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Thread: DLC practices in games

  1. #1

    DLC practices in games

    Spinning off from the Freebies thread.

    DLC for a game can be a good way to get further enjoyment from a game you've played a lot. But it can also feel like core gameplay elements were deliberately cut from the base game to be sold off piecemeal as DLC later on, possibly with a few additional cosmetic items to "add value" to the DLC.

    Releases from Paradox Games can often feel like they've cut a few features from previous titles just to sell those later on. On the other hand, these titles are often very complex and have so many systems it's not unlikely that the cut features were cut to release the game before going too far over the budget. The benefit of this DLC practice is that the core game will get support for quite a while. But it can also feel like you need a few hundred worth of DLC to get a "complete" game if you're looking at it a couple of years after initial release, which can be off-putting to some.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Location: Los Santos
    The "cut out to be sold later" argument has always been problematic. Unless it's a slice of the story type of thing, does it really matter if it was made before or after v1.0? It was planned dlc anyway. For Human Rev, the preorder Tracer Tong's mission was a cutout. The dlc Missing Link is legit an expansion on the base content.

    It's case by case. Grand strategies get away with stuff like boatload of dlcs. Sports games on the other hand are just robbing people nowadays. People are against lazy ripoffs cus they are lazy ripoffs.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It's funny how the development of paid DLC puts additional content releases in a different light.

    Two of my favorite games of the last couple years -- Disco Elysium and Spiritfarer -- have had substantial, high quality additional content added to them for free since their initial release. Fifteen years ago or so, that wouldn't have seemed like such a big deal, but today that seems really generous.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    For me, getting the complete version of the game used to be one of the reasons why I bought games on GOG, as I don't want to buy games in bits and pieces. I also don't like the practice of offering exclusive gameplay content on crowdfunding platforms -- if I give my money to fund a game, I want the best version of it to be available to everyone.

    On the other hand, there's a lot of pointless and badly made DLC out there that can make the game worse by its inclusion. And even good DLC can do that. I've seen playthroughs of Dark Souls ruined by its DLC, which has a much higher difficulty curve from the rest of the game and makes it into a cakewalk for people who finish the DLC content early.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Mossad Time Machine
    I think my favourite shady DLC practice is selling season passes which don't actually include all DLC.

    The stuff publishers get away with in general is insane these days, considering they don't even need to deliver a physical product any more.

  6. #6
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    If you want to talk about DLC, I guess the first thing to do is categories the major types, since

    The DLC for Paradox grand strategy games actually messes with the gameplay, usually micromanaging something that was more higher-level in the vanilla game. They're often divisive because the ones that make the game quite better feel like things that should be in the core game, especially if the core function feels kind of bugged in the base game, and the ones that make the game worse just make the game worse & why would you ever get them?

    Then there's DLC which adds side missions, the approach with a lot of FPS & RPGs. I don't like these messing with the base game, as I was saying in the other thread. But I might get them for after I've finished the game, just to be in that world in a different way for a bit. It doesn't take away from the base game that way. One downside is I'm finding it hard to actually finish off big FPSs since a lot of them are great at the start and start to flag 3/4 of the way through, so I don't even get to the stage of wanting to play a DLC for it.

    Then there's the type where you're buying individual vehicles or missions, which a lot of sims & wargames do. I think of this as the most fair because they don't really do anything to the base game and it's one of the most pure financial-support-for-content tradeoffs. Or maybe I'm more forgiving for wargames & hardcore sims because I recognize they're a niche market and it's a big investment for them to make an accurate sim. They need support or you're not going to get that kind of game at all. If it's for a more casual war game, then it starts to feel like pay-to-play, but I think the creators are getting sensitive to that too. But I wouldn't get DLC for games like that anyway because a shallow game is still a shallow game with more content.

    And speaking of which, the ones with the hats (or whatever is the arbitrary mcguffin for the game), graphic upgrades, etc., that don't do anything for the game are the kind I never get and don't really see the appeal of, but I don't mind because I never feel like I'm missing anything.

    That's probably still far from all of the categories, but I think that gives an impression of my thinking about it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    The portrait packs for Crusader Kings 2 were worth it since you're keeping track of characters a lot. Also, EUIV isn't the same without the Guns, Drums & Steel music pack blasting out on the title screen as the world map zooms out.


  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    Then there's DLC which adds side missions, the approach with a lot of FPS & RPGs. I don't like these messing with the base game, as I was saying in the other thread. But I might get them for after I've finished the game, just to be in that world in a different way for a bit. It doesn't take away from the base game that way. One downside is I'm finding it hard to actually finish off big FPSs since a lot of them are great at the start and start to flag 3/4 of the way through, so I don't even get to the stage of wanting to play a DLC for it.
    The only mission-based DLC I've purchased and played that was really worth my time was Missing Link for Human Revolution that Jashin mentioned. It offered a small game's worth of quality content. If you explore and read all the logs and stuff, Missing Link also provides some back story for Deus Ex connecting it to Human Revolution and a story arc foreshadowing Mankind Divided. So it's part of the canon. Also, it works as both a standalone game and inserted into the Director's Cut. The original game is fine without it, but the Director's cut is epic.

    Then there's the type where you're buying individual vehicles or missions, which a lot of sims & wargames do. I think of this as the most fair because they don't really do anything to the base game and it's one of the most pure financial-support-for-content tradeoffs. Or maybe I'm more forgiving for wargames & hardcore sims because I recognize they're a niche market and it's a big investment for them to make an accurate sim. They need support or you're not going to get that kind of game at all.
    I've been into flight sims on and off and I think it's perfectly reasonable to charge for additional aircraft. It's a shit ton of work to model an aircraft to hardcore flight sim standards, and can only be done by people who really know the aircraft. I don't mind paying for good terrain packs either. Although it doesn't take specialized knowledge to create them, it still takes a ton of work. The good sims develop an ecosystem of content builders for them.

    That's about the only DLC I pay for anymore.

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