The hit and miss of DLC

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The hit and miss of DLC

Ever since the phenomenal success of World of Warcraft, every gaming company is looking for a way to get gamers to continuously fork out for games they've already paid for. The WoW (World of Warcraft) model is easy to replicate for MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) - people need to connect to your server to play the game, so you can charge them.

When it comes to singe player / play at home games, finding a way to get your customers to repeatedly empty their pockets into your coffers is a little more challenging. Enter Downloadable Content: DLC.

I've always been highly adverse to buying adds on for games through this method. I feel I've already paid for the game once and I don't really want to keep on paying. However, due to my enthusiasm for Mass Effect 2, I have allowed myself to become gradually sucked in to the add-on experience, partly by my love of the game and partly by the low cost of each add on (usually in the vicinity of $5 to $10). In the process, I have learned a few things:

DLC should not be an excuse to skimp on polish
When you have a full blown game, it's usually polished and well finished. The game plays well, with little or no serious bugs. DLC breaks this rule. Somehow, when you've only paid $5 for a game addition, I am starting to figure we're expected to swallow that this add on is allowed to be rough as hell. Well, in my opinion, it's not.

Maybe I'm being cynical but I don't believe these game add ons are being created "as we speak". I believe they were all created at the same time as the original game an dare being slowly leaked out over time, to keep the game alive and keep income flowing. As such, the content of these DLCs should not come across as though they are first drafts. Being able to walk through walls and having camera angles in cut scenes that obscure your vision of said cut scene are not good enough.

Free should not mean pointless
Sometimes, DLC is free. This is great - but it's not an excuse to have DLC that adds nothing to the game and is boring as hell. A DLC add on mission for a shooter that has no enemies and is nothing but a map-hunt, with a tonne of walking, just makes me want to stop playing.

Just because it's cheap does not mean it should be over in minutes
Even if I only paid $5 for a new DLC mission, I should be within my rights to expect it last longer than 5 minutes. I don't want to play gaming for $1 a minute - my house is not an arcade.

DLC should have something to do with the game
I don't really mind DLC being a completely unrelated side quest. However it's much nicer if it ties up some lose ends in the game or gives you a new angle on the storyline or even extends the story.

Sometimes, DLC can change your World
Now and then, you can have a win. In this article, I write about such a DLC mission. This is what DLC should be about. Intimately tied to the story line, hours of game play and giving the player exactly what they want.

So what's your take on DLC?

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