REPLY TO ALL: Launch Day DLC Part 2

Our Launch Day DLC conversation concludes this week as we take a harder look at what makes effective DLC actually work. Part two of our conversation is led by JDevL, Wizardtrain187, Colefacekilla, GiffTor, Coopopolopolis, and Robeque.

Miranda Lawsom

What I really remember from Mass Effect 2

Wizardtrain187

As I’ve looked through this conversation, it struck me that there is a first day DLC that in my eyes would be appropriate, and thats nudie skins. Yes nudie skins. We’ve all seen the concept art, gameplay footage and trailers, so the allure is there…what does that particular female game character look like in the buff? Worth a shot and could cater to the more sexually motivated of gamers.

JDevL

And who wouldn’t want to motivate that group of gamers? *shivers*

Colefacekilla

Before I get to Ethan’s argument, you guys all skipped over something that pisses me off more than any patch or release day DLC and that is game store specific pre-order bonuses. I’ve talked about it a little bit before but it is ridiculous. Granted, I think pre-ordering anything this day and age is pretty dumb (even though I still do it sometimes). If you really want the game, you are going to get it the day of release without any pre-order. The stores realize this and now offer incentives to come their specific store to “reserve” the game. I get why retailers do this as they want people to purchase goods from their store, but why do the developers allow these bonuses to happen? It’s dumb and should be stopped.

I appreciate the nude female form as much as any heterosexual guy, but I like real humans, not digitized facsimiles. That being said, I really wanted to see Miranda Lawson naked in Mass Effect 2.

Robeque

I would totally tap that digital, genetically engineered … Anyway… I’m with you on the store specific perks. Most of the time it’s something really dumb that I don’t care about anyway, but still. If it starts getting to the point where I’m really torn between what store I should buy my game at to get the most out of it and not feel shortchanged I’ll be angry. Is there anything o this point that anyone feels they really missed out on (or would have missed out on) by not ordering a game from a specific store?

JDevL

I feel more shortchanged on the console specific stuff. I wanted Link to battle Spawn in Soul Calibur II, and I think I’d primarily use Kratos in the new Mortal Kombat. So far the store specific items have been more aesthetic than anything, and sometimes they offer these for purchase at a later date. But it’s a dangerous trend that makes me fear when it peaks. Just because I’d like to never have to walk into GameStop again.

Soul Calibur II

And if you bought this in NY, Link is fighting a Ninja Turtle

Robeque

I was just thinking about that. Soul Calibur, specifically. The brand specific characters make a little sense since you’re not going to see Link on anything but Nintendo, but when they make you choose between Vader or Yoda (or wait til later and pay extra for the one you really want) it get’s a little hairy to me. I agree on the store specific perks that it’s not so much what has been so far, but where it could go.

GiffTor

The ONLY reason I pre-order is so I don’t forget about a game that I want to play ASAP – I like getting the little reminder text that the game is out and I can go pick it up.

Wizardtrain187

Console and store specific stuff does suck because for some reason (not sure why) I always feel like the game would be better with whatever content the other stores or consoles has. My brain can’t take the feeling of not being allowed to do something. I know that there are subtle alterations in connection to these purchase perks, but it makes me feel crazy…and you wouldn’t like me when I’m crazy. Actually you might, I’m a pretty kind hearted man ;)

JDevL

Haha, that’s an expensive calendar reminder, GiffTor, but I’m with Ethan. I just hate the idea of being locked out of something. I’m purchasing the full version of the game, give me all of the content, which ties into why the release day DLC is so annoying. Because it comes across as just a way to gouge us even if that isn’t the case.

The Force Unleashed

Finish this so we can fire you already.

The good side to launch day DLC is that it gives the development companies a reason to keep their developers working on the game after it has been sent off for production. Keep in mind a game once a game gets sent off for certification and production, the devs can’t touch it. This used to mean a couple of months of downtime for the development team after they had finished the game. Instead they are turning their attention to getting DLC and patches ready to go for the launch day. Helps more than a few people keep their jobs rather than going through the ups and downs of crunch time in that industry where layoffs happen until the next big crunch. Of course, none of it is marketed that way. Hell, we know more than most average gamers about what goes on behind the scenes, and we still react negatively when we see a company trying to get a couple extra bucks from us after we’ve just bought their game at full price. Realistically, launch day DLC isn’t going away, it just needs to be structured and sold in a way that doesn’t seem like we are getting scammed.

Robeque

Maybe if there was a fund raising thermometer to show how many developers are being fed from the purchase of the DLC it in itself would turn into more of a game and give purpose to the purchase over and beyond the actual content.

JDevL

Haha, I guess I was thinking more along the lines of a company being up front with when the game was finished and when attention shifted to patches and DLC.

Robeque

Maybe they call it a Post Production Awesome Bonus Downloadable Content Pack. (PPABDLCP)

Call of Duty Zombies

Let's add Zombies while we wait

Coopopolopolis

When you put it that way it makes a little more sense. You kind of forget about the fact that developers stop working on a game way before it hits the shelves. I still stand by the fact that they need to at least give people adequate time to digest the game before they start throwing add-ons at you. Let me finish the story before you make me feel like I need to extend it. And especially multiplayer content, who really wants new maps and game modes before you have a chance to learn the original ones?

JDevL

Couldn’t agree more, Coop. There still needs to be a generous gap before the add-ons hit. Each game should focus on the patches initially and also have some sort of news feed in the game menu to let the players know what they are working on. I think the map packs have been timed relatively well for the major shooters lately. Except that Bad Company 2‘s in game store made it more confusing than necessary.

Robeque

Word up, Coop. I don’t like feeling behind before I even get started. Though most of the time I don’t start playing a game until well after it’s been released… nothing the DLC releasers can do about that I guess. They don’t ask me.

JDevL

What about the “great” DLC that is out there. We haven’t played some of them, but the perception/reception of it is has been overwhelmingly positive. The problem is we bring up BioWare, Rockstar, and Bethesda as having figured out how time their DLC releases. But all of them have tripped out of the gate, let’s face it the first content for all of these games were pretty weak, but in the case of Bethesda they even got a pretty steady release calendar of new content every 2 months or so. I don’t think smaller studios are capable of doing anything near that, but I’m seeing less of a reason for launch day DLC. 60 days after release should be the minimum and it should be something worthwhile. Not just something to get your game title back in the headlines.

Fallout 3

Eventually the DLC gets awesome

GiffTor

I’m biased when it comes to Bethesda because even though I beat it, it was out of a sense of duty – I didn’t think Fallout 3 was that great before any DLC came out. As for BioWare (if we’re sticking w/ ME2), they had some launch day crap in terms of weapons (doesn’t bother me) and Avatar schwag (should be thrown into the pit of Karkoom) plus the Drell…and then they released a couple of smaller expansions what, a few months later, one that was “meh” and the awful vehicle one, right? I wouldn’t call that a “stumble,” but I won’t give them any huge accolades for it, either. Rockstar, I am kind of pissed about the description of the DLC pack on XBLA that didn’t explain that the Liars and Cheats and…whatever the other one that was wrapped in with Undead Nightmare were multiplayer packs, though, because I would have just downloaded Undead Nightmare as a standalone. DLC descriptions sometimes suck, especially when there are multiple, similarly titled pay-DLC set up right on top of each other in the queue.

Also, the (free) update that Bioware put out that fixed some glitches and bitches [like the planet scanner] was another great example of properly done DLC.

Robeque

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Don't tease me

Another DLC gripe, I was playing Hot Pursuit last night after downloading the v1.1 patch. I then noticed that there are spots on the map that are only available upon purchase of an add-on. Then I saw cars in the “garage” that were the same way… they show up there, but you can’t use them unless you buy them. I’ve seen this in Forza 3 as well… and probably some other games that I can’t think of. I don’t know… I just don’t like seeing content within the interface of the game that I’ve purchased that I can’t play without further purchase. It just feels like clutter to me. I understand why they do it… I might see some bad ass car that I really want to drive right then and make the impulse purchase to get it. I would just rather see the addons as part of a separate store than in my face as something I have to skip over while I’m playing what I already paid for. Am I alone here, or does anyone else find this type of marketing within games (especially AAA games) to be kind of annoying?

This, by the way in no way will stop me from playing Hot Pursuit. It’s completely bad ass either way. It’s just a gripe I thought worth mentioning.

GiffTor

That kind of inclusion strikes me as serious overkill – if I like your game/want more of it, chances are very high I’m going to go to the “New DLC Is Available” page to see what’s up…although if it’s Avatar costumes, I’m probably going to be pissed.

Robeque

Exactly. I’m with you there. All of us in this conversation I’m sure generally have a good idea of what’s coming up and is available out there, anyway. Maybe that is part of the annoyance. “Yeah I know I could buy that if I wanted it. Get it out of my face!” Do you guys think people who don’t pay as close attention to what’s out there feel the same way?.. or is EA doing them a big favor by letting them know what they’re missing out on?

Coopopolopolis

Red Dead Redemption does the exact same thing. I was confused when it asked me at the main menu if I wanted to play the Undead Nightmare add-on when I hadn’t purchased it yet. I definitely put that on a different level of annoyance than launch day DLC, However, at the same time I can see where they’re coming from. People who don’t stay on top of the gaming scene might not know about all of the updates that have come out. Seeing them there could be a sweet reminder if you just forgot to check. I’m torn.

Undead Nightmare

I thought maybe you were giving this away for free, because you liked me so much, Rockstar

JDevL

Get outta my face, DLC! I’ll come find you when I’m ready. Damn!

Colefacekilla

I had the same reaction when I saw the Undead Nightmare DLC, I clicked on it like an idiot and it told me to purchase it. I can appreciate that it’s easy to get into when you do actually own it, because I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s hard to find DLC that you’ve purchased. The easier the better in my opinion.

However, I don’t like it being shoved in my face that I don’t have the next map pack or cars or even stupid avatar outfits. I get that they have to advertise their DLC because I’m sure the majority of gamers don’t follow the industry like we do but give us another option.

I guess all this boils down to what Justin just said: Get outta my face!

Conclusion

DLC is definitely a work in progress. There definitely isn’t one audience where one type of DLC will work over all of the others. The developers are experimenting, but they are also turning off informed gamers who don’t like to be bombarded with content they aren’t interested in, no matter when it comes out. Fortunately for them, we are forgiving when they finally do release something worth playing. Until then, we’ll see how long we put up with navigating around all of their tests before it damages our experience completely.

Sources:

Giant Bomb (images)

1 Comment REPLY TO ALL: Launch Day DLC Part 2

  1. GiffTor

    I forgot – I wanted the pre-order Blackstorm heavy weapon on ME2…and still don’t have it. Pissed.

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