Itemised Billing: Dragon Age 2 Item DLC Out

By Quintin Smith on April 28th, 2011 at 11:36 am.

It was the last time any dragon would agree to play Stuck In The Mud with a hero.

Bioware have released the first post-launch piece of downloadable content for Dragon Age II, Item Pack #1. For some £2.50 a pop, several “unique” items relating to each of the game’s three classes (Warrior, Rogue and Mage) could be yours! That’s the Warrior gear you can see up there. On the plus side, it reminds me of Morrowind’s Ordinators, who were top-quality fascists to a man. On the down side, I’m not sure I can imagine a less interesting bit of bonus content, and the “#1″ unsettles me. If you haven’t yet read John’s studious analysis of what he think Went Wrong with Dragon Age II, it’s definitely worth a read.

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57 Comments »

  1. Janek says:

    “I’m not sure I can imagine a less interesting bit of bonus content”

    Horse armour.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Heh. I just remembered that Horse Armour didn’t make your horse any tougher. Classic!

    • DSDan says:

      But where are the hats! We want the hats!

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      No but it bloody well made my horse disappear… **shakes fist at Bethesda**

      I love(d? Not sure yet…) Bioware, but they really are rapidly sinking in my estimations. Certainly makes me even more wary about S:TOR, I mean if they’re selling armour packs in their SP games, imagine how far they’re guna go when it’s an MMO.

    • Icarus says:

      @Quinns, I thought it doubled your horse’s HP or something. Maybe I misremembered.

    • Nick says:

      It did make your horse less likely to die, to be fair.

  2. Mephisto says:

    Looks a bit guff.

    Coming Soon:

    Transformers DLC for DA2!

    Amaze Kirkwall with your Autobot and Decipticon looks and abilites!

  3. Songbearer says:

    Dammit, beaten to the Horse Armour punch. I thought DLC like this died out a long time ago.

    • Premium User Badge

      borso says:

      The exact opposite, it flourishes. Bethesda reported even they were suprised by how many people bought their renowned horse armor.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      Well, no, it’s still a thing.

      Mass Effect 2 had a bunch of gear and appearance packs, and Dragon Age: Origins had the ‘Feast day’ rubbish. Obviously such things are being bought enough to make them a lucrative use of Bioware’s time…

  4. magnus says:

    And people are going to use this as an excuse to torrent it too, as if they needed one, idiots!

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Damn these torrenters, damn them!

    • yhalothar says:

      wasting bandwidth in this manner is really inexcusable.

    • Premium User Badge

      shoptroll says:

      I’m certainly using it as an excuse to continue holding out for a Steam sale on Dragon Age II: Ultimate Edition

    • Freud says:

      I don’t think an item pack is even desirable to pirates.

      How about a DLC that prevents the story from collapsing in a pile of binary dung the last hour of the game? That would be worth stealing.

    • MattM says:

      @shoptroll
      Indeed, I used to play Bioware games shortly after release, now it just seems more prudent to wait. DA:O and ME2 both had DLCs that continued stories started in the main game. I don’t really enjoy booting up a game months later for one bit of DLC, but it would have been nice to have had them as part of the main game. Furthermore, the price DLC seems to stay at a high price where as the ultimate editions will go on steam sale for 10% of the original cost after about 12-18 months.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Even pirates hate this game.

  5. thegooseking says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone making a positive comment about content like this. Clearly BioWare/EA are listening to people’s credit cards more than their words. It’s hard to criticise a business for offering to sell something they know will sell in order to make money (much as some people love to try), but it does raise an interesting question:-

    Who the hell is buying this stuff if everyone hates it so much? Is it a guilty pleasure? What?

    • Dowson says:

      People who don’t read gaming news to voice non-outraged opinions I imagine

    • darthmajor says:

      Your lips say nonono but your credit card says yesyesyes

  6. RaytraceRat says:

    DLC with more story – yea, I can consider it.
    DLC with items that just add some fancy numbers on your char sheet – no thanks
    Its irrelevant anyway, bought DA2 in pre order – it was a disappointment…

  7. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Bioware really are working hard to justify the sentiment of this video:

  8. CMaster says:

    Mass Effect 2 had a whole range of this stuff “Firepower pack” etc.
    Not sure who really feels a need for it, but some obviously do. Remember MS’s dream of people guilt tripping their friends into buying better weapons for multiplayer too. I’m sure we’ll see more of this, but it does no real harm as it is.

  9. Matt says:

    EA is all about the crappy DLC, so it’s not surprising to see it crop up in Dragon Age II. Still, I wonder how long it took the artists to make.

  10. Lewie Procter says:

    Unique items for everyone? That’s going to get expensive surely. How can their art team pump them out fast enough?

    • Hematite says:

      The bitter words of a man who’s read too many marketing materials. Can’t you see what you’re doing to yourself, Procter?

  11. Naseer says:

    I am quite worried about Biowares business integrity nowadays.

    I believe it all started with Pinnacle Station for Mass Effect.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      I believe it all started with BioWare being bought by EA. :(

    • bwion says:

      I believe it all started with the concept of money being exchanged for goods and services.

    • briktal says:

      It started when they a) realized people love paying money for stuff like this and b) had an easy way to let them do so.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      realized people love paying money for stuff like this

      But but…who? Besides obsessive collectors/completists?

      I can understand paying for new dungeons and little stories and most of the stuff they did with DA:O. A mini-expansion for a low price is something I may or may not buy, but the appeal is obvious. More gameplay.

      But items? In a game that’s not even online so you can show them off to your friends? I demand to know who actually likes paying for this crap.

      Gimme more stuff like Leliana’s Song. Make ‘em about twice as long, and you could have a great little cottage industry of Dragon Age episodes with just a couple developers, level designers, and the voice actors.

    • Wizardry says:

      It started with Knights of the Old Republic when they chose to become a console developer shitting out streamlined titles. BioWare have hardly changed since then.

    • RP says:

      I agree. Save us Casey Hudon-obi, you’re our only hope!

    • JohnH says:

      I agree with Vexing Vision. Bioware have been corrupted by EA.

    • Sif says:

      Something’s wrong with their “business integrity”? By releasing optional items you don’t need to buy to enjoy or finish the game?

      I really don’t understand the head-shaking/health-threatening rage over game companies offering optional content that has zero impact on the story. It’s not some moral rot settling in, it’s there for people who like it and it won’t affect those who don’t. (I couldn’t believe the fuss over the Portal 2 store just a few weeks ago – I barely even remembered the button to get to the shop was THERE)

  12. Shadowcat says:

    By god that’s a confusing screenshot. I was convinced that the face on the shoulder armour was the character’s head, and so it looked a bit like a garden gnome in battle armour (and with only half a body) appearing out of nowhere to execute a blind left-handed stab into a dragon’s head, which all struck me as rather unlikely.

  13. bleeters says:

    You missed the best part, whereby one of the armour sets is just a re-used Origins one.

    Sigh, etc.

  14. GenBanks says:

    What I want is DLC to add variety to the environments. The recycling of mission areas room for room completely ruins immersion for me :/

    Kill a bunch of apostates go back to city. Get another mission to kill dragons on the other side of the city and the layout and decor is completely identical… fuuuuu

  15. Duffin says:

    Fucking hell Bioware, sort it out love.

  16. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    It broke a million in sales. Then again, so did Homefront.

    http://www.industrygamers.com/news/mass-effect-2-becomes-free-for-dragon-age-ii-purchasers/

  17. YourMessageHere says:

    Speaking as someone who’s only just bought Mass Effect 2 and thus been surprised that, after ME 1′s 728,003 different guns and sets of armour, there’s now only about a dozen guns and a dozen bits of interchangeable armour, I’m someone who might consider paying for some more. However:

    1) not if I have to buy “Bioware points” or what the hell ever – I want a clear price in my local currency, thanks, and not have to buy more than twice what I want to use, giving me a surplus I can’t use for anything;

    2) not for the amount you want for what you’re offering – I’d give you a quid, maybe, for a new gun pack with one of each weapon class in; but you’re offering a pack of 3 guns, two of which I can’t use;

    3) not of the sort you’re hocking. The guns from the gun pack all appear to be gamebreaking overpowered things, rather than what I’d call actual variety. Armour, too – I’d like some more armour component options, but not full suits I can’t even repaint, or items with ridiculous stat boosts on them. I want to play the game, not break it; and

    4) not if the stuff in your paid DLC is anything like what I’ve seen of the free stuff – that hovering pseudotank is rubbish, and if I’d paid for it, I’d be kicking myself.

    • Commisar says:

      uh looks like we got a “if it isn’t turn based, it a CRPG” person here. Come on ME2 gets lots of free content, plus the lessened amount of guns streamlines the experience. As foe Bioware points, you can generally buy the exact amount you need.

  18. bleeters says:

    My impression of DA2 sales thus far has been of immediate commercial success, followed by week after week of plunging catastrophe.

    It was showing up at ~50% off within a month. Make of that what you will.

  19. Jimbo says:

    Thin ice here, Bioware. It’s hard to justify this when so many people felt unsatisfied by all of the recycled content in the game itself. Two Worlds 2′s equipment and world make DA2 look like a joke.

    The Old Republic’s going to be full of this nickel and dime bullshit isn’t it?

  20. edit says:

    Unique items should be found in the game world, not a bloody real-world store. An RPG worth its salt will have more items than any one player is likely to see. Oh well. I didn’t buy DA2 and from what I can tell I made the right choice. I’ll pick up ME3 to finish the series (I might even have lost interest there if I couldn’t plug in my old saves and resume with the same character) and no doubt it’ll be enjoyable and well crafted and whatnot, but my Bioware loyalty has certainly waned and I’ll be giving careful thought to future purchases rather than just picking up each of their new games like I used to.

    Someone needs to hurry up and give me millions of dollars so I can make that procedural, never-ending living-world RPG we would all so thoroughly enjoy. :p

  21. Burning Man says:

    Yanno, I could just add all these random powerups and stats with the console.

    Which brings me to remembering that they have still not released a mod toolkit for DA2. Why let people make their own armor and weapons for free when you can sell crappier versions?

    The Geralt armor and the Fox’s Chain are by far the best looking armors I have seen in DAO and they were both free mods.

    Hooray for more reasons to dislike Bioware.

    *cries in the corner*

    • bleeters says:

      Just to point out, adding new weaponry and armour isn’t something that necessarily requires an updated toolset to do, in DA2′s case. Something like new levels or dialogue (or fan made bug fixes) would, such is my understanding, but there’s weapons’n'such mods turning up already.

      I’ve seen a few happy modder types over this item pack, anyway. More armour meshes means more to work with.

  22. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    @Bleeters:

    So basically like every other AAA game?

    It doesn’t hurt that EA basically dropped the price in half by throwing in a free copy of Mass Effect 2 with every purchase until the end of the month. Just to celebrate 1 million sales, you know?

  23. bleeters says:

    I’m not sure I’d consider a ~50% price drop in the first month (from those retailers I checked with, anyway) to be standard procedure, really.

    I wasn’t doubting it sold well on release. In fact, I said just that. It’s floundered significantly since then though, such is my understanding.

  24. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    I was referring more to AAA sales usually dropping off significantly after the first week. 50% reduction within a month is highly unusual. Although Dead Space 2 dropped to $40 within a month or two on Steam.

  25. Birdman Tribe Leader says:

    This DLC is dumb, of course, and it reflects poorly on Bioware, but is this sort of thing really so terrible? This probably took them, what, 3 man-hours to put together? And it’s not like you’re missing out on anything if you don’t buy it. I’m all for developers selling ridiculous stuff like this to fools if it means they have more money to spend on future games and/or means they can sell things cheaper to me.

    And those are, of course, probably not the case here. But as a general business model, especially for smaller developers with a narrower profit margin, I’m happy for companies to make a quick buck on cosmetic DLC, collector’s editions with little statuettes and cloth maps, and other such trivial stuff, if it helps keep them afloat and making more games.

    • Sif says:

      I ragged on this above, but I don’t understand why people who don’t want cosmetic DLC care it’s there. Do they room with a supervillain forcing them to buy it at gunpoint or something?

  26. Branthog says:

    I don’t think I could imagine a less interesting money-grab than all of DA2. I won’t be downloading any of the DLC, unless they make it free. Actually, probably not even then. DA2 wasn’t the worst game, ever, but it was like getting a delicious seven course meal from a top notch chef one night and the same chef just serving you leftovers of the same meal the next night, but minus a few of the courses.

  27. Gormongous says:

    Personally, the most entertaining thing I see is how the Mage and Warrior sets are these laughably theatrical getups, and then the Rogue set is just a chainmail shirt and an ill-fitting sallet.

    That said, I found it incredibly irritating in the original game how each act had one armor set, and if you missed a piece (say, if you played sane and didn’t start a fight in a certain bar at a certain point), you were out of luck. In that light, it’s not so egregious, but the fact that it just appears in your deposit box at the appropriate point undermines that, as every Bioware DLC eventually undermines itself in some way.

  28. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    There are few things in the gaming world more depressing than seeing more of this type of dlc being released. This isn’t about good game design, it’s about knowing the weaknesses of your audience and exploiting it for all you’re worth.