This morning RPS awoke to inboxes bursting with emails telling us off for Battlefield 3's DLC announcement. This was confusing, as we are not EA. You can tell by the lack of Will Wright posters on our walls. It seems a Reddit campaign has been organised in reaction to news that BF3 pre-orders will come with DLC that others won't be able to get. The Back To Karkand expansion pack is (somewhat mistakenly) the focus of this ire, not only because it will mean those who buy the game on release will need to spend extra to have the same content as other players, but because they apparently won't be able to get at all of it. The extra weapons and ammo that come in the Physical Warfare Pack are not to be included in the post-release version.
The Karkand DLC was announced in May, offering classic BF maps, Strike at Karkand, Wake Island, Gulf of Oman and Sharqi Peninsula. However, it seems what they're actually angry about is the Physical Warfare Pack that was announced more recently, and contains the Karkand content.
In there you also get a Type 88 Light Machine Gun, DAO-12 Shotgun, Flechette Shotgun Ammo, and a Flash Suppressor, along with the extra maps. But it seems that while Karkand will be available for purchase after the game is out, the weapons and ammo will not, and campaigners are claiming this will give an unfair advantage to those who have pre-ordered.
Buoying their activities is the memory that a similar campaign worked for Battlefield: Bad Company, organised by Sarcastic Gamer. Since EA backed down last time, it seems odd that they're doing the same this time.
Clearly we are not big fans of day one DLC, especially when it's announced months ahead of release. While those in the industry argue that such content can be developed at the end of the development process, in a time that's too late to make the full game, but a way to keep everyone at the studio employed throughout the certification processes, etc, it's not an argument that holds much merit this far ahead of release. The game isn't due until the 28th October, and they were demoing "pre-alpha" footage at E3, which would rather strongly indicate the game is nowhere near finished. It's obviously designed to be an incentive to encourage gamers to pre-order. But the consequences are that those who wait to read reviews or hear word from friends before committing a large chunk of their money toward a game are getting punished. Certainly financially, and this latest campaign claims, also within the game. Although we've yet to see any evidence for that.
So whether that's the case or not we don't know, and we've contacted EA for comment. They are looking into the matter and promise to get back to us soon.
It's also worth noting that inundating RPS's mailboxes with the same email a million times does not win sympathy, and almost put us off covering this. Day one DLC is an issue we care about, and a simple email from the campaign organisers letting us know would have done. Wasting our time with dozens of identical emails just succeeds in pissing us off.