The pain of discovering a fresh game, that you really enjoy and then realising you can’t proceed without a number of add-ons is real.
These add-ons come in the form of “Downloadable Content” or DLCs for short. This is when you pay a bit more money to have more of an advantage in the game you’re playing or want to expand the story further.
The vast majority of us that dedicate our lives to support our gaming hobby don’t have the benefits of a generous sponsor to fuel our needs.
(Unless you were born into a house with a dedicated bank of mum and dad and therefore, don’t have to consider earning money).
Therefore, having to purchase DLCs can be stressful on our savings.
When I first approached this subject, I immediately thought to myself: ‘Nope, not worth it. It is just a way so that they can make more money’.
I still agree that a lot of packs you can purchase on top of a game only exist because the companies behind the game know that followers of the franchise will pay more money.
A variety of games that stand out in the industry show great potential in expanding their content.
So, in this article, we will discuss
- What makes a great DLC
- What makes a money wasting DLC
- Which games to look out for
Here is the first game to come to mind to demonstrate great ways of creating and introducing DLCs.
A great example of successful DLCs: Destiny
Now with 4 DLCs, Destiny is one of the few games with the potential to live forever.
Every DLC is different.
Each DLC follows a similar story where you are a guardian whose mission is to protect your Galaxy from The Darkness, once defeated but rising again.
Within every story, you will receive a variety of tasks to fulfil in order to restore peace.
Now this is the best bit:
Each DLC sees you take on unique challenges with the opportunity to travel across new parts of the galaxy while you face never seen before enemies and boss levels to defeat.
Your weapons can be upgraded each time you purchase an expansion pack and you can also increase your level higher than the previous cap.
Some DLCs add new social areas to find and complete bounties as well as new characters to meet.
What gets me about these add-ons you can buy is how much it changes the course of the game.
Just as you think all is well and you’ve saved the galaxy, a new enemy arises to create more problems in another area of the world.
One of the great things is that they’ve made sure that Destiny on its own came with plenty of content so that you didn’t necessarily need the DLC.
It also means that once you have completed the main story (and have become fed up with the multiplayer function), you don’t have to move the game on, just wait for a DLC to be released so that the story continues.
These extension packs create away so that they hype of a game never dies; the story never becomes old or nostalgic as the game is, essentially, still being created.
It’s like having bought a game while they are still writing the rest of the story.
So what did the developers do to make the DLCs successful:
- Made each DLC worth while so that it came with a number of benefits
- Made sure that Destiny on its own was still playable
- Made it possible to buy the game along with DLCs so that users didn’t have to purchase a number of packs on top
- Advertised the DLCs as a whole new game so that the hype of the game never died out.
Thanks to all of this, the game will never die!
Another game who’s DLCs stand out from the crowd:
Similar to Destiny, Witcher 3’s expansion packs are said to completely redefine the game.
Not only do they include unique quests to expand the already 150 hour-long story, they also include new areas and improvements in the physics in the game.
The added content is almost like buying a whole new game!
But thanks to a more recent release of the game, here’s the most amazing bit about these DLCs:
They are all free when you buy the ‘Game of The Year Edition’.
You heard right!
It’s a DLC that’s included within the game.
Something even better to warm your heart, Witcher 3 is a kick-ass game with 10/10 ratings so is definitely worth a play.
In regard to games that are ripping off their users with DLCs, there seems to be a common trend!
How not to make a DLC
What developers seem to believe is a smart move is to make sure they release a popular game with nothing in it.
Take Sims 4 for example.
The developers of this game knew that Sims 4 would be popular among its fan base due to the continuous success Sims has seen throughout its franchise.
So, they exploited this.
One of the things that players love to do when they first start the game is personalise the house so they can meet all their creepy, love-making Sims’ needs.
This was deemed incredibly challenging thanks to the developers wonderful idea of making the game containing virtually nothing.
But how would players be able to decorate their homes to their hearts contents?
You guessed it: by purchasing expansion packs.
This seemed to become a running theme throughout the game as this affects a number of ways in which the game worked.
For example, a great way to entertain our sims is by getting them a job.
Well, you need DLCs for the good ones.
And what about all the quirky items that your family can interact with to make the game interesting?
Yep, your gonna have to spend more money for that too.
What upsets me the most about this is the players don’t step back and truly think about what they are purchasing.
They are going to buy a virtual sofa, for a virtual person, in a virtual world. The effect of them spending real money in this game will have no effect in real life other than the fact that someone has now got your money.
You’re not funding for a child’s hospital fees; you’re not paying for a new well in Africa for those who don’t have water. You are paying for a virtual sofa!
So what EA have done is made their players pay for worthless things that should have been included in the game.
Well done, EA.
I must lighten up a bit; these virtual sofas are allowing players to find enjoyment in looking after their Sims; the game is enjoyable.
But only really when you’ve payed more money.
Another fantastic example of a time-wasting DLC is the well known Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Extension.
Many players pay for these supposedly useful DLCs in the hopes that they will gain some advantage throughout the game.
Well, one of these was supposed to do that.
Gamers could buy armour for their horse but this set of kit did absolutely nothing other than make their steed look pretty.
Now I don’t know about you but the players of these games don’t seem like the type of people that would worry about their companion’s appearance on the battlefield.
Of course, they believed that this new piece of kit might help their horse to last a bit longer and increase it’s health but, well, it didn’t quite do that.
This DLC was so bad, it became a meme!
“Horse Armour” is also now an Urban dictionary term to “describe video game features that are useless and overpriced.”
So, this has proved to be another great example of what not to sell to your fans: something that gives you absolutely no advantage.
What you should be looking out for in DLCs
I’m hoping that you have learnt that some developers are out there to get your money so there are key facts to be looking out for when considering purchasing a DLC.
- How many extra items does the DLC offer to help you advance in the game? Is it giving you something useful like new weapons or something less worth while like new colour schemes for your outfit (and I’m not talking about camouflage).
- What other extra content is included to expand the story/ online play? Does it include new maps, new storylines, new characters to interact with to expand your story, hidden levels etc.
- How much does it cost? If the DLC is costing you an arm and a leg, do your research. What exactly is it including?
- Don’t always listen to the developer’s description of the packs because, at the end of the day, they just want to sell it to you. Go online and search for players reviews.
What was the WORST DLC you have ever purchased? Let me know in the comments below.