Gaming analytics are a huge boon to video game developers. Having robust data on player behavior allows designers to peg those places in various digital worlds where players enjoy spending the most time, or tricky bottlenecks where they tend to get stuck, or even simpler things, like pinging which of a game’s various characters are the most popular. But sometimes, these statistics can also reveal deeper truths. Like the fact that the people playing your cool new video game are maybe just boring as fuck.
That’s the quick, not-entirely-polite takeaway from a recent blog post from role-playing game developer Larian Studios, which just released (on early access) the long-anticipated third game in the Baldur’s Gate series of Dungeons & Dragons-based virtual adventures. Like most games of its ilk, Baldur’s Gate 3 has a (pretty robust, per our colleagues at Kotaku) character creation system that allows players to create just about any sort of D&D character they could possibly want, allowing a generous mixing-and-matching of races, classes, physical features, and more. As it happens, though, Larian also used its analytics tools to track what the most popular choices taken in each category were, and, wouldn’t you know it: When presented with a vast panoply of potential avatars to pick to experience a rich fantasy world in, a plurality of players chose the most generic white dude possible.
Not even a white elf or anything; the average Baldur’s Gate 3 character is apparently a pasty, dull-as-dishwater human cleric operating in the Life Domain—truly, the “Josh” or “Bradley” of the magical arts. Larian poked fun at its own player base in the post, too, noting that, “You’ve basically made the default Vault Dweller.” (I.e., the base playable character from the Fallout series of games.) “What the hell guys. We gave you demon eyes, horns, and even tails. We are sorely disappointed. Go crazy. We worked hard on this!” Hilariously, the studio also notes, “We thought our analytics system wasn’t working! We checked. It is.” That’s how boring these choices are: They looked like a bug, rather than an apparently unavoidable defect in the human programming itself.