DLC… expanding the game or exploiting the consumer?
I am torn on Mass Effect 3, I really am. On one hand, ME 1 and ME 2 were some of the most enjoyable experiences I had with gaming in recent years. Great cinematics, amazing story, characters I cared about and game play that was both smooth and fun. From what I have seen so far, and the time I spent with the demo, ME 3 appears to take all those elements and juice them up like a professional baseball player striving to break a home run record!
However, like so many things in life there is a catch. The online pass, DLC and co-op aspect of ME 3 is really turning me off. I am seriously weighing the pros and cons in my mind as to weather or not I will purchase this title at launch for full price or just wait a year to get a reduced price. Now to be clear, I have no issue with the concept of an online pass, in fact I applaud it as a method for studios to attempt to recapture some of the new sales lost to physical stores selling used titles side by side during the launch window. I do not begrudge a consumer buying used, hell I have even bought used in the past, I love to save me some money. I think an online pass via ME 2’s Cerberus Network is a great method to combat the used sales eating away at numbers. Purchase a new title and get an online code that gives access to DLC at no cost. Great idea, I am on board. Purchase it a title used, you get shut out of the DLC unless you but a pass code from the studio… fair enough. It is the launch window DLC for an additional charge that pisses me off. If I purchase a copy of a game and install it and on boot it up launch week and am asked to put down an extra $10 to unlock new characters and missions then I feel cheated. Pure and simple. If it was supposed to be in the game but was cut due to technical issues then make it free with the pass code as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning did with the arena, that was fair to me as a consumer and I did not mind. I even do not take an issue with DLC such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s Missing Link pack. This was DLC that was in all about 5 hours of added gameplay that was released 2 months after the launch of the title. While I think the price point of $15 is a bit to high, the DLC is far enough out of the launch window that it felt as if it added to the story rather then was withheld from the original game.
The other aspect of ME 3 that is bugging me like someone talking on the phone in the theatre is the co-op segments I have read about. Now to be fair, I have not played the co-op missions and have only read about them. I hate co-op. I am a single player gamer first and foremost. I do not mind that they added co-op as an option, but I have read some articles that state the co-op can have a significant impact on the single player game. I certainly hope that is misleading and to honestly that is not weighing as heavy as the DLC issues are in my decision to purchase the game at launch. It is just something that I am not on board with, but not something I am going to harshly criticize a company for doing. I like what I like, but understand perhaps people were asking for this. I just hope that my single player experience has not been diminished at the expense of the inclusion of an online co-op shooter segment.
No… it is the goddamn Prothean DLC of course. I just went back and started playing ME 2 to refresh my memory and this time I have all the PC DLC installed and for the first time played the Zaeed missions. Sure he added some depth to the ME mythology, but he hardly felt like a pivotal character. A Prothean feels more like an integral part of the ME mythology and to lock the character behind an DLC fee for EVERYONE is just in bad taste. I know I know, not really everyone, just the consumers that buy the standard full price REGULAR game. If I shell out the extra $20 for the ‘collectors’ edition I can get access to the DLC, otherwise I have to go home, install my title then pay an additional $10 for Prothean experience. So now they have taken a step that I actually agreed with earlier in my post about locking content behind an online pass you get with purchase of a new title and gone even further and locking content behind a monetized DLC. Great move guys. Let me just take a moment and look at the math.
I buy a NEW standard edition for $60 and have to pay an extra $10 for the Prothean, $70 total.
I buy the collectors edition for $80 and it includes the Prothean and some cosmetic goodies, $80 toal.
I buy a USED standard edition for $55 and pay an extra $10 for the Prothean, $65 total.
Ok. Well I guess I can either wait a year for a small price drop on a new edition or just buy used and save the $5 overall since my new purchase no longer includes launch day DLC.
So the attempt by Bioware/EA to get more money out of this gamer has just encouraged me to buy a used copy since I no longer have an incentive to buy it new. Way to think it thru guys.