Videogame DLC - good, neutral, or evil? Please discuss.

Discussion in 'Public Lounge' started by bradford, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. bradford

    bradford Active Member

    It's been kinda quiet so I'll drop a conversation starter-


    I think there's no question that DLC has supplanted the old models of (a) paid expansion pack and (b) free 'bonus' material released just to support the game.

    But is this good or bad for the consumer? How about for the developer and/or publisher?

    What kinds of DLC are you more or less likely to purchase?


    Note this topic was inspired by this post on Kotaku:
    http://kotaku.com/5883340/remembering-the-pre+dlc-days-when-free-unlockable-content-flowed-like-wine

    and this hilarious graphic in the comments thread for it:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. bradford

    bradford Active Member

    My own thoughts -

    (1) Videogames are, in many ways, cheaper now than they have ever been. I remember paying $40-60 for NES and Genesis games back in the day. Adjusted for inflation, that far outpaces today's mainstream releases. Factor in the increased overall competition, generally larger market, digital distribution, and the ease with which we can find/publicize good sales, and that makes sense. In that light, I don't feel particularly burned by a business model that looks to rake in additional cash from DLC.

    (2) I'm not a paper-doll dress-up kind of gamer. I have little interest in buying costume packs - they're perfectly valid, just not my thing. I want more 'real content' - exactly the kind of thing that used to be sold as an expansion pack.

    Thing is, I remember waiting AGES for expansion packs under the 'old model'. Jagged Alliance 2 is one of my perennial favorite games. I still play it every so often and I've bought it at least four times in different media/packages. It came out in April 1999 in Europe and July 99 in North America. It's expansion pack 'Unfinished Business' was announced in Nov 99 but didn't actually get released until Dec 2000 or early 2001. Given that the developer (Sir-Tech) went broke in 2001, it's sad that perhaps the 'new model' might have allowed them to get the content out (and get paid for it) fast enough to stay in business awhile longer.

    (3) Overall, I am more worried by the threat that DLC-based business models pose to modding. To continue with the JA2 example, that game has been kept alive by passionate fans who have modded it continuously for over a decade. Nowadays, though, there seems increasing temptation for devs to lock down their games to prevent modding because if there's a ton of user-created content, why would fans pay for dev-created content? (Laudable efforts to create systems whereby good user-created content can be sold can be seen as a middle-ground path to co-opt the best modders into reinforcing rather than countering the paid-DLC ethos.)
     
  3. King D

    King D Member

    I wont buy expansion packs unless I hear thats its good from the community. Infinity Ward ripped me off with their dumbass map packs that I dont even get yet and horrible game support. Never doing that again.. Other than that I think DLC's are good for everyone as long as they're well done.
     
  4. joey67500

    joey67500 Welcome to Menotah! Staff Member

    If a DLC is released right after the game, it's a ripoff. I think that content should be something that is included. I personally don't mind paying a little more for this pack or for that pack, but I absolutely hate when they basically screw up the storyline with DLC. Like some games where you buy new tanks or planes, and get them from the very start, basically making the earn it system obsolete. Extra missions and stories fine, skins and costumes fine, ways to make a game easier tsk.
     
  5. Fireblade

    Fireblade Active Member

    I feel games have lost something... a level of adventure and mystery as one, but game these days are developed by the majority for money, and not out of passion. I think that DLC is just a good example of how that feeling has personified itself.

    On an unrelated note... I can program now quite nicely with Visual Basic :D
     
  6. bradford

    bradford Active Member

    Funny you should mention that. I've played Fallout 3 for hundreds and hundreds of hours with at least 4 or 5 different characters now on three different systems. So I have a pretty solid sense of what the difficulty ramp tends to be and how to optimize, etc. But for various reasons, I hadn't ever done the DLC packs until my current run.

    F3 DLC is pretty meaty and there's some good stuff there. More importantly, since the difficulty supposedly scales, you can do most of them at any time that you can reach the starting location for each one. I started Operation Anchorage around the time I hit level 5, so very early in the playthrough. OA doesn't do much for skills but you are almost guaranteed to come out of it with the ability to wear powered armor (which usually comes MUCH later) and a very very nice unique suit of power armor (comparable to a unique one that also is usually not accessible until much later.)

    That alone is pretty unbalanced - while I wasn't invulnerable, I found that nothing but the absolute top-level critters (eg Supermutant Behemoths) were a serious threat to me on the Normal difficulty setting. But then you need to factor in that Bethesda glitched this particular piece of armor and never fixed it. Within OA itself, you're not supposed to have to worry about items deteriorating and needing repair, so they ramped up the durability (i.e. hit points) of all weapons and armor you find, and you don't get to bring your own stuff in. But the armor you get when you leave was also assigned the same incredible durability - it is functionally invulnerable, so you never have to worry about repairing it, thereby breaking one of the fundamental balances of the game.

    (Specifically, a 'normal' suit of power armor has ~1000 hp while the glitched suit has just under 10 million hp. I'm not sure you could appreciably dent it in the course of even the most aggressive playthroughs. I'm playing a pretty careful sniper, so I don't get hit too much anyway, but now at level 20, the armor health bar still looks completely full. )
     

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