ME3 DLC Debacle

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ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby wolfmane » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:03 pm

Anyone else hear about the 'From Ashes' DLC controversy?

Warning: does contain spoilers about the nature of the content of the DLC.


Spoiler: show
Here's Total Biscuit's take on it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri0vrJ-y2zM&feature=plcp&context=C32c171dUDOEgsToPDskJTkEFndEHP8h9NP3QwvLCW

some other stuff and Bioware's response:
http://kotaku.com/5887626/mass-effect-3-dlc-triggers-fan-outrage-bioware-response
http://kotaku.com/5887626/mass-effect-3-dlc-triggers-fan-outrage-bioware-response

The flaw in TB's argument that has been pointed out is that we don't actually know if the content being sold by the DLC is either truly important to the storyline or that it is the only way to get access to the content. In other words the core game could cover the same material that is revealed by the DLC, the bonus just being a new character to play for $10. It could also be such that the new character doesn't have any storyline and is just a cool add-in homage to the lore of the game.


Whatever is going on it sounds a bit shady and too closely treads a line that should not be crossed. In that I am in agreement with Total Biscuit. I was extremely excited to play ME3 but if they are in fact doing this marketing strategy on purpose I will unfortunately have to pass on the game unless they repeal their decision. However I'm not sure that kind of clear cut answer can be obtained based on Casey Hudson's response (not sure that's the official Bioware response). Casey's response wasn't really successful in answering what I feel is the core question in the argument, whether the DLC content is actually important to the story line or not. In some ways it seems like he avoided the core of the issue and responded with an explanation on the mechanics of how and why the From Ashes is a DLC instead of being included in the launch.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Perictione » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:08 pm

Hmmm... looks like more and more development studios are taking marketing lessons from Kotick and Co. Power to 'em, I say. But here's my hope for all those gaming junkies to wake up and to start voting with their dollars as to what they think the future of gaming should be rather than relying on bait and switch or carrot and stick marketing schemes.

And, you know, if I'm to be perfectly clear on this issue... this suggestion has much wider application; it doesn't just apply to videogames.


- P.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby amb2010 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:23 pm

100% disappointed.

TB's video sums up my view on this. I was annoyed with the other money grabbing schemes (the book, the apps) but this is just too much. It's to the point I don't even want to put time into SWTOR because I'll constantly be waiting for them to make me pay through the teeth for content -_-
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby hawkn » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:54 pm

It doesn't shock me at all, but it still disappoints me. Even from a lore standpoint it annoys me.

I'll be holding off on ME3 for a while.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Majai » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:15 pm

There is a real sickness in the video game industry now days. I can't believe that the people that are making the games approve of tactics like this. Afterall, if you take pride in the game that you create, you would want people to see the best version of it. Yet a large percentage of the people who play ME3 will be playing a game that is purposely inferior to what it could have been. Would the author of a book allow the publisher to cut a chapter out of the book so that they could sell it as a separate short story?

I fortunately, an not eagerly anticipating this title, and will definitely be taking a pass on this product. I would encourage any others who don't feel a real need to get this game take a pass as well.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Zidders » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:53 pm

The thing is, the studio making the game is owned and run by the publisher. No matter what the people writing and developing it think, they answer to their bosses, just like anyone else with a job and a boss. The game industry is a business. If you're lucky, you end up like Runic-partnered with a publisher who is willing to let you chart your own course. You might get extremely lucky and end up like Notch..indie and able to stay indie. He's the exception to the rule, tho. Most indie game makers AND game studioes struggle to balance doing something they love for a living and surviving.

Look, it all comes down to this. Situations like Bioware, and THQ's recent troubles, and Flagship and all that..they get a ton of attention because they're the big guys. It's sensational. Game journalism has gotten to be a lot like mainstream journalism..mostly because a lot of game news sites are owned by big media companies. it's all about how many clicks you can generate. Fortunately we've got sites out there (like Penny Arcades newest venture http://penny-arcade.com/report/ or sites like http://www.killscreendaily.com/, which has some really great game reviews). There are a ton of great companies out there that AREN'T doing what Bioware is doing, it's just everyone gets this big impression that we're reaching some sort of gaming industry collapse....


And maybe that's true. Maybe it's a good thing, in the long run. Maybe it will force companies to adapt to all the change going on. We just have to make sure it's the right kind of change. Already as we speak, there are people starting up online music distribution platforms that are starting to sound suspiciously like the same old same old. Control all the artists due to fact youve got more money to promote them. Same with projects like Kickstarter, which are supposed to be about helping the little guy get started.All the attention Tom Shafer is getting can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyways, I don't think this should be seen as a dire portent of things to come. I mean, it could be-if we let it. Vote with your wallet and for crying out loud, if you're going to pirate, don't brag about it and use 'protesting the corporate pricks' as a way of legitimizing it. Seriously, all it does is give the corporations ammo. They need an excuse to control more and more of the products they sell us and arguments like that just help them vindicate a lot of what they're doing. .
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Ferdinand » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:41 am

Bioware's been doing this for what, five games now?
And now it's a problem?

So whenever I see sudden rage at this, all I can read out of it is: "Back then it was ok, but now that it may contain stuff I might wanna see it's wrong."

There was a time to raise a voice and complain and boycott. Unfortunately it was five years ago.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby amb2010 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:50 am

I'm pretty sure TB complained about the DLC in both Dragon Age and also in Oblivion so I wouldn't exactly say it's "back then it was ok" material. The DLC back then wasn't possibly going to be an integral part of the story (to my knowledge at least) where as this DLC for ME3 might be. The issue isn't so much day 1 DLC but the fact that EA is essentially going "If you didn't pay us enough for the game, you don't get access to this important chunk of the story" and saying a Prothean(how ever you spell it) isn't important seems a bit of a stretch to me. TB definitely was an ME fan though so of course he'd get a bit more heated up at this.

As for the recent "No time was taken from the original game" comment I call total BS and will point it out every. time. someone. finds. a. bug. Saying they completed the game in January and this time was spent on DLC is a ridiculous thing to claim. If the game was "complete" and no more time could be spent on it that means it's 100% bug free folks, that's amazing ain't it.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Seer » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:42 am

And then it's the pirates' fault that their shit doesn't sell. The only way to stop that crap is by not buying them.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby wolfmane » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:41 am

Ferdinand wrote:Bioware's been doing this for what, five games now?
And now it's a problem?

So whenever I see sudden rage at this, all I can read out of it is: "Back then it was ok, but now that it may contain stuff I might wanna see it's wrong."

There was a time to raise a voice and complain and boycott. Unfortunately it was five years ago.


A man comes up and pushes me. It's incredibly rude but I figure that maybe he's having a bad day. Regardless I'm more interested in finding out why he pushed me and to try to de-escalate the issue. The same man pushes me again. Now I'm starting to get angry but I'm still not willing to escalate the issue, I want to resolve the problem peacefully. Despite my attempts and warnings that he not push me again, the man does it again much hard than he has ever before to the point that I now fear for my safety as his intentions of directed harm towards me have become clear. That's when the line is crossed and I've entered into a situation where I need to initiate actions to disrupt the threat coming my way.

I use this example because it's a universally common way that people deal with things ranging from personal confrontation to events as simple as receiving incorrect change from a cashier. Most people are willing to put up with a significant amount of negative variance because we need time to collect and analyze the situation in order to recognize patterns. Now experience will teach us to recognize the beginnings of patterns very quickly with very little data. However experience can also teach us that acting on small amounts of data before seeing a true pattern established can be dangerous. If in the above example a man comes up and pushes me and I immediately initiate actions to disrupt the threat I could land myself in a great deal of trouble. He could have in fact been pushing me out of the way of an incoming biker or a car or something else. How do you react when a cashier gives you the wrong amount of change? Do you immediately start yelling or do you work to resolve the issue. How about if you get the wrong change again? A third time?

Sure maybe Bioware has been pushing before but now at this point they just pushed harder than they have before. Up until this point I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in order to collect more data to verify the pattern before acting. There's a point being made about the difference between the previous actions and the recent DLC issues. So no, I don't think you can really say that action should have been taken before. I don't mind DLC if it's done right. I've participated in DLC myself. However there's a distinction between good DLC and bad DLC.

"Back then it was ok, but now that it may contain stuff I might wanna see it's wrong."

That's a bit twisted and not what is really being said. It's like buying a car but the bolts to the car are sold separately. Unless I purposely want to build my own car then I want a complete car bolts and all. If I wanted to build my own car then it defeats the purpose of buying an entire car in the first place. In other words the point is that they've possibly pulled bolts and screws out of the car to sell them separately. That's fine if they would just come out and tell me so before I decide to buy the product. If they tell me the bolts are sold separately I now have the power of making a decision to buy or not. What is shady about it is if I'm buying the car and I think I'm getting an entire car, only to find out that in order for me to take it on the freeway I actually also need to buy some bolts for it. I'm not buying what I thought I was and I was purposely deceived in order to take my money.

Also let me ask you since I'm curious, just because a bully takes advantage of me once and I didn't do anything the first, second or third time, it's now forever too late to make a stand if it happens again? That seems to be the line of argument you're following.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Talvin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:31 am

Want it.. Pay for it, do not want it.. Do not pay for it.

Clearly people buy it, otherwise they would not make it. So...

Sure it feels like a slap in the face... But only because it is not affordable or not worth it, so why remove the fun for those who think it is affordable/worth it?

I bought all dlc for Me2 and none for Da2... i have no complaints over the day 1 dlc. I understand that there is first class and economy class... Which one to choose?

I am still fighting with if I should buy it.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Zidders » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:08 pm

Talvin wrote:Want it.. Pay for it, do not want it.. Do not pay for it.

Clearly people buy it, otherwise they would not make it. So...

Sure it feels like a slap in the face... But only because it is not affordable or not worth it, so why remove the fun for those who think it is affordable/worth it?

I bought all dlc for Me2 and none for Da2... i have no complaints over the day 1 dlc. I understand that there is first class and economy class... Which one to choose?

I am still fighting with if I should buy it.


Because when you know a company is doing the wrong thing and taking advantage of its customers, maybe not buying it and going a step farther and boycotting/protesting/telling the company you don't approve of its business practices is necessary, lest other companies see the example companies like Bioware are setting and decide that maybe they can get away with it, too?

And comparing first class and economy class to what Bioware is doing is pretty apples and oranges.This has nothing to do with affordability. At all. This has everything to do with Bioware (and EA) manipulating its customers good will and their love of the series. They know they have people hook, line and sinker so they're dangling a carrot on a stick and expecting you to buy the carrot and thank them for it afterwards. It's manipulative and noone should put up with it.

Either the dlc is minor content, in which case it's disrespectful of your own story if you build up the focus of that content and make it an extremely important part of the plot and then use it as minor content...or, it's treated right-as a major part of the story-in which case it proves that they're being manipulative. I seriously can't believe a company that used to respect its fans SO much has gotten to this point. Screw EA for what they're doing to Biowares' legacy. They've ruined so many of my favorite studios, it's not funny. I still can't forgive them for what they did to Westwood.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Talyn » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:59 pm

i will be buy ME3...when the Prothean DLC becomes free or the game goes on for $5 (like when i first picked up ME)

really EA, the ol' bait and switch only works if the fools accept it or don't see it. trying to manipulate me into paying and extra $20 by saying i get less than a quarter of the stuff for $10 is insane.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby T6000 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:33 pm

I'm use to DLC of all sorts, and even Day 1 DLC. I've even bought some DLC that I thought were worth it, since I believe that DLC can be good if done right. But I felt that Bioware went a bit too far with DLC with a character that was important to the overall story. But then again it could have been EA that was calling the shots, but whoever decided to I am a bit disappointed.

But on the other hand, I'm not surprised one bit. Why? It's because Game Development is becoming more expensive. Especially since Video Games have become more mainstream, and not seen as something for kids and Geeks anymore (though my relatives and Family in Greece still thinks they're just for kids. *facepalm*). As Game Engines become more advance (as well as the rush to make them more advance with the increase demand of better graphics with each Console Generation, or even sooner. Sometimes the demand comes as soon as merely with the next sequel) they become more expensive to develop. It's harder to turn a profit for selling a game at $60 a pop for a team of +100 Developers, then back over a decade ago with 20-50 developers charging $50 for a title they develop. And that's not including the costs of good story writers, professional voice actors, and Professional music artists. But I think the biggest money eater is promotion & advertisement. Big Name games with Big name titles (such as the Call of Duty series, with Activision as it's publisher) actually need millions of copies to sell to turn a profit, and even that's not enough to sell anymore.

I feel as if DLCs are a way for the industry to help maintain the expense of Game development, coupled with rising prices of new releases it seems like the only way for the industry to sustain itself is to try to pass some of the expenses onto us consumers. So far it's helping, even though not many are crazy about DLC (Understandably). But it'll come to a point where DLC won't be enough either, and we consumers won't be able to help with the expense of Game Developments anymore. Already some people I know can afford to buy very few titles on release day, and they certainly can't afford to buy DLC for every game they own.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this Nickel & Diming with DLC is a side effect of the rising costs of game development, and I expect it to get worse in the next Console Generation. Maybe even sooner. And this is what I have feared could lead to a third video game crash, game development simply becoming to expensive. Unless the market changes & Adapts. In a way we are kinda seeing this, with the rise of Indie Games & Free 2 Play titles.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Wildman » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:25 pm

Zidders wrote:Either the dlc is minor content, in which case it's disrespectful of your own story if you build up the focus of that content and make it an extremely important part of the plot and then use it as minor content...or, it's treated right-as a major part of the story-in which case it proves that they're being manipulative. I seriously can't believe a company that used to respect its fans SO much has gotten to this point. Screw EA for what they're doing to Biowares' legacy. They've ruined so many of my favorite studios, it's not funny. I still can't forgive them for what they did to Westwood.


Good post there, Zidders. I'm still mad as hell about Westwood too.

If Bioware is telling the truth, they should have worded the release of the DLC differently. I mean come-on, how hard is it to say. “Due to the demand of our fans, for the extra content available with the collectors edition (extra character and quest) we have made that content available as a DLC on release, for those who can only find the standard edition.”

How simple is that? Anyone who has looked at the CE knows that it comes with an extra character and quest. Most fans of the game know the collectors edition has been sold out for some time, and extremely hard to find. A lot of those same people want the extra content that gos with having the CE.

Well, they make it available and look at the back-lash, because of bad wording in an announcement.

Bioware now has a choice to make. Stick to their guns and charge for the DLC, or piss off the collectors edition buyers by giving in to the demands of the others who didn't pay for the extra content.

Okay, I'm done playing devils advocate.

Personally, I don't like 0-day (pay extra money) DLC releases, unless they are cosmetic and are part of a collectors edition being made available to standard edition buyers. Nothing pisses gamers off more, than buying a CE and having the content given away to a bunch of whiners who don't want to pay for it, or having to pay for a DLC that should have been in the game to begin with. I haven't bought an EA game since HG:L, and before that, since they destroyed Westwood studios. If more people did that kind of thing EA wouldn't be what it is today, if they would even still exist.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby amb2010 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:41 pm

I think people are still missing the point. There is no, I repeat no anger at DLC or even 0 day release DLC as a whole going around (that is, from people that aren't just hopping on the rage-bandwagon). The anger is stemming from making that DLC important and something that shouldn't be lopped off "for those that can afford to pay extra".

The car example was a very good example. This isn't people angry about buying a new car, only to find out that the air freshener that dangles on the rear-view mirror costs an extra $5, it's people buying a car and then being told they need to pay extra if they want all 4 wheels. It's something you would reasonably expect a brand new car to come with and it's crossing the line when you start saying X customer doesn't get this important aspect to the product because the already expensive product they bought still wasn't expensive enough. This has nothing to do with "paying for game development", there are sooo many better ways to go about that and this is purely milking the series. Whether it's Bioware or EA's fault, no one will really know. I'm guessing EA since they tend to muck around with things but there's not much you can do. Either you buy it to support Bioware but give EA the support they need to keep doing this and other companies to do it, or you don't buy it and cause harm to the original developers who may have had nothing to do with this but also tell EA they dun goof'd. That of course hinges on whether this is indeed important DLC or not. Bioware/EA certainly aren't doing a very good job of explaining what it is so I honestly don't know at this point. It would be silly for it to not be important because that's basically a back-hand to the lore and if it is then it's a horrible business decision. Time will tell.

I will say though, DLC as a "collectors edition" reward is pretty close to the line as well, IMO. Collectors edition does not mean they need to be rewarded with an advantage in-game. There's so many other things you can throw into the collector's edition for people to "collect". Art books (something EA is still charging for outside of the CE >_>), sound tracks, maps, figurines. There's a huge list and I'd say on the bottom is cosmetic DLC (TF2 hats ftw). Anything else is pay2win and that is a horrible business model. People who pay more should get rewarded, but paying more should be an option and not a requirement to get the full effect from the game. Those of course are definitely more expensive than DLC to make and I can see why it would become redundant at a certain point but I think pay2win will lead down a road to a much much worse ending and as such should be totally avoided.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Talvin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:50 pm

Zidders mean that everyone who buys his definition of unnecessary and overpriced dlc to be addicted and manipulated and thus feel the urge to protect them? In some aspects in life people have to learn that life is not fair and to think for them selves. If they are in fact fooled by EA in a perfectly legal way, who are the stupid ones? EA or the people?

If Bioware released in this instance any kind of DLC to DA:Origins I would buy it immediately up to an amount of 20$ and I would buy an expansion up to 60$. I want this to happen. Who are you to say if it is right or wrong for them to release this? Same goes for ME2. You can call me stupid, but I can live with that. As long as I am happy.

I would not buy even the simplest / low priced hat for TF2 or DLC from DA2 or any item from a free mmorpg, I would not even pay 1$ for 10 hats in TF2, but there is a lot of who would and wants to. Who would I be to deny them this?

Again... First class / economy class is perfectly fine to compare. I can also take buying a car with standard equipment or add that blue tooth device or leather seats when buying.

The things one has to decide is the following: Is this piece of code worth my money or not. If it is not, do not buy it, wait for it to become cheaper and if it does not, skip it. To help Bioware/EA to understand, send them a letter and explain: You lost a customer, I would have payed x$ for this but not y$. Imagine if 95% of their customers did this?

I find Armani suits to be overpriced. Would I like to buy them cheap? Yes.
In my current position is an Armani suit worth it? No... so I do not buy it and move on. I will not however start calling injustice, manipulation and conspiracy for them making them suites.

@Amb: If I bought a car and it did not have four wheels, I would be pissed of at myself for not checking that before I bought the car?
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby amb2010 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:57 pm

This entire thing is about setting standards. Not forcing people to have to choose betwen the lesser of two evils, not having to choose between "bend over and take it" and "go without it". Apparently no one cares about that and would rather nitpick at silly things and ignore the entire root of the discussion. Since this is just going absolutely no where I'm calling it quits. Good Luck and enjoy spending butt loads of cash in the future when companies realize you don't care what they do in order to milk cash from ya.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Ferdinand » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:09 pm

wolfmane wrote:A man comes up and pushes me. [/snip]


I stopped reading the second you compared someone offering to sell you something to someone physically assaulting you.
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Re: ME3 DLC Debacle

Postby Talvin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:11 pm

amb2010 wrote:Fast reply but I could not resist the urge: If the DLC is important it's the equivalent of buying that suit but having one pant leg missing :P

Whether we have a choice in the matter does not make it alright to do. You have the choice to either be robbed, or to resist. Does not resisting immediately make it not a crime? No it most certainly does not. This is a question of whether this business decision is "proper" and respectful to the consumers. Some people think it isn't some think it is, you are right in that. You however can't say people don't have a right to call injustice when you are also saying it's not right to say people can't say it's justifiable: that's not how opinions work.


Why on earth would I ever buy a suit where a leg is missing? I would go to a company that sells a suit where a leg is not missing. If no such places where to exist... I can survive without the suit :)

A robbery is forced upon you and you have no choice in participating or not in the robbery. You have a choice to participate in the purchase of the product and thus if you want the dlc or not. If you were forced to buy ME3 then it would be the same as the robbery (Except from the life danger, risk of becoming damaged for the rest of your life etc) but yes.. I guess it would be a crime still.

Ohh I am all for that people can say their opinion. But I will also state my opinion and ... if I think that they are wrong I will say that in my opinion they are wrong and I will say why I think that is so, then if they want to change my opinion they are free to lay down why. I just think that crying of what is fair and not is so... disgusting even.

Just as I think that the robbery description was wrong, and will think so until you can prove that it is not wrong.

If EA had hidden in a ME3 contract where it says that after 3 months of the purchase of ME3 you will have to buy dlc x and it is legally binding. If this were nowhere to be read... I would think that EA have done something horrible. If they had mentioned it in a piece of text where it is hard to read. I would buy the damn thing and never ever support EA again. Because in that case it was my own stupid mistake that I did not read all the information.
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