Thought: Mass Effect’s Day One DLC Explained, Pondered

By John Walker on February 23rd, 2012 at 9:06 am.

Angry customer meets BioWare employee.

A cause of occasional, but rather fervent ire of recent times has been day one DLC. Why do people get pissed off? Because times were you’d buy a game, and get a game. Now, the perception is you buy a portion of the game, and are then asked to buy the rest in premium lumps over the next few months. And when one of those premium portions appears the same day as the game – well, it looks like the publishers are taking the piss. “Here’s most of our game! Now pay more to complete it.” So it is likely with these arguments in mind that BioWare are making it clear that Mass Effect’s day one DLC, From Ashes, was developed after the core game was completed. But does that change anything for the player?

When I’ve raised concerns about day one DLC in the past, I’ve received arguments from developers saying that it is in fact a move that helps to keep people employed. At the end of a long development, it can be hard to justify keeping the entire team at work without a game they’re currently making. By immediately starting people on DLC, it means they keep their jobs, and the owners/publishers don’t mind as there’s more money-making content coming out of them. Which is a compelling argument. But unfortunately one that requires the engagement of empathy for strangers in the face of extra demands on your wallet.

VG247 reports that ME3’s exec producer, Casey Hudson, was explaining this on Twitter last night.

“It takes about 3 months from ‘content complete’ to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs. In that time we work on DLC.”

Of course, those are restrictions imposed by consoles these days. PC development tends to go up to T-1, with day one patches rolling out to fix whatever didn’t make it into the retail copies. But with Microsoft and Sony’s draconian “certification” process, developers are forced to finish their games far ahead of release so they can be approved for appearing on the plastic boxes.

Hudson continues,

“DLC has fast cert and no mfg. [manufacturing], so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your 1st playthrough on day 1. On #ME3, content creators completed the game in January & moved onto the “From Ashes” DLC, free w/ the CE or you can buy seperately [sic].”

But here’s the thing: you’re still expected to pay for the extra DLC (unless you bought the Collector’s Edition) on the same day as you paid your £35/$60 for the game. That it wasn’t intended to be part of the game during the main development doesn’t really change that. (And let’s not be ridiculous – they knew what their first DLC was going to be when they were developing the game.) There’s still the sense for players that if they don’t fork out the extra cash, they’re missing out on the complete experience.

That may not be true, the game may be absolutely complete and satisfying without it, but that’s not how people’s brains work. Just knowing it’s there, that on launch day there’s a bit more of the game that you don’t have, is damned frustrating. It’s that psychological reaction that I think devs/pubs are not taking into account when their DLC appears day one. And I think the solution is simple – release it two weeks later. That’s at the point where most day one purchasers will have finished the game, and will actively want more. The stigma is gone, the employees were still needed, and there’s new content right when the customers want it.

There, I’ve fixed everything. I don’t require thanks, just money.

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217 Comments »

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  1. Prince says:

    Vote with your wallets, people!

    • Melliflue says:

      But are there enough people who are willing to miss out on the game to make a boycott effective?

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      Alternatively, if you think the game is worth the cash, pay the cash. That’s how money works. I’m paying £25 for the game, and I might pay the extra tenner for the prothean companion DLC. Definitely worth it.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s BS, but I don’t see any reason for a planned boycott. If people don’t think it’s worth it, they won’t buy it.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Protheans were Jamaicans!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK99_T61alc

      I guess I’ll just watch some YouTube vid of the Prothean’s mission playthrough and save myself $10.

      Or, now with EDI being a sexbot, Ashley’s makeover, a PSP-licking Snooky on my Normandy and Shepard being an utter idiot (“This isn’t about strategy! This is about survival!”), I might pass up on ME3 altogether and save $60.

    • PitfireX says:

      There is NEVER enough people for a boycott in this community…. sadly people eat up any trash the gaming industry shovels in front of them….not saying ME3 is trash… just saying that we cant have true artistic growth when we support filth.

    • Schadenfreude says:

      I completely blame myself for straying into the comments but I’ve managed to get myself ‘spoilerthsed’ and I am sad.

      First ME3 story I’ve even clicked on in the last two months.

      ::sadface::

    • weego says:

      If you don’t agree with it, it doesn’t matter how many other people feel the same way as long as you go with your conscience. All meaningful movements start with the actions of single people.

      The idea that you need a “meaningful boycott” to take a stand as an individual is really quite a sad state of affairs. Your voice doesn’t need to be heard to be important, regardless of how the ubiquity of the internet makes you think the world now works.

      Personally I cannot continue to support whichever part of EA + Bioware is responsible for their current approach to business even though ME1 and ME2 are my favourite games in the last decade and won’t be buying ME3 and certainly won’t be obtaining it via any means, though note that the DLC issue with ME3 is only a portion of my reasoning; I didn’t buy DA2 either.

    • NathanH says:

      The best approach to the boycott of a video game you want to play is clearly to buy it, but on every video game forum say you’re not going to buy it and that everyone else shouldn’t buy it. Maybe even send an email to the publisher telling them that their evil practices have lead you to refuse to purchase. Practically it’s the same as doing all of the above but actually being honest and avoiding the game, except you get to play the game too. You may wish to cackle to yourself while doing this.

    • Apples says:

      The problem with wallet-voting is always that you can’t know quite whether something is bad, and how bad it is and in what ways so you can properly criticise it, until you’ve played it. In which case you have to buy it*. And then it’s too late! What to do?

      * (except you don’t have to, of course, if you dont mind a bunch of internet commenters telling you how evil and wrong you are)

    • Williz says:

      I won’t miss out on this game, I will however pirate it. Day one DLC? Well fuck you.

    • Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

      The unfortunate side effect of this is going to be more piracy. Piracy leads to increased prices / more DLC and less game, which in turn leads to more piracy, rinse, cycle and repeat.

      This move will be seen by many as nothing more than a cynical cash-grab. The perceived greed of the “multi-billionaire corporations” plus the “they won’t miss my sale, they have so many more suckers”, plus the “I’m sticking it to the man” are the excuses pirates make when ripping off games like this.

      Yes, blame the studio for taking the wrong approach, but it is also games journalism reports like this one that help foster that attitude.

    • Apples says:

      So, hold on, what? Even in your explanation of it, a company makes a bad choice and loses its fans’ faith, which leads them to pirate from that company, which means that the company makes more poor decisions without addressing the actual cause (bad PR and loss of public faith). But in your view the pirates and those who ‘support them’ by criticising the company’s actions are to blame for this process? What are people supposed to do if they believe that the content should have been in the game in the first place for free, if not make that the case themselves and try to show that those sorts of decisions will not play, or criticise the fact that it was not? Impotently buy the DLC anyway? Ignore it and miss out because so many others will take the first option? What?

    • Maniacal says:

      @Crimsoneer: Then you should just spend ten pounds more and get the Collector’s Edition since it not only includes the DLC but also has several other items. There really is no point in paying an extra $10 (or pounds) on top of the $60 already just for the DLC when the CE is a much better value (except also a much more limited item, this late it is starting to get sold out if it is available locally or even in many countries).

      The digital version is a rip off though, digital artbook and lithographic prints are rather useless.

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      Crimsoneer says:

      Why? The original game is £25, the DLC will probably be around £6-7. So that’s less than £35 for the “full” game, whereas the Collector’s Edition is over £50. You ahve to look around to get it for £25 – I got mine on Bee.com back in November, but Asda are still stocking it for 26 I think? Check Savygamer.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’d consider it, but I don’t really pay more than £40 for my games, even fancy editions.

    • saturnine says:

      Or better still: buy the game, pirate the DLC. Everyone wins!

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      jezcentral says:

      @Crimsoneer I don’t know if it was just thoughtlessness on your part, or you are trying to run some guerilla campaign against the game, but it’s not on to blurt spoilers like that. I had no idea about what was in the campaign, and you go and do that. I’ve kept away game-event news because I want to play the game spoiler-free.

      Bad Crimsoneer, bad!

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      Crimsoneer says:

      What? What have I spolt?! If I have, sincere apologies, but no idea what you’re talking about…

    • InternetBatman says:

      @Arbodnangle

      I don’t take this view of piracy. Despite what a few loud forumites say, most of the pirates I’ve known are not ethical pirates. Most consume more games than they can buy. So it might lead to increased piracy just because people want to play the whole game but can’t afford it, but honestly if it’s a big enough game they’ll buy it anyways and its the smaller games they’re not sure about that they’ll pirate. Then, there are a few that will never pay for games, they would have pirated it either way but it won’t affect numbers much one way or another.

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      jezcentral says:

      *crimsoneer walks past jezcentral, hands in pockets, whistling innocently*

      God bless the Edit button, and crimsoneer, God bless you. :)

    • Juan Carlo says:

      This is why I pirate all Bioware DLC. I pay for the game, but never the DLC and I don’t feel guilty about it.

      I mean, Bioware still hasn’t released any sort of “complete” version of ME2 that has all the DLC and promotional items with it. YEt, in just an hour or so, you can download a pack from a torrent site and get everything (and I guarantee it will even be easier to install than doing from the Bioware store).

    • elnalter says:

      @Arbodnangle Scrulp your argument against piracy is that EA isn’t a multi-billion dollar corporation and that their greed is only a matter of perception?

    • Groove says:

      I can be quite happy with day one FREElc, to crack down on piracy (as happened with ME2) but paying for day 1 DLC is a dick move and no mistake.

    • Jenks says:

      I voted with my wallet by buying the CE. That’s what you meant, right?

    • sybrid says:

      My plan for voting with my wallet is to just not buy the game until all the DLC is out and it’s come down in price. If I get the game at $20 and all the DLC at $40 or whatever, then that’s about what I was willing to pay for a complete ME3 anyways, so problem solved. Probably not ideal for the publisher, but they’ve brought this on themselves. I’ve already got more games to play than I have time to play them, so it doesn’t really matter to me if I don’t play ME3 until this time next year or whatever.

      I am totally going to buy ME3 eventually though, don’t get me wrong.

    • Phantoon says:

      Pirate it? This game?

      Why would you do that to yourself?

      Joking aside (sort of anyways), I’ve no interest in a game with a DLC gun that’s upgraded with every piece of DLC you buy, including other games and Razor accessories, that can be used in multiplayer.

      Unless I completely missed it, it sounded a lot like pay to win.

    • ThTa says:

      Yes, by all means, vote with your wallets. Though don’t assume what you’re doing is inherently the right thing. EA and BioWare have the right to charge whatever the heck they want for their products; if you think those prices are too high for what you get in return, don’t buy it. It’s not boycotting, it’s consumer choice.

      As for me, I’d pre-ordered the CE a fair while ago (which seemed like a pretty great deal even without the DLC), so I’m not particularly bothered either way.

    • Stromko says:

      Boycott? No, it’s called waiting until there’s a Game of the Year / Complete / Ultimate whatever edition that includes the day 1 DLC. This will be the first time that there’s been an RPG that I’m really excited about, which I will absolutely not buy until a ‘complete’ edition at normal price comes out.

      FFS you know they’re going to charge us 60$ to begin with, they want an extra ~10$ on top of that? They’ve got enough marketing to sell plenty of copies and make massive profits, they’re just being extra greedy by sticking it and twisting it on us.

    • akelz7 says:

      I shall vote with my wallet: by buying a game with a focus on story and characters as opposed to the brown mess that is “Realistic Shooter” #86.

  2. TLGAthena says:

    No, and TotalBiscuit summed it up pretty well. The whole prothean team member element which is in effect a very significant part of the Mass Effect world ethos being made DLC on day one to anyone who didn’t fork out for the CE is quite frankly – balls. This was not an addon or some element that was not immediately going to impact the feeling of the game, this is DLC that will very definitely make it feel like *you are missing out* if you don’t have it.

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      RedViv says:

      And on the other hand, if it doesn’t leave an impact, it’s still a complete failure.
      There’s really no way they can make this look good. Unless they merge it with the inevitable used game prevention, like Zaeed in ME2.

      I also find it highly peculiar that this is supposedly made by another team after the game was finished, given how the announcement was pretty much leaked last year with the CE, and with the voice files found in the demo, on which work had been completed late last year.

    • discopig says:

      Bioware seem intent on convincing everyone that these DLCs are not an important part of the game that we’re missing out on; it’s just additional content they can create after the final game is complete. Thing is, the Prothean companion was in the scripts that leaked last year. It’s fairly obvious they’re just cutting out pieces of their game to make more money.

    • Asyne says:

      I prefer TB’s technical argument over his lore one: when you introduce a significantly game-changing element as optional, paid content, you will either be designing the non-optional content considering that optional content, or allowing the optional content to ignore game balance and pacing. DA1’s Shale and ME2’s Zaeed were exempt because it could be assumed that the vast majority of users would be getting them; it was more that you would not get them if you didn’t buy the game properly, rather than getting them for paying extra. But this Prothean character will either be an integral part of the game that has been removed to make more money, or added without concern for how it will affect the main game.

    • mouton says:

      DAO wasn’t missing much without Shale, really. It had little dialogue contribution and was boring with no armor customization and limited skills. When I play Bioware games nowadays, I tend to ignore all pay-for-overpowered-stuff DLC and I get a better experience.

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      alexheretic says:

      I always thought it was: Name yourself after a complete edible flour-based product OR Make serious industry commentary

    • qrter says:

      I thought Shale was the most interesting NPC in DAO, with the best dialogue. So yeah, it would’ve been a great pity to have missed it.

  3. Kdansky says:

    They just want part of the cake that CoD and MW started so successfully when they started selling 10$ above everyone else, and people kept buying. Then they started to charge for stuff that has always been free (new maps), and people kept buying. It’s just a way to hide that some games cost 70$ to 80$.

    Honestly? If you buy DLC, you’re a sucker. None of it* was ever any good, and all of it was priced to gut the whales.

    *Actually, Dungeons of Dredmor was worth it, because the DLC was what we old folks would call an “expansion”.

    • Schelome says:

      That is completely subjective.
      I very much enjoyed Lair of the Shadowbroker, and thought it was worth it.

    • Chibithor says:

      I did like my Defense Grid DLC, under 0,5€ per map. (Except You Monster, which was a bit over that, but included Glados) But! Other than that, those were my thoughts exactly. Too bad it’s EA/Activision and they can do whatever the hell they want to their customers and they’ll take it.

    • Lukasz says:

      All DLC = evil argument is bullshit.

      Kasumi DLC was pretty fucking good. worth the money.
      Fallout 3/NV were pretty good too from what i heard. NV better than 3 (and some of them were not everyone’s cup of tea but that does not change the quality)

      so there is nothing wrong with DLC concept. It is how it is implemented and how gullible people are which makes DLC good or bad.

    • Maktaka says:

      Add in Bordlerlands (maybe less Mad Moxxi) and Sins of a Solar Empire to the “good DLC” pile. DLC that is built with the intention of expanding the gameplay or providing new experiences *and maintaining the same value as the main game* is worth it. ME2’s DLC is consistently in the 2$/hour ranking, if not worse, while ME2 itself was $1/hour at launch, and now that it’s only $20 it’s much better than that.

    • Edradour says:

      Same for me, there may be people who actually enjoy dlc but ive ignored all of them so far…i dont want like 2 hours gameplay for 5 bucks i want single big game with enough content to keep me playing for atleast a week when i buy a rpg.
      I’ll play through it and wait for the next one, or ( as was the case with me1/2 and kotor ) maybe give it a second run like a year later when my memory of the story has faded a bit.
      I cannot see the appeal of tiny chunks of story in rpg dlc’s, an rpg for me has to be a memorable journey not a few hours of meaningless sidestory.

      Dlc in other genres? Sure but not in Rpg’s.

    • Dorque says:

      Most of the ME2 DLC was excellent (Firewalker notwithstanding) and added sufficient gameplay to be worth what it cost.

      I’ve not played any of them but I’ve heard good things about some of the DA DLC as well.

      Let’s try to forget the culture we live in for a moment and realize that “paying small amounts to have more development focused on things we like” is a good thing. If you don’t like a game, don’t pay for DLC. If you do, consider if it’s worth a bit of your money to get more of the thing you liked.

      Not ALL DLC is good. Not all DLC is bad. The trend toward developers making more content for games we like instead of publishing and abandoning is good, in the long run.

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    No one complained when addon packs were value for money, the real cause of the outrage is that the content is almost alway terrible and always always not worth the money they ask for it, the bulk of game development costs comes from building a base to work on, so addon packs should be cheaper per meaningful content segment than the original game, but they’re more expensive even when they aren’t terrible.

    • NathanH says:

      I think expansions were always overpriced relative to content. I seem to recall Tales of the Sword Coast costing me at least half of the price of Baldur’s Gate, but there certainly isn’t half the content. Actually Tales of the Sword Coast was DLC-perfect, just far too early. Improved Sarevok £1, Snow Island £1, Werewolf Island £3, Durlag’s Tower £5.

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      TheApologist says:

      @TheSombreroKid

      I agree. There probably is a psychological component to customer discontentment related to the timing of release, but the primary problem is that they release crap content that isn’t worth the money, but that *is* tied to the game setting or story in a way players are going to find important.

      And if they just produced a complete story, and then produced an fulsome add-on pack, how would that not employ the development team and lead to future sales?

    • emorium says:

      @NathanH

      i disagree. sure, there were plenty of developers that were overpricing dlc-style content but some developers like Blizzard were giving huge value for the money. a huge chunk content that also comes with a continuation of the main storyline and further refining of the core gameplay by adding new features and modifying the existing ones. i never thought any expansion that Blizzard made wasn’t worth my money. obviously there are more developers like that but this is the only one that i remember that stuck with this philosophy even 15-20 years later.

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      half life, quake, c&c and a million more games got full length campaign addons at maybe 80% of the content for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of the original game, i remember specifically paying £39 for c&c 1 & £15 for the addon pack.

    • Lemming says:

      @The Sombrero Kid:

      Yep and don’t forget Mysteries of the Sith for Jedi Knight and Balance of Power for X-wing vs TIE Fighter. Pretty sure they were £15 a pop as well and they were basically entire games compared to today’s output.

  5. NathanH says:

    I don’t really have any problem with Day 1 DLC even if it’s something they put in the game originally and then decided to take out, if the game is large enough to justify it, and if the game still works fine without it. The problem is that some games are bigger than others, but there are only really a few prices that you can start selling games at. If someone has made a big game, I don’t think it’s immoral for them to say “hey look, we made a big game so we deserve more money, you can have a bigger-than-normal game at normal price, or you can have the full game at a higher price.” It protects them from “wtf, that price is too high” if they try to sell the game at say £50, but also allows them to profit from making loads of stuff.

    Imagine if you released a game with the level of content of Baldur’s Gate 2 now. That game is worth way more than a standard AAA price. And there is plenty of stuff that isn’t really necessary for the game that could be chopped up into Day 1 DLCs. The sahaugin city, for example, is basically irrelevant. That could be DLC. Trademeet is mostly self-contained, so could be DLC (nobody plays druids, so losing the druid stronghold is irrelevant :P).

    I don’t really think that is the usual justification for Day 1 DLC, but it’s worth a thought.

  6. Lewie Procter says:

    To me it smacks of not having any respect for the game’s story that they are happy for an entire character to be either present or missing depending on how much money the players pay for the game.

    Edit: “not having any respect” is probably too strong, I guess “It shows a lack of respect” would have been more appropriate.

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      RedViv says:

      I agree. This is, at its core, a clash between the creative and the commercial level of game creation.

    • Thomas says:

      Yeah i think they completely missed the issue at hand, it’s not just about being done “Before the game was finished”.

      It’s about a potential gamechanger in terms of the story being released alongside the game for an extra fee. I would rather have had them explain the impact this has on the lore, because being a Bioware game you would be led to believe it has a huge impact on the game and character developement.

      If it doesn’t have that, the issue basically becomes you’re paying $10 for something totally useless, not to mention banking on the mystery and rarity of the Prothean race.

      Either way, it’s bad. Too bad i’m spineless and won’t dare cancel my preorder now since i got it at 25% off :(

    • Furtled says:

      The monetisation of the game through piecemeal DLC scattered across stores, books, toys etc., mandatory Origin installation, appalling customer service, and some considerable customer relations failures by EA of late are just coming to a head with this. DA2 had something similar if I remember right, but Sebastian wasn’t central to the game’s lore.

      Maybe BioWare just thought it’d be a cool bonus, but EA have such a major perception problem with their customers right now that few people are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

      I get why EA are doing it, because gamers on the whole are a predictable bunch no matter how much we might like to deny it, and EA are a publicly traded company with shareholders that expect profit; knowing that doesn’t make the fact they only seem to see their customers as walking wallets any better though.

    • Apples says:

      Agreed; for me it is not the EXISTENCE of Day 1 DLC that riles me, it’s the CONTENT of it. I wouldn’t care if it was an extra side-mission, or a pack of guns, even something that introduces an entirely new combat mechanic. But this is, like it or not (and even Bioware don’t like it apparently, given the no-choices mode), a narrative focused game. Cutting out characters changes the tone of the game. It removes perspectives that would influence your thoughts on moments of the plot. It changes the narrative.

      Because of the way the game is structured, their characters CAN be chopped and changed like that (whether this is to its benefit or detriment, or simply unavoidable, is arguable), but saying “ah, you can only have THIS character’s viewpoint for an extra ten bucks!” (where a character is usually, especially in sci-fi, a stand-in for a cultural or philosophical perspective on occurances) just feels wrong somehow. The player should have their choice in who to listen to and that choice should not be monetarily influenced.

    • yutt says:

      Ha, interesting point. Imagine if you had to pay extra to have Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. Or to have Jar Jar removed from the Star Wars prequels.

    • Lemming says:

      Nail. Head.

    • Phantoon says:

      Jar Jar was the only actual character with an arc. Why would we want to get rid of the only character that’s actually a character and does anything?

  7. Nixus says:

    Well, thanks Bioware/EA I was still making up my mind about getting ME3 at release but knowing that you are going to be pulling your usual nickle and dime the consumer BS I will wait till I can get a Game of the Year copy cheap. Publishers like EA just really get under my skin with these dumb DLC schemes.

    • suibhne says:

      Or in this case, End of the Year Amazon Download Sale List.

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Also this is probably a reaction to the positive feedback they received from the shale DLC for dragon age & so it’s RPS’ fault ofc.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Worryingly common miconception that this and Shale are somehow the same thing. Shale is available to anyone who buys the game new regardless of edition.

      A more accurate comparison would be Wardens Keep, which was CE or $10 DLC only (actually it might have been $15, I can’t remember). People were NOT ok with that and there was a shitstorm surrounding it at the time.

      There is a clear difference between the “project ten dollar” style of DLC which is given to anyone who buys new (particularly since in the digital era this doesn’t affect PC gamers at all) and this.

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      Crimsoneer says:

      A better comparison is Sebastian from DA2 – only available as paid DLC or collector’s edition. In fact, I’d argue maybe the DA2 version is actually worse…If you didn’t have Sebastian, all the bow’s in the game were totally useless. You just picked them up and vendored them.

      Although obviously, in story terms, a Prothean is far more important than some random prince dude.

    • mondomau says:

      @ Total Biscuit:
      Bang on – and this highlights a major problem with people (consumers, journalists etc) conflating used sales deterrents like 10 dollar with ‘nickel and dime’ tactics such as this. It clouds the issue and makes it hard to have a clear cut debate on the ethics of the day one DLC practice as a whole.

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      I recognise the distinction but bioware are hoping the positive pr from that cuts them slack on this imo.

  9. Spad says:

    For once, “blame the consoles” is a perfectly valid argument.

    These things are all about perception; if you (as a gamer) feel like you’re getting a bonus for buying the CE/buying new/pre-ordering/etc then you’re fine *not* having that thing, but if you feel like you’re being punished for doing it then you’re understandably resentful about it.

    Basic rules such as not including core story content or gameplay affecting items as pre-order bonuses and not releasing DLC on day one should be cardinal, but almost all devs seem to ignore them entirely and then act surprised when there’s a backlash against it. They can’t really be that naive, can they?

    Also, the current pre-order roulette (along with EA’s Demo DLC shtick) is bullshit.

  10. SanguineAngel says:

    God I miss expansion packs.

    • 2late2die says:

      I was just thinking that.
      I can understand that some games might be better served with DLCs – small chunks of content. But I feel that games like ME shouldn’t have these pieces of “oh well here’s another character that barely appears in the rest of the game, or not at all, and here are a few missions to drag him/her around to, now give me $15″. It seems that for any narrative heavy game if developers feel like there’s another side of the story to be told, or another chapter, it should be a significant one, something that would warrant an expansion.

    • mouton says:

      DAO had an expansion pack, Awakening. Dawn of War has expansions. Battlefield has expansions, i think. So there, you can hug them now.

    • MondSemmel says:

      Blizzard still does expansion packs. And concerning Starcraft II, people complained that only the Terran campaign was available, despite it being three times the length of any individual SC1 race campaign.
      I much prefer that approach to DLC.

      (That being said, I fear for the story direction of SC2. It’s like the Brood War never happened. Kerrigan got her revenge there, yet for some unexplained reason, she is still after Mengsk in SC2? They better had a damn good reason for that. Kerrigan is one of the best major female characters in gaming. That’s something she has in common with female Shepard, I guess.)

    • briktal says:

      One common difference between “good” DLC and expansions and “bad” ones is that the good DLC and expansions are separated somewhat from the base game. It could be a whole new campaign, or a new zone with its own quests. Sure, the second kind could be something just cut from the game, but it still stands on its own as a separate thing. The bad DLC often partially integrates into the main story. It can interact with and help drive the main story, but it can’t go as far as it could if it was part of the game because you still have to be able to get by without it.

  11. Cynicide says:

    Ugh. I’ve been playing Bioware games since Baldur’s Gate and it’s hasn’t been fun watching their slide into mediocrity, just another developer who shovels DLC out to try and wring as much cash out of their fans as possible. If the DLC was meaty with a good amount of content I could see the point.

    I was excited for Mass Effect 3 at the end of Mass Effect 2 but after all that’s happened since then I think I might just wait, I wanted to see how the story ended but really if they’re going to make me jump through hoops to get the whole thing I just won’t bother.

    • Kdansky says:

      The plot of ME ended during the intro of ME2, when both the Normandy and the plot exploded, respectively imploded.

    • Lemming says:

      @Kdansky: that’s a bit harsh, I’d say ME2 was a great second act and opening with your death and everything blowing up and going to shit was a genius move. I think what’s suffered the most from the ME story since the first is the Reapers. They were ominous and scary in the first game, and now they are just ‘meh another villain’ since their overexposure in ME2.

    • zontax says:

      The worst part of ME2 is the end.
      That three-eyed “human” reaper ruined everything.

    • shizamon says:

      Kdansky is spot on, They butchered ME2, if the story wasn’t bad enough, the gameplay changes and feel of the game were even worse.

      Haven’t bought anything else bioware since buying ME2, but it feels as though everything else they’ve done has been going downhill since the EA buyout or whatever.

  12. Ucodia says:

    “I’ve received arguments from developers saying that it is in fact a move that helps to keep people employed”

    Fine but we should not have to pay for it. That is an hypocrit argument.

    • evilmatt says:

      Eh? Developers, designers, artists etc still need to be paid when working on DLC, so why should the DLC be free exactly? Kind of misses the whole point of DLC being a new, short-term project to keep them employed, doesn’t it?

    • steviesteveo says:

      I don’t see it as hypocritical as much as exploitative. That’s only a couple of steps away from saying that if you don’t buy all the DLC they ever make for a game you already bought you’re basically stealing bread from the mouths of the developers’ children. Jobs that continue after their part of the project is completed are at stake here!

      I don’t agree that this means that it should be free but it’s the classic “go on, support the artist by paying the publisher a significant cut” nonsense the recording industry has been shoving down our throats all these years.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Perhaps I’m missing something important, but could they not just keep people employed by setting them to work on a new game once their current one goes to cert?

    • Goronmon says:

      The number of people needed to work on a game in it’s later stages is much larger than the number (and also type) of people working on a game in the early stages.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      What skalpadda said, basically. Now and again you hear horror stories of crunch time at this or that studio, people working 16 hours a day all week to get things finished and get the game out on time. We’re then being asked to believe that those same devs then sit around for months twiddling their thumbs the moment the finalised master copy leaves for duplication? I think not. They might take a few days off, but then they get assigned to new projects, either DLC or some new game. I can’t say I find the whole concept of crunch time suggestive of sensible management policies, but this idea that the devs have to make day one DLC or otherwise they’ll get sacked is either total falsehood or unbelievably bad and probably illegal people management. Given the fact that you don’t really hear about this, my money’s on it just being a lie concocted to justify gouging customers a bit more.

  13. Serge says:

    TotalBiscuit talks about this issue.

    http://youtu.be/Ri0vrJ-y2zM

    And I agree with him there.

  14. karthink says:

    Try as I might, I can’t see this as anything other than an attempt at fleecing one segment of the audience while alienating another.

    The bigger problem is not about this being day one content at all; it is where Mass Effect DLC fits into the narrative. If it is a self contained adventure that is not fully fleshed out, like Overlord, then I don’t think it’s worth paying for. If it has more consequences down the line, like Arrival, then you’ve just split your audience into people who understand what’s going on and people who have gaps in what is ostensibly a story of their telling.

  15. Toothball says:

    I always figured it was more practical to have a development team work on DLC at the same time as a game, as that way they wouldn’t need to pull staff off other projects. I don’t even work in games, but it’s always a pain when months after finishing up a particular piece of work, the customer comes back with something minor. At that point I generally have more up to date things to work on.

    DLC seems to be an inevitability these days, like it or not. The suggested two week delay is a good idea, or perhaps even longer would be better. In a practical sense it doesn’t make a difference when it’s made, but the perception that something is missing from the game is stronger if DLC is launched on or close to release. Especially these days, where everyone seems to want to comment on it.

  16. caddyB says:

    I was going to buy CE of ME3 because it was fun, even though to me it wasn’t really a game, more like a movie where you press some buttons but that’s another discussion.

    But I can’t get behind what they’re doing with their games these days. I guess RPGs are the domain of indies now.

    No buy. I’ll probably end up reading the story in some wiki or watch a lets play in youtube. Which costs nothing and well, it’s the same as playing a ME2 and from what I’ve seen of the demo, ME3, only you get to watch the shooty bits as a cutscene as well.

  17. GeoGonzo says:

    I’m okay with this, for three main reasons.

    First, because screw late DLC: Maybe I’m done with the game! If I didn’t enjoy it much, I wont slug through it just to experience a few new things & If your game is good I would have played it again anyway! I like day 1 DLC.
    Also, because it’s ridiculous how almost every game costs the same on launch day (less so with PC titles, but it does happen) when some are much more expensive to develop. Likewise, cheaply developed games should retail for less, but who am I kidding here…
    Lastly, because I can afford it. I admit I’d be annoyed with pretty much any DLC otherwise.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      It would make a lot of sense for all story DLC for especially to be playable after completion of the game. Then they would basically be integrated expansion packs like Throne of Baal!

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Yeah, basically Wot GeoGonzo Thinks.

      I know I’m lucky not to have to worry about the cost of it, but if the game can stand alone from the DLC and it’s worth the money. I have no problem with it.

      (Democracy in action, I guess. Some will tolerate this, some won’t.)

    • DodgyG33za says:

      @jezcentral

      Nah, that’s not democracy, that’s capitalism. Which is all about exploitation of the masses.

  18. Blaaaaaaag says:

    Why shouldn’t devs be allowed to develop for several revenue streams simultaneously? Provided the character included in this dlc is in fact non-integral to the story, then as far as I’m concerned they’re well within their rights to try to sell me as many products as they can, on whatever day it happens to be, regardless of when these things were developed. If a musician pulled something similar with a record and a single, nobody would be bothered.

    I’m all for boycotting EA, but not specifically for this silly little thing. Look up the ‘criticism’ section on their wiki page, watch the PA open letter video, there are plenty of great reasons not to give them your money. Also, Origin.

    • karthink says:

      “Provided the character included in this dlc is in fact non-integral to the story”

      Let’s change that for a moment to “Provided the events occurring in this DLC are in fact non-integral to the story”.

      Now think back to Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival. If these things did not happen in the saves of people who haven’t played them, then the beginning of ME3 makes little sense, as will (possibly) Liara’s role in ME3. If these things did happen, then there are gaping holes in the player’s version of Shepard’s story, which, as Bioware never fail to remind us, is “your story”.

    • Apples says:

      Oh, what? I didn’t buy any of the ME DLC because I thought it would be little extra mission bits which I didn’t much care for, but they’re considered canon and important by ME3? How does it make sense to do that with something which probably statistically the majority of your audience did not buy or experience? Bioware’s attitude towards their ‘interactive narrative’ type of games has been getting more and more confused – I know how hard it is to balance interactivity and consequence with AAA standards and a huge game, but I think they’re erring on the wrong side. Where’s that quote from the DA2 team about how they don’t actually care what happens in each player’s game and the devs will decide what is canon? (I know they’re different teams)

    • NathanH says:

      I don’t really buy that argument, karthink. I can read an overview of the plot of those DLCs online if I wish to. Also, it holds just as well for most expansion packs, which everyone seems to support. It didn’t bother me that, for example, I hadn’t played Brood War before playing SC2; I just read the background on the wiki. Hell, ME2 is eminently playable knowing nothing about ME1 (the only real problem is that you haven’t seen that Cerberus are very dubious).

    • InternetBatman says:

      @NathanH If you have to rely on an outside source to explain what’s going on then something has failed. If you buy a game it should be a complete work by itself.

  19. djim says:

    I’m not going to buy the dlc of course. I love mass effect and i will buy it because i am definately going to play it. I agree that day 1 dlc seems like a theft especially when it is content specific. It is like they have monkeys making the decisions, where is the common sense? Then they put people like Hudson in the difficult position explaining the unexplainable.

    Anyway, a boycott will never work because it will never happen. Better to just avoid the dlc, i have no doubt the game will be complete without the need of dlc, the same thing happened in Mass Effect 2.

  20. Deadly Habit says:

    Being Origin exclusive already lost my sale, but the whole preorder exclusives and day one DLC by companies nickel and dimeing customers to death is really starting to take the piss.

  21. Raidensoul says:

    If it’s anything like the character DLC packs of ME2 (Kasumi, Zaeed) or DA2, it will be an interesting side-story that doesn’t affect the overall game as a whole, apart from having an extra character slumming around the Normandy.

    Sure, the fact it’s a Prothean makes it interesting, but if you’re interested in the Prothean’s side story, you won’t mind paying the extra – or like me, you’ve already ordered the Collector’s Edition. (Plus that awesome model of the Normandy that cost me an extra $40. I have no impulse control).

    Sure, if it’s handled poorly in game like DA:O’s DLC was “Take this quest: GO BUY DLC!”, we’ll have a right to complain then. But before that, Mass Effect 3 will be whole and complete without From Ashes.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yeah, this doesn’t bother me overmuch, but I know that’s because I’m not too financially squeezed at the moment, and I see it more as paying for “more time in the game world,” since it will include not just the sidekick but a mission for recruitment. That additional side mission and the additional playing time seems to be overlooked in all the heat about it being a Prothean crew member.

      There will probably be minimal tie-in to the core plot, as there was with Shale in DA1. The damned thing will probably have amnesia with no real additional info about the Protheans, and just be a slightly better-than-average Engineer class.

      I just hope it’s a balanced character. I had to stop using Kazumi after her initial contact mission because she was overpowered in combat.

  22. perilousrob says:

    Dear god people… would you like some cheese with your whine?

    You can play ME3 through completely, saving the galaxy (or not, if you’re bloody useless) without the DLC. You can pay for the DLC, find out more about the protheans, and get an extra team member plus other assorted bits n bobs. What you’re really complaining about is that you WANT that content, but dont want to pay for it. Tight-fisted arses that you are! You have absolutely no entitlement to anything more than the developer/publisher decide and that’s that. Boo-frickin-hoo for you!

    • karthink says:

      This is not the issue I’m combating here. As Lewie says above, it speaks of Bioware’s lack of respect for Mass Effect’s story that they are willing to slice out (or in, if you want) an entire character depending on how much money you pay them. Superficially, this is like selling different versions of a novel with distinct denouements based on how much you pay. The narration is pretty much all Mass Effect has going for it, anyway.

    • perilousrob says:

      But you’re saying that as if it’s wrong or bad somehow. I don’t understand the whole respect thing – it’s theirs and we get to choose whether to buy or not depending if we like it or not – but I’ll answer your novel idea. Superficially? sure. Actuality? no, I don’t think so. It’s not a novel. It’s a game, and as important (hugely so, to me) as the story is, it’s definitely not the whole thing.

      Aside from that though… people have been adding/removing bits from stories forever. The most popular books ever written, for example. I’m pretty sure they’re still bought and read.

    • Jesus H. Christ says:

      yeah, pretty much. or they just dont have any patience. In a few months, it’ll be on sale for 50%+ off. Or they’ll bundle it for free with the next ‘greatest game ever’, like they bundled bf3 with this one.

    • Gormongous says:

      I think a lot of what you’re arguing here is disingenuous, perilousrob. Bioware has the right to parcel out their game content for nickels and dimes only so long as we have the right to call them out for it. As media, games are not just a vendor-and-consumer relationship, but also a creator-and-audience one, both of which have implicit social contracts in execution. The “it’s just a game” argument against that is getting just as tired as “deal with it”.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      @karthink Interesting that you use the novel analogy.

      Plenty of authors also write short stories set in the universes they create, and expect you to pay for them. They take Noodle Incidents mentioned in their books (see http://www.tvtropes.org) and explain them. (See Alastair Reynolds’ greenfly/sentient ice world mentioned in his Revelation Space books, or Neal Asher’s Gabbleduck Polity shorts, or Peter F Hamilton’s Paula Myo short set in the Commonwealth). Surely this is “slicing in” more story for more money?

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      I stopped taking your argument seriously as soon as you brought the word “whine” into it.

      After many years of experiencing reading terrible forums, I can confirm that whine now means “I am going to white-knight this company by engaging in an ad hominem attack and falsely labelling you as a “whiner” in an attempt to discredit your argument”.

      Complaining is not the same as whining. Games companies have cunningly developed and encouraged their fandom (fandumb) to the point where they will willingly defend the worst anti-consumer decisions simply due to misplaced, artificially cultivated brand loyalty. It’s really embarrassing to watch.

    • BAshment says:

      @jezcentral I think the difference is (as far as I know) novelist don’t release two copies of the same novel or short story at the same time. One with premium content for more money. The only other medium that comes to mind is comics.

      Marvel for instance have story arcs that run through multiple books these are not essential but they shine a light on the goings on in the universe i.e the more you read the more you know. but as they are released as serials I guess it is slightly different.

    • Wetworks says:

      “Surely this is “slicing in” more story for more money? ”

      The author didn’t write these short stories the same time he wrote the novel and then sell them both on release day. That’s the difference, people expect additional content but only after the initial release of the product. Otherwise people are left wondering if the novelist didn’t just rip part of the story from the main novel just to make a quick buck.

    • InternetBatman says:

      @BAshment Sometimes the way it works is that they shed more light on each other. Just as frequently you can’t understand what’s going on without buying some of the extra stuff. The Civil War tie-ins frequently behaved like this. The worst I’ve seen in recent years was the last couple issues of Cable vs. Deadpool, which made practically no sense whatsoever without the corresponding X-men issues. It’s a real problem that’s indicative of another crash.

      Also, games are not that far removed from serial storytelling anymore.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      @TotalBiscuit: Very good point, unfortunately ruined by stooping to his level and using “fandumb”, which is the equivalent of a name-flame or those irritating dumbarses who attack Microsoft by calling them “Micro$oft”.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    The more they do, the easier it is for me to live with my personal boycott of Mass Effect 3 and all other EA titles. And make no mistake, even though at the time of acquisition noises were made saying that Bioware were still going to retain independence, much like Blizzard and Activision they have now been assimilated completely into the overarching corporate ideology. In fact, I think EA very much see Bioware as being their Blizzard, and modeled their acquisition around Activision’s transformation of Blizzard.

  24. Dread says:

    Who wants to bet EA loses more money to people pirating ME3 because of this, than they get from people buying this DLC?

  25. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    Maybe I’ll just buy the game and pirate the rest? Am I going to hell for saying this? Perhaps, but screw this day one rip off bullshit!

    • NathanH says:

      Yes you are. They will hunt you down like the animal you are, and drag you kicking and screaming into the very bowels of Hell.

  26. rocketman71 says:

    The solution is simpler: don’t buy it. Don’t give them money until they learn the Valve way.

    So true: The History of DLC

    Also, Origin.

  27. JohnH says:

    Ugh it’s almost as if EA Bioware is trying to make me hate them even more for being greedy bastards. But hey, my fault for not letting my money do the talking any sooner.

  28. Milky1985 says:

    Sorry but i don’t think you can say “That it wasn’t intended to be part of the game during the main development doesn’t really change that.”

    As there is godo evidence to say that it WAS part of the game during the main development because reports are out there saying that this mission and the character (not mentioning names just in case people havn’t seen who or what) were in the leaked script. Also sounds files have been found in the demo of the character speaking.

    Yes it might not be 100% complete as part of the game at this point but this implies heavily that development was in progress before launch, implies that the content was cut to make dlc and THAT is what makes people angry.

    People are ok with DLC, the idea of the art department doing something else during the certification phase is a good idea, but this is more than the art department.

    Also with the character being what they are it sounds incredabily important plot wise…

  29. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Might just hold off until GOTY comes out..

    • Bosscelot says:

      There’s still no GOTY edition for ME2 so don’t expect one for ME3.

    • shizamon says:

      They’ll release one once they’re done milking the cow. You still shouldn’t buy it though, but that’s your prerogative.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Hmm, I must’ve forgotten, as I bought it in one of those silly Steam sales where everything is really really cheap, so, that period of my life is just a pixellated blur.
      But basically, I’m not paying full price, for the game and the dlc, so, when the game hits ‘dirt cheap’ I’ll be able to pick it up, and the dlc, for not so much.
      I don’t mind waiting, heck, I still have Dues Ex to play through D:

  30. Hoaxfish says:

    As a slight side-note… I have a similar problem with “pre-release” Demos.

    In the case of ME3 and Kingdoms of Amalur… the Demo was released before the game. That’d be fine, except that they had a bunch of bugs… and then the companies then used the fact that they were released before the actual game to say that those bugs “will have been fixed” in the full version (these demos are using “earlier” builds or whatever).

    If a demo is supposed to represent the actual product, why not send out a finished version after the game has been released? Am I supposed to assume that any faults with the pre-release demo will not occur in the real game, or that they will?

    I like demos because I can see if they’ll run on my PC’s setup. While I assume these early demos do reasonably represent if they can or not, it’s now just a questionable assumption for me.

  31. hosndosn says:

    DLC coming out on launch day is only the tip of the ice berg. The real problem is with charging 20% of the game’s full price for what is clearly not 20% worth of extra content.

  32. Belua says:

    Argh… I avoid every trailer, articles with topics that could potentially contain spoilers about this game so I can approach the game with almost zero knowledge. I was successful until now, and then I read in this damn comment section that there is a prothean running around, which in and of itself is a rather surprising thing considering the nature and history of their species.

    I feel angry, defeated and saddened.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Think of it in-game as a rumour Shepard heard.

      Seriously, what’s the trouble? You know a member of a supposedly extinct species is supposed to be in the game. That’s not really a) a shock, given the sort of thing that happens in this sort of story with that sort of character background; b) very much information to go on anyway, rather like the fact of saying “there’s going to be a geth companion in ME2″ tells you nothing of substance about the character, their background or motivation, when in fact the character in question is pretty fascinating and their story fairly unexpected whether you knew about their existence beforehand or not; or c) going to bother you at all, if you simply avoid the DLC in question. Just don’t buy it and you can dismiss this whole thing as idle speculation.

    • Belua says:

      I agree that it’s not much information and in terms of overall story and experience, it was more of a “I got this far and then this” kind of comment, because I really avoided everything with regards to story and thought I could go in completely “fresh”. Then again, I suppose the very DLC name and description will give it away either way. The comment was not to be taken too serious anyway.

      Still, call me naive, but I am really genuinely surprised that there is one or more Protheans involved in this, and the more I think about it, the more curious I am as to how in the world he/they survived to this day. Or is it Jurassic Park style cloning? As long as the explanation doesn’t turn out to be a total asspull, I’m intrigued.

      Sad thing is, while that character’s background and mission will probably be interesting, he will probably just be a jukebox of comments and anecdotes for the rest of the game due to being just a DLC character, just like Zaeed and Kasumi in the previous game.

  33. Gothnak says:

    It’s time for outraged customers again…

    Which would you rather…

    1) It’s 1999, AoE II is released. You buy it, you play it, after a couple of months you finish it. 2 months before you the buy the game, the developers are hard at work on an add on. They work on it for around a year and release AoE II: The Conqueres in 2000 at a mid price point. You’ve stopped playing the game by now and have moved onto a new game, so pass on buying it. Many people are like you, the add-on doesn’t sell too well.

    2) It’s 2012, Mass Effect 3 is released. You buy, you play it. 2 months before you buy the game, the developers are hard at work on the first small DLC. They release it for a small fee to coincide with the game’s release. You have only just bought the game, so partly want to buy it, but feel ripped off for the content not being in the game. You enjoy the game and decide to buy the DLC, so do many others, it sells well, and Bioware make another, and another. A year later, you still have ME3, you are still playing it as DLC keeps coming out.

    So, why does everyone complain about 2)?

    In both cases, if you don’t like the game you don’t spend a penny more. In 1 you get, for example the content of 4 DLCs for £20, whereas in 2) you get 4 DLCs for £5 each.

    • Gothnak says:

      Oh and the ‘speech is in the DLC so it must have been cut!’. Intelligent companies PLAN their DLC before they start work on it so that when you go and do you game recording, you have the actors in, and get their DLC lines done too. Having a seperate recording session for each DLC would be insanity especially for high paid actors.

    • Milky1985 says:

      It was meant to start after gold with a new team (according to bioware themselves), so its still valid as you have to ask why was it in the compiled game?

      Yes plan it beforehand (as apparently the plot was written WITH this involved so half of me says good plan but other half says wait a minute this sounds very much like cut for dlc) but don’t include content in the main release if its dlc, theres no need

      Shouldn’t anyone with a internet connection actually want to ask this? Its extra download time for you! Also apparently some of this was in the demo… which also apparently had textures cut to hit a certain space limit, maybe if they didn’t have pointless sounds files there would be more room for textures :P

    • Gothnak says:

      Firstly, ‘Cut for DLC’ doesn’t exist. No designer working on their game wants to cut stuff for DLC. What can happen is that stuff gets cut because the team can’t get it done on time due to bug count or sheer work left to do and time constraints. What DLC does allow is for developers to take a cut script and finish it after the game goes gold, meaning that the customers still get a chance to actually buy and play that part of the game if they want to. I’ve worked on many games (Pre-DLC) where we have cut stuff and we don’t get a chance to then release it later, surely that is a win for both parties?

      In fact in 16 years in the industry, i only know of 1 thing that was cut for DLC in a game i worked on, and it cost about 50p, and that made most of the team (apart from the marketing department) bloody furious…

    • The Least Fun Human Being On Earth says:

      Gothnak, you bring far too much reason and first hand experience to this discussion.

    • kyrieee says:

      Considering that the extra character in the collector’s edition was announced more than 6 months ahead of the game’s release I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s cut content.

    • Trithne says:

      Except that your analogy doesn’t match up to my experiences, or those of anyone else I know. It’s more like this

      A) Game releases. You play it for a while, enjoy it, pull it out for LANs, move on after some time. Expansion pack releases. You go ‘holy crap, look at all this stuff! Gotta get on that!’, buy it, and the love is rekindled for some time yet again. Some games become truly excellent and timeless through their expansion packs (AoE2, Starcraft).

      B) Game releases with a bunch of day one DLC. It’s either 1) Game-breaking, 2) Fanservice, or 3) Obligatory content for a full experience. 1 is dumb, because why would I want to break the game balance? 2 is there if that’s your thing, but is otherwise pointless. 3 is simple cash grabbing. Further down the game’s lifespan, for MP titles especially, more DLC probably comes out. Except there’s so little in each one that they don’t grab your attention, so you pass them up, except for a few die-hards, which in the case of MP games often breaks the community in two and kills the game’s potential future.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    I don’t remember this much fuss over the day 1 DLC of Dragon Age Origins, namely Warden’s Keep which was exactly like this, Collector’s Edition only content available for purchase day 1.

    Regardless, I really hate it when they do this. It might be different if the content wasn’t so close to what Mass Effect is all about, if it was just some random character with few mission. But knowing (based on description) what this DLC contains, I’d say it’s pretty damn integral to the experience for Mass Effect fans so you simply HAVE to have this for a better experience.

    • Lukasz says:

      there was fuss about it. you just forgot.
      not as big as warden’s keep is non-essential part of the storyline. a sidequest.

      a prothean is something very big in ME. It being a DLC (and paid one for that, not like Shale) was that it either: removes lots of lore from people who did not buy DLC or it is as non-essential as was WK, which should really piss every fan as something so big is just another gun in your team?

      That is the main issue.

  35. Bosscelot says:

    I just don’t understand why they don’t do what they did with Zaeed and the Cerberus network in general. Offer the character for free as long as you register your game (plus I believe you got normandy crash site, cerberus armour and eventually the hammerhead for free too). They did it to combat used game sales and I assume that problem still exists so I don’t know why they want to keep on squandering all the goodwill they’ve built up.

    Although to be fair I think DA2 and SWTOR have done a good job of souring the image of Bioware in a lot of peoples minds anyway.

    • Olivaw says:

      I’m guessing they are banking on the multiplayer to combat used sales this time, hence their abandonment of the Cerberus Network.

      Which, to be fair, is a good bet. It’s just that it’s hurting the end user’s experience in a way that the previous strategy did not.

  36. Brynden says:

    well then here is another game that got itself into my Pirating List
    im tired of companies that try and suck your money thankfully when it comes to the virtual word i can always pirate
    just for the record i bought 4 copies of the Witcher 2 to my brothers and i because Cdproject is not a milking machine apparently when Bioware got bought by EA they became one themselves

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Witcher 2 is basically “hey, you bought our game at some point in time…. here’s even more content for free”

  37. Premium User Badge

    Drayk says:

    ME2 was a day one purchased and then… DLCs….

    This will be bought in a collector edition at 19.99€ in a year of so.

    I won’t pay full price for a game that’s not full anymore. Besides i already have LOTS of games to complete.

  38. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I worry enough having enough money to pay for a game. I don’t think I have the desire to worry about helping developers keep their jobs. I’m not a charity institution.

    The developers argument seems thus utterly boring and I didn’t shed a tear. I don’t remember seeing game developers worrying about my job.

  39. Zepp says:

    This medicore cinematic shooter has enough plot holes/retcons without extra dlcs. Seeing that ultra technologically advanced reapers decide to destroy earth by cutting random buildings with laz0rz was lolsy enough. I guess devs haven’t heard about things like orbital bombardment or Exterminatus. Is this supposed to be THE most important universe of our generation? “Greater than Star-Wars/Dune/godknowswhatelsethosearrogantpricksmentioned combined”. Fuck this and fuck their so called “dlcs”. There are some companies that still give additional content for free and do not get the same amount of buttlicking biowarea does.

  40. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Day 1 DLC doesn’t bother me that much, usually. However, this DLC adds something that’s incredibly relevant to the game, and forces you to pay more for it. So, you pay for the game (55 dollars, was it?), and you don’t get a chunk of content that is very important for the mass effect universe. Then they ask you to pay for it on the same day you bought your expensive game and you can bet the price/time ratio of the game isn’t comparable to the price/time ratio of the DLC. That doesn’t sit right at all.

    Of course, all this ranting won’t do anything, and games will continue to fracture because idiots will willingly buy this shit. Because hey, we’re not entitled to anything…

  41. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    I’m not pissed about Day 1 DLC, I am pissed that even the f*ing ad-banner for the DLC spoils the plot! I did not even had to read the text, once I saw the banner on Kotaku or one of the other websites I got a spoiler. Thank you Bioware!

    Oh, and edits says:

    • Belua says:

      Ditto. Had the same with Dragon Age: Origins and its “Witch Hunt” DLC. The description gives away something from very late in the game, which I won’t repeat here in case someone hasn’t finished it. If that’s the case, don’t read “Witch Hunt”‘s description, if you haven’t already!

  42. kurtcocaine says:

    Sign why cant more devs be like CD Projekt Red.. Free DLCs for everyone who bought the original.
    The enhanced edition coming in April has 4 hours of extra content apparently and its all free for existing pc owners.. The same content in a bioare DLC would cost you10-15
    Dont they have publishers breathing down their neck..? Yet they make it happen somehow..

    Even if you do need to have priced DLCs, I just dont get the pricing structure. It should be proportional to the amount of content. Say ME3 is a total of a 30 hour play through, then a 3 hour dlc should be $6,not $10-15!!
    and dont even get me started on the weapon pack dlcs..

  43. Stuart Walton says:

    What always comes to my mind whenever a game has day one DLC that is free in one SKU but not the others is how should it be reviewed?

    My answer is that the reviewer should base their review on what the customer gets if they buy the cheapest version brand new. But this can be tough for a reviewer that will most likely be sent the a version with codes for all the day one DLC. To review it fairly, they would have to play it without using the activation codes. How many reviewers are going to not use those codes?

    It may be argued that the DLC in question doesn’t significantly alter the gameplay and story and that playing with or without doesn’t change the experience. The problem with that argument is that you really don’t know until you’ve tried, but who has time for 2 playthroughs. Even if you did try both ways the second runthrough is always perceived with the first in mind. It’s tough being objective in that situation.

  44. Aemony says:

    Some might not know but EA did the same thing with Dragon Age 2. The Sebastian companion was exclusively limited to the Signature Edition of the game. However this companion served a far more important gameplay-related purpose than this ME3 companion does. If you do not have Sebastian, all bows (not crossbows, normal bows) found in the game are COMPLETELY USELESS. This was THE ONLY COMPANION able to use bows in the whole game unless your Hawke was a Rouge.

    A horrible practice, to say the least.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      What about Isabela and Varric? They were Rogues (not that I ever found a better bow than Bianca anyway).

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Isabelle could only wield daggers and you could not exchange Bianca afaik.
      The difference I see with this and Sebastian is that Sebastian was kind of a “design flaw” as DA2 had many, but now with ME3 the character actually is a very, ver,y very big deal in Mass Effect lore and even the knowledge about him spoiled a lot of story for fans. They really should have kept this a secret (and best: available to all) although there were rumors of this. But until now there was no confirmation.

    • Aemony says:

      Yeah, Isabella was restricted to using daggers while Varric couldn’t use anything other than Bianca.

      Though I do agree that the matter of the Sebastian DLC and this ME3 DLC is somewhat different. The Sebastian DLC matters more from a gameplay perspective while this ME3 is from a lore perspective. Whether or not you deem the former or the latter more important is highly subjective.

      And even if it was an issue regarding the design of DA2, it still doesn’t excuse the behaviour one bit nor makes it any less of a horrible practice. DA2 was probably the first ever BioWare game to feature this kind of DLC and we can now see that ME3 follows in its footsteps.

  45. Miltrivd says:

    This whole “DLC” thing that has been going on for years has been awful for games. I don’t remember much DLCs in which my reaction was “this is good stuff”, it was always disappointment, always felt like rushed not revised work. It was nonsense story, or OP weapons, or crappy gameplay, but always feeling like you are playing something that was cut off the main game for not being good enough and lacking the quality of the rest of the content, then released after a few weeks to cash in some more money.

    I stopped getting DLCs long ago. I’m not getting ME3 anyway, ME2 already left me disappointed enough with dumbed down gameplay, stripped off RPG elements, changed game mechanics just because and I felt the story was inconsistent. All that said, seeing so little care for the story as to put an almost mythological character as a companion all of a sudden is quite insulting, and Bioware should be ashamed, since they like boasting about the writing in their games.

    Seems like Protheans would be nice EA employers, always available at the presence of money.

  46. Jimbo says:

    I don’t mind the price so much. Even including the DLC the game is still going to be much cheaper in real terms than the £30 or £35 I was regularly paying for PC games a decade ago.

    What I don’t like about it is how it implies the game has been built out of independent units of content, which can be freely snapped on and off without significantly affecting the rest of the content. If the DLC were something important to the whole, then you wouldn’t be able to snap it in and out of the game like that, and if it isn’t important to the whole then do I really need to play it at all?

    I’d rather they just concentrated on making the game as good as it can be and put the price up if they have to – the price would be the same (as paying for Day 1 DLC seperately) and the result should be better. If they need something to work on between completion and launch then either work on an expansion which is significant in its own right, or just move on to whatever the next game is going to be.

  47. Kevin says:

    That thing in the screen-shot looks an awful lot like one of the Alien Grunts from Half-Life 1.

  48. Screamer says:

    EA Games for some reason are very cheap on my island, compared to other games, so in the end the CE cost less than any normal other game. A hell of a lot less than MW3 was for instance so……..I’ll mown next time! XD

    But like everyone said, Hudson is speaking out of her arse!

  49. Olivaw says:

    Yeah, I’m normally fine with DLC, and even day one DLC, but this one is stuck in my craw.

    It’s just… I’ve already paid sixty dollars, right? And now I’m expected to pay an extra ten dollars on launch day, just so my first playthrough of the game is the full, complete experience.

    And the first playthrough of a Mass Effect game, more than maybe any other game I can think of off-hand, is a singular experience. It’s where my reactions and choices are most honest, where I’m not doing any meta-gaming at all. I want that experience to be the “canon” experience for Shepard, hence my anxiety over this new squadmate.

    Hell, I probably wouldn’t even be bothered by it if it were something like Zaeed or Kasumi from Mass Effect 2. If it were just some dude with a gun who had some neat missions tied to him, I could miss out on that. But the nature of this squadmate, and his relationship to the main story, seems pretty fucking key, you know what I mean? I really actually feel like I’m missing something if I don’t have him.

    But I don’t want to pay ten dollars on launch day. It’s the principle of the thing, you know?

    So in the end, they don’t get any money, I feel cheated of a complete experience, everybody is upset, and no one is happy.

    Oh well. I guess I can always replay it sometime later.