So continuing on with the gaming theme and in fact online gaming theme, I thought I would share my thoughts on Downloadable Content. When I first started playing PC games online, a Map pack would have been the equivalent to what would now be classed as Downloadable Content. Map packs were not a regular thing and not normally released by the developers of the game, they were community driven and some would be buggy and not well thought out. Sometimes you had to download 5 or more maps separately if you wanted them but you never really minded because you got new maps for free. If you were lucky developers would bring out an expansion pack once the game was released for a year+. Depending on what sort of game you played, this would normally mean new maps, new weapons, new units, maybe new skins and a new story Arch. This would normally be worth the money and give the game a new lease of life that could see it staying around another year or so, then a new game maybe 3 to 5 years down the line. We all generally got real excited for new releases. For me I remember how much I was looking forward to getting Call of Duty 2 and Halo 2 on release days, I would go to the midnight store openings for them.
I no longer get this feeling of excitement unless it the likes of a Grand Theft Auto or a Metal Gear Solid. This is not because I have got older and games don’t mean as much, nor is it due to me not having the amount of time I used to for gaming. It is simply because I don’t believe game studio/publishers care as much as they used. To me it seems like they just want to pump out a new title every year and count their cash. Downloadable content is a couple of new maps that would have been made whilst the game was being developed, a couple of new units/weapons which again could have been available on release and maybe a new perk or two. These seem to be released every 3 months for £20, so if you end up enjoying a the game on release and wanted to play regularly online, a game that cost £49.99 is is now a £109.99. In a couple of months time the next installment of the game will come out, the guys you play with will move onto the new game and the community you felt apart of will slowly disappear and you will have to start again for another £49.99. This has been an unfortunate bi product of the success of online console gaming, with a bigger target audience I think the publishers took a gamble that has paid off massively.
I fell into this trap with Battlefield 3 and 4, looking back I don’t feel like I have got my monies worth but I am likely to fall for it again when Battlefront comes out. I am sure EA are planning to bleed dry the Star Wars fans but the trailers do look fucking amazing and I am hoping to get a closed Beta invite. I think that this is one of the reason I have so much time for Dota2. This is a Free 2 Play Title that I have now spent in the region of £100/£150 on in game items or in game tickets to watch Pro tournaments. However I personally feel that this is more than justified by the amount of time I have spent playing the game, as well as watching it and believe the guys I play with feel the same. I am hopeful that a good first person shooter will come out in the Free 2 Play scene but am not holding my breath. I have closed Beta access for Ghost In A Shell First Assault and am look forward to playing that a little over the weekend to see what it is like.