Question Of The Month Reader Responses: Issue #269
In issue 267, we asked readers what their criteria is for buying DLC. Unsurprisingly, the value of the offered content was the biggest concern, and day-one DLC still proved wildly unpopular. Here are some of the responses.
Looking For Substance:
- It needs to be substantial. There are DLC packs with only a small amount of content such Oblivion's infamous horse armor from 2006, and even Destiny’s expansions seem to contain the bare minimum content you might expect for a third of the base game’s price. It’s difficult to call games like Destiny or Evolve “full” games given how much paid DLC is released for them. Compare this to The Witcher 3, which has two packs of free DLC each week – some minor outfits, some quest lines. The Witcher 3’s approach to DLC is commendable. Creating new content in an existing game for people who don’t want the experience to end just yet is just fine, but when the consumer is being asked to pay for little things here and there with map packs or horse armor...it’s not enough in games where you’re paying $60 at release.
- At this point, it needs to be from a company whose main game I greatly enjoyed and know that I would go back to later on, and has a past of producing quality DLC. Next to no DLC in recent years has been as fun as Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC, and LA Noire’s additional cases. Rockstar is one of the aforementioned companies, and while I have played a lot of DLC since then, five years of content that hasn’t compared to those games in terms of value is a bit troublesome. Companies like CD Projekt RED have restored some faith in me, as their current DLC plan has been great, and they have my vote of confidence for their upcoming paid expansions.
- If you want me to buy DLC, it has to have a few things. The first is that it has to add content, like levels, maps, and so on. It also should add new game mechanics, like abilities, in-game resources, etc. A perfect example of this is the Enemy Within DLC from XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
- I buy DLC when it adds to my favorite feature in the game. For example, if my favorite part of a game is roaming an open world, I want DLC that gives me more cars. If I like the weapons in a game, I want DLC that gives me more guns.
- My requirements for buying DLC are pretty straightforward. It must add on to the actual gameplay experience in a significant way, and not be the equivalent of a cheat code. I don't pay for cosmetic changes such as costumes and palette swaps. Most of my purchases add quests, new levels (or racing courses), or new characters and vehicles that play differently than existing ones. I also do not play games where DLC gives an advantage in multiplayer (pay-to-win). If DLC adds something functionally new, only those who also have that DLC should be able to play together with it enabled. Video games allow us to live a fantasy and escape things for a bit sometimes. It is the last place I want to be reminded that someone can overpower me simply by being wealthier in the real world. I want an even playing field and to know that I won or lost on my skill alone.
- If the content would have been included standard just a few years ago, then I don't buy the DLC and will not buy the game it's attached to. I avoid "special editions" that add things like these as it's just a sneaky way to do DLC. In contrast, DLC that adds side stories that flesh out the world yet have little to do with the main story, more maps, extra challenge modes that have no bearing on the main story, and "just for fun" characters not typically in the main game are all OK by me. I also look at the game itself. I collect for the longterm and still play games a decade old or older. If it's an unpolished, buggy mess full of DRM that will not work without having to download a ton of patches or the game is "always online," then I will not buy the game or any DLC attached as I know it will be non-functional in the future. When the company treats the players with respect, I am happy to give them my money and will keep on doing so as encouragement. I urge others who dislike what a company is doing to put their money where their mouth is – don't buy unless they treat you right!
- First of all, no multiplayer DLC. I like playing multiplayer games, but I never buy new maps, weapons, or skins for multiplayer. Story/level packs/expansion DLC has to strike a delicate balance between capturing what I enjoyed about the base game while still adding something new, whether it's to story or gameplay. Cosmetic DLC simply has to catch my eye. It's typically cheaper, so my standards aren't quite as high.
- as long as it isn't micro-transactions or day-one DLC and my friends pressure me enough, I will probably buy the DLC for a game.
Skimming Off The Top:
- I buy gladly any DLC produced for games I enjoyed provided they add meaningful content and they do not feel like they were ripped off of a finished game to be sold separately later for an extra buck.
- DLC shouldn’t be released within a month of the game’s release if it’s something major like a whole new campaign or worlds to be explored, because that leaves one wondering why the content wasn’t included in the original release of the game. Epic Games did it right with Gears 3; I never once thought that the content they released was withheld from the primary game. The story content was a nice addition and was separate from the main game, and the weapon skins weren’t so expensive but were fun to have if you purchased them. DLC needs to be more about quality than quantity, and to me it feels like most developers are more motivated to make money than to keep players entertained and happy to purchase their content.
- If it’s DLC like what Arkham City or Mass Effect 2 and 3 offered, where you can tell the developers spent time to expand the lore and story, then I’ll buy it. But not if it’s along the lines of Assassin’s Creed 2/Alan Wake, where it seems like they chose to leave out part of the game to make extra money – or like Fable 2, where the developer seemed to just throw in extra content that wasn’t very well made hoping to make extra cash.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy:
- When I first purchased my Xbox 360 and started pre-ordering games, I would always by DLC and season passes. For everything. I have a collecting streak that often leads to me keep games once I finish them. Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, and Borderlands have been three of my favorite series over the years, and I would always buy the DLC. Recently, the quality of games like CoD have made me leery of buying DLC. For CoD, I typically don't buy DLC map packs unless I really like the game, which I haven't since Black Ops 2. For games like Assassin's Creed, I will always buy DLC because I want the whole story, even if it is horrible or buggy (ahem...AC3). So I would say quality of series, type of game, and whether I enjoy the basic game are the most critical factors.
An Evolving Opinion:
- In the last three years or so I went from despising DLC to being merely annoyed and disappointed to see its outrageous popularity grow as a new "business model," which would here to stay whether we gamers like it or not. Recently with my Xbox One purchase, I've started seeing some benefits to it. If developers see there's enough interest for paid DLC to a particular game I like, they will keep coming up with more cool stuff – and MAYBE they will even throw us a free bone.
- My criteria for buying DLC is this. First, I ask myself one question: Is it a map pack for Call of Duty? If yes, BUY IT! If not, forget it.
- I'm a huge Nintendo fan, so if I buy any video game, I'm guaranteed to buy the DLC, too. Mario Kart 8? Bought the DLC. Hyrule Warriors? Bought the DLC. Tank Tank Tank? Maybe try out the demo, then buy the DLC. Any downloadable content I buy, though, I get the bundle for less. It's called smart spending, something Nintendo should've considered a long time ago...
What's your criteria for buying DLC? Share what you like and what you loathe in the comments below!