Forgiveness. I had to mull that over in my mind for some time, as I had two companies to choose between, either Gearbox (for Borderlands) or BioWare (for both Mass Effect and Dragon Age).
Gearbox cost me money. I purchased their Borderlands creation in good faith from GamersGate, a digital vendor with a good reputation. GamersGate later posted on their website as well as in some emails to myself that they would not be allowed to sell any of the DLCs for Borderlands, and they would not work with their game if purchased anywhere else. So here I was, stuck with just the basic game with patches, forced to buy the game a second time from another vendor if I desired the other DLCs. I refused, wondering why Gearbox would be so stupid as to alienate a good portion of their PC customer base.
BioWare. Where do I start with them? They are fairly adept at writing game code - well, except for collision detection - but in all truthfulness I believe they either don't game themselves or have forgotten how to. It seems they write their games with things that make no sense at all from a gamer's perspective.
Let's begin with Mass Effect 1. BioWare loves doors...lots of doors...slow to open doors. Made no sense at all to wait for a door if it wasn't encrypted, such as the door to leave the CIC to go to the crew deck. Shepard was in sad physical condition - even out of his armor he could only run a few steps, then have to huff for a while like a steam engine with a lot of bad leaks. Then there were the cookie-cutter environments for melee combat events. Then there was the Mako. Every planet seemed to have an abundance of dozens of Mount Everests, and at times you had to waste medi-gel to fix the Mako just from driving around. And why wasn't there a grenade locker in the armory? Good god, Shepard had to scrounge for grenades like a hobo looking for his next meal.
Dragon Age: Origins. Seems to me the term "level playing field" is an unmentionable in BioWare's offices. Who ever heard of level-capping a RPG at Level 25? And to top it off, you had to earn outrageous stats that had nothing to do with a character's cIass in order to obtain a skill. Remember Alastair? He had to sacrifice a ton of stats to Dexterity (a rogue stat) to be able to complete his shield ability. Rogues had no real Backstab move, you had to somehow get behind an enemy NPC to successfully do a Backstab. Mages had it the worst. The animation for spellcasting was atrocious - it looked more like they were winding up to pitch a baseball versus casting magic, and there were times their staff would just outright disappear during melee combat. The game trailers were false advertising, as Sacred Ashes led you to believe Morrigan could shapeshift instantaneously, yet in the game it took a ponderous amount of time for the spell to take effect.
Mass Effect 2. Well, Shepard is still out of shape, even out of his armor. Why didn't BioWare give him a supply of head gaskets? He certainly needed some, thought he might throw a rod if not have a heart attack. BioWare made a lot of great DLCs, but you level-capped well before the game was finished, resulting in grinding along without earning any experience points. I disliked the comm room because of that slow door - and did anyone notice it was only slow for leaving, but not entering?
Dragon Age 2. A bit rushed, and for some unknown reason BioWare returned to ME1, bringing back the cookie-cutter environments. Still I have to say I enjoyed it a little more than Origins, as even without any DLCs in the beginning, the game was not level-capped.
Mass Effect 3. The game was fine until that atrocious ending. I would have had zero complaints if my in-game choices had led to the ending, but choices were thrown out the window. None of us asked to have our choices replaced with a deus ex machina ending.
So which company won my forgiveness? I have to give BioWare the nod, because they didn't affect my wallet, I wasn't looking at having to buy a game a second time. I'll give BioWare a second chance, and pre-order Dragon Age 3 when the time comes. But I hope they realize that gamers don't want another deus ex machina ending in a game.