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I guess I just like liking things

Side note: sometimes I sing “DLC!” to the tune of AC/DC’s “TNT.” Now you can, too!

His goggles alone are worth $20

His goggles alone are worth $20

I both love and hate downloadable content. It’s a great way to spend more time in a game I like, but it’s also more money. A $60 game quickly turns into an $80+ game, and I already didn’t like spending $60 on a game. I know that the price per hour of enjoyment is generally much lower than a movie, but the initial cost still gives me pause.

Aside: I wanted to do the math on that to see if my feelings are correct. Going to see a movie in the theater usually costs me $6.25 (I try to go between 4p-6p when it’s cheaper), so a 2-hour movie costs me $3.13 per hour. Assassin’s Creed IV would’ve cost me $60 if I hadn’t borrowed it from a friend, and I put at least 110 hours into it (which, might I add, is ridiculous). The cost per hour there is $1.83, a much better deal. It gets tricky when you consider a game like 007 Legends, a game I paid $20 for and spent 7-8 hours on, but didn’t like it at all. The cost then becomes a little like dividing by zero.

Many games have a “Season Pass,” usually a $20 charge, which means “any DLC we release you can get for no additional fee.” It’s ingenious, really. If I had to pay $80 at the store for the game and any future DLC, it’s likely I would never buy it. After I’ve bought the game and fallen in love with it, though, the dangled carrot of a new squadmate in Mass Effect 3 or a level and boss fight against Mr. Freeze in Arkham Origins is too much to resist.

A lot of people gripe about DLC being a “cash grab,” a concept I find a little odd. They put the work into it, they should get paid, right? The most common complaint is “it should have been in the game already,” and that’s a hard one to argue either way, I think, except in one particular situation. Sometimes the game will offer DLC and once you’ve paid, it will download a file that’s usually around 108kb. That filesize is code for “the content is already on the disc, this file just means you can access it now.” This is the sort of thing that can make a person pass out from choking on his own spittle. It’s not new, it’s not something that needed more work, it’s on the disc already.  This is the one instance I can agree with the “cash grab” accusers.

Two of my favorite ever DLC packs were for Mass Effect 3. “From the Ashes” gives you a new squadmate (with more story, of course) and taking him with me on missions provided some neat information and more than a few laughs. “Citadel” is my all-time #1 piece of DLC. It gave Commander Shepard a chance to spend some last time with each of her squadmates and even throw a party at her very snazzy new apartment. It had moments of hilarity and heartbreak, and it was a perfect addition to the series.

But the funny thing is, I never bought a Season Pass for Mass Effect 3. I don’t know if one wasn’t available, or if I didn’t understand the concept, or what, but I ended up buying both of those, plus Leviathan, and I still have plans to buy Omega. All told, I have spent more on Mass Effect 3 in the last two years than I’ve spent on dental care in the same time period.

The beauty and the agony of DLC, right there.


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