To DLC or not to DLC?

I do not do DLC. I do buy expansion packs. Or maybe I should clarify that, I will buy an expansion pack that continues the story, not one that would add to the original story content.

Oh yeah, I was actually thinking about that as I posted it. Expansions have never all been created equal. Many of those were almost as pricey as a new game. There are pluses and minuses to the new DLC trend. I don’t want to buy horse armor, but $1 for a race or $5 for a short campaign is fine with me.

Right, I will always remember Icewind Dales expansion Heart of Winter release, people were so pissed off on how short it was that Black Isle Studios released an expansion for the expansion(actually DLC)with Trials of the Luremaster free.
Now that’s thinking about your customer.

What some folks won’t choose to remember, though, it that back during Ye Golden Age of Expansions, there were also plenty of cases of people complaining that a particular expansion wasn’t worth the asking price, just had some lame maps and reskinned units, was just a cash grab, etc. etc.

True enough - EA didn’t need DLC to milk the Sims series though expansions. That said, because of the need to put things on retail shelves, and the associated need for a fairly high price, expansion packs tended to have more content than your typical DLC these days. But in terms of quality, it was massively variable. I almost certainly spend more on DLC now than I did on expansions then (partly because of convenience, but still). Looking back, the main expansions I can remember buying and really getting my money’s worth from were those for Diablo 2, Civ IV, the Total War games, SupCom, GalCiv 2, Company of Heroes (pushing into the DLC era there), and that’s about it. Shooter expansions tended to be nowhere near the quality of the original games.

It’s not black and white, I think it really depends on the game and its developer. I’ve seen some great DLC that really expands upon the game but isn’t really necessary to enjoy it (CKII is an excellent case), but I’ve also seen ridic DLC that doesn’t really add anything of value other than a gun or something (I loved Just Cause 2, but really didn’t like their DLC).

I voted for 1. I have a harder time seeing the value proposition for a bunch of cheap DLC as opposed to one or two expansions. For example, when Steam made its pricing error on Sleeping Dogs I ended up not buying any of the DLC, even at 91% off, because nothing looked like it added enough content to warrant a purchase.

I feel that most DLC is cosmetic, throwaway stuff with no or very little content compared to the base game. For that reason, I won’t purchase DLC unless it is on sale for dirt cheap, and even then I’ll debate whether it’s worth it.

And being one who hoards games, I prefer to have a complete set of things. So even though I might not be interested in most DLC, if I hear that some upcoming game has plans for future DLC, I’ll usually hold off on purchasing that game until a complete/GOTY version is released.

There’s good DLC and there’s DLC that isn’t so good. But all in all, I wish DLC had never been implemented.

I prefer bigger expansions, but I don’t think DLC is inherently a bad thing. After all, you always have a choice. As much as I like Dragon Age 1, there were DLC offerings that I passed on because they didn’t appeal to me. Which points to an advantage DLC has - it’s comparatively lower development cost means devs can experiment with stuff that may only appeal to a portion of their audience, something that would not be possible in an expansion only world.

There is plenty of crap DLC to be sure, but that it exists doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the core game and the DLC I choose to buy. And some games have benefitted greatly from it, like Fallout 3.

Most DLC is crap, and by the time I’m through with the base game I’m ready to move onto the next game anyway. So I don’t think I’ve ever bought a DLC pack. And probably never will.

I have more games in my backlog than I can get to anyway.

I hate DLCs, because usually they are small and I want to play the whole game finished. Would much prefer classic large expansion, Shivering Isles style.

Obvious exceptions are free DLCs for replayable games - I love how CDP does it, with every playthrough (and they are worth it on their own) there is new stuff added, for free.

What If…?

Baldur’s Gate II: The Throne of Bhaal had been released through DLC?

DLC 1: Finished Baldur’s Gate 2? Ready for some more challenge? Try your hand at The Watcher’s Keep! New enemies, puzzles, and items for your party await! In order to meet these challenges, the level cap has also been raised to 30! - $10
DLC 2: Sometimes in the lands of Realms, wanderers stumble upon locations where the Weave has been… twisted. Rumors circulate of mages who pass through such locations and come back not quite right in the head. Unlock the Wild Mage kit for Baldur’s Gate 2 and experience playing through this epic with magic of the most unpredictable nature! - $5
DLC 3: Prepare yourself for the final chapter in the saga of the Bhaalspawn! The Bhaalspawn are vying towards a final showdown, and it’s up to you to ensure the fate of the world by claiming the Throne of Bhaal! With a slew of new locations, new enemies, ever more powerful and varied items to find, and a new level cap of 40, this massive content pack will only set you back $20!
DLC 4: Need an extra hand in your struggles against the rogue Bhaalspawn? Who better to fight by your side than the very man who served as your greatest enemy: Sarevok himself! Will he prove a boon companion, or the source of your eventual downfall? - $5

And there ya go. If Throne of Bhaal had been DLC, using these fairly common price points, the $30 expansion pack could easily have been $40 of DLC. I waffled on whether they would actually price the main expansion piece as $25-30, but went with the more modest $20 price point.

I really wish option 2 read as: “DLC is fine.” Maybe, “DLC is fine, but day 0 DLC and other abuses I am against,” since I don’t think anyone likes the DLC abuse crap.

I have a feeling the vast majority of option 3 responses would fall under my second option 2 there.

Still, I’m surprised at the responses here. “I don’t buy much of the DLC, I’m already done with the game” is a good reason for wanting expansion packs? The whole point of DLC is the game should be complete as is and DLC should add on other things. Yeah, a lot of developers break that mold and seem to withhold things that should have been in the base game. That sucks. I don’t like a whole character in ME3 being in DLC, and the same thing happened in a street fighter game, IIRC. That’s not being against DLC, that’s being against assholes shipping incomplete games.

Why would anyone be against horse armor? It’s like a paid mod. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

To me, packaging up all the DLC a year after release is usually (at least if done correctly) functionally the same as an expansion pack. Typically it’ll cost less too. And you can cherry pick the things you want and don’t want if that’s your thing. It’s just more choice.

The Throne of Bhaal was released a year after the original game. A year later the DLC for the game is usually on sale for 50% off or better. I don’t think price is really a good place to argue for expansion packs vs DLC.

I’ve never felt that the perception of DLC as “sliced out of the main game for a buck” held much truth to it, and my perspective has always been that you buy the main release for the price that’s fair to you and if you’re interested in the DLC, you pay the price that’s fair to you. And if you’re not interested (for example, the countless ridiculous costume and skin DLCs for Saints Row 3 and Dawn of War II do nothing for me), you can skip them safely. Complaining about it -existing- seems rather unproductive.

That said, I think a lot of DLC tends to be priced out of proportion to its actual content, and it’s frustrating when it doesn’t go on sale when the main game does or to the same degree (unless of course it’s brand new DLC and the game’s been out for ages, then it’s understandable), or when it doesn’t come to the same platforms. Shame on Capcom for not releasing the RE5 DLC for PC, for example, shame on Bethesda for buying into Microsoft’s timed exclusivity for Fallout/Elder Scrolls DLC, and so forth.

I like the concept of DLC in a strict sense: pay more to get more of something you like. However, I don’t like how it’s been implemented in most cases. Full expansions should still be the norm, but instead they most often get chopped up and served in bite (or byte) sized portions. I understand the economics of it all in that studios need a cash flow, but sometimes they go overboard. Keep the superfluous stuff in DLC format: gear, weapons, costumes, whatever. Keep the plot line and other major stuff in an expansion.

Don’t listen to the haters, Johan. Keep doing God’s work and putting out more CK2 DLC. It is better for the customers. Complaining about getting frequent updates instead of having to wait a year for an update is nuts to me.

“They” need to start rolling this bs up into packs for fans that want to offer support without the hassle of dlc and delivery services and the rest of the poorly thought out and badly implemented ideas modern pubs are into. It’s simple with indies, you can just buy 10 or 50 copies directly, etc.

I chose option 1.

My problem with DLC is that its generally not worth the price compared to the game itself.

Wow, ok thanks for the input guys, i wasn’t expecting as much interest, i thought it a done deal. It’s funny as this thread was started just because of some vague pattern i had noticed in my buying patterns since DLC became the norm, and i really didn’t think there might be more to that.

Seeing the range of replies i can see that DLC as we have it, is often a perceived negative (even when not an actual negative maybe?) if nothing else, which is kind of interesting.

Also i wanted to make the options very much like a choose your own adventure/Bioware crpg type affair, with a clear obvious ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ option, and the more complex middle ground. Due to the nature of the issue for myself i fully expected most people to vote for option 3, and as they haven’t (yet) that may be of interest to game devs? I probably am more closely set to option 3, except i was completely happy with the more expensive and less frequent expansion pack method for a dev to carry on getting finance from a project and for the gamer to carry on the experience etc. I’m a don’t fix what ain’t broken kind of guy.

Now if you are that guy working in publishing of a large AAA, stop for a second, yes that means stop snorting cocaine from the back of that naked hooker you use as a table. You might think you are awesome, that your idea of DLC, monitization, pay-to-win (and free-to-play as a method to milk the whale etc) and every other idea you’ve had that has shaped the game industry this last decade is also awesome. After all look at you! snorting cocaine from that hookers back, you must have made a lot of money to be in that position.

So take a breath. Look around you at the current figures for your industry. What did that president say? ‘Fool me once…and you fool me twice…erm, shame on you, you can’t fool me again.’ something like that?

You are not awesome, in truth you never were, but it took a while for us to realize it. The same kind of mistakes were made in the 80’s (when publishers got too greedy also), what you’re too young to remember that? Ok well look it up on the internet and i hope you have a plan B, because if you haven’t noticed (and i’m sure you have, no matter how much cocaine you snort from your hooker table) we are voting with are feet and moving past you and all your ‘monitization’ scams. Welcome to the revolution. We don’t like your DLC much. Or something.