REPLY TO ALL: Launch Day DLC Part 1

Nothing polarizes fans of a major game release than to discover launch day downloadable content. Whether it’s a major patch, cheats for purchase, costumes, new levels, new weapons – it seems there is no pleasing anyone. We try and find an acceptable type of launch DLC. Part one of our conversation is led by JDevL, Wizardtrain187, GiffTor, Coopopolopolis, and Robeque.

Dragon Age: Origins

I'm worn out before I even hit start.

Wizardtrain187

The point of DLC is to extend or supplement a gaming experience, but neither of those actions is needed before players have the ability to actually complete the game itself. In the past, gamers were more apt to purchase sequels/DLC because of the time between the game’s initial release and the release of further iterations. This period gave gamers enough time to decide whether they liked the game and whether they desired to continue with the storyline or gameplay. The problem is, gamers now assume that launch DLC should have been included in the base game, thus causing some disdain for the marketing machine behind certain launches. Not only that, but too much of any game causes brand fatigue. I personally don’t believe that any launch DLC is crucial or even warranted because launch DLC is merely a scheme for developers to make more money or direct gamers to purchase games at specific places (such as store only content for preordering etc.) Give us a couple months so that we can begin missing the intital experience, then hit us with DLC. I enjoy savoring a good playthrough and the anticipation period between completion and the next batch of content. The only launch day game additions that are ok with me are patches that save the game, however those should be worked out before release if at all possible

Robeque

I agree with all that. I’m with others in feeling a little cheated when DLC is available at the same time as initial launch… but more so feel like it just a bad move on the publisher’s part. I’m with Ethan that DLC should feel like an extension to the main game and come later on when you’re actually hungry for more. Though, I’m sure there are those out there who sit at home all day every day and blaze through games almost instantly. They haven’t had time to get tired of a game yet and need something else to spend their unemployment check on. But anyway… For the average gamer I think waiting and separating the DLC from the main game to extend the life of a game is the way to go.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour

Why put in the practice?

The part of the question that just makes me shake my head is cheats for purchase. What is the point of playing the game if you are just paying to cheat your way through. EA does this with Madden and Tiger micro-purchases, I know. I think think it’s some major BS. It’s purely a focus on generating revenue from assholes who don’t feel like earning stats or equipment the real way. For me it kind of detracts the desire from taking the time to actually play and earn your way through a game. It makes me think of all the Nintendo titles that are purely about the glory of getting all the collectibles and earning new characters and levels and just playing the hell out of the game. That’s the way games should be played. You can’t purchase that type of satisfaction in a game.

JDevL

I don’t think people expect launch day DLC. I think we are all just confused and frustrated by it. I could be wrong, but I see more complaining along the lines of why didn’t they include it in the first place or “this DLC is worthless why do I have to pay for it.” I’d gladly go back to the days of only launch day patches rather than have to sift through these thoughtless add-ons. Let it simmer and see how the game is received and what people like about it to make some quality DLC later.

The Cheat

The Cheat

I used to be with Robeque on the cheats DLC, the only people that piss me off with using this are the ones that use it to get ahead and play the game competitively/obsessively. When used as intended, as a time saver for gamers that don’t play a lot, I think it’s fairly priced and helpful. They just need to remove it from ranked multiplayer if they haven’t already. But working through games like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit can be a time consuming task, and if some dude wants to see all the cars without putting in 20 hours of game time, I say have at it.

GiffTor

As much as I’d love to play devil’s advocate or have a slightly different take on launch-day DLC, I’m in complete agreement with everything said regarding the necessity of extra stuff right when I purchase the game. I feel bad for constantly citing BioWare, but the pace of DLC for both Mass Effect games have been great in that I had time to really get into the game and maybe even put it aside for awhile before DLC/expansions were released.

DLC on launch day with map packs or “expansions” strikes me the same way that major patches do – if the game wasn’t ready for launch, why did you ship it? As I understand it from the Dev. side, there’s always something that can be fixed/tweaked and I appreciate that – you want to turn out the best product you can because you’re proud of your hard work, and I’m okay with some minor tweaks that the Dev. just couldn’t quite get in there, but when a game is released and there’s major DLC or patch material available, I can’t help going, “Look, fellas, if it wasn’t done, take a page from Blizzard and release a complete game, don’t get your consumers salivating to play only to have to sit and wait for a 0.5 GB patch to download.”

As far as the “cheat” availability…as long as the game has the “If cheats are enabled, Achievements/Trophies are disabled” function (and I hope that they can’t be applied in multiplayer goes without saying) I don’t really care. If someone wants Easy Mode or Infinite Lives or whatever for their single player experience, more power to them. I suppose I’m a libertarian gamer – if you’re not hurting my gaming experience (“my” being collective for “everyone else”), you can play the game however you want (but if it’s not how I do it, it’s wrong.)

Mass Effect 2

More lessons from Mass Effect. The good and the bad.

Coopopolopolis

We’re definitely all in agreement here. I’m sure the launch day DLC is just for the extra revenue, but I honestly think they’ll get more if they wait. Go ahead and develop it with the game if that’s easier, tease the content a few weeks after the game, and then release it later once people are ready for it. It definitely would be better for your overall brand keeping us entertained between major releases. Store specific DLC like a gold plated weapon in multiplayer doesn’t really bother much because i’m not really missing anything. It would have to take something like only selling me half the game unless I buy it at GameStop to actually make me consider pre-ordering it there. Although a move like that would make me hate GameStop even more and probably the publisher who agreed to do that.

A good use for Launch Day DLC could be if they flat just couldn’t fit all of the multiplayer maps on a standard the standard DVD format, and didn’t want to cut into their profits by having to release a double disk game. I’d fully support that over cutting the single player experience back just for sake of needing the disk space for online content.

Robeque

I suppose you’re right… if it doesn’t affect me (“us”) than who really cares if someone wants to pay their way to the top. I just feel like you’re not really getting the full enjoyment from a game if you do that. I’m generalizing, but the satisfaction of earning unlockables through gameplay is a big part of the enjoyment of the game. My gripe is more to the seller for selling out and tainting the gameplay. But again… who really cares if I’m playing and having fun all the same.

Patches I have no problem with… especially with the way they’re offered up now through Xbox live and Steam… and PSN. It was the PC patch compatibility issues that always pissed me off. You’d go to play a game with friends just to have a patching party for a good chunk of the time. And then your mics stop working for no reason……. but that’s another conversation.

Undead Nightmare

More to this DLC than just a logo update

I like your thought, Justin on DLC as a way to add to games through player reactions… gauging what players like and want to see more of before coming up with an expansion to meet those wants. The trick there, I suppose is to get feedback and get something developed in a timely manner before interest is lost again. Then again… players also might not know what they aren’t getting with good expansions that really deviate from the main game…. like Undead Nightmare. I’m not sure how much feedback they would have received from players wanting zombies in the wild west.

GiffTor

The “selling out” aspect makes even less sense here than when someone accuses a band of it when it decides to alter its style for a bigger audience – I’m unaware of any game dev saying, “oooh, we’re arrrrtists, we couldn’t possibly include [broad audience appeal thing] or it would destroy our integrity.” Games are art, but they’re also sold to make money. If someone wants to pay for the cheat, rock on. I’m not going to, but if they like to play the game that way, I’m not sure that I see the gameplay being “spoiled” at all – if the cheat-purchaser likes that kind of game experience, you could say that it made the game more enjoyable for them rather than the opposite.

Robeque

Yeah I get that they want to make as much money as possible…. who doesn’t, really? ****… fine… let the bastards pay extra to not play their games. What do I care?! HUH?! WHAT DO I CARE?!?!?! I DON”T GIVE A ****!!!!! I’ll just play my game and shut up.

But seriously… I get that it’s business and they want to make as much money as they possibly can… at least those involved that care just about the money. I think games are definitely a form of art. I’m not against cheat codes… I had a blast spawning the tank in GTA III and causing mayhem and I used the Konami code when I played Contra. Sometimes cheats are fun. I’m talking more about buying progression items that you would earn by playing the game. There are a lot of aspects to a game that make it a form of art and progression is one of them. In a great game there is a lot of thought put into the pacing and the holding of interest through progression. I’m just saying if your game isn’t fun enough to hold my interest to the end or to get where I want to be to make it fun, then forget you. I’m not gonna pay you extra to get there. If there are people who want to do that I guess it’s their prerogative.

Konami Code

Transcendence by quartertofour

GiffTor

Hahaha…don’t worry about it. I was being a little bit deliberately provocative. I definitely see your point and I guess I haven’t even paid attention to (been aware of?) any games where you can buy progression-items instead of earning them; I guess the only “cheats” I’m aware of/have used are (obviously) the kind that you unlock in Red Dead and the “classic” style cheats like spawning tanks/new body armor/the Konami Code. I totally agree with you on the progression/pacing issue and it’s the reason I wouldn’t give Red Dead (or any of the other GTA-ish Rockstar games) as high of a rating as I would BioShock or Mass Effect 2 despite the fact that they have fun gameplay and great storylines.

Next week… On REPLY TO ALL

The conversation continues as we dive deeper into the twisted family of Launch Day DLC and encounter store specific content. Ew.

Sources:

Giant Bomb (images)
DeviantArt – Transcendence

2 Comments REPLY TO ALL: Launch Day DLC Part 1

  1. Spicer

    It’s all dependent on the game. I think back to the first Dragon Age and the impending DA2, both of which will have launch day DLC. The argument can be made that those brands of DLC–both featuring an additional character and companion storyline–should be included as part of the game.

    But then I think of Warden’s Keep and Return to Ostagar–later additions via DLC–and think they would have made great DLC near launch rather than being tacked onto the experience later on considering both were better fits within a playthrough of the game and not extensions of the game after its conclusion.

    I’m not necessarily arguing against how greedy or lazy it seems to have launch day DLC but I think there are cases where it can and does work. But using to add immediate upgrades to equipment or to add characters, quests, or lands that should have been part of the purchased title does feel cheap, though I’d rather have those earlier than later to become part of my game. Later DLC should be aimed at expanding the game after you finish the whole storyline or, as in the case of Red Dead Redemption, some odd standalone that revitalizes some of the gameplay mechanics of the original and turns the game on its head.

  2. GiffTor

    Spicer, my caffeine meter is still hovering above E, but I think I agree with almost everything that you said. ME2 had similar launch-day DLC in the form of Thane Krios, which was fine, but since he is pretty integrally woven into the story line, that seems like one of those things that should have been in the game PRIOR to shipping it.

    I feel your pain on the other later-on DLC and it was something I was criticizing in re: how DLC fits into a game (e.g., Lair of the Shadow Broker fits in very well because it’s almost stand-alone and segues in nicely, others are more ham-fisted or are just annoying in that they aren’t released earlier (20-40 days post-release) before the early adopters beat the game for the first time.

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