Mass Effect 3's "Online Pass" - iPray Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Mass Effect 3's "Online Pass"

 

            A few weeks ago the gaming community was in rage over Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's online pass DLC. The online pass, included in new copies of the open world fantasy RPG, unlocks the House of Valor faction quest, which includes seven individual single-player missions. In addition, it unlocks a Mass Effect 3-themed in-game item - the N7-inspired Sheppard's Battle Armor (non-essential stuff to the main story). This game's online pass stirred up a poop storm of "War on Used Games" debates all around the internet gaming world. Personally, I don't love or hate these types of online passes. They've never affected me and my gaming experience. I feel, to some extent, new video games sales are hurt by used game sales. So I've always seen online passes as a sort of incentive or reward for purchasing the game new. For me it's like them saying "thank you, here's a little something extra for being faithful fan and customer."

                If you buy the game new these passes don't come at any extra cost, therefore I don't get that "It should've been in the game already" feeling. I pay my $60 then open the game to see extra junk, and it feels like they given me a little something on the side. They've built goodwill with me. Good examples of this are Mass Effect 2's Cerberus Network, Twisted Metal including a free TM Black DL, and Batman AC's Catwoman. A year or so ago I bought Dragon Age used from Gamestop and missed out on some cool DLC (stone Golem and Armor). It actually made me wish I had spent the extra $10 to buy the game new. (It ends up I really didn't enjoy the game all that much so I never got the DLC but the moral of the story still remains.) I didn't buy the game new so why should I be entitled to everything that the guy who bought it new got?

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            Mass Effect 3 will have a day 1 DLC release for $10. THIS IS AN ONLINE PASS!! I fail to see how this day 1 DLC is any different from Arkham City's or Kingdom's online passes. Actually there is one difference, now they want me to pay for the online pass even when I've bought the game new. This does not build good will between buyer and company. I literally have NO incentive to buy this game new now. It makes me upset because the DLC's story is actually important and complementary to the main Mass Effect story. According to 1up's Chris Pereira "The Marketplace listing for From Ashes describes the content as allowing players to "Unearth lost secrets from the past and recruit the Prothean squad member," the latter of which is a big deal -- Protheans are a race in Mass Effect lore believed to be long extinct. They were at one point credited with the creation of extremely advanced pieces of technology like the Citadel and the mass relays, so suffice it to say they are a critical aspect of the series." That sounds pretty damn important to me.

 

            So now I've been left with the "it should've been in the game already" feeling. I understand there is time between when the game is finished and when it is finally sold but also understand I just paid $60 for your game and now you're going to tell me I have to pay $10 more just to get an extra piece of the story?!! That's like buying Terminator 2 then being told I have to pay $5 extra to see the part where Sarah Conner escapes the criminally insane prison. Why couldn't Bioware/EA just do the same thing they did with the Ceberus Network and Zaheed DL in ME2? I remember being happy about my purchase knowing I'm now a part of this network and getting an extra player in my crew. Producer Michael Gamble makes it sound as if this was all just some afterthought; they "finished" the game and moved on to a new project.  This character and story plot seems like so much more than just an afterthought. Also Gamble was able to get the DLC shipped with Limited Editions so the thought and process of creating this DLC must have came in way before games were shipped and packaged.

 

            It personally upsets me to see how many gamers are all of a sudden ok with this. Before FREE online passes were the devil in video game form, now Mass effect 3 is doing the same thing except making us pay $10. If other games tried this strategy gamers would burn the idea at the stake. With the popularity of Mass Effect I understand this as being a "because we can" scenario. This day 1 DLC is not something that Bioware/EA cooked up to cut down on used games sales. My next move is to switch my ME3 Pre-order over to Witcher 2 and buy ME3 used or when it's $20. Most people may not feel the way I do but I'm not going to bend over a let them keep nailing me just because I like their stuff. I have dignity.         

 

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EDIT: There's supposed to be pictures but I don't know why they aren't showing... Sorry

 

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