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  1. #1
    Activated Node Basilicus's Avatar
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    Hipocrisy - thy name is DLC

    I would like to pose the community a conundrum: Dragon Age 2 vs. Magicka. I can hear the grumbling beginning already.

    Well, let's take Dragon Age 2 - a game that was rushed to release and lacked an expected polish in its finer details, addressed to a certain extent by later patches. There was a meaty DLC offered for free with pre-orders, and at regular price for those who chose to wait. The community was up in arms - DLC near the release day! How dare they? There were accusations that the game would be filled out with DLC after DLC. Here we are four months later, getting a preview for the game's second DLC.

    Now let's compare it to Magicka - a game that was rushed to release and lacked an expected polish in its finer details, addressed to a certain extent by later patches. The community largely forgave this and, less than six months after release, we've had 8 DLCs, including one that gives your party a new set of robes. And yet, despite the obvious milking of the title through DLCs, there's no reaction whatsoever - no rage, no claims of gamers being gypped.

    So what's the difference? I'm truly curious. Dragon Age 2 gave us a DLC that included a new companion, new mission, and offered it to many for free. Magicka gave us 8 DLCs in six months, some of them including nothing more than a near-empty handful of new items. And yet Dragon Age 2 is taken to represent the worst tendencies in handling DLC, while Magicka gets good reaction for every new DLC they announce. Someone has to explain it to me.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    I have yet to buy a single DLC item for Magicka, but they're asking <$10 for that game and >$40 for DA2. They already took a significant chunk of cash, is it really too much to ask for continued support in the form of content? Hell, I paid $10 for TF2 back in the day and Valve really raised the bar on my expectation for DLC and developer support.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    It's not particularly hard to come up with reasons. Just think about the player's relationship to the DLC, how they're using it.

    Magicka is a pure action game. They sell extra levels and other fun stuff as DLC. Unless you've finished the main game, you're really not missing anything except a few silly bits if you skip the DLC.

    Dragon Age 2 mixes in significant story-based and roleplaying elements. The DLC integrates directly with the main game. Some of it is silly horse armor stuff which you can roll your eyes at and ignore, but others are fairly important pieces that fit right in with the main world. It's easy to feel like you're missing out by not getting them.

    For DA2, that kind of psychology is obviously a double-edged sword. It probably makes business sense. But I think they'd have more happy players if they only released standalone episodes like Leliana's Song.

    Also, preorder DLC is uniquely evil. Do I really need to explain this, after the disappointment with DA2 for many DA:O fans?
    Last edited by TillEulenspiegel; 11-07-2011 at 05:31 AM.

  4. #4
    One thing to keep in mind about pre-order DLC is that while it's easy to assume that the company in question intentionally just cut stuff out of a game to release it as DLC, most of the time that content wouldn't have been made in the first place if whatever company didn't think it could make additional money from it.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastBaron View Post
    One thing to keep in mind about pre-order DLC is that while it's easy to assume that the company in question intentionally just cut stuff out of a game to release it as DLC, most of the time that content wouldn't have been made in the first place if whatever company didn't think it could make additional money from it.
    I'm not sure about that, really. If you look at games from the pre-DLC era, there are plenty of cases there where content was made for the game and then cut out, but it didn't get sold; it actually never saw the light of day. I think of early DLC as kind of like deleted scenes on a DVD (with the exception that you don't normally pay extra for those, or if you do it depreciates fast). Of course, they're not going to make any money from it if they say, "Hey! This is stuff we didn't think was good enough to put in the game that you can have if you want."

    Of course, it doesn't always work like that. It's certainly a strange decision on BioWare's part to have Mass Effect 3 follow on from a DLC mission in ME2 (albeit the most worthwhile DLC they've ever done) - at least, I assume the tribunal on Earth is about what happened at the end of Arrival. You wouldn't have a sequel to a movie reference a deleted scene from a previous film. But Arrival wasn't exactly Day 1 DLC and although it theoretically integrated into the main game, it was in many ways a distinct episode.

    The deleted scenes idea, though, brings me to the Apocalypse Now comparison that I roll out from time to time. Apocalypse Now Redux has a load more content than the original release. Does that make it better? Hell no. There's an interesting difference between 'complete' and 'definitive' that for whatever reason we seem to lose when we talk about games.

    With regard to the OP, I don't think Dragon Age 2 was that disappointing. I certainly heard plenty of complaining about it long before it was released so I think people were pretty much primed to hate it anyway. On the other hand, I was far more optimistic about the design changes they announced and reacted to the game a lot more favourably. They say you should adopt a pessimistic attitude, because then you're never disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised, but "they" fail to take into account the human frailty of confirmation bias.
    Last edited by thegooseking; 11-07-2011 at 09:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    The plethora of DLC available for Magicka actually put me off buying the game until the recent Steam sale where I was able to pick up the complete pack for <$10. The model they've pursued didn't arouse any ire on my part - possibly because of the low initial buy-in price - but the prospect of purchasing half a game didn't appeal to me.
    Last edited by Rii; 11-07-2011 at 06:58 AM.

  7. #7
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    PvP - the only thing that really lacked in Magicka. Was given free.

    Thats the reason

  8. #8
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    The thing with Dragon Age 2 is that it was a sequel offering, at best, 50% of the content of the original game (arguably a lot less once you consider the way the first one doesn't re-use maps so much and has all the different origins).

    So when DLC comes up, especially on day 1, it really does feel like it should have been part of the game, given how lean the game is compared to it's predecessor.

    For Magicka, the amount of content in the game seemed fair enough for the asking price.

  9. #9
    Magicka: Made by a team of 7. Cheap. Cheap DLC. DLC definitely made after the fact, DLC all feels like an addon rather than something you missed the first time. Mostly vanity items Big important DLC free.

    DA2: Expensive. Team of hundreds. DLC almost certainly content cut from game during development. Integrates with main storyline, feels like something you could have used the first time.

    I think that's about it.
    Last edited by DainIronfoot; 11-07-2011 at 10:41 AM.

  10. #10
    Network Hub Joseph's Avatar
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    Well, Magicka has won over peoples hearts. Then it's easier to win over their wallets.
    DA2 will obviously have a harder time with the hearts bit.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Malawi Frontier Guard's Avatar
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    Well, I was sad that Magicka: Vietnam had so little content for the price tag.
    Not angry, just sad.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    What do you feel about DA1 then? Being a fan of the game, I actually bought a few things like the Stone Prisoner (didn't come with my version) and Warden's Keep, and have not been disappointed.

    Usually, I don't like or purchase DLC. I don't want the uberweapon of mass destruction. I don't understand why I should pay for something that disrupts the way the gameplay was (hopefully!) designed.

    Add-ons/Expansions though, those depend how much I liked the game. I'm actually considering using the Portal 2 itemshop, not because I care but because I want to throw more hard-earned money into the gears that will eventually produce Portal 3.


    In the case of DA2's stuff (which I haven't played yet) - the question is, was the game worth 40$ without the DLC or not?
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  13. #13
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    Honestly, the DLC for Magicka feels overpriced for what it is. But it's a perfectly sensible way of running that kind of game. I'd like to see DLC in more games, but really, DLC is a thing for pick-up-and-play games. For Bioware's story-driven guns(or swords) and conversation games, it feels pretty daft.

  14. #14
    Network Hub GraveyardJimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMaster View Post
    Honestly, the DLC for Magicka feels overpriced for what it is. But it's a perfectly sensible way of running that kind of game. I'd like to see DLC in more games, but really, DLC is a thing for pick-up-and-play games. For Bioware's story-driven guns(or swords) and conversation games, it feels pretty daft.
    I tend to agree. Expansion packs are better for story-driven games in my opinion.

  15. #15
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    Most DLC's have a poor fun/dollar ratio. And hare very short. So is like paying 3$ to watch a movie trailer. I suppose the whole point of DLC's, as oposed expansion packs is that. To scam gamers. I have only found 2 or 3 games where buying a dlc make some sense. I have buy a Dragon Age 2 dlc, but It was somewhat diablo-like and not fun. So was not for me.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, its a bit of a shame that the nature and size of DLC means you can rarely demo it. I guess its the same logic though as it was for the expansion packs of yore - it's for the hardcore fans who love the game anyway.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMaster View Post
    Yeah, its a bit of a shame that the nature and size of DLC means you can rarely demo it. I guess its the same logic though as it was for the expansion packs of yore - it's for the hardcore fans who love the game anyway.
    I agree. Most DLC has very limited ... well, content anyways, so demo-ing is not an option. The core game has to be the "demo" for the DLC. Which in turn is problematic, since the core game usually delivers a far more polished and congruent experience than the classic two missions tucked together by a colourful name.

    And since in my current situation I don't have the time to play games more than once in full length, DLC that adds missions / quests into the ongoing game is something I try to avoid altogether most of the time. I broke that rule during the Steam Summer Sale with the Fallout:NV DLCs, but only because it was dirt cheap and I hadn't finished New Vegas beforehand.
    Last edited by Squiz; 11-07-2011 at 01:02 PM.
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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    It's also a plus that in Magicka you can play on dlc maps if at least one of the people playing has bought it.

  19. #19
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    Yeah, you don't HAVE to buy the Magicka DLC. It's either cosmetic stuff like the robes, or it's a new map. It doesn't actually add anything to the base game. I certainly didn't feel compelled to purchase any of it (except for the Vietnam map, purely as a reward for that glorious trailer), although I did grab the DLC cheap in the sale recently. They didn't add anything to the main campaign.

    Dragon Age and Mass Effect DLC on the other hand, as other folks have said, adds on to the main story experience. I'm supremely uncaring about the appearance or weapon packs, but Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival (and to a lesser extent Overlord, but that's more of a side mission rather than a continuation) were pretty much essential purchases for me because I cared about the story that was being told.

    I didn't resent paying for the DLC for either of those games, especially because the ME2 'story' DLC is quite good, but buying DLC for Mass Effect or DA2 is a bigger deal simply because it feels like the 'main game' isn't complete without them. It was almost like Liara's appearance in ME2 was being held to random, I suppose that would be a fair analogy?

  20. #20
    Activated Node Basilicus's Avatar
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    I look at the arguments being made and feel like they boil down to, "Magicka DLC isn't as essential and adds nothing to the base game. They're just shinies one is able to tack on." That, to me, sounds like a cash cow. Admittedly, a cash cow for a small dev who needs the cash, but I can't help look at a DLC that offers, "a robe, a sword, and a staff," and feel that it does anything but take advantage of the buyer.

    But then I look at the Dragon Ages, where the DLC adds huge value to the base game, and I feel like that's a much better investment. As a buyer, I'm being respected because I'm being offered something meaty rather than a shiny bobble. I'm actually receiving something that adds to my experience of the story itself, rather than just a new map or three reskinned items.

    Now, I'm not a huge fan of DLC to start. I prefer the expansion age, and I enjoy that the first Dragon Age got both. I'm not saying that one DLC has more validity than another; I'm just wondering why the one they've actually put real work into and that is usable for dozens of hours is the type that people get angry about. Seems to me it should be the other way around.

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