October 12, 2009

Premium is a Good Word

It's been a few posts since I talked about WoW... but guess what! I actually don't have anything to talk about there. I haven't played much recently (comparatively), and though there's some cool stuff going down with Tier 10 on the PTR, there's just not enough information out there for me to make an intelligent assessment. So far, I like it. That's really all I can say.

So instead, I'm going to talk about downloadable content. Believe it or not, I only this weekend bought my first piece of premium downloadable content. The Fortune Pack, for Far Cry 2, if you're interested. That's setting aside digitally distributed games, by the way- I've bought plenty of those. No, I'm talking specifically about addons to games. Oh wait! Map packs for Halo and Call of Duty. I am an idiot, nevermind. That's not the point anyway.

There is a discussion to be had- or rather, that has been had within the community, and will continue for quite some time, about whether developers are omitting content so that they can sell it later. I think I can safely say that at least in some situations, Capcom is. And that's bullshit. We should indeed be angry about that. But you know? That's a very hot topic, the lines are drawn, and frankly no one will give a shit what I have to say. Everyone has made up their minds on the subject, and there's no progress being made. So let's leave that alone, and talk about something a little less scary- how DLC actually works, should be implemented, and whatnot.

First off, we need to note a difference between multiplayer and singleplayer DLC. Multiplayer DLC is veeeery restrictive. Not everyone is going to get this DLC, and you don't wanna just eff it up for everyone who doesn't, cause then you get lots of pissed customers. The tradition is map packs, and given how well that works I imagine it will remain the tradition for quite some time. I'll be honest, maps are not a huge deal for me. I love good maps, I hate bad ones, but the map doesn't really invade my experience that much for me. Personally, I like to see additions to my arsenal or to the game world. And this is difficult.

Obviously, adding new weapons, moves, etc. without giving them to non-DLC players is just plain unbalanced. You really can't put the two in the same room, it's not fair. So then you end up in the bizzare situation of keeping them from playing together, and it all just becomes a mess. I love new weapons, but there's really no good way to do them in a multiplayer situation unless you give them to everyone. Expanding the world, though, is an option I feel like hasn't been properly explored. For example, imagine if you were to add a new mode of gameplay as DLC that only people who'd downloaded it could play. You could have it be in a different matchmaking queue than the regular modes, and there would be no problem! It seems like a good way to expand the scope of your game without compromising the owners that aren't interested.

...This post is pretty long already, actually. Well, I'm getting this up fairly early in the day, so I'll do an extra post today or tomorrow about single player DLC, where your options are far more varied.

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