Dragon Age II DLC… Already? This Is Silly

By John Walker on March 2nd, 2011 at 8:13 pm.

I'm too annoyed to write a funny caption.

Oh I don’t understand videogames any more. I feel like such an old man, harking back to the days when the game would come out, and then eight months later there’d be an add-on. Now I’m not sure if I’m only getting a fraction of the intended game when I open the box, what with pre-order bonuses, special editions with extra quests, and most of all, DLC. DLC is a great idea! More content, and downloadable because we’ve got this new thing called the internet. Great plan! But why am I posting a trailer for Dragon Age II‘s DLC below, over a week before the game has come out?

And why is it offering me an entirely new companion. Did the writers intend this companion to be part of the story? Is his narrative integral to the plot as it was conceived, and sort of done without if the DLC is ignored? Are writers even able to create something cogent when a marketing team is demanding that they cut the game into ribbons, so each section can be sold separately?

The mistake is the appearance of greed, of swindling your initial customer. When additional content came out a few months after the release it at least gave the impression that the developers had just kept on making the game after it was finished out of sheer momentum. Revealing that entire chunks of plot, quests, characters and abilities are being deliberately designed in order to not include them in the game just seems like a “fuck you” to the customer. Before DLC was an option, such content would either be artificially held back until it was really too late for people to have it for their first play of the game, or more likely just be contained in the game. Now it’s dangled in front of us, with no other message than, “Sure, you can spend only the £35/$50 on this game, but look what you won’t have.”

So hey, look what you won’t have in Dragon Age II:

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245 Comments »

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  1. Bilbo says:

    Ah, fucked up. :/

    • Bonedwarf says:

      One big reason I refuse to buy games like this now. I’ll wait a year for the inevitable bundle that has it all, at half the price of the original butchered title. (See: Dragon Age during the Christmas sales. $30 for the game and all DLC for half the price of the original game on its own.)

    • Lord Byte says:

      I agree: Wait for the Super-mega-all-inclusive-final-gold-deluxe edition, buy that one, but even then, if you’re called Mass Effect 2 it still won’t be enough to get all the DLC…

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      Richard Beer says:

      Yep I’m all about waiting, now. I only just picked up Mass Effect 2 and there’s no way I’ll be buying DA:O 2 on release.

      I approve of your stance, John. I think it’s time for a measured, reasonable backlash before this gets ridiculous and they start putting characters in the game who’s sole raison d’etre is to sell you the expansion pack every time you talk to them. Oh.

    • fionny says:

      @Richard

      Lol I can see it now,

      *interacts with NPC”

      NPC “Hi! For only 9.99 you can talk to me and find out what I have to say! Visit Bioware.com NOW!”

    • TuesdayExpress says:

      @fionny

      Almost exactly right, except instead of a generic NPC it’s a main quest NPC, and what he offers is the next level of skill training. I mean, we’re paying for the skill bump with gold in game, right? Must mean it’s worth it to us. Let’s back that ‘gold’ up with some real money! Get some real skin in the game!

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      @Fionny

      Ironically, this already happened in the first Dragon Age. Wardens keep, anyone?

    • Blackberries says:

      Pretty sure my jaw flew open the first time I encountered a dude in Dragon Age trying to sell my some DLC. I honestly couldn’t believe it.

    • veganzombie says:

      .

  2. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    Isn’t this the Project $10 DLC that has a voucher included with new purchases?

    • Wooly says:

      Yeah, it’s free if you buy DAII new… Just a tactic to prevent selling of used games (mostly a problem on consoles), which is something I’m fine with stopping. It’s pretty much the same thing as the Stone Prisoner (Shale) in Dragon Age Origins. Seems like a reasonable move to me.

    • Kaira- says:

      I don’t think it is. Shale on DA:O was like that and I think it was all good and nice, as she didn’t have important place in the plot and so on. But this I think is just plain bullshit.

      Unless you get a voucher for it, in which case it’s fine. But I remember this being a pre-order exclusive?

    • Spoon says:

      This is free if you preordered before that signature edition cutoff date, otherwise it costs monies. The project $10 DLC is that black market DLC thingy.

    • Wetworks says:

      No, the Exiled Prince DLC is only available in the Signature Edition. It was free to anyone who pre-ordered before Jan 11, anyone ordering after that is out of luck unless they pay $7.

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      shoptroll says:

      @Spoon:
      Oh right. I thought this was part of the black market (as was the case with Zaheed and Shale). Doesn’t matter to me, their decision to withhold pre-orders on Steam until after the Signature Edition promotion ended cemented my decision to wait until the Ultimate Edition arrives.

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      heretic says:

      once they realise enough people will wait for the ultimate edition they’ll be working hard on a new way to rip you off

  3. OpT1mUs says:

    So hey, look what I’ll torrent.

    • John Walker says:

      Wow, that reaction doesn’t follow on.

    • paintbox says:

      Usually I don’t support pirating, but I must agree with you when it comes to pirating DLC.

    • Jeff says:

      Piracy may not be a good response to this, but if pre-launch DLC really bothers you, not playing the game at all is certainly a valid response.

      Edit: Just to be clear, I’m not condemning piracy here, just stating what I would do personally.

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      shoptroll says:

      Or just wait 9 – 12 months and grab the goatee edition on a Steam sale :p

    • bob_d says:

      Unfortunately, game production is so expensive these days, and the audience size has stayed so static (or even shrunk) that the only way to turn a real profit on big-budget RPGs like this is through DLC sales. Also unfortunately, the way to maximize DLC sales is to release them within a few months of the game coming out.

      If being annoyed is a justification for downloading, then why not pirate the game, too?

    • Subject 706 says:

      @bod_d
      In that case, diluting your product, thereby pleasing no one, doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

    • Danarchist says:

      Actually revenue from gaming has grown, consistently, despite every other industry dropping like rocks. Pre-release DLC is only forgivable if they are using it as a way to encourage people not to pirate the game. In this particular case it will probably just be an hour or so sidequest with a character that’s easily ignored (personally im sticking with the dwarf that dresses like a pimp from sweden).
      This is a money grab, but since its not that big a loss if I dont get it I do not feel that frantic about it. I agree with J.W. though, it feels like the game is finished, chopped up into pieces, and then sold to me piecemeal. If i didn’t love Biowares games I might just write them off like McSoft.

      As a guy in the software industry I know what it’s like to have to fight the marketing department though, so I do not blame the developers. Marketing guys tend to just be overpaid car salesmen.

    • Hallgrim says:

      So hey, look what I won’t be buying.

      This is just hostile to their customers. Slicing their game up and down into little pieces. Pretty soon you will randomly get one of Campaign 1-4 when you buy the game. Buy it multiple times to get all the Campaigns!

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      heretic says:

      like cereal box toys, but what if only get batches of campaign 4, nooooooo…. must ask mommy to buy again

    • Valvarexart says:

      Pirating a game because of DLC creates a bad circle. Piracy=bad sales=more DLC=more piracy=Bioware makes less money=Bioware make crap mainsteam games. Well, it’s true. Really. It’s already happened.

    • Marshall Stele says:

      The best way to say “Fuck you” to these guys is to say “Your actions suck so much that I’m not even going to bother pirating it.”

    • CalleX says:

      True, why not?

      Im against the idea of paying for something thats ready to go when the product goes out to retail. It should be in with the final product.

    • bob_d says:

      @Danarchist: Er, no, it actually hasn’t, but it during the growth periods it wasn’t keeping pace with the rise of game development budgets. Also, revenue does not equal game sales. PC gaming revenue has increased recently due to things like DLC, virtual items and subscription fees, not because they’re selling more games or because they’re charging more for the games. (In other words, this is the sort of crap that’s keeping the industry going.)

    • anduin1 says:

      @bob

      even though productions costs have gone up, gaming in general is generating more profit as well, far more than any other entertainment medium out there, so you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t buy into the bullshit mentality that these devs are starving and thus we need to pay for overpriced/withheld DLC.

    • bob_d says:

      @CalleX: But the game no doubt was finished when they started working on the DLC. Work on a game stops months before it’s released, at which point the developers get to work on DLC packs. Since DLC doesn’t take long to make and the testing can be done more quickly, you end up having it ready about the same time the game ends up on sale, or shortly thereafter. It may feel like they’re holding things back, but they aren’t.

    • Kdansky says:

      Actually not buying DLC makes a lot of sense: If they sell three million copies of DA2, and then seven copies of the DLC, it’s not worth while. For Bioware, there is no difference between pirating it and just not buying it. Possibly piracy is a huge “fuck you” sign, which they can interpret as they want.

      Looks like I’ll either buy it as goatee edition or not at all. Which is really not a good move on the publisher’s part, as goatee editions are usually at sale price. If I can wait 9 months for goatee, I can wait 12 months for sale goatee.

    • Azradesh says:

      I think OpT1mUs is saying he’ll pirate the DLC.

    • cliffski says:

      Some gamers attitudes are just silly.

      Products with more content are on sale for higher prices than products with less content. If your brain cannot cope with this, then you will have a very angry life.

      Right now, thousands of developers are crammed into lectures at GDC on how to make money from facebook games and subscription MMOS. They already think that making games that people can pirate is a waste of time. Anyone who wants singleplayer games to continue, and casually threatens to pirate everything is just hastening the wholesale shift to facebook and MMO-only gaming.
      Fuck that.

      And at least have the balls to admit you are going to pirate a game regardless. Pretending it’s justified because of factor X is just silly.

    • bob_d says:

      @anduin1: “even though productions costs have gone up, gaming in general is generating more profit as well, far more than any other entertainment medium out there”
      No, it really isn’t. You’re confusing revenue with profit. Not to mention that when we’ve seen growth, it has been the creation of new types of gaming (e.g. Facebook, iPhone), not increased revenues for established markets, so that growth is completely irrelevant and doesn’t benefit a game like Dragon Age. AAA game development costs have gone from a million to 20 to 50 million dollars in a little over a decade. The retail price of the game didn’t increase and we’re seeing top selling games sell about the same number of copies – the sales numbers haven’t even doubled, much less grown 20 to 50 times, so obviously the profit has shrunk, and in many cases, even for top-selling games, disappeared. (That’s not “bullshit.”) Developers may not be starving but I know from personal experience that companies have been shutting down at alarming rates, far more than in previous decades.

    • paintbox says:

      @cliffski: We are talking about pirating DLCs, not the game itself. Buy the game, pirate the DLC. Repeat until the industry stops chopping games and selling pieces separately.

    • battles_atlas says:

      What matters here is perception. There is no hard line between the ‘game’ development ending and the ‘dlc’ starting; contrary to what bob_d suggests, its not like the team sits down and says “oh look, we’ve got 8 weeks until release and nothing to do as the game has gone gold, lets knock together some extra content to sell separately”. This dlc will have been planned from the get go as an element of the game development, no doubt with time and resources budgeted accordingly.

      In my limited experience of dlc (ie the stone guy from DA1) its pretty clear that what you get is not integral to the story in a way that suggests it was cut off from the original vision. If it was it’s selling as dlc would be totally indefensible, but instead its just second-rate content that is entirely superflous – hence why I’ve never bothered buying any. That doesn’t change the perception however. Which is that it looks, to paying customers, like they are getting fucked over when they buy a product for which add-ons are being advertised before the game itself has even been shipped. As a result this approach, for me, is no less stupidly self-defeating than draconian DRM is.

      Trust is everything in a world where the customer choses to pay for the game or not.

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      If someone decides to pirate your product because they don’t think they’re getting a fair deal, it’s the same as someone simply not using your product because they don’t think they’re getting a fair deal excepting one important benefit – The Rights of Man affect.

      Personally i see it almost the same way from both a consumer perspective and a developer perspective.

      from a consumer perspective i see it very simply, as a case of, Price vs. Estimated Product Improvement.

      -if the DLC improves the game at all and is within a personally acceptable price bracket i will pay for & consume it.
      -if the DLC improves the game at all and is not within a personally acceptable price bracket i will not pay for it & consume it.
      -if the DLC seems to make the game worse i.e. 99% of DLC in the last 5 years, i will ignore it completely.

      I reconcile this position as a developer because if you have pre release dlc available, you’ve either deliberately made the shipping game worse (but if the price reflects that then you’re actually granting your consumers choice) or you’ve decided to charge people for a bolt on product that allows people to unknowingly destroy the experience you strived to create, i see the first case as a parallel of the first 2 cases above & the second case as a parallel with the third.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      “And at least have the balls to admit you are going to pirate a game regardless.”

      With all due respect, of which there is much, this is plain wrong. I have Dragon Age collector’s edition, DA: Awakening and Mass Effect 2 collector’s edition on my shelf. I pirate games on regular basis but I give money to people who make games I actually like. Even if pricing in the gaming industry is fucking ridiculous and on top of that I live in a country where the average salary is 350 euros. Purchasing a game I believe in ranks high enough on my list of priorities for me to stash away what for me is a very significant sum of money.

      Which is why crap like this is the equivalent of company I believed in spitting me right in the fucking eyeball. The first Dragon Age was not dissimilar, with DLCs piling up fast, but it was never on this level of being outright rude. Maybe I like the game and I end up deciding to buy it anyway. Who knows. But at this point in time, I will pirate it on the basis of general principle. If non-MMO market needs to stoop to this level in order to survive, then I say we let it die. This is bullshit.

    • athropos says:

      Bioware lost all the moral high ground it had regarding piracy when it perpetuates business practices such as this, with this overload of DLC even before the bloody game comes out. I also will not be buying this at full price. I want the full experience for my money, not this shit.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      To those defending developers and saying they don’t strip it from the game etc… Didn’t Bioshock 2 come with some DLC already on the disk and you basically spent $10 to activate it? I remember there being some big controversy.

      I used to pirate a lot. I don’t anymore. Not like I made a moral or ethical decision. (For example even in my mad piracy days I refused to pirate indie stuff. Long before “indie developer” was even a common term.) It basically came down to it not being worth it as most games are crap anyway and such a big download for something which will most likely suck anyway. And even if it does work there’s a high probability of technical issues, some possibly even show stoppers etc…

      Now we get to the DLC, and that has just stopped me buying PC games. I’m an obsessive completist. My spending on PC gaming is actually LESS now than it used to be when I pirated. Whenever a new title is announced now for the PC, unlike before where I used to say “I must buy that release day!” I think “I must wait for the DLC and expansion to be bundled and then wait for that edition to go on sale!” Or in the case of games like Football Manager, which I’ve played for 20 years now. (Going back to CM on the Amiga.) I wait for it to go on sale.

      In fact I cannot remember the last time I bought a mainstream full price game.

      Way to go, game publishers… You made me STOP pirating AND buy less of your product. I would say I can’t wait to see how you shoot yourself in the other foot, but you’ve blown both off already.

    • Robert says:

      DUDE WHAT? NO FLASH ON THE IPAD? Guess I’ll steal it then…

    • bob_d says:

      @ paintbox: What you’re failing to understand is that income from the DLC pays for the game.

    • Danarchist says:

      In response to the “revenue versus profit” I was referring to net profit. The games industry has been consistently profitable, and has outstripped every other entertainment medium here in the states. Even Hollywood is starting to get defensive about it. Sure some developers have closed, in any industry you have your booms and your busts. Some companies spend too much damn money buying “buzz” advertising before their game is even in a pre-alpha state. That is straight silly. Then again others get a good idea, build what looks to be an awesome product, and some guy named “Chip” from marketing has just a few tweaks…..then you roll back 2 months of work and crater when you run out of capital.

      End result though is it’s our fault. If we hadn’t rushed out and bought every tiny morsel of DLC we could for our beloved games hoping to draw out the pleasure just a couple more hours we would not be seeing this so commonly in the market. Pirate all you want, they have seen the results from this and it is here to stay. For every one of us that refuses to purchase (or pirates) dlc theres 2 dozen kids who’s parents will happily shell out six bucks to shut them up for a couple more hours.

    • bob_d says:

      @battles_atlas: I didn’t mean to suggest it wasn’t planned out; of course it is. I simply was pointing out that even if developers work on DLC after they’ve finished their work on the game, the two could be released simultaneously (even though there would be no way for the DLC content to make it into the game itself in time for the given release date).
      It’s also quite possible that the DLC was being worked on simultaneously with the game itself, and so what if it was? Are gamers feeling so entitled that they think that if they buy a game from a company, they deserve all the products a company was working on at the time? Do gamers feel that all games they buy should have free content continuously added to it, regardless of what the quality and quantity of content was in that initial purchase?

    • 12kill4 says:

      Corporations dont need your apologist nonsense bob_d, they dont give a flying focaccia and neither do most of the people here. What they should give a crap about is the good ole modicum ‘the customer is always right’ (having worked in customer service for the last 4 years I can tell you that this is technically bullshit but vitally still important in the long term if you want to survive). There is a consistant backlash due to the way day 1 dlc is being presented, and regardless of what the nebulous statistics you keep referencing say regarding profitability, this is not a good path to take. It makes the developers seem petty, greedy and just generally destroys customer’s brand loyalty and potentially makes the customer feel like they are being exploited. E.g. Activision will have you believe that 5 maps for a CoD game is worth $AU20 and then eliminate all methods of community self-service (modding, map making, server hosting) which could possibly challenge its dominance. This kind of behaviour does not justify pirating, but it can go some way to explain why it occurs.
      You may say that many people still happily buy DLC, and sure, you’re probably right. However the borderline people, the ones who seriously need to calculate the rate of return of their investment due to such things as a lack of disposable income, are going to become less and less inclined to purchase your products as you erode their confidence in your ability to deliver a quality product- and a significant factor of quality is textual integrity, something which DLC done wrong seriously hampers.
      DLC is not a bad thing in and of itself. But the way in which it is being implimented by many major developers/publishers is self-defeating. People like our very own Cliffski have proved that it can be done well, and I personally think that the key issues here are content depth, pricing and timing. Significant content packs (not necessarily in terms of sheer volume, but in terms of impact upon gameplay), with a relatively low barrier of entry (a pricing strategy which I think would work well with games as a whole- you kept on saying that the price of games hasnt increased relative to the budgets, but perhaps the issue is that the market hasnt expanded because the barrier to entry hasnt been lowered enough to include many of the new markets which are therefore dominated by piracy… but I digress), and at more significant intervals.

    • shaboinkin says:

      @Hallgrim

      So what you’re saying is that shareware is making a comeback?
      Hmm, history does repeat itself.

    • cliffski says:

      “Which is why crap like this is the equivalent of company I believed in spitting me right in the fucking eyeball”

      you need to get some perspective.
      Company makes pricing or game design decision you disagree with. News at 11.This is why so many developers do not listen to customers, do not talk to them, and do not let themselevs be contacted. This is the kind of attitude that makes developers lose all respect for gamers.

      I’m pretty sure if some angry internet men had their way, game developers would be punished harsher for their pricing decision than osama would be for 9/11.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @ bob_d
      “It’s also quite possible that the DLC was being worked on simultaneously with the game itself, and so what if it was? Are gamers feeling so entitled that they think that if they buy a game from a company, they deserve all the products a company was working on at the time? Do gamers feel that all games they buy should have free content continuously added to it, regardless of what the quality and quantity of content was in that initial purchase?” Answering your questions in order
      1) I addressed the ‘so what’ in the post you were replying to. The so what is that many customers (as this thread attests) are given the impression that they are being screwed over, and that is a dumb thing to do when the customer has the choice of paying for your product or not. In case you’re still confused, this is not a defence of piracy, this is an explanation of piracy, or simply not buying (which is what I’ll do).
      2) No, no one here has said that.
      3) No, no one here has said that.

      @ Cliffski
      I agree on keeping perspective, but the respect thing cuts both ways. Regardless of whether you think that zero-day dlc is good or not (and the fact that you’ve never done it suggests you dont think it is), clearly to a lot of people here it looks disrespectable to the customer. Hence right or wrong, its probably a bad move.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I am not advocating genocide in BioWare HQ, I’m just saying I won’t play ball with their bullshit. Or ballshit. Heh, I almost made a joke.

      It’s not my goal to be useful to game developers, specifically BioWare in this case. It might occasionally be, when something awesome’s going on, but not all the time and especially not now. They want me to give them my monies for their shinies. I’m saying no. If they stop asking for monies then I’d consider shinies to be a collective piece of awesome and we might have something to talk about. In no other circumstances will I feel obliged to be useful.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I am not advocating genocide in BioWare HQ, I’m just saying I won’t play ball with their bullshit. Or ballshit. Heh, I almost made a joke.

      It’s not my goal to be useful to game developers, specifically BioWare in this case. It might occasionally be, when something awesome’s going on, but not all the time and especially not now. They want me to give them my monies for their shinies. I’m saying no. If they stop asking for monies then I’d consider shinies to be a collective piece of awesome and we might have something to talk about. In no other circumstances will I feel obliged to be useful.

      (also, had to post this twice… the comments system hates me)

    • Gothnak says:

      1. Company develops game….
      2. Company finishes game which then goes into submission meaning CORE game cannot have any more work done on it or it needs to be resubmitted, a long and expensive process.
      3. Company still has 2-3 months before the game comes out.
      4. Company uses the now idle developers to make DLC
      5. DLC is finished in 2-3 months
      6. DLC goes into submission, as the CORE game has passed, DLC submission is MUCH faster.
      7. Game is released, DLC is announced before, on day 1 or just after
      8. Consumers go APE SHIT saying that the content was cut from the game
      9. Company sighs.

      What would you rather the company did at point 4? if they carry on developing, then they need to make money, the other option is to fire all the people that developed the game and not to make DLC, but if Activision do that, you slag them off anyway (rightly so imo). DLC is a way companies cover the downtime between projects for all content creators, and if successful it makes a bit more money. You are NOT forced to buy it.

      And breathe….

    • Kaira- says:

      @Gothnak
      How about this?
      4) Start a new project (expansion pack perhaps, or maybe a whole other project on other IP, or both if you are that big) and, if required, put some employees to fix some bugs that might be in the final product, as to provide day 1 patches
      5) And everyone was pretty content, customers trust the developer and developer receives money, albeit maybe not as much as and as soon as with DLC

    • bonjovi says:

      I think this is a part of bigger issue about IP and Copyrights.

      Lawyers and law makers are yet to come up with a moral and sufficient resolution to the issue.

      In the age when you can copy years of work by huge developer, publishers are relying completely on mercy of their customers. How do I make them pay for it instead?

      the best way is to make it very hard for the consumer to copy your efforts, but not by artificial DRM that can be cracked.
      I can try to make bread myself, but it’s just not worth the time. I can play WOW on pirate servers, but the content is rubbish.
      The above still will happen if you price your content wrong. If the wow subscription was £100 a month or if bread would cost £20.

      So logical conclusion is: games are too expensive, compared to the moral dilemma of pirating.

      In eastern European countries new AAA game costs (compared to the average income) equivalent of £100 and few years back it used to cost £250

      when it was £250 how many games do you think I paid for?
      when a price dropped to £100 I could afford a few a year.

      The copyrights and IP rights are an obstacle to achieving best prices out there. If law is protecting merchants it is always hurting consumers.

    • Archonsod says:

      “3. Company still has 2-3 months before the game comes out.”

      Yup. In fact if it’s a multi-platform release you’re sat waiting for Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo to put it through their Q&A process and certify it, which can take anything from a week to a couple of months depending on how busy they are.

      Take a look at Dungeon Defenders for example. PC copy has been ready to go for months, but Microsoft still haven’t certified it for the Xbox release.

    • triple omega says:

      Cliffski:
      “Right now, thousands of developers are crammed into lectures at GDC on how to make money from facebook games and subscription MMOS. They already think that making games that people can pirate is a waste of time. Anyone who wants singleplayer games to continue, and casually threatens to pirate everything is just hastening the wholesale shift to facebook and MMO-only gaming.”

      Every time an established AAA company goes to facebook-town and MMO-town they’ll leave their stuff behind. Then some indies roll into town and pickup where the AAA left off, only their way. And apparently they have no trouble with what the AAA guys had at all.

      Maybe that’s because they have an actual connection with their customers and don’t bother them with draconian DRM. Or maybe it’s because they don’t fear innovation and low price ranges. Maybe that is why people pay them money even if they don’t have to.

      I say let them all go to their facebook and MMO towns. If they really think that is the only way for them, then they’ve already lost all connection to their market anyway. Let them make room for people who work from the customer’s point of view instead of their own, who don’t say “This is what you’ll get, deal with it.”.

      If they don’t see that:
      1) DRM achieves nothing but the creation of a bad experience.
      2) They can make money off of piracy (other people are doing it right now). They just need to actually research it, instead of condemn it based on nothing.
      3) Selling high to few people is not always better then selling low to many.
      4) A good connection to their customers is extremely valuable.
      5) No innovation is stagnancy, and stagnancy is death when the market changes.

      , then why bother? Let them go to their overcrowded MMO and facebook towns and wish them good luck.

    • bob_d says:

      @12kill4: “Apologist nonsense” Come now, sir, seriously? I’m simply pointing out what the economic model that supports big budget RPGs like Dragon Age and wondering what the fundamental attitude is that causes people to justify “pirating” the DLC based on no other information than the release date. This isn’t about over-priced, underwhelming DLC – the game and the DLC aren’t released, so we can make no judgements about that yet; I can understand why people might have felt that certain previous games’ DLC weren’t worth buying in the past. I’d have to agree with them. I’m in no way advocating for that revenue model, either. The reality is that game+DLC sales is one of the few proven revenue models that still allows a game like this to be profitable, which I personally find unfortunate. As a game designer I dislike the DLC model, and as a game player, I frankly don’t buy DLC unless it’s bundled with the game as part of a sale. But this isn’t about economic decisions, either – I decided that I wasn’t willing to pay $50 for Dragon Age, so I have yet to purchase it; at worst I’m disappointed by their pricing decisions. The thing is, people are getting angry about this. Actually angry. That indicates there are certain expectations that aren’t being met. I suspect those expectations have been cultivated by the game industry that now finds it can’t fulfill them as the cost/revenue balance has so unfavorably changed, but it also appears to me that people have unrealistic expectations that have created feelings of entitlement that wouldn’t hold true with any other sort of product. (E.g. if an author released a novella connected to a novel they had just published, I don’t think we’d see angry readers demanding to know why that content wasn’t included free with the book.)

      @battles_atlas:
      I know people are feeling “ripped off,” but that’s not so much an answer but a further question – why are people feeling “ripped off”? As I said, this thread is a response to the declaration that someone was going to “pirate” the DLC for no other reason than the release date, so I’d say there’s quite a bit of justification of “piracy” going on here. That indicates there’s a feeling that players are somehow entitled to that content. Why?
      Obviously no one has said (2) or (3), which is why they were questions. I’ve seen plenty of statements by gamers in the past that seem to indicate that they essentially think that at least one of those is the case. Here, however, no one has stated the actual reason why they feel “ripped off” – are these the fundamental attitudes that make people feel that way?

    • mishona says:

      @hallgrim

      So DA3 will be done like Starcraft 2? For Starcraft 2 you will literally have to buy it multiple times to get the full campaign.

    • _nderscore says:

      I just read everything said up to this post on this comment. I, too, feel like I am correct, and you should at least attempt to see it my way.

      DLC like this should be completely free. DLC like this is acceptable for $0-3 USD. Possibly even 5.
      If I were ever the CEO, or head pubah, whatever it’s called – I would lead the company into the ground almost immediately. I wouldn’t dare sell any game for above $20, regardless of how much time I (or others) have put into it. Providing that I can pay for everybody, I don’t git two shits and half a toot about making such a large profit. [Insert Flemeth Quote]

      I want every single person reading this to play every little 1 and 0 of Dragon Age: 2’s DLC’s. It kind of worries me it will cost so much, though.

      Anyway, make these free, go bankrupt, make babies, rinse repeat. Please? Or, at least feel tickled at my childish stance on this subject. I’d rather not be taken seriously.

  4. Kaira- says:

    Aren’t you guys a little slow, this DLC has been known for I-don’t-know-how-long. A month or longer?

  5. <]:^D says:

    Just horrific treatment of potential customers.

  6. Squirrelfanatic says:

    “No, what happened to my wallet is murder.”

  7. Serenegoose says:

    No. What happened to my ACCENT was murder. He sounds like the sort of Scot that only works for BBC Scotland and otherwise doesn’t exist.

    Beyond that, John, you have a really sharp wit and way of pointing out just how absurd the whole ‘selling videogames to people’ business has become. I just hope that it isn’t cancelling out some of the optimism I’ve heard you espouse. It’d be a shame if you lost either attribute.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m still optimistic, me!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Serenegoose

      I totally would stump up for this DLC if the character had been voiced by Rab Florence and swore a lot.

    • dancingcrab says:

      It’s Alec Newman! He was originally a stage actor from Glasgow, but is now known for starring in the 2000 Dune series. He’s legit.

    • Serenegoose says:

      He might be legitimately Scottish, but it’s a stage Scottish accent. I’ve never heard anybody actually speak like that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      Optimism… That’s the thing that makes it easier for people to fuck you over, right?

      Anyway, +1 for goatee edition in a sale.

    • Danarchist says:

      I have, my Da’ was Scott and his best friend of many years sounded exactly like that. He lived in Ireland for a big chunk of his life and I think it had that effect on him. Plus he’s not using modern “Gutter Gaelic” slang which throws it off allot

    • Ravenholme says:

      @ Serengoose

      Well, I’m scottish (live up near the city of Aberdeen), and I hear rather a lot of accents that sound like that.

      That’s actually one of the few gaming examples of a “Scottish” accent that doesn’t make me cringe (Soap in Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t bad either)

    • woodsey says:

      He’s Scottish? O.o

      Sounded Welsh to me.

    • Ravenholme says:

      @ Woodsey

      Well, they’re both Gaelic derived accents

      It can be quite hard to tell apart Highlands scottish from Welsh (Which could be why my eldest sister is doing well as a doctor down in Wales)

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      It’s a Posh Glasgow Accent, He’s fae Bears Den Prolly.

    • Serenegoose says:

      Eh, I’ve spent most of my life in Glasgow and generally around scotland. I suppose I never much came up to Aberdeen (no reason to) so I guess it is, but I never heard anybody from Bearsden talk like that. Still sounds like BBC Scottish Accent to me, very enunciated and slow. If I’m wrong, then no harm done, I suppose.

      Unlike that woman who acted Leliana from the last game, she definitely wasn’t French, eh? Eh?

      …Parisian?

      Bugger.

  8. Longrat says:

    To all the people from the Mojang thread getting pissed at me for whatever reason:

    THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.

  9. MiniTrue says:

    “This is murder”.
    “No…this is SPARTA!”
    “No, this is extortion”
    “No. Within one week.”
    “Six months (after launch)?”
    “No. Within one week.”
    “This DLC is desperate. Your turn.”
    “Desperate.”
    “Desperate.”
    “Desperate.”
    “DESPERATE!”

  10. Persus-9 says:

    My response is to whistle and pretend that these games haven’t really come out until I’m sure they’ve stopped making the game and release a nice low price bundle edition with all the DLC. Games don’t go off if left on the shelf for a few months. If the publishers want to screw people who buy games at release then I’ll just be over here playing something else until they decide to play nice.

    • Kid_A says:

      This.
      If you’re really that angry and determined to stick it to the man, don’t pirate the sodding thing – wait until the ultimate edition with all the DLC pops up in a Steam sale a year from now for a fiver.

    • mechabuddha says:

      I’ve sworn to do the same. My game store asked if I wanted to pre-order anything, and I got an incredulous look when I told him I wait at least a year after a game comes out before buying it. I’ve gotten screwed over too many times by a few specific developers (I’m looking at you, Bethesda and BioWare.)

    • kulik says:

      I agree. Specially if the game doesn’t contain multiplayer.

    • Cael says:

      I’d have no problem doing this except there is no edition of ME1 or 2 with all the DLC included on steam so I doubt there will be one for this game either.

    • LintMan says:

      I missed the stupid cutoff date for the edition that includes the release-time DLC, and damned if I pay extra for it. But I don’t want to be wondering the whole time if I’m really missing out by not having it, so I’ll be waiting for the bundle release also.

      Even if the bundle doesn’t have all the DLC in it, it’ll probably have most of it and still cost less than I’d be paying now. It’s really a shame, but I can wait.

    • JohnH says:

      I agree.
      They’ve gone to far this time around with all the preorder DLC/Bonus items rubbish. I understood the Shale/Zaheed deal that was there to lessen the value of used game trading. But this is just so much more this time around. If you didn’t preorder DA2 half a year ago ( exaggerating here I know) then you’re a second-rate customer and don’t deserve all the shinys. *sigh*

    • Ateius says:

      This is the stance I take, and why I haven’t actually bought an AAA game on release day in over a year.

  11. Jim Reaper says:

    Meh. The only DLC I ever bought was “Lair of the Shadow Broker”. Most of the time I just ignore it as a great deal of it is uninteresting and not worth the effort or the money…

    • Icarus says:

      Lair of the Shadow Broker is pretty much the only DLC worth paying for ME2-wise. That said, Kasumi: Stolen Memory is a decent enough mission with an interesting ‘heist’ scenario and a reasonably engaging character attached to it.

    • JohnH says:

      Kasumi is a great character in ME2 so I’d recommend the DLC just for that hehe. But yes, tons of “useless” DLCs for ME2. Yay I can buy a new gun. Why the heck aren’t there more than 2 guns in the original game then eh? If they continue this trend then you’ll have to buy a DLC just to get a weapon at all in ME3!

  12. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    I hope that in the future we’ll have DLC-sized chunks of game before an actual game is released. That way maybe people will finally be disabused of the notion that, you know, whether you buy the game or not, really has little to do with DLC development (IIRC, DLC was first marketed as a more frequent and cheaper alternative to expansion packs, but might be off), and start demanding another name to better reflect the factor of greed.

    • Huw_Dawson says:

      Like Dead Rising 2: Case Zero?

      TBH if you’re bothered about it, buy the game and then get a pirated copy that has the DLC wrapped in… Whee.

      I wonder if there’ll be characters in DA2 who try and sell you the DLC this time around? I remember a PA strip on that when DAO came out.

  13. Spooty says:

    I’ll still buy it all :) Bioware am de best!

    • Kaira- says:

      I… what. Is this some sort of meta-trolling, or have I just been too long on the internet?

    • Spooty says:

      Nope, just an honest fan.
      I already bought the signature edition for £25 which includes this and will buy the rest of the DLC additions when they come out.
      I’ve invested 3 full play throughs of Origins and two of Awakening and all DLC. To me, the time spent doing that in a single-player game justifies the cost.

  14. Vitruality says:

    All told, I consider the first Dragon Age to have had, in it’s DLC-less form, ample content to be value for money. If this has a similar amount of content in its ‘vanilla’ incarnation then likewise it is probably still worth what they’re charging. Also, it looks like this is going to actually be a freebie that you get for buying the game first-hand. So, I can see where you’re coming from here but I think in this case Bioware aren’t really doing anything to get upset about. Except for that guy’s accent. Was that even supposed to be scottish? I genuinely can’t tell. I think I might buy this one second-hand just so I *don’t* get this DLC…

  15. Creeping Death says:

    Hmm I don’t think I want a stuck up prince with a dodgy scottish accent spouting his rubbish in my party anyway. Thanks for saving me EA!

    I will however be curious to see what they charge in GBP for it however. It should be just over £4 at the current rate… but something tells me someone will just be changing the symbol from $ to £

  16. Antsy says:

    More DLC please! I won’t be touching Dragon Age 2 till the bumper GOTY edition comes out, someday.

  17. ScubaMonster says:

    Didn’t they basically do the same thing with the first one though? This shouldn’t be surprising.

  18. Vinraith says:

    Launch DLC serves as a helpful reminder not to buy the game until the complete edition comes out. Thanks Bioware!

    • Heliocentric says:

      Indeed, its the warning shot which blows off their own foot.

  19. mkultra says:

    “Because we can.”

  20. CapeMonkey says:

    I’m grumpy about this because I was perfectly happy to pre-order – evidenced by my doing that a couple of weeks ago – but an arbitrary cutoff date for pre-order bonuses seems absurd to me, particularly one so far in advance of the game’s release. It would be kinda nice if there was some sort of backlash. Sadly, given how likely I am to be getting this, I can hardly reasonably expect others to be less weak than me in sufficient quantities to prevent this sort of thing in the future.

  21. Robin says:

    Another wave!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Och no, mare o’ them!

    • Nick says:

      I’d like to see a parody of the ‘storytelling’ aspect where literally everything has a massive pair of tits. Dragon, darkspawn, male hawke.. the lot.

  22. Joe Maley says:

    Waiting until they release the ‘ultimate edition’

  23. Beardface says:

    Silly reaction from RPS, tbh. Look at Mass Effect 2. Did it have lots of DLC, and very soon after launch? Sure. But would you say the game itself wasn’t worth the asking price?

    If the game proper has the amount of content we’re used to, what’s the problem? Get the DLC if you want more of it, don’t if you’re satisfied with what’s already there. Passing on excellent games because you don’t like the marketing strategy is pants-on-head retarded.

    • MiniTrue says:

      Excellent games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2?

    • Beardface says:

      Yep, those excellent games.

    • Meneth says:

      “Passing on excellent games because you don’t like the marketing strategy is pants-on-head retarded.”
      It’s called principles.
      I wasn’t going do buy Dragon Age 2 anyways, though, as I didn’t like the first game.

    • Beardface says:

      We’re talking about video games here. Principles? Really?

      I’d try the demo if I were you. It is more fun than DA1, which was lacking in parts.

    • CrazyBaldhead says:

      “But would you say the game itself wasn’t worth the asking price?”

      That’s exactly what I’d say. Oh wait. I just said it.

      You’ll have to excuse me good sir, but I personally don’t like paying full-price for half-products and that’s exactly what vanilla Mass Effect 2 was.

    • Meneth says:

      @Beardface: Yes, I’ve got some principles about what companies/actions I’ll support with my money.
      There’s so many good games on the market, I could have way stricter principles than I currently have, and still have more than enough games to play.
      But, as I also said: I never had any plans to buy DA2, as I didn’t like the first game.

    • Beardface says:

      Vanilla ME2 has easily 40h+ of content in it. With most singleplayer games clocking in at *maybe* 10h… Yeah, I can see how you’d think that was half-assed.

      @Meneth

      Just seems pointless to me. Not buying very good DLC because there’s another DLC available that you don’t have to buy. Not sure what kinda principle is that.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Beardface
      “Vanilla ME2 has easily 40h+ of content in it. With most singleplayer games clocking in at *maybe* 10h… Yeah, I can see how you’d think that was half-assed.”

      Yes, let’s start comparing a lite-RPG with manshooters. How about if we compare grand-strategy games with ME2, now ME2’s 40h+ looks quite little compared to 200h+

      Before you accuse me of just being a hater, I am yet to play ME2.

    • Nick says:

      Sorry, I take my time and do literally everything in RPGs, ME2 does not easily have 40 hours of content at all.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Well that’s the problem with this content. If it were just an extra mission or something, your argument works. But if you’re only going to play the game once, then you have to decide before you start. Do you want this character in it or not?

    • Jimbo says:

      For me it’s not an issue of value for money at all, it’s an issue of why is there a(t least one) character who is so disconnected from the rest of the game that he can be removed wholesale without leaving a scratch on the rest of the game? At some point they are consciously designing their game as a series of independent modules precisely so that it can facilitate these sorts of decisions. They are no longer setting out to build the best game they can; they are setting out to build the game that best fits their business model.

      ME2 was built in a similar modular way, in that you could take out (or drop in) many of the individual party members and it wouldn’t impact anything beyond their own content. It worked out alright there because they committed to that structure -basically a series of independent short stories, like a season of Star Trek or something- and the character vignettes themselves were great, but the overarching storyline suffered as a result.

    • Meneth says:

      @I almost never buy DLC, since I seldom see the point.
      I’m not buying DA2 primarily because of these two reasons:
      1. I didn’t like the first game.
      2. I don’t want to support the practice of selling stuff that could’ve easily been in the original game, as DLC.
      “Just seems pointless to me. Not buying very good DLC because there’s another DLC available that you don’t have to buy. Not sure what kinda principle is that.”
      Since I next to never buy DLC, and never mentioned anything about not buying “very good DLC”, I don’t really have any idea what you’re talking about.

    • bob_d says:

      @Jimbo: “they are setting out to build the game that best fits their business model.”
      Well, yes, because if they don’t, they won’t be in business very long. (Good design has to take the business model into account, otherwise you risk making games that can’t pay for themselves.)
      Simply selling boxed copies of games (or their digital download equivalent) simply doesn’t cut it anymore, given the increasing development and marketing costs and the static number of sales.

    • Beardface says:

      Took me 34h to finish ME2 the first time round and I didn’t explore all of the galaxy and missed out on a couple side quests. That’s before the DLC came out.

      For an RPG, 30 – 40h of content is plenty. DLC will probably add another 10. And come on, do you REALLY think all those DLC goodies would be in the game if not released separately? Much more likely they wouldn’t exist at all.

    • CrazyBaldhead says:

      @Beardface: “Took me 34h to finish ME2 the first time round”

      I apologise, I didn’t know I was addressing an one-armed gamer.

    • Jimbo says:

      “Simply selling boxed copies of games (or their digital download equivalent) simply doesn’t cut it anymore, given the increasing development and marketing costs and the static number of sales.”

      Nonsense. Dragon Age (and Dragon Age 2 unless something goes terribly wrong) will comfortably turn a profit without needing to rely on nickel & dime DLC tactics. I would argue that these may even be harming profiits anyway, because it’s confusing for customers, leaves a bad taste in the mouth for others and is potentially holding back the quality of the game itself. The Rockstars and Bethesdas don’t need to pull this shit on day one with their big titles, and that’s the kind of company Bioware ought to be keeping. Maybe they would be in that league if they didn’t keep cheapening their products.

      If companies are struggling with the current status quo (and I’m sure plenty are) then I think it’s far preferable that they raise game prices rather than compromise the quality of the games and then nickel and dime everybody to death. In real terms, game prices (as in brand new ‘full price’ games) must be way down on where they were a decade ago.

    • bob_d says:

      @ Jimbo: The thing is, not all games make money. It’s always been like this, but back in the days of lower development costs, a hit game could comfortably cover the loss of several utter flops. No longer. Dev costs are now so high that some top-selling games don’t even turn a profit. Even if the games do turn a profit, that profit needs to be enough to fund the development of subsequent games. I’m sure you’re right and Dragon Age did quite well without the DLC, but in order to even remotely approach the kind of profits that have traditionally sustained the game industry, they need the DLC revenue. (This may be a broken economic model, but the alternative is to raise funds for each new game separately, which means only making games that have no appearance of risk whatsoever – i.e. only established properties, sequels to hit games, etc. This would also mean the end of AAA game companies.) Unfortunately the way to maximize DLC profits is to release them within the first few months of sales. In this case they felt they could maximize sales by offering it upfront. It may not feel nice (even for the developers), but unfortunately this is the new face of AAA single-player gaming. Selling the game for more doesn’t really work very well – sales on $50 games are down these days, cannibalized by Facebook and iPhone games that cost very little upfront but in the long run may extract more money from people – that upfront price is a huge barrier.

  24. vodkarn says:

    I have a thousand reservations about DLC, particularly biowares (I still refuse to get ME2’s, just to protest the ‘three outfits for some characters, only one of which is any good!’ type of DLC), but one thing I want to make sure people know is that it is extremely rare for a game to come out with DLC that could have been in the game. It does happen, but no-where I’ve worked nor with anyone I’ve worked with.

    It’s counter intuitive, but if you understand console development it makes more sense:

    to sum: Game goes to Alpha -> Beta -> then Certification. ‘Cert’ means that Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft sign off on the game. No new content can be added after this point, and it’s often 4-5 months before the game is released that this is done.

    The Cert for DLC is much less stringent, because they know the game works, that the engine does ‘x’ things, etc. So this process is much faster. Because of that, DLC can indeed come out the same day as the product itself, but would not have made it into the game in time.

    It is totally understandable that it is not viewed that way, and believe me, those of us in the industry working on these games do complain about how bad day 1 DLC looks.

    • Beardface says:

      You’re missing out on Lair of the Shadow Broker (which I maintain is better than almost anything in the “core” ME2) because there is a different, completely separate DLC with costumes in it? How does that work?

    • Premium User Badge

      sonofsanta says:

      I was all excited as I scrolled down the thread that no-one had said this but then it turns out you beat me to it by like, 8 minutes. /sob

      So in lieu of looking all smart and clever and waffling on about code going gold months before release, I will instead point out that this infact makes this something else to blame on the shiny console toys.

    • vodkarn says:

      Yes, but as I said it’s a principle thing – no-one at EA is going to notice that people are buying ‘x’ DLC more than another, but they WILL notice swaths of accounts not buying any at all.

    • Beardface says:

      I’m pretty sure they do keep very close tabs on what DLC sells and what doesn’t. It’s their investment, after all. Not that the outfit DLCs selling well hurt anybody – it’s such a tiny addition, it hardly takes away focus from more story based DLC or ME3.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Well that’s the point. Either the character was written in to the game to start with, in which case the story will suffer without him, or he wasn’t, in which case he’ll be badly integrated and a waste of money.

  25. juandemarco says:

    Imagine a future in which we’re given the basic game engine, but we have to pay for every bit and piece of the game with real money.
    :: YOU FOUND THE MIGHTY SWORD OF GREAT DESTRUCTION +10 !! ::
    Do you want to spend 10$ to purchase? If you don’t, you can always finish the game with your currently equipped weapon, “Wooden stick of Eternal Shame”. (YES) (NO)

    • Fwiffo says:

      Some “free-to-play” MMOs are already like this. One I am aware of made you fork out a quid to protect your weapon from being destroyed each time you *tried* to upgrade, with the chance of success being in the region of 0.01% at the higher levels. Some people had items that had cost hundreds to thousands of pounds to make.

    • obvioustroll says:

      I pirated The Mighty Sword Of Great Destruction, it was just the Wooden Stick with a different skin.

  26. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    they don’t even try anymore :(

  27. Mr_Hands says:

    Hey, so, normally this kind of thing would bug the pants off me. And really, the direction Dragon Age II is going in isn’t inspiring stupendous confidence, but here’s a thing.

    I just finished my first playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins. I got it the month it came out.

    Granted, I took my sweet fucking time about it, talked to all the people ever and all that. If I was given a quest and I could complete it, I did it. If there was a companion, I recruited them. (Yes, my save game forked when I got the secret companion.) What’s truly horrifying is that after 100+ hours, I was at 88% completion.

    Now, I did wind up with Shale, so take a few hours off for her side quests/dialogue trees, just to put it into a comparable perspective. I still haven’t taken a poke at any of the other origin stories. I did pick up the expansion pack, too. Depending on my mood, I might even bother with all the DLC. But THE CORE FUCKING GAME lasted several orders of magnitude longer than my time with any of the comparably-priced CoD games. (Factor in around 8 hours for the campaign and then maybe 15-20 hours with the multiplayer until I lose interest.)

    I can’t comment on the length of gameplay for Dragon Age II, but given Bioware’s track record with their for-real RPGs, I’d say the value remains whether they shave a chunk off the game or not. Not dismissing Mr. Walker’s complaints, but it’s not like they’re tearing a few hours out of an 8 hour campaign. If you’re a nutbar completionist, you’ll do all the quests and get more than your money’s worth out of the game. If you’re not so concerned about fully exploring the world and seeing all there is to see, it’s unlikely you’ll miss an extra companion quest. Again, I’m not saying I condone this behavior, and it feels like it’s gotten worse rather than better on Bioware’s part, but before we haul the Dragon Age DLC into the town square and lynch it, I just wanted to give it some perspective.

    Plus, at this point, there’s been enough DA DLC put through that we know what to expect in terms of quality. For some people who are way into the lore and living in that world as long as humanly possible, the value will be there. For others, it probably won’t, but none of it has ever felt unreasonably, tremendously vital, either.

    • Ragnar says:

      I really don’t understand what all the hate is about? So they’re releasing day 0 DLC, so what? If it’s DLC, you know that it will add something to the game, but it won’t be essential. DLC is rarely worth the price, in terms of gaming hours, compared to the original product, but if you want something extra, you have that option. If you pre-ordered the game early, as I did, you’d have it bundled in.

      If it’s an issue of price, don’t get it until the GOTY edition comes out. Hell, don’t buy any game new, and you’ll save 50-75%. Though I’ll argue that DA, which took me about 88 hours to finish without even completing everything thing, was one of the best gaming values I’ve seen.

      Is it an issue of principle? In which case, would you be happier if there was no option for DLC? After the game is finished, and submitted for bug testing and polish, the design team sits down and starts cranking out DLC. This DLC is obviously planned from the start, and equally obviously is not essential to the game. You are given the choice of buying it, not buying it, or just waiting for a bundle. If there was no DLC, you’d get the game as shipped, and you wouldn’t have that choice. Is that really better?

      People mention greed, and highlight the $60 price tag, but that’s the first price jump in how many years? DLC sells well, and is a way for the company to make more money off their product, while bypassing the costs and cuts associated with retail sales. I can’t begrudge them that. The cost of making games has outpaced the price those games are selling at, so I see DLC as a way to close that gap. Besides, is anyone honestly arguing value with a Bioware RPG? Mass Effect took me 45+ hours (though a few parts were boring), Mass Effect 2 took 40, and Dragon Age took 88. I don’t think a longer game is better, and some could stand to be shorter than they are (I’m looking at you, Zelda and Tactics Advance!), but I feel that with the recent Bioware games I’ve gotten my money’s worth and then some. Hell, with DA, I bought the DLC and never even played it. I just viewed it as a tip for a game well done.

  28. westyfield says:

    Oh yay, more DLC. Because we all know how easy to use and reliable Bioware’s DLC system is.

  29. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Well, if it’s free with new copies like Stone Prisoner was I can stomach it, if it’s just pre-orders like some people have said above, fuck that shit with a mouldy kipper and shame on Bioware, a thousand curses upon their heads.

  30. sakmidrai says:

    Its only on preorders.
    I really dont care anymore for this game and I liked DAO a lot.
    Human Revolution, Skyrim and of course The Witcher 2 are on my list.

  31. MiniTrue says:

    Vanilla ME2 was nothing better than a fisher price introduction into RPG gaming, with a puerile plot and puddle-deep gaming mechanics. If ME2 represents “progress”, then I shall stick with my Planescapes and Baldur’s Gates.

    • Beardface says:

      That seems to be the attitude amongst too many people. If Bioware listened to all the nay-sayers they’d just remake Baldur’s Gate II over and over again. It was a great game but come on, it’s been 13 years, time to move on.

      I swear, RPGs are the only genre where people seem to hate innovation.

    • MiniTrue says:

      If “innovation” means linear landscapes, a poorly conceived sci-fi world, repetetive third person shooter gameplay, precious few gameplay features one would normally associate with an RPG, and some of the least well developed characters (with big tits, naturally, because this is Bioware) of any RPG game, then frankly, you can keep it.
      Shadows of Amn was good thirteen years ago and it’s good today.

      Why does “innovation” always have to be tantamount to “regress”? let the shooter fans play their shooters, there is no place for third person cover combat in an RPG.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Beardface
      I’d prefer innovation if it would be
      a) less linear
      b) more of role-playing game than Sword-and-talk (or in case of ME, Gun-and-talk)
      c) would introduce something new to the genre instead of cutting stuff out

    • MiniTrue says:

      If I might be allowed to continue Kaira’s excellent list, I would say less objectification of females. It’s becoming a Bioware trademark now, and it really gets on my nerves.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, its a far cry from how the characters (and indeed romances) were written in, say BG2. I don’t get what happened, really.

    • Robert says:

      More choices, more freedom means every choice is less meaningful, can have less man-hours work in it.

      If it makes you feel better, you can call BiowareRPG’s “Cinematicgaming” and go play Oblivion and make your own story.

      PS: You actually think Aerie -or maybe Viconia would be the correct analogy- was better written then Morrigan?

    • bwion says:

      Baldur’s Gate 2? You mean the mostly-linear game where you were a specific person (with variants on that specific person possible) locked into a specific plot? That Baldur’s Gate 2?

      Planescape: Torment? You mean the mostly-linear game where you were a specific person (with even fewer variants on that specific person possible) locked into a specific plot? That Planescape: Torment? (Not that this one was even Bioware, but it was cited, so whatever.)

      Both excellent games (both certainly better than Mass Effect 2 and I *liked* Mass Effect 2), but let’s not make the glasses *too* rose-tinted.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Robert & Bwion
      Of course more choices and more freedom mean spreading your resources thinner. It’s all about balancing, not to have too many choices but enough to hold the illusion of choice.

      Now, even though I said more linear, I have nothing against a premade character. I have something against it, that I can’t really role-play him or her. PlaneScape was all about you defining yourself through your actions, and I support games like that. What I found bad about Mass Effect (and to some, albeit small, extent, in DA:O), was the lack of role-playing. Sure, you can select your background and your class, but that alone is not what makes a role-playing game a role-playing game.

    • bwion says:

      I don’t know. I did have my issues with Mass Effect 2 along these lines, but I felt there were a fair few opportunities to establish just who my version of Commander Shepard was. And I don’t mean just ‘girl or guy’ or ‘biotic pinball wizard vs other, lesser choices’, or even ‘paragon vs renegade’. Maybe I brought some of those shades of character into the game with me, but I think that’s kind of what you have to do with an RPG, any RPG. Or at least it’s what I have to do.

      Interestingly, I felt like there were fewer opportunities to differentiate my Dragon Age character aside from backgrounds. Though I didn’t really mind so much. Mind you, I really don’t see many fundamental differences, aside from the technology involved, between Dragon Age and the Baldur’s Gate games.

      In any event, I’m quite happy for Bioware to keep doing their thing, and for other developers to keep doing their various things. I’d be happier if more of those things were different,; more variety in the RPG world (and in the gaming world in general) can only ever be a good thing. But Bioware needn’t die so that Small Eastern European Development House Made Up Of Crazy Geniuses can live. There’s room enough for both.

    • Beardface says:

      I loved Baldur’s Gate and Planescape but come on, those games were not 1% less linear than DA or ME. In fact I’d say they were more linear than Mass Effect. Ease up on the rose-tinted glasses.

  32. Ravenger says:

    The answer is not to buy the game on launch, but get the GOTY version with all the DLC included later, for a much cheaper price.

  33. JensK74 says:

    Luckily my games backlog is huge. By the time I will come around to buying DA2 a GOTY/Gold/Whatever-Edition for about 10 EUR will certainly be available. By then most bugs will have been fixed and all the DLC will be included. Then I will be very happy. As opposed to now, where I am just confused, feeling excluded from vital, interesting content and generally upset about being asked to pay a very full price for what seems to be merely half a game.

    I am quite sure that is exactly what the marketing geniuses over at Bioware had in mind.

    • JensK74 says:

      For the concise version of my rant read what Ravenger said right above my post :)

  34. Stitched says:

    WItcher 2 is shipping what DLC? Oh right, it isn’t. I’m getting a complete game for my dollars. History also shows us that, wait long enough, and CD Projekt will actually make the game better. For FREE !

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I’m completely amazed by CD Projekt, and they continue to run circles around the rest of the gaming industry and spanking them, all while the other devs continue to sit with their thumbs up their ass.

      Not only did CD Projekt release Witcher 1 as their DEBUT, but they’re doing everything we see with the Witcher 2 (including an entirely new engine) with their SECOND game. And to top it off, they’re doing it all with class and courtesy to their consumer: No DLC manure, no idiotic DRM, fantastic retail bundles (at no extra charge, might I add).

      And now compare it to Dragon Age 2. So-called industry veterans, not only making a game that looks clearly inferior gameplay- and graphics-wise, but also doing all the usual bullcrap to consumers: $60 price tag on PC, Day 0 DLC, etc.

      This leads me to believe one of two things: either CD Projekt is a supernatural entity that can muster up the absolute best of the best of game development talent from around the world, or they’re pretty much the only ones left with any scruples, dignity, and willingness to put in effort. Something tells me it’s the latter.

    • Beardface says:

      FIrst of all, The Witcher was not CD Projekt’s first game. Second, it was very much an inferior game to Bioware titles and while I have high hopes for Witcher 2 so far there’s no proof than it’ll be better other than the devs’ promises. Face it, Bioware still are kings of the RPG land – and a good thing, because without them there’d pretty much be *no* RPG genre today.

    • Inarborat says:

      Haha, The Witcher’s plot and choices > Bioware’s usual “save the world” in a good way or jerk way formula that they’ve been repeating game after game.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Beardface
      First thing: The Witcher was actually first game of CD Projekt RED STUDIO. CD Projekt is a video game publisher, and doesn’t develop games.

      Second, which is opinions versus opinions, I have to disagree. The Witcher wiped the floor with Dragon Age, not to speak about NeverWinter Nights (though I feel that comparison to an older game quite unfair) or Mass Effect. If there are few things that I would like BioWare to improve, they would be atmosphere on the game, and plots. Especially plots. Side-quests manage sometimes to be quite nice, but the major plots are about as cliché as you can get. Dragon Age was especially bad at this, killing all interest I had about saving Ferelden.

      And then there are the choices. BioWare doesn’t really grasp the meaning of “gray and gray morality” that was so much promoted. It goes by the lines “kill puppies” or “I will help you, do you want all my money while we’re at it”. And the choices don’t really carry much meaning nor consequences, which is a shame, because that would add replayability to infinity.

      BioWare may still be the king of RPGs, but I, as a consumer, hold something every developer desires – money. And that is the key to change. And I feel that you are giving BioWare too much credit. Maybe there wouldn’t be mainstream ‘traditional’ RPGs without BioWare today, but the genre being killed off if we lacked BioWare? Nonsense.

    • Archonsod says:

      The Witcher on the other hand had the choice of killing puppies or killing kittens. That’s not grey morality, it’s nihilism. Oh, and the titty cards just in case you forgot it was supposed to be a mature game (though that’s unfair, the writing did far more to make it feel like a petulant pre-pubescent teen’s idea of mature rather than an actual mature game).

      Choice is a non-issue. They follow the same format as Bioware – do whatever the hell you like for 75% of the game and then you get to make the only game-affecting choice of which ending you want to see for the last 25%. It’s probably more of a flaw in the format than anything else; Obsidian do the same thing with F:NV and Alpha Protocol, but they keep up the pretence of your choices making a difference by referencing them throughout the game and including small changes in the ending.

      Personally I’d go with Bioware solely on the game itself being more fun to play, but that’s largely down to the party mechanic making the combat interesting. In terms of actual story I’ve seen hardware manuals with more creative talent than either.

  35. Beardface says:

    I think the gaming community needs to decide if it wants more expensive games or DLC. With ever-rising development costs it has to be one or the other.

    • sakmidrai says:

      I think 50 or 60 euros for a new game is a very high price.
      The gamers dont want huge productions and amazing marketing behind a game.
      Developers should make games with imagination and innovation even if it takes them 3,4 years to complete them.
      But now the industry is the exast opposite of that. brown fps all over the place and bloody screens…

    • Zwebbie says:

      “With ever-rising development costs it has to be one or the other.”

      Without ever-rising development costs, though, we could have both cheap and complete games! For RPGs, 1997’s graphics are fine by me.

    • Kaira- says:

      “For RPGs, 1997′s graphics are fine by me.”
      This. Or if you want to be really graphical, I’m more than fine with PS2 levels of graphics. Especially in horror games, but yeah.

    • Stupoider says:

      I think I’ll choose neither!

      http://buy.thewitcher.com/preorder-premium-en

      Phwoar, and a map of the world. Lovely.

    • Kaira- says:

      Video game prices have actually reduced from the days of NES, when games costed brand new 40-60$, which, if we take inflation to account, would be now 70-100$.
      Calculation was done here http://www.westegg.com/inflation/

      Edit:\ And of course, on the other hand, the cost to develop have risen. But so have the audiences.

    • Beardface says:

      That’s a nice fantasy guys, but just that – fantasy. Gamers DO expect better graphics, animations, music etc etc as time goes by. Even if a small minority does not, the developers have to cater to the majority, and so are in perpetual arms race with each other. That’s why their costs rise while profits remain largely static.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Beardface

      Let’s not go into generalizations, shall we? Most of gamers would seem to do so, but not all. Eschalon-games were pretty damn good if you ask me.

      There is no need for developer’s to cater to majority always, as long as minorities are large enough to support the companies. Or why is it that Paradox is still alive, for example.

    • Deano2099 says:

      @beardface That seems like a totally reasonable point, until you discover that the big publishers spend at least as much on marketing as they do on the entire development budget,

  36. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    I bought the game at full price. And then just downloaded the cracked version with all DLC.

    But the only thing that’s happening here is that more and more people will just wait a year for the GOTY edition which will have all DLC and be half as cheap..

    • Beardface says:

      Nah, people just say that’s what they will do. A very, very tiny minority will actually follow up on the nerdrage. The fact is that if you like the look of the game you’ll buy it, you won’t wait a year for it to drop in price.

    • Archonsod says:

      I doubt it’ll make much difference to buyer behaviour to be honest. I mean GOTY editions have been out for years, and I don’t recall anyone saying they’d put off buying Morrowind for a year so they could pick up the GOTY with both expansions included. I don’t see why DLC would make much difference; we knew the big name games would inevitably get expansions back in 1998, but they still sold more at launch.

  37. rocketman71 says:

    DLC is silly. Except Valve’s.

  38. Hunam says:

    To play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, this DLC is free with the Bioware Signature edition, so it’s basically pre-order content that is also for sale at launch for those who did not pre-order during the arbitrary dates EA told you to give them your money.

  39. rei says:

    When you shoot a piece of paper with an arrow this isn’t what happens. What happens is that the arrow goes right through and the paper remains in the lady’s hand, likely ripped in half upwards from the point of impact.

    I can’t help noticing Hollywood physics, sorry.

  40. kublakhan says:

    It’s market segmentation at work. Bioware is offering slightly different products at different prices. The upside is that non-completionists can play the cheapest, vanilla version.

  41. Prospero424 says:

    I love Bioware games, but the practical effect of them having moved to this DLC-centric model has been that I no longer buy their games anywhere near initial release or at full price. I wait until the game gets released in a package that I consider reasonable.

    I’m just now playing Dragon Age: Origins for the first time, and it’s absolutely fantastic. But it’s as good as it is because I waited until they were done squashing bugs and done soaking their best customers and released all of the content in a single package in the “Ultimate” edition. This for $25 USD on Steam is one the best purchases I’ve ever made.

    And you know what? I’ll do the exact same thing with Dragon Age II. EA/Bioware have made it clear that they expect you to shell out upwards of $150 in order to play the entirety of the games they produce, and that’s simply not a price point I can afford or that I would ever consider paying even if I could afford it.

    I made the mistake of purchasing the Mass Effect 2 “Digital Deluxe” edition on launch thinking that this would get me everything they intended me to experience with the game, only to see that the only way I could access some of the better heavy weapons in a game with relatively few heavy weapons (which were Gamestop preorder exclusives) was to download and play the pirated version even though I had paid $65 for the “deluxe” version! And then came the DLC. Sigh… I still haven’t gone back to ME2 because I keep waiting for the DLC to be discounted, an nothing from Bioware on this front, yet.

    So again: next time I’m waiting for the “ultimate” or “GOTY” or whatever edition that actually includes all significant content. And I’m doing this because EA/Bioware have TRAINED me to not buy their products right away at full price. Literally.

  42. jti says:

    The funny thing here is, those who pirate the game probably get all the parts too. Why would I want to buy the game before all those half-arsed DLCs are in the packet? If and that is IF, the game turns out to be anything worth while, I’ll be buying this when the version with all the crap comes out. Do they really think people like this kind of marketing? It spells G-R-E-E-D everywhere on it.

  43. Pijama says:

    What the hell? Sixty bucks and this? Come on Bioware…

  44. Buttless Boy says:

    So the only way to make a profit on a big budget release is to come up with this kind of up-yours customer screwage, is that what I’m hearing? Gosh, in that case, maybe they should just decrease the stupidly high budgets until they stop being assholes.

  45. Tetragrammaton says:

    Ouch. Bioware continue to make me sad.

  46. Deano2099 says:

    Everyone seems to be missing John’s point. This is a story-based game. Is this new character part of the story or not?

    It’d be different if it were just an extra side-quest, an unrelated side-story as a nice little bonus / premium content.

    But it’s a character. Is this character as developed as the others? Does taking him along change the story? For better or for worse?

    If you make games so very focused on story then you really can’t do stuff like this. Or you shouldn’t be able to if you give a damn about storytelling. Experiment: find an author. Ask him/her to add or remove a major character from his/her latest book without affecting the storyline. It can’t be done without a near-full re-write to ensure the story is still a cohesive whole.

    Shale in DA1 was an important part of the story, and at least you got her in every new copy. Sure, the game played without her, but then you don’t learn about golums until later on, and the whole Deep Roads storyline conclusion loses a fair amount of emotional kick.

    Zaeed, on the other hand, was utterly pointless and had nothing to say 99% of the time.

    • Inarborat says:

      Don’t you talk bad about Zaeed. He did have things to say if you took him on missions. There were even Zaeed specific dialogues with the mercs in the mission to find Garrus.
      I’d much prefer the Shale method for this character in DA2 and have them swap out that silly store and whatever else comes with new copies.

  47. jonfitt says:

    Wow just listening to all the possible combinations, pre-order bonus DLC, resale killing DLC, actual DLC, just makes me want to wait until the inevitable Ultimate Edition.

    I agree with John that the customer ends up feeling abused and milked with all of this DLC. But I also can see the point of view that surely it is a publishers right to determine that X content is worth £35/$50, and additional content is worth more. They aren’t obliged to say that everything they can physically produce before release date is worth £35/$50.

    Now while that is their right, as I said before the customer ends up feeling abused which is also a valid feeling. It’s up to each party to determine if it is worth it to them.

    • Prospero424 says:

      Oh, I agree that they have a right to charge whatever they want. If Bioware wants to make a $120 game, they should. And if the game provides enough quality content to justify that price, great!

      What I’m not okay with is them deciding to make a $120 game, then splitting it up into pieces that inevitably wind up less coherent than the creative talent behind the game intended simply because EA came up with it as a marketing trick to basically fool a certain subset of customers into paying more than they intended to.

      These games are HEAVILY narrative-based, which makes cinema metaphors more apt than they’d usually be for video games. How would you feel if you went to see the next Batman movie only to find that your full ticket price just got you “the important parts” of the movie, with the rest left out at the discretion of marketers rather than the director? You see only half the movie, then as the credits roll you get ads for “see the rest of the movie here! Only $12 more gets you almost all of it!”

      Trends like this aren’t good for customer, they’re not good for the industry, and they’re not even good for Bioware in the long run. It’s a fine line they’re treading.

    • Archonsod says:

      Erm wut? Content is cut from movies all the time, and usually released later in special editions, directors cuts et al. I’ve yet to see any baawing from movie buffs regarding them getting ripped off because they paid to go see a flick at the cinema and now there’s a special edition coming out on DVD with additional footage included. If anything they’d have even more cause for complaint since generally you can’t just go out and pay a little extra for the footage you didn’t get the first time, you’re expected to go out and buy the entire movie again.

      Of course, most movie fans don’t think that paying eight quid for a cinema ticket mystically confers the role of director onto themselves.

    • Jimbo says:

      Right, but they typically cut film with the intention of making the release version as good / tight as it can possibly be. They don’t write in Han Solo with the intention of withholding him from the audience unless they cough up some more cash.

    • bob_d says:

      @Jimbo: I wouldn’t count on it. Given that costume changes and even characters have been introduced to certain films for no other reason than the subsequent toy sales, it seems likely that someone is adding content for the express purpose of cutting it for everything but the “special edition.”* But everyone expects a film to be no more than 1.5-2 hours long. There is no natural limit on how long we expect a game to be, however, so any loss of content is seen as outrageous.

      *Edit: and I just thought of one – the Watchmen film’s “Tales of the Black Freighter” sequences. I’m sure there are plenty of other, less obvious examples.

  48. Cael says:

    Doesn’t help that most of Bioware’s DLC is about as good as Oblivion’s Horse Armor.

  49. Tuor says:

    John Walker wrote:

    ‘When additional content came out a few months after the release it at least gave the impression that the developers had just kept on making the game after it was finished out of sheer momentum..’

    The impression? Is this like “plausible deniability” where everyone knows the truth but no one speaks it? Sort of like wallowing in self-deception?

    I’ve *never* liked DLC: it felt like a scam from the beginning. And sure enough, things having gone just the way I warned way back when this sort of stuff made the leap from consoles to PC games. They don’t even pretend now, because we showed we were willing to accept their deception when we all knew this was solely about dev (and publisher) greed.

    I refuse to buy DLC. I never have and I never will. I’ll buy real add-ons/expansions, but not DLC. I’m not paying full price for an incomplete game, and then spending more to get “the rest” of the content. How long are people willing to be strung along? How long until they start releasing games in parts, where the main plotline is diced up and sold in chunks? Where will people draw the line?

    I’ve already drawn my line: no DLC. Put it in the game upon release or make a proper expansion/sequel. I’m not going to be an enabler of corporate greed and duplicity.

  50. Premium User Badge

    jsbenjamin says:

    This is precisely why my game-buying habits have changed over recent years. Now I almost never buy a game until it’s a year or more old – because that’s when you’re offered the “complete” version of the game for the same price as the initial release. I guess I vote with my wallet by not giving them my money until they complete their game!