Rampant juvenile name calling should in my opinion be left out of anything meant to argue and persuade a point. It just makes insecure faggots more likely to double down when what you really want to do is make your words seep in and chip away at their soul like maggots eating away at a corpse.

  30. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Emotional attacks are exactly what they use as quotes to say “look at Gamergate literally raping me with their mean words!”
    They can’t quote someone saying “this character is poorly written and here’s why” and pretend it’s an attack.

  31. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:22 am

    They’ll do it anyways. You cannot win against them by playing Robin Hood. You have to go full Mujaheddin. Look at what happened to Gamergate. Their PR campaign certainly convinced the mainstream and brought all those people around, right?

  32. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:24 am

    That’s the thing, though. You can’t convince the nutty SJWs either way. The point of something like this is to show normal, rational people why this sort of writing is bad and why we’re bothered by it, and why they should be bothered by it too. When someone not involved in the whole ideology war reads something like this and gets to a paragraph of a petty insult towards the opposition, that’s only going to push them away. They don’t care about us thinking that SJWs smell bad, they just care about the game, and that’s why we should focus on the facts.

  33. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Or maybe, just maybe, by invoking the mental image of such a character as described in this article, the reader is more likely to visualize and therefore understand the argument.

    Learn that insults are separate from ad hominems. Because I’m sure you’re the kind of guy that’s just a BLAST at parties. Telling everyone to turn the music down and not play the really hard stuff or you’ll annoy the neighbours.

  34. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I like to be funny in my writing, like Amber Scott.

  35. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:34 am

    No, I’m pretty sure they’re more likely to get turned off by the actual point getting sidetracked into attacking a hypothetical enemy.

    And joke’s on you, I don’t go to parties.

  36. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 1:35 am

    It was funny, sure, but that’s beside the point.

  37. DeusEx
    April 5, 2016 at 1:39 am

    And what’s the point in convincing anyone of anything who can’t laugh at a joke? I hope you don’t think the majority of people out there are soulless automatons who engage in prime direction #4146 in lieu of mean things said so turn off auditory and visual sensors to censor new harmful information beep boop beep whiz click whirllllll.

  38. Dave
    April 5, 2016 at 1:46 am

    This was my first reaction. Theres a fucking girdle that could make this a non-issue, but the writers obviously had 0 knowledge or respect for the source material. =/

  39. Mr_SP
    April 5, 2016 at 1:59 am

    No one is trying to use facts on SJW types. The idea is to use facts on the people caught in the middle, so they will understand that these grievances are justified; that people are not against homosexuals or transgender, just poor, ham-fisted representations of those people.

  40. JoeSislack
    April 5, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Hey, if the genius writers behind DmC have shown us, anything crapped out can be ‘literally Shakespearian’.

  41. Cerzel
    April 5, 2016 at 2:15 am

    As I already said, there’s a time and a place for it. When trying to convince people in the middle ground, they’re not going to give a shit about taking digs at SJWs. That means nothing to them. They’re probably not going to find it very funny, either. It does nothing but distract from the actual content of the article.

  42. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 2:18 am

    On the serious side, I’m not the type of person who enjoys reading stale, clinical, boring, by-the-book dissections of a topic. I think it’s boring, and there are plenty of sites people can go to where they can find pseudo intellectual ramblings where a writer wants to sound like he has a PHD in game examination.

    That will never be me. There are other writers here who will do that, and that’s fine.

    I write an article that, were I a simple reader browsing the web, would be both entertained and educated by. A little of both, you know?

    Just my 2 cents.

  43. Fear Me I Am Free
    Fear Me I Am Free
    April 5, 2016 at 2:18 am

    The president/founder of the company was also begging for positive reviews on Steam, GOG, and Metacritic. I assume that’s against the rules, right?

  44. dogmentation
    April 5, 2016 at 2:21 am

    McDonalds sells millions of hamburgers a day.
    Doesn’t make them good hamburgers.

  45. Tyrone Jackson
    Tyrone Jackson
    April 5, 2016 at 2:27 am

    I will say that you Twitter and Tumblr dwellers have gotten this down to a science.

    Find an “enemy” (someone that has a different opinion than them) then label them. Attach as many random negative stigmas to that label/name as possible as to ensure their point of view is discredited.

    In this case, Gamergate. “These people disagree with our virtue signaling and our strong attempts at trying to prove to ourselves and others that we are moral and correct. Also I stubbed my toe this morning. Damn gamergaters!”

  46. vonSanneck
    April 5, 2016 at 2:29 am

    I think it breaks some FTC regulations, not sure though since I am neither well informed of them & not a USA or Canadian citizen.

  47. IndigoHawk
    April 5, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Yes, I don’t agree with the explanation that the Newhart reference was lore friendly. Sometimes people just want to make a joke in their game, which is fine. If people want to use a meme, ok, but like you said, they need to understand that memes age very quickly and poorly.

    The Minsc joke is both a meme and made at the expense of the game’s audience, so doubleplusungood.

  48. Madbrainbox
    April 5, 2016 at 2:39 am

    I can imagine the game’s writer right now:
    “The game was asking for it!Flaunting it’s mysoginy for all the world to see.It was flaunting it AT ME!! **FROTHING AT THE MOUTH**IT WAS ASKING FOR IT!I’M NOT THE BAD GUY HERE!IT’S THE GAME’S FAULT AND WORLD’S FAULT FOR ACCEPTING THAT SINFUL BEHAVIOR…. indistinguishable insane ramble continues”

    It’s not rape when a progressive does it.

  49. RockstarRepublic
    April 5, 2016 at 3:12 am

    This is another victim in the long list of things the SJW have ruined, everything they touch becomes a tumorous mess that must be put down. They are nothing but a cancer.

    I have the original BG box with its 200 million CDs next to my PC, one last reminder of the great gaming experiences I grew up with. Never would I have thought they would get to such a franchise… Its utterly disgusting.

    At some point, how can you not hate these people? Hate their social fascist crusade?

  50. No_Good_Names_Ever
    April 5, 2016 at 3:27 am

    “explain how escapism matters”
    I hate that little bastard in Tactics Advance too.

  51. No_Good_Names_Ever
    April 5, 2016 at 3:28 am

    Is anyone making a memorial list for the day the war finally ends?

  52. Smug
    April 5, 2016 at 3:34 am

    Transgenderism shouldnt be accepted anyway.

  53. Smug
    April 5, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Reminder he is actually the bad guy

  54. bell02
    April 5, 2016 at 3:52 am

    sjw turned BG with this expension into a trainwreck. Loude and with fireworks they crashed into the wall than they move back and smashed the wall again just so everyone can see it. This was not just bad PR and bullshit damage control, this happend on purpose. I think think they wanted this to be a happening just to point with the finger. But it took a totally unexpected way as they wanted. They didn’t expect to stand against a well informed gamer who know how to express his opinion and like a chicken which has cut off the head they run amok, droping left and right misstakes after misstakes.

  55. Jonathan Lawrence
    Jonathan Lawrence
    April 5, 2016 at 3:58 am

    I genuinely used to believe the anti-sjw side were in the right. Now I see they are every single bit as wrong as the other side. Seeing the pathetic assertions that this game “peddles an sjw agenda” is quite frankly hilarious. No thanks, I dont need people TELLING me, Im quite capable of seeing it myself. Also Im not trapped so much by fear of it Ill that Ill see it anywhere.

    Personally I think due to one 30 second character, one joke audio dig at gamergate and one kotaku interview this has been picked up by an army who are every bit as bad as anita sarkeesian. So yeah, congratulations. I used to think “anti-sjw” folks had something to contribute, after all you stood up to fraudsters and victimhood peddlers like Sarkeesian and Quinn.

    Now I see its just a pathetic little insecure band of trolls no better than the feminazis they rail against. Good job.

    Oh and the expansion was great fun and I found the writing to be fine by and large.

  56. Trance
    April 5, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Nailed it.

  57. bell02
    April 5, 2016 at 4:08 am

    >comparing a butt pose with bad writings.

    nice opinion you have there, stay mad.

  58. JD
    April 5, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Never mind that the writer OUTRIGHT stated that she’s an SJW, yeah we’re paranoid and seeing it everywhere…

  59. Jonathan Lawrence
    Jonathan Lawrence
    April 5, 2016 at 4:11 am

    “Nice opinion you have there, stay mad.”

    Yeah right back atcha.

    Though I gotta admit the way you guys are twisting 3 lines of dialogue into a writing critque of thousands of lines of dialogue is sweet.

  60. deadeye
    April 5, 2016 at 4:16 am

    I don’t even think you need to do that. It just needs to be understandable to anyone that might be unfamiliar, it shouldn’t feel out of place, and if it’s a character saying a line, it shouldn’t feel out of character.

    The proper way to do a pop-culture reference in anything really, is that it makes sense to someone with zero knowledge of where it comes from, but then the people that are aware get some added enjoyment.

    A good example is Frank Horrigan in Fallout 2. I’m sure to a lot of people, he’s just the big badass main villain that punches deathclaws. But he’s actually named after a character from a Clint Eastwood movie, “In the Line of Fire”. It’s a pop culture reference that doesn’t feel out of place at all. To those that don’t know, it’s just the dudes name. To those that do know, they enjoy a reference to a pretty great movie.

    Fallout 2 is absolutely jam packed with pop-culture references, and that game is generally pretty highly regarded.

  61. エリック
    April 5, 2016 at 4:17 am

    May Treehouse be forever remembered in infamy for that crime.

  62. エリック
    April 5, 2016 at 4:23 am

    Nothing wrong with a trans character, or a gay character, or any kind of character for that matter. Especially in a fantasy world where being “stuck” on anything like that’s bloody stupid to start with. Though as one poster mentions, being trans in universe is a pretty damn simple fix. Buy the appropriate potion or item, call it an early weekend. Pity it’s not that simple here, it would ease suffering for a lot of people.

    What is a problem however is shitty characters of any description. Write a good character and a good story and no one’s going to bitch no matter what their personal issue is. There might be that one asshole, but there’s always going to be that one asshole.

  63. Smug
    April 5, 2016 at 4:34 am


  64. Immahnoob
    April 5, 2016 at 4:34 am

    >Seeing the pathetic assertions that this game “peddles an sjw agenda” is quite frankly hilarious.


    Sorry if I’m in the comment section. :^)

  65. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 4:34 am

    You’re doing godly work you know?
    Like real contributions to the medium that are direly needed.

    First anonymously and now in here, that’s some real piece of research work now being exposed to the public for the first time, real research and news for the public, the stuff the others wanna hide.

    So glad Nichegamer exists to give all this stuff a good exposure.

  66. Immahnoob
    April 5, 2016 at 4:35 am

    You sound almost sarcastic.

  67. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 4:38 am


  68. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Well that sucks.

    Because I am 100% honest.
    I didn’t know a lot of the details here, and I’ve already heard people pretending it was all about that one character.

    Maybe we can go even deeper to expose how agenda driven this all was.

    I do think that’s a very valuable thing, stuff no one’s putting out there on the news but deserves to be said.

  69. Immahnoob
    April 5, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Seriously, you’ve nailed this perfectly. This isn’t an issue of the characters having certain characteristics (e.g. being transsexual, in our case it’s stupid because one can change their body whenever, but anyway, that’s besides my point), it’s how they’re written in the environment given.

    If the first thing you do in a medieval world is tell random people that you’re a transsexual, I have to wonder why you’re not dead yet. Why does that even matter to me though? We’ve barely met, I don’t want to know your life story. No one does.

    You’re wasting our times. Thanks for nothing.

  70. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    April 5, 2016 at 4:42 am

    hahahaha wow you really suck at lying you know that

  71. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    April 5, 2016 at 4:54 am

    He sounds entirely genuine to me. You must be getting that vibe cause of the avatar he’s using same as the idiot a few comments down

  72. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    April 5, 2016 at 4:55 am

    How about you stop pretending to be an impartial that stopped being neutral and admit what trash you were from the start

  73. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 4:55 am

    So long as he’s just begging for them and not giving anyone anything in return, or faking them, is it really that bad?

    Maybe it’s pathetic, but not actually dishonest. In the end it’d still be up to the people to voice their opinions and they can’t control it.

  74. Immahnoob
    April 5, 2016 at 4:55 am

    “First anonymously and now in here, that’s some real piece of research work now being exposed to the public for the first time, real research and news for the public, the stuff the others wanna hide.”

    Sounds like total sarcasm to me, but he said it isn’t, so I have no reason to disbelieve him.

  75. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Give people the truth. Let them know all the details.

    And they will come to their own conclusions.

    What’s wrong about the SJW agenda that has taken over all the maisntream sites is that they don’t want to do that, they won’t give people the whole story, if a detail contradicts their agenda they will omit it.

  76. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 5:00 am


    They are in their right to make the game they want, however they want.

    But that goes both ways.
    People should have the right to openly criticize it if they don’t like it without being accused of being accused of some label to dehumanize them.

  77. Veola Vegh
    Veola Vegh
    April 5, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Good job CARL BATCHELOR! I appreciate the way you wrote this blog. I am also a great fan of D&D but for me Dragonspear was not enough interesting as the hype was created. I also agree with you on the controversiality of many characters as well but I also don’t support too harsh criticism as well.

    Veola Vegh – IT Manager at http://socialviralworld.com/youtube-views/

  78. Mr0303
    April 5, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Screw the rules, he needs money!

  79. Mr0303
    April 5, 2016 at 5:30 am


    That Beamdog employee crying to Saint Anita and Jezebel is golden. If you had any doubt that they were SJWs before it should be gone now. They better hurry though. Soon Jezebel will burn in flames along with the other cancerous appendages of Gawker like Kotaku.

  80. Sylveria Shini
    Sylveria Shini
    April 5, 2016 at 5:35 am

    So what’s Beamdog paying your firm hourly to troll through site threads and virtue signal? I’ve been looking for a job as a professional shill.

  81. Mr_SP
    April 5, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Er… That’s the generic “no-avatar avatar” that NicheGamer uses.

  82. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 5, 2016 at 5:50 am

    The damage to their reputation has already been done. Everybody knows who they truly are now and what to expect from them in the future ( Certainly nothing good ). Now if only i could play the god damn game successfully, but i guess i’ll have to wait for their slowpoke ass level of patching to get basic things done in a month or so.

  83. Eugenio Gil de la Madrid
    Eugenio Gil de la Madrid
    April 5, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Can’t wait to see Kotaku shut down. We have to some how take the media away from the SJW and give it back to the gamers.

  84. West
    April 5, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Mizhena is a he, not a she.

  85. ReLiC71
    April 5, 2016 at 6:44 am

    > A 18 year old game and they managed to break it yet again.

    This is one of the really annoying parts. I’ve seen loads of people who are unable to play, and even rolling back to the previous version (1.3?) isn’t working for most of them. Regardless of all other factors, breaking a game that’s been working for nearly two decades then deflecting customers’ complaints in favour of the anti-SJW/trans character narrative, is very bad form. Why would I ever want to give Beamdog money after any of this?

    I’m just glad I didn’t get caught up in pre-release hype. There but for the grace of God…

  86. Kiryu
    April 5, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Not into Baldur’s Gate anymore but once again great job Nichegamer.
    This is why i love this site,you touch on topics where other sites would not touch with a ten foot pole and prefer to remain silent.

  87. Kiryu
    April 5, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Nice story,stay butthurt Beamdog.

  88. Juan Manuel M. Suárez
    Juan Manuel M. Suárez
    April 5, 2016 at 7:32 am

    The true expansions to BGII beyond the excellent Throne of Bhaal are in player made mods; everybody knows this. Man, they kept the game alive for two years back then~.

  89. Arbitrary
    April 5, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Here’s a novel idea: how about you stop fucking pre-ordering games?

  90. vtmima
    April 5, 2016 at 7:42 am

    You have obviously done your homework and posted a well-written essay. I disagree with many of your underlying assumptions about what games should be, and how women and LBGTQs are portrayed in games and in society. I am therefore attempting to present a thoughtful review of your review.

    I apologize that I’ve not played the game yet. so I lack the familiarity with it that you have. I did play the original BG, so I know a lot of the original characters.

    Although from your review, I gather that the attempt at introducing non-traditional characters to the game is pretty ham-handed, I respect their efforts. You say that it interferes with your escapism, but imagine playing a game where every character is gay, and there are no in-game options to change this. Would you enjoy the game as much, or would this lack of options interfere with your escapism and enjoyment of the game?

    The game may be trying too hard to be socially aware, but many male gamers are uncomfortable with non-straight-male characters no matter how subtly they are introduced. Fallout:New Vegas has Arcade, and I read the online accounts of many players who are so threatened by his sexuality that they make a special effort to kill him as horribly as they can. I’ve also seen YouTube vids of mods which were either “getting X female companion to sleep with you”, or female companions who are nude and so outrageously large-breasted it’s a wonder they can stand up, let alone run or fight.

    As for the easy way to change gender in Baldur’s Gate, the “cursed girdle” — hey, it says in its own name that it’s a bad thing (“cursed”) to change gender.

    Ironically, the place that I most agree with your criticism is one that you give a pass to: the bit of dialog where the daughter tells your character, “My mom can take care of herself.” I’ve never seen female BG characters represented as being anything other than capable of taking care of themselves.

    As far as complaining that villain is beloved by many, I don’t know how they portray this, but Hitler was pretty popular with many people in his time. I would think that giving a villain some good points would make for a more complex character.

    Your criticism is weakened by several things: first, every character that you complain about is female. If they changed the female characters so much but didn’t change the male characters, shame on them, but if you chose to overlook their flaws because they’re male, then shame on you.

    Secondly, you make some pretty nasty comments about women. You depict Corwin as a “frigid shrew”. Those two words have some heavy misogynistic and anti-lesbian baggage. And that she hits on you after only a few dialog exchanges. In Dragon Age II, there was a pretty small dialog tree which would end with you sleeping with one of the characters, which I did for the heck of it. So what?

    You depict people who hate Safana’s original character are “…bitter female 30-something social keyboard warrior dines with cats and spends every night dampening their iPhone with tears shed while swiping through Tinder profiles….” That’s a pretty broad stereotype. Frankly, I almost never included her in my party because I tend to play Good, It’s just how I roll. Although she had some good skills besides manipulating men.

    I am a woman. I play RPGs. As a woman, I play them differently than you do. I enjoy different things. On the other hand, every individual plays games for their own reasons. Some people like to have extensive backstories on their characters, and are upset if the characters lack motivation. I could care less. Some people like to kill pretty much every character they meet. It generally limits your game play, but okay, if that’s what turns you on.

    I applaud efforts to make game worlds more welcoming to people who aren’t straight men. Based on your article, I can agree with you that it could be done more subtly, but try to be aware that one person’s escapism is another person’s confirmation that the world in general is not a welcoming place for someone like them.

  91. Kamelguru
    April 5, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Also, what is up with Amber’s obsession about writing all her trans people as clerics or paladins of demanding and strict faiths? I guess it could just be boiled down to creative bankruptcy and she is pulling a She-Thor as a default mold. But as a fan of both the settings she has written for, her characters come off as putting their identity before their faith, and extremely jarring:

    A paladin selling a holy relic of an orthodox faith to get an item to transition, and not falling from grace for committing what I’d consider heresy if I was behind the GM screen.

    And a cleric of the god of battle, who talks about identity and family understanding, even when Tempus is VERY clear that gender is irrelevant as long as you fight.

    She just writes really really bad characters.

  92. benanov
    April 5, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Or as has become common, “Muh stairsmuffin”

  93. Magnus Sandvik
    Magnus Sandvik
    April 5, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Let’s also not forget that in BG2, one of your companions turns from Edwin to Edwina and has a whole questline associated with that. Even though it’s mostly played for laughs, the serious moments of it are less shoehorned and hackneyed than anything Beamdog managed to pull out of their asses.

  94. Feniks
    April 5, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I would have had nothing against this game if they made an original IP. Instead they took a beloved classic franchise and rewrote it.

    It is just bad form. These people are not fans, they don’t give a shit about the original games or the D&D lore. They could have just made their own CRPG but apparently that would be too hard.

    Beamdog: meet sword
    Sword: meet Beamdog

  95. Rabbi Bergblattsteinowitz
    Rabbi Bergblattsteinowitz
    April 5, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Oy vey, you’re not being pozzed enough, goy. You need to be shut down.

  96. Phasmatis75
    April 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Along with a good chunk of their staff and fire publicly their CEO for outright lying and misportraying what they did. Essentially as far as I’m concerned, they’re blacklisted.

  97. Ubrokemygrill?
    April 5, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Minsc, Safana and all the other original characters are not Amber Scott’s creations. This is the biggest issue here. If they made an original mod or expansion for BG1 using their own original characters there would be way less of a stink over this. If you take an old IP, and inject your bullshit into it you can’t really complain when old fans get pissed. Then throw bugs and online issues onto it. It’s a huge slap in the face.

  98. pancakewizard
    April 5, 2016 at 9:46 am

    If a ‘rabid JRPG fan’ says your writing is terrible, you know you’ve got problems.

    /shots fired

  99. pancakewizard
    April 5, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I think the funniest unintentional political commentary comes from the fact you can kill this trans NPC for 2000xp and no alignment penalty.

  100. JuicyHopFrog
    April 5, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I knew this shit was coming down the pipes when people started getting rich off of tripe fanfic. Fanfic became all the rage and a lot of young writers with some real potential threw it all away just so they could pirate already established characters and get recognized for it. By working with original characters, and the creative process involved, you start to organically develop depth. Most fanfic takes away any depth from the original to create 2D, badly written pseudo-archetypes.

    The gender politics and heavy handed preaching aside, this is just terrible writing born out of an era where people are too lazy to actually create anything, but are more than happy taking credit for someone else’s real work and bastardizing it through social media filters.

    But hell, when everything has devolved into reboots and retelling, do we really deserve anything original?

  101. Neptunium
    April 5, 2016 at 10:16 am

    SJWs will tank your company.

  102. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 5, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Oh yeah and…God forgive me for having a preference for sweet/kind women ( the actual women ) and not *empowered* female bitches that have to remind me how relevant and independent they are in modern society all the fucking time. I’m basically the antichrist for Feminazis and SJWs just for having a preference lol.

  103. Greg Baxter
    Greg Baxter
    April 5, 2016 at 10:49 am

    May I suggest this link to the “Jeanne d’Archetype” trope explanation as opposed to TVTropes: https://allthetropes.org/wiki/Jeanne_D%27Archetype

    CC-BY-SA license and no censorship bar that which is legally required. It is honestly a shame TVTropes is more popular than All The Tropes.

  104. Wolfbeckett
    April 5, 2016 at 11:18 am

    “Whatever. Just…maybe use your own creative works. Don’t use someones creative works as a platform for your ideologies.”

    They’ve tried that and nobody buys it when they do. Plan B: co-opt already beloved franchises so that people who don’t know any better will buy it.

  105. BaronB
    April 5, 2016 at 11:37 am

    ‘Co-opt’? You mean ‘hijack’?

  106. alterku
    April 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Hate it when industry hacks hide behind the strawman when most of the complaints are about things that have nothing to do with their arguments.

    Stay butthurt Beamdog.

  107. Mathias Kristiansen
    Mathias Kristiansen
    April 5, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Them hiding behind “They are bigots, they hate a trans character” is so fucking pathetic.

    I happen to know a couple of post op trans persons, and you know how they never introduce themselves? They never introduce themselves by telling you their life stories about how tough it was to grow up as a wrong gender and how and when they had their transition. Because that’d make them nothing more than their sexual configuration, to anyone they meet.

    Also, as many have already pointed out, the name made out of syllables from different languages, is a fucking dumb idea, and the mark of a monolingual culturally ignorant retard.

  108. Huck
    April 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. If the sex-change brought up less abruptly and handled thoughtfully by explaining in D&D world how someone would use magic, potions, religion, social reaction/expectations, etc. to change genders it would actually be very interesting

    Heck, half the threads on /tg/ are ‘in-universe’ brainstorming about such topics so people obviously find it entertaining & interesting

  109. Noah Howard
    Noah Howard
    April 5, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I still can’t believe it! As writers, the cards are against us to make living worlds and believable characters and these guys lost the game, hands down! Also, people are going to have whiplash if they play these games in chronological order!

  110. patriotguy2016
    April 5, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    They’ll change that in the first patch probably.

  111. patriotguy2016
    April 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    4 new characters eh? Bi, gay and goblin? Should have just made the 4th an overweight fighter who was disqualified for being on the king’s guard because of his/her inability to wear armor. Then you help them in their quest to create plus sized armor and bring down the tyrant of a king who won’t allow fatties to serve as part of his security. Maybe a DLC idea for BG2EE.

  112. Jofe
    April 5, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Have yet to play this (or even at all, not my cup of tea) but it really baffles me the Rohma part. “I’m worried about my mother” “Don’t worry I’ll make sure she will return” “You misogynistic shitlord. My mother is a strong womyn and can take care of herself and don’t need no man.” Granted it may not play like that, but it surely sounds like.

  113. Wolfbeckett
    April 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    That’s what co-opt means, yes. They’re synonyms.

  114. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I’m totally saving what you wrote. That’s brilliant. Can someone mod that in??

  115. Lorenz Stransky
    Lorenz Stransky
    April 5, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    ” I could tell you that they [SJWs] secretly feel so guilty being privileged
    themselves that they spend their entire adulthood pushing their
    insecurities on others, all in the hope of somehow silencing that little
    voice in their head that tells them they’re worthless.”

    Best line of the entire piece.

  116. Random Dude
    Random Dude
    April 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Enlighten me please, but isn’t this Siege of Dragonspear a DLC? If you didn’t download that, nothing will broke wasn’t it? (still sucks for people who’ve bought it though)

  117. Doc Sithicus
    Doc Sithicus
    April 5, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    We will end the war. We will end SJWs. And we will write the history books.

  118. Teraman
    April 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Fire Emblem Fates doesn’t have any memes.

  119. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    BTW, here’s my idea for changing the transgendered NPC to something that would have been lore friendly:

  120. Nivek Sirrah
    Nivek Sirrah
    April 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Here is an idea on how they could have done it to make it better.

    you come across this average looking guy right. After you talk for a bit he gives you a quest. Perhaps for a potion or the girdle to change his gender (though he dose not tell you at first and just tells you to get it) and a ring that increases his charisma. You get the items and later come back to find a pretty girl instead of the guy. At first “she” tells you he is no longer here and after talking to them for abit she admits to being him. Then maybe some other stuff happens each time you come back, she is flirting with a guy and after he leaves you can encourage her or tell her it’s wrong to trick someone like that. Maybe later someone finds out and starts a fuss and you can chose to defend her, side with the others or stay out of it. You know, add some depth, give you choices, let you EXPERIENCE some stuff using the lore of the land instead of this “hur dur I’m a trans” shallow shit they have now.

  121. Nivek Sirrah
    Nivek Sirrah
    April 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Yes but like for most DLCs the main portion of the game needs to be patched for it to work. So if you have something like steam that auto updates your game, even if you did not get the DLC you still get the framework patch that fucks your shit up. Hence why a lot of people hare disable auto update and rolling back to a previous version.

  122. Nivek Sirrah
    Nivek Sirrah
    April 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Perhaps you are right. Dining with their cats was a be of a cheap shot. I do think Amber Scott is a hack, but that is my judgment on her work, not on who she is. Is that alright?

  123. Random Dude
    Random Dude
    April 5, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    >Rolling back to previous version

    You triggered me, shitlord. Thanks for reminding me the nightmares of installing Long War on EU.

    Jokes asides, damn that really sucks.

  124. CC
    April 5, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Larry, Darryl, and Darryl are actually a kobold, a Xvart, and a tasloi, Which made them being “brothers” a nod to the fact that the Larry, Darryl, and Darryl brothers being different races from each other was an anomaly at the time. Moreover, if you actually ask “why are you here [like this]?” they straight up say, “See guys? I told you they were too young to get it!” but instead you can ask for their autographs and get 150 gold for it.

    Almost ALL of the Baldur’s Gate references were over my head (I was 11 give me a break!) but I loved that because you were meant to find out about these things. They did references like an actual easter egg. A bonus you discover. Not a random meme made for low-information, short attention span idiots so they can go “HAHA I KNOW THAT ONE!” It was the same with the inclusion of Drizzt and Cadderly for me. I had never read any R.A. Salvatore until then, I picked up the books because of the game. This reeks of the much worse for wear writing in Neverwinter Nights. Without any of the charm.

  125. Nivek Sirrah
    Nivek Sirrah
    April 5, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Haha oh yeah I remember that feel.

  126. RPG
    April 5, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Reading that conclusion made me want to stand up and clap in front of my laptop.
    Great article Carl.

  127. Demetirus
    April 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Man, I don’t usually like to leave such a short, and simple comment but.. that closing? Absolutely savage! Thoroughly enjoyed the read, but if I walk away from reading this with nothing other than that, I’ll still be much better for it.

  128. Bart Van de Mieroop
    Bart Van de Mieroop
    April 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    “Even Irenicus skirts out of her way, seemingly to idolize her at one
    point when he approaches her camp and sizes her up in a small
    intermission between chapters.”

    Sweet Lemmy, that is some massive fanfiction level of writing.
    Remember people this is what Irenicus was in BG2 :

    This is a man willing to challenge the gods themselves. We also had the first dungeon being not only a tutorial-level, but also showing us how a broken shell of a man Irenicus was even when it showed how powerfull he was.

    And now we have him returning just so he can say how superduper awesome the villian of this expansion is.

  129. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Dude that would be such a cool move if they didn’t put it in your face but managed to hint it, show don’t tell, and got the player unknowingly involved and gave some interaction for how to interpret the situation.

    I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t get it, others would be confused, but those that managed to put the pieces together would be in for a good twist and a surprise.

  130. JerTobin
    April 5, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Oh shut the fuck up dude. There’s mountains out there in life that are actually worthy of your ire instead of nitpicky bullshit molehills like this. You’re as bad as Sarkeesian with this shit. If Chris Avellone finds the writing to be so good that he claims to be jealous of it (http://www.pcgamesn.com/baldurs-gate-siege-of-dragonspear/chris-avellone-talks-baldurs-gate-siege-of-dragonspear-being-pretty-jealous-of-its-writing), then that speaks volumes. Way more than the opinions a reactionary JRPG fan that’s scraping the bottom of the social justice barrel to find something inciteful to write about to bring in page hits.

  131. Tyrone Jackson
    Tyrone Jackson
    April 5, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    You sound like an angry bitch lol

  132. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Were I as bad as Anita, I would be going to the UN and demanding they create a safe space for me and ban you for disagreeing with me. Instead, I merely uninstalled BG:EE and reinstalled the retail discs with the BGTutu and Weidu modifications.

  133. JuicyHopFrog
    April 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Sort of sounds eerily similar to Jonathan Lawrence down the thread. Either way, I think the article points to a fair amount more than just one character. Show me a video game site or comic book, rolling playing thread, ect. where people don’t get very defensive of canon, especially of beloved series. Sure, we can argue the merit of such things, but it’s not “scraping the bottom of the social justice barrel” unless all fan wars about canon are.

  134. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Me and a good friend of mine on Steam who also played this were saying the same thing. He was floored by it and told me, “How can a man who is almost a god show fear towards Argent?”

    The writing is all over the place. Ask those who beat the game. There are threads all over Steam right now where people are just now beating the game and they see that laughably weak, incomplete ending.

  135. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    thanks, I’ll do just that,.

  136. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    The RPG Codex used to use the same argument against me, even though I was an admitted Gothic 2 fanboy who had just as much experience in European CRPG as I did JRPGs. Most diehards can’t seem to reconcile the two genres. I did, long ago.

  137. Mr_SP
    April 5, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    A video game journalist, NOT getting the game ASAP? I think that’s counter to the profession.

  138. Mr_SP
    April 5, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Yeah, Steam just auto-downloaded a 1.6GB patch. The game seems to work okay, but I’m concerned for all these people who got unlucky.

  139. ReLiC71
    April 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    It is a DLC, but it breaks the Enhanced Edition at the moment, since they patched to 2.0. Removing it/rolling back aren’t working for a lot of people.

    I don’t know about with the EE on its own. I know it was patched to bring it up to 2.0 recently, but I don’t know whether it affected anything if the DLC isn’t installed.

  140. Merlyn7
    April 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    “Why would she, completely out of the blue and so soon, ask my female mage to sleep with her?”

    Is the problem that the character gets hit on or that the character is hit on by another female character? It seems to be the latter because you keep saying “female mage.”

    If it’s the former, I just want to be clear, you are saying you don’t want any game characters to hit on your character unless you initiate it. If it’s the latter – what’s the problem?

  141. patriotguy2016
    April 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    You quoted him did you not? He wonders why out of the blue and so soon. It is one of a few examples of how this all seems rushed and forced. There’s no character development over time.

  142. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I have no problem with same gender relationships. MY 4th trip through Dragon Age origins had me creating a male elf just to romance the one gay option in the game, I’ve said this elsewhere, in fact.

    My problem is this is a lot like the Anders romance in Dragon Age 2, where the person initiates sexual contact without any provocation, without any lead-up, without any respect or mutual admiration having been built up. If instead, Corwin slowly began to warm up to my mage and bonded with her through shared moments at crucial points in the plot (Like when Argent’s men blew up the bridge) then yes, it wouldn’t be an issue. My point is, it was sudden and without any reason for it happening, which is very lazy writing IMHO.

  143. Timothy R Alexander
    Timothy R Alexander
    April 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I would play the hell out of that, that sounds like it would be cool

  144. Carl619
    April 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    That was almost a year ago, they could have added their politics in the game after that. Amber Scott already declared that she would add her politics in every game she write and I don’t think that rewritting some characters and introducing their politcs over making a good story are better than the stories of Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, KOTOR 2, New Vegas and Torment where he worked.

  145. Kain Yusanagi
    Kain Yusanagi
    April 5, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Start with the guy then a girl, then the people finding out and either defending/abandoning quest part, then leading into the girdle/a potion, when they are sure they want to go through with the change.

  146. Nivek Sirrah
    Nivek Sirrah
    April 5, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    exactly. The point being is they could have done it a number of different ways and had it in there to where nearly no one would care.

  147. Yabloko Molloco San
    Yabloko Molloco San
    April 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    gonna pirate it asap. is it really worse than the IMOEN ROMANCE MOD?

  148. No_Good_Names_Ever
    April 5, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    If we don’t, at least Russia will do us a favor and put a bullet in each and every one of their insane heads.

  149. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 5, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Nice try beamdog

  150. Nivek Sirrah
    Nivek Sirrah
    April 5, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Right? But that’s the point. Do it well, flesh it out and really craft a story. Don’t just force it into someones face.

    I came up with this on the damn spot, think how much more fleshed out if I spent some time and really worked on it? But thats because I want to write an interesting story rather than pushed some stupid SJW stuff.

  151. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 5, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Even the mighty Irenicus is powerless against Feminazi/SJW writing.

  152. Thanatos2k
    April 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    It’s crystal clear these people did not want to make a new Baldur’s Gate for people who love Baldur’s Gate. More of a “We finally get to make Baldur’s Gate like WE want it!”

    Pure ego and narcissism. Making a game not for the fans but for themselves.

    Amber Scott in particular is clearly game cancer and any game in which she’s involved in should be avoided. It’s absolutely shocking she’d publicly admit the kind of things that she has.

  153. Thanatos2k
    April 5, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Flea explicitly says it doesn’t matter what his(her?) gender is, and deliberately tries to confuse the player. In the end the player is led to agree – who cares about Flea’s gender – it doesn’t matter one whit to the boss fight they’re now in.

  154. Thanatos2k
    April 5, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    No, they’re right. Stooping to baseless personal attacks was foolish of the writer. It dragged him down to their level when this article should have been better than that. It really stands out right in the middle because it was discussing the flaws in the game just fine.

  155. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 5, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Hmm, my take on it is a bit different.

    She gloats about being male, while in female form. She is taunting those people in front of her to make a statement.

    Keep in mind that in the game context, the Mystics are not evil. They are at war with the humans, but the only reason your group storms Magus’ castle is because at that point in game you (wrongly) believe that Magus is responsible for summoning Lavos, who later bring about the end of the world. You were not fighting them because they are evil.

    So, I think she acted that way to show to the characters that their supposed morality matters little. The Mystics may be different but they too have valor (“Man, woman, what’s the difference? Power is beautiful and I have power.”). Fair, she loses in the end, but the Mystics are shown in a much more sympathetic light later on.

    Maybe I’m overanalyzing something that was meant to be meaningless or just a comic jab at the player. But the fact that I can take so much meaning out of it shows that Flea was actually pretty well inserted in CT.

  156. Thanatos2k
    April 5, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Well, everyone except Magus *is* pretty evil though. There’s no evidence the rest of them (especially Ozzie) are doing anything but trying to kill everyone and take over the kingdom.

    They didn’t know Magus’s true intentions and call him a traitor, as they will inform you if you bring Magus with you during the raid on Ozzie’s hideout during The Fated Hour.

  157. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 6, 2016 at 12:07 am

    I really didn’t get that feeling back then. They are fighting a war, defending their race against the humans. It’s never said who started the war. Nothing about them screams *evil* besides the sinister look of Magus’ Castle.

    When you visit the Mystic town in 1000AD, that is ruled by a descendant of Ozzie, you find out that humans there are seen as villains, offering some perspective.

    In the end, I really think that all three conflicts in the game (Humans vs. Mystics, Humans vs. Reptites, Enlightened vs. Earthbound) all had the same tone in the end. They just had to find ways to coexist instead of just eliminating and oppressing the opposition, even if that goal failed in the end.

  158. OS-Q
    April 6, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Stat wise wouldn’t Irenicus be something like twice the level she is? What a waste of a good cameo

  159. Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ
    Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ
    April 6, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Fallout New Vegas has quite a few references like the burned skeletons of Owen and Beru.

  160. Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ
    Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ
    April 6, 2016 at 2:31 am

    I don’t think it’s actually against the rules until they start offering compensation for good reviews. Something like giving out special badges on the forums to people that give good reviews would definitely get them in trouble though(just as an example).

  161. Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ
    Ebola-Chan✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ
    April 6, 2016 at 2:32 am

    I doubt that they will. The problem starts at the top so they’d need a buyout to maybe fix their company.

  162. Thanatos2k
    April 6, 2016 at 2:59 am

    I’m not sure there was any evidence that the mystics were being oppressed in 600. They were in 1000 because they lost the Magus war.

    The unprovoked attack on the bridge, and the flashback treatment of Glenn and co don’t paint a flattering picture of Magus’s cause.

  163. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 6, 2016 at 3:11 am

    I think the point they are trying to make is basically:


    kind of thing

    they don’t get is that you can shit all over everything you legally
    own as hard as you can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else
    will/must like it.

  164. Chomag
    April 6, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Excellent, looks like a publicity stunt to me. I seriously doubt there will be gamers who won’t buy the game just because of this nonsense, so anything that can get the word out without being some shady crap that turns people away (like anything from EA, Ubisoft or Konami) is a good thing.

  165. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 6, 2016 at 7:48 am

    So i guess you’re all in for the *bad publicity is still publicity*. It’s not always as smart as you may think. I have personally blacklisted these people as of now.

  166. Concerned Parent
    Concerned Parent
    April 6, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Fuck you misogynistic pieces of shit. You make me sad to call myself a gamer.

  167. 萌えゲー
    April 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Unfortunately we are dealing with the most talentless group of leeches ever in existence.

  168. Jaqueline Jahn
    Jaqueline Jahn
    April 6, 2016 at 9:42 am

    If you want to see pop culture references well done you should just check the Witcher 3 from: “Zed is dead” and the Snowbunny Beast from Monthy Python to the seven Dwarves and GoT’s Sky Cells. Furthermore they also show you how to integrate a crossdressing character named Elihal without any fuss whatsoever. I just don’t get why this writer would even bother to write for a large audience at all (which still consists of mainly 90% white male heterosexual gamers) if she can not be bothered to actually write for that audience anymore and if she can not be bothered then why not put some actual work into your character developement and quest design and include this NPC in a more meaningful way.

  169. Rascotes
    April 6, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Nice, informative review. Hearing about the new expansion had me pretty excited. I was all set to get on steam and buy all the enhanced editions and the new expansion even though I have the old discs stashed away somewhere. Just wanted to support the company reviving a beloved classic. Reading this review and others like it concerned me. It was seeing the response from the developers that finally convinced me that I can’t give these people any money. I’m simply not going to support a company that shits on their customers and debases the work of others for personal agendas.

    Time to go dig out those old discs.

  170. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 6, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Janus was thrown into 600AD as a child, and was then found by Ozzie. Being an Enlightened one he had great magical potential, I remember a dialogue that stated that he had more potential than his sister Schala.

    Ozzie seemed to be the leader of the Mystics at the time, and possibly recognized Janus as having a lot of potential to boost the Mystics’ cause, thanks to his innate magic power. The background of the conflict is never really stated in the game, but it is implied that it was after the arrival of Magus that the Mystics started their offensive. The statues of Magus show that he was considered a sort of messiah by the Mystics.

    The Mystics trangressions during the war seemed to me acts of war, not necessarily derived by innate vileness. Even if vileness was a product of such acts.

  171. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 6, 2016 at 11:57 am

    it’s the lowest common denominator problem. Most JRPGs do have shitty writing, but there are some that don’t. Some of them have actually incredible storylines and memorable dialogue. But they tend to fall to hasty generalizations from people how don’t know better.

  172. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 6, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    To call yourself a gamer you need to actually like games in the first place.

  173. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 6, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    “I applaud efforts to make game worlds more welcoming to people who aren’t straight men.”

    I always find this argument bizarre. Videogames have been pretty inclusive for a long time. People have to do a lot of cherry picking to point out that games are only meant for straght men.

    I remember when I was a kid, and the first RPG I played was Phantasy Star on my Sega Master System. I remember being amazed by many things I first experienced in that game – things like open world exploration and the mix of fantasy and technology for example.

    But one thing that particularly amazed me at the time was the main character, Alis Landale. She was a girl fighting against the galactic dictator wielding a sword and hope. Ever since, I always liked to play games that had interesting female leads, for some reason I always found it more immersive to play as someone so much different from myself.

    And in the past 20 years, I have. I played many, many games that had female leads, or that allowed you to select your gender (and I usually pick female). When I played the original BG I made a female paladin named Alis.

    Now then, I am a straight male. But I wonder what would forbid a woman to enjoy games the same way I did in the past 20 or so years.

  174. Edson Diablo
    Edson Diablo
    April 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Just here to remind you that Kotaku is that way —->

    You better go there fast, they might close shop any day now.

  175. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I heard around the street that Polygon is also recruiting filth so he/she may get lucky

  176. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Or at the very least own one.

  177. Everest
    April 6, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I don’t think Anomen was annoying. Even if he was a parody of the typical fanfic hero, i think he was interesting (and believable) enough.

  178. bgrunge
    April 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    War is hell- it’s often futile to try to pick a “right” side.

  179. bgrunge
    April 6, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    War is hell- it’s often futile to try and pick a universally “good” or “bad” side, as I can’t really think of a historical conflict where one side was blameless.

  180. Doc Sithicus
    Doc Sithicus
    April 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    This is our problem and we should deal with it. The only question is whether we should go Vlad or Kratman on them.

    (For uninformed: impalement vs crucifixion)

  181. No_Good_Names_Ever
    April 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Think Vlads title is common knowledge nowadays. Crucifixion has a chance to force their brains into full on cult mode while impalement can serve as an ironic death if you do it the right way and put them on a pike, butt first, and let them slowly slide down.

  182. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 7, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Playing victim all the time is only *natural* for these mentally ill clowns.

  183. TC1776
    April 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Thank you Carl Batchelor for breaking down the story. So far everyone is hung up over the headline grabber “outrage over Transgender character”, but you’ve well pointed out that this is not the issue. The real problem is Amber Scott, the writer of the game’s expansion, who is a self-proclaimed SJW (Social Justice Warrior). Your article directly shows the many ways that her personal biases were forced into the game’s story. I’m shocked that Beamdog’s CEO Trent Oster allowed this to happen, as surely Ms. Amber Scott is not the type to hide her SJW attitude from the world. I would think Trent Oster knew what he was doing to the franchise when he hired Ms. Scott to rewrite the storyline.

  184. CC
    April 7, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    I do really wonder how the hell she got the job. She’s not the best, she clearly isn’t much in love with the series, they could have held open auditions and found hundreds of better fanworks, I’m truly baffled.

  185. Sean Sharpe
    Sean Sharpe
    June 7, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Let’s be honest here.

    Baldur’s Gate was never Planescape: Torment. The writing was always fairly bad. I haven’t played Dragonspear yet, but in my most recent playthrough of Baldur’s Gate II, I realized just how badly written a lot of it is. Aerie is an awful character with almost no redeeming qualities, Jan’s personal quest entirely changes the tone of the character while its going on but has no lasting impact, and Irenicus’ lines are actually some of the most hammy things I’ve read in a video game. If it wasn’t for David Warner’s fantastic voice work, I’m not sure we’d be remembering him as fondly as we do.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Beamdog. Having played Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, I found their new characters to fairly awful. At the same time, I feel you’re looking back at older games with rose-colored glasses, at least when it comes to the characters. The old games still have all the same tired tropes that makes a lot of us old guard think that Bioware lost their touch… The only difference was, back then, they were new.

    I’m just saying, try replaying Baldur’s Gate II again. But don’t look it as a game you loved, look at it from a critical perspective. Chances are, the writing isn’t nearly as good as you remember it being. I know in my last playthrough, I found myself thinking… “You know? I really liked this game because of the combat. Maybe I should actually sit my ass down and *finish* a playthrough of Icewind Dale, instead of stopping at various points because I have severe rerollitis.”

    (Edit: I just realized this post was two months old. Apologies, if I’m raising the dead a bit.)

  186. Brandon Roberts
    Brandon Roberts
    June 9, 2016 at 1:07 am

    i think catherine handled a trans character best. it wasn’t made a big deal of and she was actually a real character

  187. Nicholas Morgan
    Nicholas Morgan
    February 10, 2017 at 2:58 am

    Argent gets to be an Aasimar doesn’t she? Anyone know any mods to add planetouched like Aasimar and Tieflings to the playable races?

  188. Daniel
    December 13, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Seriously, this. This for days. I get the whole incognito “Oh I’m just a mysterious old man, not gonna get involved” spiel, which made sense when he was just there to size up you and Imoen before his planned kidnapping. But his interactions with Caelary Sue were downright character-busting. It would be like taking the strikingly parallel scenes in BG1 where Elminster shows up in old-man-disguise-mode to talk to your character, and making him quiver in awe/fear for some bizarre reason. Just no. You’re an ant, he’s a boot, and he’s hovering over your head just high enough to see if you need squashing.

  189. Daniel
    December 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

    SJW Handbook
    Step 1: Victimization. Make yourself or your group out to be the “victim(s)” of a given society.
    Step 2: Vilification. Decide and proclaim who the “villains” are who should get the blame for Step 1.
    Step 3: Vindication. Create permanent, or semi-permanent, public social fixtures (anything from games to laws) that place the “victims” of Step 1 in priority over the “villains” of Step 2.
    Step 4: Validation. Ensure the narrative of public opinion expressed for the fixtures created in Step 3 is overwhelmingly positive. Actively hunt sources of dissension, and if any exist, repeat the process from Step 2 with the dissenters as the villains.
    Step 5: Vacation? No one knows, because it is utterly impossible for Step 4 to conclude with anything but an endless cycle, or perhaps a depressed retreat to Tumblr circle-jerking until enough nerve is gathered to start again.