“We are apparently at a point now where the Collector’s Edition is not the ultimate manifestation of a game.”
I think Penny Arcade has it right on the nose — as much as I love BioWare and am eagerly consuming DAO this week, their microtransaction/DLC methods whiff of a shifty deal in a back alley. Of course, this is all under the EA banner, and I still itch unbearably whenever I think of how much they presented us with a gutted Sims 3 and then expected us to spend upwards of $100 to purchase the rest of the content.
As Tycho said, it’s downright confusing as to which version of the game came with what “free” DLC — I too bought the Collector’s Edition, and still had to pony up $7 for Warden’s Peak. This is the double-edged sword of the microtransaction argument: people say you don’t *have* to buy this stuff, and technically that’s true, but you also have to live with a substandard version of the game as a result. It’s like buying a car — you don’t have to buy an air conditioner with it, but you know you’re going to, because it’s a cheaper experience (in both senses of the word) without one. And yes, it’s extremely tacky to try to be pushing this stuff on us on day one. We’ve certainly been through this before *gives Cryptic a look*.
I do hope they continue to develop new content for DAO, and it’d be a swell move on their part if some of it was free, even — a gesture of good faith, or somesuch. But my other quibble is with pricing. You see, “microtransaction” to me is actually “micro”. Like, $5 or less. I don’t know why we consider $10 or $15 “micro”, but I guess that’s just semantics. In any case, if you didn’t get either Warden’s Peak or the Stone Prisoner as part of your purchase, you have to spend $7 and $15 respectively to unlock it. Having just completed both quest lines/areas, I have to say that while the quality of the content is good, both new areas are pretty short, representing about 30 minutes apiece. They also leave you with a few legacy items: Warden’s Peak has some nice armor and special abilities, as well as granting you a base once you retake it, and Stone Prisoner adds a jive-talking golem to your party for the rest of the game. So you have to decide if that’s really worth the price, for you. I don’t regret it, but it does seem fairly pricey. After all, Baldur’s Gate 2 let you capture multiple bases and add all characters to your party without an additional cost.
Fidgit even went so far as to accuse BioWare of scamming players, mostly because if you don’t buy the Warden’s Keep, you’ll be shut out of a standard RPG feature — a storage chest.
Really, with all the confusion over the different editions, and with the sour taste that day one DLC purchases leave with many, it would have been a classy move on BioWare’s behalf to just give all players these two pieces of content as a pleasant surprise, and then gone on to work on further paid content.
“Regardless, day one DLC that must be paid for will likely continue to cause frustration in the future, especially when it includes aspects that can improve the play experience.”
“Seriously though, I’m all for DLC, but give players some time before buying the full game and buying the content you’ve already made, right? I’m otherwise really geared up for Dragon Age: Origins, but day one DLC gets on my nerves.”