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  • One Last Speech

    Essays and speeches, essays and speeches. Those are the favorite tools of a community manager; to make compelling appeals to the public to join in the latest event, or to be nicer to each other, or to sign up for the company's newsletter, or to check out the blog.

    As community manager, it's my job to convince people to care--not just about what Beamdog is doing, but about the community itself, and the people who make this site their home on the internet. The web can be a dark and sometimes vile, toxic place, and any time that I can help a group of people set the bar just a little bit higher, that's time well spent.

    For those of you who have taken the time to get to know me, you (hopefully) know that everything I do on this site is in service to the community; I get paid by Beamdog to advocate for the company, and as a Beamdog team member I do care about Beamdog's success, but for me the goal has always been this: to make these forums a positive and healthy environment for everyone who loves Baldur's Gate.

    Over the last four years, we've weathered a number of storms, been on different sides of several debates, both local and global, political and personal. I won't go into them here; the people who remember them don't need reminding, and the people who forgot are probably better off. The point is, this community always rallies, always bounces back, always comes out of the scuffle bigger and stronger than it was before. This community is resilient, and I'm proud to have been a part of that.

    Four paragraphs in, and you're probably wondering why Dee is getting so wistful. I've been told I have a tendency to meander toward the main point, that I need to get on with it, come out and say it already.

    Some things are worth spending a little more time in the delivery. After four years, I owe the community one last speech.

    One last speech. There it is, the burning core of it: this is my last post as community manager. I suppose that technically, it even comes a few days late: this past Thursday was my last day working for Beamdog.

    This isn't easy news for me to deliver. I have loved working here for the last four years. Whether it was tweaking the Shadowdancer's backstab multiplier with help from the community, or designing the contents of the Siege of Dragonspear Collector's Edition with Alan Miranda, or simply reading discussions on the forums about your favorite vegetables, being a part of the Beamdog family has been immensely valuable and educational for me. As excited as I am for the possibilities that await me, I'm sad to go.

    What does this mean for the community? In the short term, it likely means less "blue" sightings--fewer posts from the developers themselves. Other than that, not much will change here. @JuliusBorisov is taking over my duties as interim community manager; you can direct any questions to him that would normally have gone to me.

    As for myself... I'll probably spend a little time lurking here, and if people have messages for me I'll try to respond to them, but just as this is a period of transition for the community and for Beamdog, it's a transition for me too. If you don't hear from me immediately, it's probably because I'm getting ready for the next stage of my professional life.

    Thank you all for making this a pleasant place to come to work everyday. I haven't billed half the time I've spent moderating these forums, simply because half the time the work itself is enjoyable.

    See you 'round the Net.

    -Dee Pennyway
    Community Manager, 2012-2016
  • Re: If women are easily the counterparts etc., then where are they?

    Just going to say this:

    Not every NPC has to fight.
    Not every joinable NPC has to be romanceable.
    Not every NPC has to be a badass.

    If you want to promote better gender diversity, but don’t have a clear idea for female or trans characters in the center of your story, do one of two things:
    - find characters in the periphery that you can make female or trans or non-binary or intersex without a ton of effort, and see where it goes.
    - Try finding a central character you already have, and change their gender. It doesn’t have to shift their whole worldview, just swap pronouns and see how it plays.

    You don’t have to make your story ABOUT a marginalized demographic to give it representation. All you have to do is put them in the scene. It’s not the greatest form of representation, but it’s better than nothing–and it’s much less likely to come off as forced.

    Don’t write gay characters. Write characters who happen to be gay. Tell stories with heroes who happen to be trans. Create worlds that happen to be diverse.

    Don’t comment on it. Don’t shine a spotlight on it. Just do it.
  • Re: If women are easily the counterparts etc., then where are they?

    An addendum:

    You can tell stories about gender issues if that’s what you want to do. But you don’t have to make your story about gender issues if you want to promote representation. in fact, if writing about gender issues isn’t something you’re comfortable with, if you don’t know enough about it to do your best work, you probably shouldn’t. Write what you know, write what you want to write. Just make sure you’re including a diverse cast of supporting and primary characters.
  • Re: In defense of only one (more or less) fixed origin story for the main character.

    I actually like the various origins in Dragon Age, because they give the rest of the game unique context and I appreciate that as an actor.

    I agree that it's disappointing how little effect it has on the rest of the game, though. It seems like they shot themselves in the foot by including four races with two genders, all of which had small to significant differences to be accounted for. Three satisfying, fully fleshed out origins with consequences would have maybe yielded better results for the rest of the game.

    POE bothered me for the reasons you described, though; I liked having a background, but I didn't like that it had no story relevance.
  • Re: Qwinns Karachblade fix shouldn't be included! (Spoilers)

    Chris Avellone was project lead. If this fix was included, it came with his approval. And he's one of those original developers.