Opinion: How DLC lost its way

DLC is met with shrugs, but why?

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Downloadable content was a concept so full of promise. Those of us who remember the early days of DLC can recall the high-minded ideals of the proposition. Play more of the games you like and stave off unnecessary sequels in the process! It sounded like a win-win for gamers and publishers alike. Years later, as the concept has slowly become standard practice, DLC announcements are generally met with a shrug. Why don't we care anymore?

We can partly fault the publishers. In practice, DLC hasn't usually prevented sequelitis or enhanced the game experience. It's used more as a sales tool to push pre-orders, undermine used game trade-ins, and serve as fodder for the inevitable "Game of the Year Edition." Each of these can have benefits for gamers, but they're clearly more slanted towards the publisher side.

Publishers have not exactly been cautious about their approaches. The early days were a wild west as game makers threw everything at the wall to see what stuck, creating some unexpected issues and backlash. The most famous of these was on-disc DLC, as savvy gamers noticed their downloads were a tiny file only used to unlock content that already existed. Any explanation of software licensing law or game budgets was moot--as far as gamers were concerned, if you bought the disc, you should be able to access everything on it.

Other problems have been more subtle and pervasive. Some publishers pump out far too much DLC, or overprice it. Activision has been criticized for its regular practice of putting out four maps (three new, one revised) in each Call of Duty pack for $15. Worse yet is when the content unlocks some extra weapon or ability that makes the game a cakewalk, as Square Enix tends to do with small DLC like Tomb Raider's Adventure Pack. This is still especially problematic when it comes to pre-order DLC, which is all too happy to ease you through the first half of a game with an overpowered weapon. Meanwhile, even DLC that sounds great upon announcement sometimes fizzles in practice. BioShock Infinite had ambitious plans and a season pass, but we ended up with some combat challenges and an uneven story presentation.

It certainly doesn't help that DLC availability can be incredibly confusing. A much-publicized graph showed just how complex a DLC release model can be when it comes to various retail editions and pre-order bonus content. Even your choice of platform can create baffling situations. Think back to how often you heard Microsoft or Sony reps call some piece of content "exclusive" to their platform at E3 this year, only for word to come later that it came with an asterisk.

All in all, what could have been a way to strengthen communications between gamers and publishers by giving direct feedback on content we want has more often been used to manipulate or goose sales in the publisher's interest.

The advent of DLC has also brought about a new game-changer: free-to-play. By offering content for sale, it was only a matter of time before the content became the main revenue stream, forcing the game itself lower and lower. The traditional $60 retail model hasn't gone the way of the dodo, but microtransactions are a subset of DLC that have arguably made a much bigger impact. 

Our collective disinterest could be much simpler, though: it may be that we just don't care all that much about more of a good thing. As anyone who has checked out the deleted scenes or "Extended Cut" of a movie can attest, sometimes an experience feels more complete as a smaller, tighter package. Honestly, after playing through a 30-40 hour game like Watch Dogs, do you really have that much need for another few missions?

Obviously, some companies are still doing DLC right, and getting rewarded for it. Downloadable content can absolutely be worthwhile. The idea was bold enough to shake up the industry, and it still could be a powerful tool if done right. If DLC can get back on-track at all, it will only be possible if publishers restrain the easy buck and use it to fulfill its original promise of iteration and communication with players. As long as they're merely treating it as a sales tool, that's how gamers will see it too.

Editor-In-Chief
Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 14, 2014 2:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Opinion: How DLC lost its way.

    DLC is met with shrugs, but why?

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:08 PM

      These news taglines are Fred Garvin levels of one line terribleness

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 2:25 PM

        Lololol

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 2:28 PM

        I don't agree with that statement. This seems like an excellent title, topic and even article.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 2:42 PM

          yeah, I hope to see more pieces like this!

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 2:44 PM

          I meant these lines 'DLC is met with shrugs, but why?'

          They used to be a nice intro paragraph to the news stories. Now it just looks like a click bait front page with no real description. It's lazy and looks bad.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 4:54 PM

            The headers overlaying the images is one of the things we plan to adjust, so your objection is noted!

            • reply
              July 14, 2014 5:26 PM

              Has nothing to do with images or headers?

              There is no substance to make me want to read the article. Look at how Ozzie writes a news description compared to the other guys on the homepage. It's night and day in that screenshot.

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                July 14, 2014 5:43 PM

                I agree. Before the Shacknews front page would give you a paragraph preview of each article, which was highly informative and appreciated. Now it's literally clickbait summaries. "PC master race wins the day"? "Don't make this spirit angry"? It's a few steps away from "one weird trick" or "you won't believe".

                Seriously, we have no problem with the layout overhaul. Layouts need to change from time to time. What doesn't need to change is hiding how visible the actual content is. C'mon guys, you're better than this.

                • reply
                  July 14, 2014 5:48 PM

                  Considering traffic has fallen off the cliff they need a little bit of clickbait. Frankly I could care less what the title is as long as the content is decent.

              • reply
                July 14, 2014 5:50 PM

                I wasn't very clear, that's on me. It actually does have to do with the images and overlays, because those are all the same thing. Currently the same field is used for triple-duty: the header overlays, the Chatty thread, and the blogroll description. But that means if we make it long like it used to be, it makes a huge paragraph overlay over the image and looks broken. The plan is to make a separate field for the image overlay, which will sort all that out.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 2:46 PM

          Look at this. It looks bad and from a blog site from 2010

          http://i.imgur.com/WTYdJbw.jpg


          • reply
            July 14, 2014 3:19 PM

            i for one welcome our new comic sans overlords

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 6:48 PM

            Constructive AND helpful. Leading by example, pancake humper!

          • reply
            July 15, 2014 6:49 PM

            The reason descriptions are so short is because the same text that is written there,

            (DLC IS MET WITH SHRUGS, WHY)

            is displayed over the image on the article page. When you put a more descriptive paragraph in, which is what we always intended to be on the homepage, it also shows up over the image on the article page.

            We asked the dev for a a solution but it hasn't been sorted yet, so in the meantime we told the writers to keep the descriptions short. Not ideal by any means and will change very soon.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 3:16 PM

          I agree with you. I think this is a good, topical article. :|

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 5:41 PM

          It give me a good idea of what the article was enough to click through.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 6:53 PM

          Same. DLC feels like a gimmick to inflate prices.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 2:46 PM

        Coming from you that's pretty funny.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 2:47 PM

          I don't post terrible click bait articles with nothing to add.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 2:49 PM

            Shall we search your history and lay judgment on all the links you post?

            • reply
              July 14, 2014 3:10 PM

              Go for it! You probably have the desire and anger to do that.

              • reply
                July 14, 2014 3:21 PM

                I find it humorous that clueless people think I am some kind of anger machine that goes around red faced all day.

              • reply
                July 14, 2014 4:42 PM

                wtf is all this about pancake humper, why are you doubling down on something so mundane

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 3:14 PM

        Stop the Fred Garvin hate.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 3:38 PM

        I'm impressed that you took the time to add a yellow shack tag to not only intentionally shit on another poster, but even an article thread posted by the site itself. Bravo!

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 3:40 PM

          If there are any frontpagers left, they now know to hate Fred.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 3:49 PM

          Thanks!

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 5:40 PM

          I've been seeing too much of it lately with several regular posters. Sure there are threads that really don't interest me but I'm not going to go out of my way to thread shit or call them out for posting things I don't find interesting.

          Frankly if they'd learn to scroll on by some of those threads would just run their short course and sink if there isn't much interest. If the shack crew is trying to get more people to post then this stuff needs to get addressed.

        • DM7
          reply
          July 14, 2014 6:36 PM

          I'd rather have porn links stay and this post gone. ;D

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 6:47 PM

        Say what you want about Fred and his posting styles - to which I partially agree with you on - I can't recall a single post of yours.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 10:55 PM

        Are we still doing the "randomly call out another person" thing for something entirely unrelated because we think it'll get lols? Seriously?
        Rail on Fred if you don't like shit when he posts it, this hijack thread to take the piss out of someone thing is not only fucking lame, this is this shit the fucking mods should be discussing.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 2:16 PM

        Everyone should play DLC Quest. At least it makes you feel less of a dope for buying DLC.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:19 PM

      I actually thought the DLC (burial at sea anyway) for BioShock was really good. not only did it give you a complete new campaign but it actually made you wait for it, which felt like they hadnt already completed it and where just trying to get extra cash out of you for something that should have been in the original game. My biggest issue with DLC i think is the fact that it comes out so early, this always makes me think it should have just been in the game to start with.

      Also DLC for extra clothes and accessories is a waste of money as far as I am concerned, however if people want to pay for a different look then I am not going to stop them, as long as I can choose to not buy that. Watch Dogs was a great example of a game that I was really looking forward to, but I didnt buy a season pass, because so much of it was useless stuff such as above. When I took the price of the useless stuff out, the few things I did want to buy came in under the price of the season pass....no brainer

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        July 14, 2014 3:00 PM

        People are more hyped about the game near release. If DLC is released many months after the game has shipped most people have already forgotten about the game and moved on so releasing too far away from the release is a business problem. Releasing too close to the release makes it seem like the content was finished when the game was finished and tha tupsets people.

        Though most people don't know content for the shipping game was probably locked 3+ months before the game shipped.

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        July 14, 2014 3:43 PM

        Yep Burial at Sea was quite good. The Dishonored story DLC and Deus Ex DLC, also good. X-COM Enemy Within: super good. I even liked the Rage DLC.

        It seems like the big chunks of DLC are often quite nice (assuming you liked the base game). The small bits of DLC droppings (weapons, skins, whatever) are a different thing, but easily ignorable.

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        July 14, 2014 4:09 PM

        Burial at Sea is literally the only DLC I've bought for any game, EVER. EVER. And I waited until the Steam sale back on January 2014 to buy it in the Early Bird Special for $5. My post back then: "Hah, 5 bucks, after all that controversy. Good things come to those who wait."

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:25 PM

      Rockstar is the only company that seems to understand DLC.

      It extends the life of the game, creates renewed interest, and offers brand new content without screwing up the original game.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 2:43 PM

        I think From Soft also did a good job of hitting those bullet points with the Dark Souls dlc. it makes me really eager to play the dlc packs they're getting ready to roll out for DS2!

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 2:55 PM

          I'd agree with you if the DLC for Dark Souls wasn't all cut content from what they had originally planned. and instead of delaying the game a month or two they released it incomplete and charged more money for parts of the game that should have been there to begin with.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 2:58 PM

            Oh! Well then I guess my ignorance is showing.

            That the dlc was originally intended for the main game would help explain why the dlc seemed so well done, at any rate.

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              July 14, 2014 3:56 PM

              No, it's harlinson that is completely ignorant of how game development works.

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            July 14, 2014 3:53 PM

            Dark Souls, one of the best games ever made, was not "incomplete" at release. It had 100+ hours of content.

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              July 14, 2014 8:34 PM

              so you make a game, and cut out 3-4 bosses. the play time is still 100+ hours, it's a complete game!

              after a while: Oh yeah here are some more bosses and areas (and hexes) that we were planning to put in from the start, they can be yours for 5-10 dollars!

              is this to say i hated the game? hell no, it was amazing, i beat it multiple times. I will say that Manus can go right to hell though, fight destroyed me quite a bit.

              • reply
                July 15, 2014 4:57 PM

                Features and content are cut from games in development regularly. Games have to ship to meet deadlines - this is the reality of business. You don't usually hear about the content that is cut to get the game out the door. DLC and expansion packs let developers deliver additional content to their customers. If you're a developer looking to make more Dark Souls content, where's the first place you start? All the things you wanted to get into the game, but couldn't for time or money constraints. This isn't a cynical ploy to sell you an unfinished product.

                Your whole attitude about DLC in general is way off base.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 3:39 PM

        Dishonoured had great DLC. Essentially two fully fledged expansions.

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        July 14, 2014 4:01 PM

        Borderlands 1 & 2 DLC was done well. I still haven't even started the 4th BL2 DLC because they're so damn long - that and I can't find anyone to play with me anymore :(. I will happily buy DLC that adds significant content like these.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:36 PM

      This feels more like a questions "has DLC lost its way?"

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:38 PM

      I actually though Bioshock's was pretty good. Clash in the Clouds was a disappointment (though honestly I personally enjoyed the challenges once I played them), but the story was pretty solid and varied and the final episode was a dramatic shift in gameplay.

      I think the rest of the article is spot on though.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:39 PM

      This is an easy question to answer. DLC typically does not provide value to the customer. It provides value to the publisher. The exception here is DLC like Deus Ex: The Missing Link. It was more of the game. It gave value to the customer. It was worth 10 dollars. Other DLC that just changes the game, or gives you an extra item because you pre-ordered is not value to the customer.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:45 PM

      Most dlc has been way overpriced, and the worst is DLC that should have been shipped with the full game. Also fuck Preorder DLC.

      Having said all that I still like quality DLC.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 2:48 PM

      Typo in the article:

      "Honestly, after playing through a 30-40 game like Watch Dogs, do you really have that much need for another few missions?"

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:01 PM

      This is great. Please give us more opinion pieces. This is the kind of content that will keep me clicking around the front page as opposed to a recycled press release or new screenshots.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:07 PM

      The only DLC I've ever purchased was map packs and I'm probably not going to start any time soon. I've never been happy with the way they blatantly sell unfinished things on the disk for you to unlock and I didn't want to support the model.

      I'm actually okay with it when it's more in line with being an entire expansion pack that significantly adds to the game, but my general distaste of DLC has led me to avoid it even in cases where I might not regret the purchase.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:37 PM

      Did DLC ever really have high-minded ideals? The first thing I remember ever coming out that was labeled as "DLC" was the Oblivion Horse Armor pack. I thought the plan was to try to get people to buy game content like they bought songs on iTunes, at a dollar or two for a small piece of content.

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        July 14, 2014 3:42 PM

        Agreed. DLC also needs a spectrum. Some was that feared $2.99 zerg rush, characterized by horse armor, TF2 hats, and MOBA skins and shit like that. Then... some is damn near full price. For example, there will be a standalone DLC for Infamous Second Son. I don't know how much that will cost, but they are using "DLC" as the term.

        Overall, I'm ok with DLC, it really adds on a metric for the staying power of a game. The devs get to keep poking people for money, if they get responses... that kinda hints there are still consumers for that title, and they are doing a good thing by keeping it going a little here and a little there. DLC as a concept is great.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 8:44 PM

          The Infamous: Second Son spinoff will be $15.

          It's as much "DLC" as the good old "standalone expansions" were expansion packs. (Read: not at all. But at least it's not a new abuse of terms.)

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 3:47 PM

        It depends on who you spoke with back in the day.

        When Microsoft was going out pitching DLC for the Xbox 360 as an additional revenue stream, it was often described to studios as offering four benefits:

        - Keep your staff employed. Rather than ramp down, keep your staff around and let them enhance the experience they've spent the last couple of years making.
        - Keep your game relevant for longer. Rather than trading in games to GameStop, having DLC will keep your game in the hands of the original purchaser, and if the game is sold off, DLC will act as an additional revenue stream for those used copies.
        - Release your expansions without all the headache of handling packaging, and keep what the retailer markup would have been. If you had a choice between selling your expansion and keeping 70% regardless, or maybe getting 20% assuming returns weren't too bad, the 70% was expected to win most of the time.
        - Keep your "long tail" even longer. Your game may be off shelves, but DLC will keep income coming on that title for even longer.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:49 PM

      Companies promise "a lot of DLC" for a game, then deliver 40 costume packs and one campaign DLC. This more than anything is why I'm highly skeptical about DLC anymore, and why I rarely buy season passes.

      The only game that's done it right in recent memory is Borderlands 2. Except for two examples (the pre-order DLCs) everything they've put out has been advertised and priced correctly, and the majority was new content. Also, rather than teasing us with "more DLC" and releasing piece after piece of costume/skin/crap content, they did all their skin packs in one go and made it clear what they were well in advance. That's how DLC releases should be.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:52 PM

      The audience has hit fatigue from needing to decide where to buy a product from the get the game bundled with the best content, and exhausted from season passes that didn't provide their money's worth.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 3:53 PM

        I'm not saying everything is shit either, it's a super generalization, deal with it. Yes there had been good DLC future obvious argument

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      July 14, 2014 3:53 PM

      Just look at the new Aliens: Isolation game. Ripley dlc has been announced and the game is not even fucking out yet!

      now if you pre-order you will get it, but come on really? you can buy the game full price and still not get this cut-out content.

      and don't even get me started with capcom and on disk dlc bs.

      thats why I don't even feel bad when I buy their games for dirt cheap on steam sales or buy used
      at gamefly.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 3:56 PM

        Actually, you only get the second DLC item if you preorder exclusively from Gamestop. The other one is for anyone who preorders.

        Me: Not preordering. Fuck you, Sega.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 4:00 PM

          ah see?
          I missed that, and I'm actually the type of gamer that at least keeps up with current trends.
          fuck that GS bullshit.
          I want to get it for the ps4, but I'll probably end up waiting until I can get the PC ver. game+dlc for < $10

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 4:04 PM

        there's definitely good dlc and bad dlc but if dlc creation began only after game ship, it would be out like... 4-8 months after the game. as teams roll off the full game, it makes sense for them to start on the dlc. that's just good business: scope the whole game and subsequent dlcs from the outset so you can properly project manage.

        (not all games do this.)

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 4:48 PM

          I've got no problem with extra/cut content making its way to DLC, or even having a team work on it during development of the main title.

          Having to pay to unlock content on disc is disgusting though.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 5:14 PM

            Yeah - I get that. I don't think many do that anymore.

            • reply
              July 14, 2014 6:40 PM

              Have they basically just moved to where they don't put it on disk though? It feels like a horse by any other name if it is ready, it could go on disk, it could be part of the game but to avoid "on disk DLC" backlash they leave it out.

              Personally I separate 0 day DLC from "shit we cut out of the game to make into DLC so we can milk the suckers buying our game." Like you said, it it makes sense to plan DLC and get it ready and to even have stuff out at launch.

              But we will probably never know when a company cuts something to specifically make it DLC because you would have to be pretty stupid to make that public.

              • reply
                July 14, 2014 8:47 PM

                You'd have to be pretty stupid to do that... but that didn't stop Bioware. Both Mass Effect 2 and 3 had large chunks of dialogue for their DLC (Zaeed, the thief, Lair of the Shadow Broker, and Omega) in the shipped games' files.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 6:46 PM

            I would say that I don't mind cut content being DLC, but I am cynical enough to believe this leads to decision makers cutting content they probably shouldn't for the initial release.

            • reply
              July 14, 2014 8:33 PM

              You would be shocked at the large amounts of mostly to semi-finished content that never saw the light of day just to meet deadlines in the pre-DLC era. Now some of this content gets finished up as DLC.

              Example: Kotor 2 had almost a quarter of its content cut out to hit Holiday shipping date.

        • reply
          July 14, 2014 7:09 PM

          It's a little more subtle than that. Artists usually roll off a project well before design, then most designers, then some programmers. DLC allows staff members to be financially productive between projects. That's how it worked for the games I was on.

          Now, restricted-content DLC (like Alien: Isolation) - fuck that. Seriously.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:56 PM

      What if all DLC were standalone? I think I would be more inclined to make $5-10 purchases for games I don't own already.

      I don't think DLC was ever for me anyway. I rarely have the time to finish games before losing that initial momentum, so I rarely ever play DLC (Dark Souls excluded).

      Honestly I can't think of a single DLC I specifically enjoyed at least as much as the main game. They all feel like watered down afterthoughts

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 6:24 PM

        Blood Dragon was a good example of that.

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        July 14, 2014 9:16 PM

        Freedom Cry for ACIV is really good DLC that is standalone.

        The Tyranny of King Washington could have been standalone but it wasn't. It was a good length, but...I just felt burned out on AC3 at that point.

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 3:58 PM

      I think the borderlands 2 DLC was worth it. some great content packs. some cosmetic. felt what I got was worth the money

    • reply
      July 14, 2014 4:02 PM

      has any game done DLC right?
      I think the last time I actually seeked out DLC after buying the game was back when
      I was playing dance dance revolution on the original xbox.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 5:47 PM

        I felt like Bethesda did a good job with Skyrim at least with Dawnstar and Dragonborn. They both felt a little more expansion like and added a decent amount of interesting content to the game.

        • reply
          July 15, 2014 2:35 AM

          I've always felt like post-horse armor, Bethesda has done a fantastic job making DLC exactly what it should be: new, additive content that extends the game's life while not ever feeling like stuff that should have been part of the full game.

          Mass Effect *mostly* did this as well, except for that idiocy with From Ashes, which absolutely should've been a core part of ME3.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 6:26 PM

        Starcraft 2. When SC2 was released they said there would be Expansion packs (DLC) and they're taking their good old time working on them. The first Expansion extended the campaign and multiplayer properly and the cost to content value was fair. Blizzard always does things the right way.

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        July 14, 2014 6:47 PM

        Mass Effect did DLC right for most of it.

        Only some of it felt like things that could/should have been in the initial release.

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        July 14, 2014 6:50 PM

        Some of the Mass Effect DLC felt like it was done right. Stuff like The Citadel was not only great, but felt like a good piece of DLC, something that brings you back to play the game again. Some of their other DLC though, like Leviathan and From Ashes didn't feel right at all. The actual content was fantastic, but it very much had a "this really should have been part of the main game and I think you held this back to get more money" kind of feel to it.

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 6:51 PM

        Yes. When they were known as expansion packs.

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          July 14, 2014 7:21 PM

          This right here. CoD's success with map packs made me very, very sad when businesses started aping that model.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 9:19 PM

            Yeah we'll probably never get as something as awesome as the Editors Choice and Mega Bonus packs like we did for UT2k4

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        July 14, 2014 7:32 PM

        Dishonored was the last one I can think of. Two story based dlcs focused on a different character, basically adding up to a separate campaign, very much like a real single player expansion altogether.

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        July 14, 2014 8:18 PM

        Xcom enemy within is solid stuff.

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          July 14, 2014 9:19 PM

          Oh yeah, good call.

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          July 15, 2014 12:12 AM

          Yes. Though it's really more of a true, old school expansion pack than what I normally consider "DLC". But maybe there's no difference any more.

          • reply
            July 15, 2014 6:23 AM

            This is true. It's only available as a download on PC, for console it was a stand-alone retail release, as the size was too big for DLC or something like that.

            • reply
              July 15, 2014 8:25 AM

              It wasn't so much the size, as how it integrated with the base game. They didn't really build the original to allow that. So the console release includes both the base game and the expansion (for the price of just the expansion).

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        July 14, 2014 9:11 PM

        Rock band.

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          July 14, 2014 9:19 PM

          I do purchase most of the DLC they release but it is a bit different for that type of game.

          • reply
            July 14, 2014 11:50 PM

            even with that 'type,' they did it right - compared to guitar hero, everything was immediately forwards compatible forever!

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 9:15 PM

        payday2

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          July 15, 2014 9:00 AM

          Wholeheartedly disagree. The free map packs are great, but there are NINE paid DLCs over a year and 2 of them are soundtracks.

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            July 15, 2014 9:47 AM

            only the host needing the map DLC is what gets my vote. BF4 DLC, for example, fractures the entire community(and our thursday night shackbattles) because someone with vanilla BF4 can't join a vanilla map if their is DLC in the map rotation. besides it's a coop game, you aren't at a disadvantage against other players if you don't buy the weapon dlc

      • reply
        July 14, 2014 9:42 PM

        Borderlands 2, Freedom Cry.

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        July 14, 2014 10:49 PM

        Graviteam tactics. Not only does graviteam sell good dlc but they continue to update it far beyond the time where most people stopped playing it. For example they might have just released their fifth dlc for operation star but they are still adding stuff to the first piece of dlc they ever released!

      • reply
        July 15, 2014 12:00 AM

        GTAV?

        • reply
          July 15, 2014 12:07 AM

          I mean GTA4. Lost and the Damned, and Ballad of Gay Tony, both significantly better than GTA4.

          • reply
            July 15, 2014 2:39 AM

            They really were, better than many full price games even.

      • reply
        July 15, 2014 3:29 AM

        ARMA 3: Karts.

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        July 15, 2014 6:57 AM

        Bethesda, after creating the slippery slope, bought cleats and rope and did a pretty good job afterwards. And Shivering Isles was an Expansion Pack, basically. Though for Skyrim I did the wait on GOTY package.
        Tripwire kept delivering nearly perfect DLC for KF until the last year or so (content free to all, costumes cost money). And Rising Sun for Red Orchestra was ...basically an Expansion Pack.
        Blizzard came with a full size Expansion as well, for D3. But we kinda knew they work like that.

        So you see where my head's at.

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        July 15, 2014 8:00 AM

        Rocksmith does a good job.

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      July 14, 2014 4:13 PM

      Don't forget games that use free-to-play mechanics as DLC (specifically, the "coin doubler" DLC in Forza 5 and Dead Space 3, both of which led Giant Bomb to place a category in its "PLEASE STOP!" GOTY section in 2013, called "PLEASE STOP Full-Priced Games That Are Lousy With Microtransactions" (which only lost out to "PLEASE STOP Gams That Require Post-Launch Apologies"). http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/giant-bomb-s-2013-game-of-the-year-awards-day-five/1100-4807/

      EA was also legendary for selling "cheat code" and "unlock all" DLC, but most of that was in the Riccitiello era.

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      July 14, 2014 4:41 PM

      They cost more than they are worth.

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      July 14, 2014 5:29 PM

      Witcher 2 DLC is DLC done right

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      July 14, 2014 6:28 PM

      All in all, the worst trend I've seen is offering gameplay that the core audience wants in the DLC and then the main game is a "market demands" check list.

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      July 14, 2014 8:22 PM

      Because for the most part it forgets everything that made expansion packs of the past great, and leaves you with not nearly enough content to even motivate a person to bother downloading it.

      Great DLC is like the 2 made for GTA4. Those are much more like an expansion pack of old.

      I wish we could go back to the good old days of expansion packs that brought quite a bit of content to the table, rather than just dribbling out a bunch of hardly any content packs over the course of a year.

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      July 14, 2014 10:27 PM

      Tiny Tina was awesome.

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      July 14, 2014 11:51 PM

      The best kind of DLC: pay extra money so you can gain access to Gamestop-exclusive launch levels or missions!

      Yeah, I like those the most.

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      July 14, 2014 11:57 PM

      I remember when extra costumes and modes where unlocked by playing not paying.

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      July 15, 2014 2:47 AM

      Lol I never actually saw that watch dogs chart

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      July 15, 2014 6:08 AM

      The 'Game of the Year' angle is I believe the most interesting in this. Myself, for example, will tend to at the least wait for that edition of a game to come out if I am at all on the fence about playing it right away. It completely undermines the fans willing to shell out the money as soon as they can to experience the content they want to as soon as they can.

      Those fans should be rewarded, not punished.

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        July 15, 2014 9:13 AM

        I guess it could be argued that your paying to play it earlier. Everything you buy gets cheaper over time, cars, phones, clothe, etc.. I'll admit that it kinda stings when I see GoTY editions with all DLC for $40-$60, but then I remember that I played it all months earlier when it was brand new.

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          July 15, 2014 10:25 AM

          It's just too bad that an intangible feeling of utility is the *reward* for paying early. Some folks don't have enough cash to shell out for a Season's Pass or all DLC packs, etc; yet they could be among the biggest of fans.

          I get the idea of enjoying something the moment it comes out, so you can be part of the "water cooler" conversation. I just feel that the way DLC has been utilized (in some cases), it has taken that joy and monetized it, which is unfortunate.

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      July 15, 2014 6:44 AM

      I really like the article. I've never really cared for the movement towards DLC/P2W, and it's so rarely done well. Things like GTA4 or Deus Ex: HR expansions are the exception to the rule, but I'd still much rather buy a "game" or "disk" with the content (which is exactly what I did for the two GTA4 expansions on 360).

      I'm very wary of new business models, and I think in hindsight now I feel justified in being skeptical of newer business models. Now I'm left like I'm so often at odds with those selling the games, and it has become an adversarial relationship. It so often feels I have to think twice about buying a "retail" game, and can't feel comfortable about it unless I trust the company not to put me in a position later where I feel I need to dole out more to keep playing something I enjoy, or the DRM won't be a pain or poorly written (see: Origin), etc, etc. It's too complex for me to care, and entertainment shouldn't require research and work to enjoy.

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      July 15, 2014 7:24 AM

      I come from a time when expansion packs where the norm.. DLC, I thought for a time was just a modern word for expansion. But when MS started charging for things we used to get for free on the PC. Horse armor, colors, maps, guns...things went downhill.
      And truth be told its not MS fault, the fault lies with gamers, the hobbyist.
      There was a rally call, but then the segregation started fueled by the love of certain games...at the fore front was Call of Duty.

      That battle was lost, but the war rages on.
      Now free demos are being given a fee and "games" that we all know that would be relegated to demo status are being charged a third of what a full fledged game would cost. We defend these things. Again, some fight, most defend this behavior.

      Exclusive Alpha's and Beta's are waved in front of us as if they where carrots on a stick and we go gaga for it.

      We abandoned Nintendo in favor of "gritty, hardcore gaming" and this is the gaming school we indoctrinate our children into and we call ourselves gamers cause we play Candy Crush.

      I just read an article that read: "remembering The Last of Us" As if the game was 20 years old. on that note, well we remaster games that we all know has already Hi-definition visuals, and get charged full price.

      Some call foul, most defend this behavior.

      Its not just the state of DLC, there is lots wrong with this business and no single consumer voice to help and advocate for us.

      ESA is a nice idea, but it lacks teeth.
      Now I hear that Gamestop is going to directly influence game development?

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      July 15, 2014 8:07 AM

      At first I was Ok with the DLC concept when it was just downloadable versions of expansions but when it morphed in to small cosmetics and overpriced map packs is when they crossed the line. It really annoys me that retail releases are releasing DLC using the free-to-play model where progress is gated or unnecessarily high xp requirements to incentivize the boosters.

      DLC is fine when it is done to genuinely done to expand the game and not done as a purely business decision. I have no love for day one dlc at all.