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Dragon Age: Origins To Get Paid DLC Expansion — On Launch Day 241

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-what-now dept.
BioWare's upcoming RPG, Dragon Age: Origins, is set to launch on November 3rd. Today they announced details about some of the downloadable content they have planned for the game. In fact, it's scheduled to become available on the same day the game launches, at a cost of $7. (The PS3 version will be slightly delayed). "Called the Warden's Keep, the DLC will add a dungeon-based quest to the game along with six new abilities, a variety of items, and a base where players can trade with merchants. It will feature a supernatural storyline set in an ancient — and possibly haunted — fortress once used as a redoubt by the Grey Wardens, the ancient order at the center of Origins' main storyline." There will be two additional bits of DLC that are available for free to people who have purchased the game new. One "adds a stone golem character to the player's party from the beginning of the game, unlocking numerous story options," and the other increases a character's defense against some attacks in-game.
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Dragon Age: Origins To Get Paid DLC Expansion — On Launch Day

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  • by will_die (586523) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:42AM (#29678411) Homepage
    DLC is not required to complete or even play the game. They are extra content that adds to the game .
    It is widly known that games are probably going to have exansion packs, and now a days paid for DLC, so that is not the shocker. It is that they are releasing DLC on the day of release and since time probably does not factor into when DLC is release no falso advertisment or selling an incomplete product.
    Now if the cover art of the box included pictures of the DLC golem in the party they I would agree since the box is an advertisement of the product and they are showing you something that can only be seen if you purchase something not in the box.
  • Re:Well, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SirClicksalot (962033) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:45AM (#29678419)

    they could have just raised the price of the game and stuck it in. Would make me feel less of a sucker

    But it still wouldn't change the fact that they are trying to charge extra for what should just be in the game from the start.
    This isn't an expansion, this is just a side quest that has been ripped out of the game and is now sold separately.
    If EA gets their way we'll soon be paying for our RPGs on a per quest basis.

    Not that any of this will stop me from buying Dragon Age (although I don't think I ll buy any DLC).
    Which is of course the main problem. Dragon Age already has a strong following of BG/bioware fans.
    EA knows they can get away with this, the game will still be a guaranteed hit.

  • by CountBrass (590228) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:46AM (#29678429)
    EA weren't the first to do this.

    Paradox had pay-for DLC available for their game East India Company on the day it was released.

    And the Steam game 'RailWorks' (or something like that I'm at work so can't check Steam) seems to be nothing but pay-for DLC and most of it costs a significant fraction of the original game's price.
  • by neogramps (1432089) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:51AM (#29678451)
    This approach is not so different from having a normal and collector's edition of the game - there have been plenty of times in the past where the collector's edition gives you some in-game bonuses - if it was dressed up like that, rather than as additional DLC you have to buy separately, there wouldn't be such a hostile reaction. Selling it as DLC just makes Bioware look greedy; but selling it as a collector's edition makes it seem as though they're catering to hardcore fans and rewarding them with bonus content for buying the shinier box.
  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:53AM (#29678469) Homepage
    I know there's a cogent argument that DLC isn't always just something that should have shipped on the disk anyway, but really? Releasing an extra quest, for extra money, on release day?

    Yeah, that should have been part of the game. Sorry, but where else will it end? Before you know it companies will be releasing half finished games, and charging for 'service packs'.

    I pre-ordered this badboy in a show of support after their 'No DRM' statement. Now there's part of the game I'm going to have to 'pirate' on day one if I want the full game, so already there's little point to my gesture. I might as well pirate the whole thing if I'm going to have an illegal copy on my computer anyway.

    I won't cancel my pre-order for now, but I'll be watching how this pans out.

  • I have an idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dreamer.redeemer (1600257) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:06AM (#29678517) Homepage
    I have an idea... don't buy the DLC. We can call this exercise of freedom of choice in spending, hm... capital punishment, wait, no... capitalism maybe? Or we could call it a boycott, it doesn't roll off the tongue the same but the upside is that we can call not buying the game at all a mancott. Mancotts are powerful because you can use all that time saved from not gaming to build that DLCBS resistance movement. Mancotts are not to be confused with ascots, apricots, mascots, Madoffs, or men in cots, which are all powerful in various other respects for various other non-revolutionary reasons.
  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:10AM (#29678535) Homepage

    This approach is not so different from having a normal and collector's edition of the game - there have been plenty of times in the past where the collector's edition gives you some in-game bonuses

    I disagree. The only games I know of with extra in-game stuff in the collectors edition are MMOs, and the stuff is usually pretty lousy to compensate. Most collectors edition bumfluff is stuff like maps, coins, cards, making of DVDs, etc. But I have never seen meaningful extra in-game content given away with the collectors edition of any single player adventure game, and I don't think most people would stand for it there, either.

    How can something justifiably be called a 'collectors edition' or a 'special edition', if that's the only edition that contains the complete package? Or, to put it another way, how can the 'standard edition' not contain the actual game?

  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:32AM (#29678605)

    I bought Neverwinter Nights years ago and still play it to this day.

    One of the reasons I still play it is because they released additonal content (way after the game was released). I didn't mind paying for additional modules because a lot of work went into it and extended the life of the game.

    On the other hand - The DLC for Dragon Age seems to "enhance"/"influence" the gameplay of the main game.
    Which to be fair is a bit naughty - to get the "full experience" of the game you have to buy an additional module!

    If they released the DLC in say a few months later - maybe the reaction would not be so negative.

    As far as I am aware there is no Linux version of Dragon Age - so I will not be buying it. The other reason I still play Neverwinter Nights is because it was well ported to Linux and is also the reason I did not buy the sequel.

  • by BlkRb0t (1610449) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:38AM (#29678639)
    I would rather wait for a year or two and get the Collectors Edition or the GOTY which would include all the expansions/DLC with patches applied. And I would save a lot on it too. The upcoming Fallout 3 GOTY Edition is an example.
  • by FrostDust (1009075) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:14AM (#29678825)

    The difference is that, as you mentioned,

    If they released the DLC in say a few months later - maybe the reaction would not be so negative.

    By releasing modules for NWN months down the road, it implies that Bioware devs spent time and effort, after the game was initially released, into improving the product and giving players more content.

    With this and other recent games, releasing DLC near or even on release day implies some executive went "Okay guys, strip out 5% of the game's content, and put it online for $10 instead."

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:37AM (#29678921)
    Thanks for being part of the problem. Linux users won't buy games, so games developers won't develop for Linux, so Linux users won't buy games, so games developers won't develop for Linux...

    Maybe when Linux (all distros) has more desktop market share than a Microsoft OS which isn't even released yet [w3counter.com] they'll begin to care. Until then, please feel free to manually edit your .conf files, fiddle with wireless device "firmware" stripped out of Windows drivers, and live safe in the knowledge that you're intellectually elite compared to the rest of the Wintards (like myself) who are playing the games you can only whinge about.

    Horses for courses. Get Windows or a console for gaming. Until there is a unified architecture for 3D rendering on Linux (like DirectX on Windows) you're living in a dream world.
  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:45AM (#29678959)

    The better question is, why don't coders make sure linux will run it (not, will it run on linux).?

    You already know that it's going with be a game made to run on Windows. So instead of asking if they modified it so that it'll run perfectly on Linux, you should be asking why the people coding Linux don't focus on making sure Linux can run more games instead of features that no one (even the most die hard power user) uses.

    It's kind of like this http://xkcd.com/619/ [xkcd.com]

    And before you try to claim I'm a troll, I'm a big fan of Linux and love using it on my laptop - but my gaming system is Windows (for obvious reasons).

  • Textbooks have DLC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:56AM (#29679013) Homepage Journal

    There is no DLC for movies, books or music.

    A growing number of textbooks come with online extras available only to those who buy the book new.

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:00AM (#29679037)

    Aren't you making a huge assumption? You're assuming the DLC was something that existed when the game finished testing and went to manufacturing. If they had waited for this DLC to be ready before sending it to testing and then production, it would simply have delayed the game.

    Instead, they've been working on this DLC instead of sitting on their asses while they wait for testing to finish, production to ramp up and shipping to commence.

    And again, you do -not- have to buy it. Or pirate it. You could simply ignore it!

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:01AM (#29679043)

    A guy from Bioware had some things to say about this on Blue's News. He (obviously) was very adamant about how the content had not been removed from the game to make a quick buck. Bioware has had a dedicated team working on DLC for a long time, working in parallel with the main game team. The DLC would not have been ready early enough to pass through QA etc, there was no time to have it in the game on release day; obviously the QA process for just the expansion is faster than for the whole game -- I'd assume the criteria are more relaxed, as well, if the DLC breaks, it is optional after all. There is free DLC on launch day, as well.

    That said, the obvious question is, if the people working on the dedicated DLC team had been part of the main team, wouldn't they have had the resources to include more content in the released game? In that way, it still seems like they're "cheating" customers out of content. On the other hand, while it started out controversial, DLC in general is very accepted these days, and it seems arbitrary to react differently to it simply because it's released on launch day. Should they have simply let the DLC lie on a HDD somewhere for a few weeks?

    BTW, the developer (Derek French, I think) implied they founded the dedicated DLC team after very positive experiences with NWN, which let them support the game for another couple of years, and which was very well received from the community IIRC.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:15AM (#29679127) Journal

    The problem with the whole "DLC" concept is the second I heard this term used I figured it would translate into "big game corp says pay full price for a piece of a game, and THEN pay us more monies for the rest!". Why? Because we PC games have had "DLC" for years in the form of mods, only nobody came up with marketspeak to try to push them, that's why.

    When you look at the way the games have been going- "multiplatform" being a code word for shitty x360/PS3 port, more and more "DLC" that smells like stuff that should have been in the "real" game in the first place but was ripped out to make the extra monies, blaming piracy for everything when your DRM sucks ass and many of the games have no gameplay or are about as fun as a trip to the DMV, games the any beta tester could tell you are gonna suck but loaded to the brim with "Graphics 2.0" and "Ultraphysics" and other bling that gives you the sinking suspicion that is was designed with some Dilbert PHB checklist, it all comes down to one thing- corporate greed.

    Real games take time and love. And with the exception of a few genres where the hardcore will buy every year (Hi Madden!) you can't just repackage the same bullshit with another notch or two added to the features PPT. And with a dead economy I think we can all agree that the $59+ they have been charging for new releases is pretty much a mugging, which is why so many of the corporate drones are trying to find a way to kill first sale and places like Gamestop. So it appears the next idea to "maximize our profit potential" is a death of a thousand cuts upon the consumer. "Why give him the whole game" they say, "when we can just give him a piece of it at full price, and the gouge him out of more money for the rest of the game? Hell we can make $100-$200 a game!"

    You mark my words, we'll be seeing more and more games where it feels like larger and larger chunks are missing, only to have the "rest of the game" show up as expensive "extras" thanks to the marketspeak called DLC. That is why I am so glad there are still dedicating modders out there in the PC gaming community, that make add-ons because they love the game and want to see it continue. If any of you are reading this...thanks. There are so many games out there from top notch titles like Freelancer to even bargain bin titles like the Delta Force series where dedicated modders are giving us lots of new worlds to explore and levels to beat years later, all for the incredible price of $0.00 dollars.

    So I truly hope this DLC phase dies in a fire. The mega game corps like EA find new and more nasty ways to screw us over every time we turn around anyway, the last thing we need is a way for them to easily sell us less game for more money, and then turn around and bend us over for what should have been in the game in the first place. So bad move EA, and this is one less customer you'll be getting for Dragon Age. Bioware, it is sad to see you go, but since you got bought by EA we really shouldn't be surprised. Hell the only bunch worse to sell to would have been Actiblizzard. So Long Bioware, and thanks for the fish.

  • by Williams091479 (1652429) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:57AM (#29679345)
    I don't see a problem with this. I agree people should be able to resell games and all but, what's wrong with companies giving people incentive to buy it new? With piracy going up, I don't blame them for wanting to encourage more people to buy the game new so they can see greater profits and success.
  • by skrolle2 (844387) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:03AM (#29679407)

    The point of this is not to combat piracy or to increase the price of the game, the point is to discourage people from buying it second-hand. The first owner will get two DLC pieces for free, but if you buy your copy used, you will not receive those DLC pieces, you have to buy them from EA, on top of paying for your used copy.

    The proper way of looking at it is that the two free DLC pieces should be included in the full game, but that they figured out a way of robbing second-hand buyers of it.

    I can see why publishers want to get money from the second-hand market, but doing that at the expense of their customers is incredibly annoying.

  • by thejynxed (831517) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:09AM (#29679443) Homepage

    Like the poster above you said, they have had great success with DLC via NWN. It's true: the 'Premium' modules continue to sell well for both NWN and NWN2, even though the original NWN was released years ago. Then there's the community development tools, that allow end-users to create their own modules. Bioware has official mods for NWN, NWN2, KOTOR and KOTOR2 (even though Obsidian did both KOTOR2 and NWN2).

    To the other poster saying this is EA shit rearing its ugly head: Bioware did this before EA even bought them, and Dragon Age was also started well before EA bought them.

    Personally, I think it's nice they have additional content available on release day, instead of attempting to tack too much on a month or two down the road. At least this way, they will get player feedback immediately on what the DLC breaks or enhances, and use this data to improve future DLC.

  • by sw33tjimmy (662009) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:16AM (#29679499) Homepage
    yeah....
    1. I think folks should wait to see if the game stands up on its own before declaring a foul here.
    2. That dedicated DLC team doesn't work for peanuts, I guarantee.
    3. If the main team isn't working on DLC, that means other games come out quicker.
    4. This DLC is obviously optional. Nobody's forcing you to buy it.

    Blows my mind how quick some folks in the community will turn on one of the most influential and important dev teams.
  • by Chaos Incarnate (772793) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:35AM (#29679675) Homepage

    That said, the obvious question is, if the people working on the dedicated DLC team had been part of the main team, wouldn't they have had the resources to include more content in the released game?

    No. There's a certain point past which they can no longer add content to the game as shipped on disc, because they need to lock down the content for the QA process. But the artists and designers can still work on standalone DLC while the programmers concentrate on the QA process and bug fixes.

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @09:29AM (#29680187)

    Despite being a very big fan and supporter of used, sales, I must concur. First-sale doctrine says that you can resell your goods. It doesn't say that the manufacturer must give subsequent buyers the same perks and extras. That's like you buy a soda from Burger King, giving it to the homeless guy outside, and then him getting pissed because they won't let him come back in and get free refills.

  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Thursday October 08, 2009 @09:43AM (#29680357) Homepage

    There is a fine line between "bonus content" for first owners and "crippled content" for secondary owners. I'm sure different people will draw distinguishing line at different places. But I'm also quite sure that EA/Bioware draws that line on the side of crippling the content for secondary owners. I sincerely doubt they thought, "Hey, let's give a bonus to the first owners," instead they were thinking, "Let's incent people to buy new by making the game harder if you buy used."

    The core problem here is that DLC cannot be resold. That's the real violation here, that's what's really going wrong. There needs to be customer protection in place where fundamental consumer rights are forcibly upheld. Fair use doctrine, first sale doctrine, and other historically legally sound consumer interests need to be upheld by law. It should be illegal for a company to knowingly or even unintentionally interfere with basic consumer rights such as these. Which means that a company should be obligated to provide a means for the consumer's rights to be preserved whenever they enter a new market if some characteristic about that market presents a challenge to it.

    I don't purchase DLC because I can't resell it. I buy games on a disc, play them, and when I'm done, I sell the disc at a used game store. This is my right under first sale doctrine, and anything which interferes with this, or which knowingly attempts to subtract value from the resold version is theft.

  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Thursday October 08, 2009 @09:58AM (#29680551) Homepage

    From TF Summary:

    One "adds a stone golem character to the player's party from the beginning of the game, unlocking numerous story options," and the other increases a character's defense against some attacks in-game

    The resold version of the game is designed to be harder (one less party member, and increased vulnerability to certain attacks), and includes less content ("numerous story options").

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fozzyuw (950608) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @10:10AM (#29680673)

    If they brought it out 3 months later no one would complain

    I'm sure *someone* would complain.

    It is an interesting discussion. What is appropriate for new content release? Especially if that content costs extra. If Bioware already had this content done and finished, and it was always planned to be offered as extra content, does it make Bioware any more/less "evil" by releasing it on day 1 or releasing it 'x' days later?

    The thing that leaves a bad taste in peoples mouths is trust. There's no reason to trust that this content is truly "extra", rather than a piece withheld from the original game. Another question would simply be, is the original game worth the sticker price without this extra content? Are you getting value for what you're paying for? We'll find out soon enough.

    I can say, if Dragon Age doesn't offer massive amounts of time investment without the DLC, the move by Bioware to offer DLC on day 1 is going to backfire big time. If Dragon Age offers 40+ hours of epic RPG goodness without this DLC, it will change minds as to if this DLC was truly "extra" or more of a scam.

    Right now, Bioware still have good will with their fan base. If Dragon Age fails to deliver value for the money (While good, Half Life 2 was considered to be too short and the episodes even shorter and caused some ill will towards being shafted for the price, but Valve came back and offered the original game for fee with the orange box, a very value stuffed package, thanks in part to the great experiance Portal became, and even allowed you to gift that part of the game you already owned to a friend. Much good will was restored.).

    Let hope Dragon Age turns out for the better!

  • by Snaller (147050) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @10:24AM (#29680849) Journal

    That there is sick greed in other walks of life doesn't make it right.

  • Re:Yeah.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:42AM (#29681813)

    For movies the extra content is in the form usually of Director's Cuts. Two versions of the Lord of the Rings movies were released (at least). The normal version and the extended version. The difference between this and games is that you cannot buy the extra content by itself. If you own the original product and want to see the cut scenes/extra content you have to buy it packaged with the original product again - namely buying the movie twice or waiting for the extended edition/director's cut. You basically have to buy it in a lump sum.

    I see the movie as the 'extended' version, but in order to actually see it, I have to pay more than the regular version. Hence, the regular versions of Lord of the Rings (movies) are incomplete versions, much the same as some of you are seeing games. The difference is games allow you to buy the normal version and pay the difference for the extended version as opposed to having to re-but the whole thing once you already have the normal version.

    Also, not a lot of people complained that Back to the Future 2 was an incomplete film even though they filmed 2 and three together/back-to-back with the intent of releasing them as separate products.

    Buying add-ons to games at release gives you more choice and options than movies and their extended versions/directors cuts where you cannot just buy the new scenes and watch them with the movie you already bought. You have to re-buy the original movie PLUS the additional scenes (which, btw, were usually originally part of the product and cut for one reason or another).

    It really comes down to the medium. Games. It goes the same with many people that refuse to subscribe to online games yet have no problem paying tons of money to subscribe to cable tv which they may not watch nearly as much as they play some of these games.

  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @12:30PM (#29682481) Homepage

    OK, there is no such thing as a "free" perk.

    In both of these examples - the "free" stone golem and the "free" refills - the "free perk" is obviously tied to your purchase of the game, which means you paid for it.

    And yet you cannot sell it to someone else.

    But as long as the studio is up-front and honest about what can/cannot be transferred, it is fine.
    Just realize that the value of your used game just went down, so (presumably) the amount that you are willing to pay for the new game should go down as well (vs. what it would be if all content were transferrable).

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