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Some Players Want Day-1 DLC, Says BioWare 357

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-not-the-ones-who-whine-on-the-internet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at GDC Europe this week, BioWare Montreal's Fernando Melo spoke about how the oft-disparaged first-day downloadable content for video games is actually something a significant amount of players want. 'Melo argued that on the occasions when BioWare hasn't provided DLC from day one, those players who complete the game quickly then complained that there was nothing more to play and asked for extra content. If DLC isn't provided for these players, they may well move on to a different game and never come back to play DLC later on. As proof that day one DLC also works in terms of sales, Melo said that 53 percent of all sales for the first Dragon Age: Origins DLC pack — which was released on the same day as the full game — were made on release day."
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Some Players Want Day-1 DLC, Says BioWare

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  • Are you serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NettiWelho (1147351) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:07PM (#41040909)
    They want the frigging Day-1 DLC because the content currently in Day-1 DLC was supposed to be in Day-0 product.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:46PM (#41041271)

      Agreed.

      What this shows is that the serving size of the base game was simply too small.

      And that some people would rather order additional sides than go to a different restaurant with larger mains...

    • by trunicated (1272370) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:13PM (#41041471)
      Day 1 DLC is generally worked on in the months between going gold and certification. Would it be better for them to add an arbitrary delay so that the DLC, which is completed in time for day 1, is instead delivered on day 30 or 60? Granted, this is generally the reason with Console games, but then again most day 1 DLC is for consoles (and their PC versions).
      • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:21PM (#41041533)
        I don't know about consoles, but in PC games this is called a patch. If there is still work to be done in the 30-60 days before release that can't be included in the main release, you release it as a patch on day 1. What is the difference between dlc and a patch you ask? Easy, dlc is a patch that costs money. Support companies like tripwire interactive. Their game Red Orchestra patched in 3 separate content expansions over the game's lifetime, and users weren't charged a cent. These expansions contained new maps, vehicles, skins, weapons, just about a complete new version of the game. Tripwire is also just an example, there are many companies that continue to support and reward their customers for the initial purchase. Bioware used to be good. New bioware can suck my dick, and if they are very very good at it they might get some liquid dlc.
        • by lessthan (977374)

          Actually, the difference between DLC and a patch is a that a patch is supposed to fix and DLC is supposed to add. I liked the Bioware DLC for Dragons Age. It wasn't a part of the story, but it added to it.

          • If the game was deficient in content then it required a "patch". Next up, games that come with no content. You have to buy it all, no discount on the "game".

            • If the game was deficient in content then it required a "patch". Next up, games that come with no content. You have to buy it all, no discount on the "game".

              1. If [Company releases additional content for Game], then [Game was deficient in content].
              2. [Company releases additional content for Game].
              3. Therefore, [Game was deficient in content].

              This is called affirming the consequent [wikipedia.org] and is a formal fallacy. It's not necessarily true.

              Also, if some folks want to attempt to redefine the meaning of the word "patch" to put DLC in a bad light, that's their prerogative, but it's not very rational.

            • Then... who would buy the actual game? I think you're extrapolating way too far there.
        • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:22PM (#41041999)

          It seems to me that the main game is what we used to get as a playable demo. A few hours of free but limited game-play to give you a taste of the full unlocked game. Now those two-to-four hours are the full game.

          If over 50% of your players finish your whole AAA game on the release day, you're doing it wrong.

          • That was my first thought... if your game doesn't offer enough play/replay value out of the box to justify the $50-70 purchase, WTF!? why are you charging more to make it so? It's worht noting that I stopped playing games 6-8 years ago since DRM became so common... I didn't want to follow it... I have done a couple humble bundles, and donated for the ouya kickstarter though.
        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          Question:

          What happens 10 years from now when I want to play my favorite classic game on my Windows 11 PC, but it won't work without the "patch" or downloadable content & the company no longer exists (or does exist but won't supply the files online)???

          This looks like very obvious planned obsolescence to me. Release a game that is incomplete in the store & only works due to an internet download/patch, but later erase the patch so it can never be played again. (Thereby forcing people to buy new games

      • by Seumas (6865)

        I have a better idea.

        Stop milking the current game and work on the next expansion or the next title in the franchise or something entirely new? Think of all the wasted time in "let's add five new stupid missions to this open world game!" and "let's add fourteen new hats and twelve tee-shirts!" development.

        How is it that a game used to be able to launch and six months or a year later, they could release a huge $30 expansion pack with a crap-ton of content and a lot of thought put into it? Yet, today, they ha

      • by Rix (54095)

        And there's absolutely no reason they couldn't just release it as a patch.

        If they want to make a full expansion, no one would complain.

      • Since we have delays all the time in the gaming world, why not wait until the DLC is done, or better yet, stop working on DLC as an add-on and fix the original game? That way, when the game's out for a while, a company can extend the life of the game (not horse armor *cough*) adding additional quests, etc. Adding "new armor types" and so forth (unless tied to a quest) would be pointless and milks the dough of the user who already likes the game because he purchased it.

        I would say that slicing up resources

      • by geminidomino (614729) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:26AM (#41043075) Journal

        The problem with this excuse is this: It's becoming more and more common that the "Day 1 DLC" is actually ON the damned disc, which means it was done BEFORE "going gold" (creating the master disc).

      • by Stalks (802193) *
        Then how does most DLC manage to get on the original disc? It is just "unlocked" when you purchase it.
    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      I come from the old school of thought on that one too, but I've accepted DLC.

      The reason I want day-1 DLC is because I don't want to have to play the game over again in 3 months once it's all released.

      Looking specifically at Mass Effect 2 and 3, The DLCs aren't extra. They are part of the original story line. Downloading new DLC after you've finished the game means you'll have to either restart it or load a save game and continue just before the point of no return.

    • Re:Are you serious? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:36PM (#41042103)

      Kinda....

      Games used to have things like pre-order bonuses and so on. That was fine when there were a lot less games, getting a guaranteed pre order was trivial and when you could have reasonable confidence that a developer wouldn't make crap.

      But times change. If you're a bit OCD, a bit of a completionist or if you just want everything having all the goodies some people get for 'free' (or bundled with things you don't want like a statue) you still might want that same content, which is DLC, and might be willing to pay for it.

      Some of the Bioware DLC then makes sense, in the scope of say an extra character or an extra mission that you want to see when you play the game. And for say 5 dollars it's still cheaper than a 10 dollar special edition with an art book that you don't want. Think of some DLC then as 'a la carte' limited/collectors/special edition parts.

      Day-1 DLC was supposed to be in Day-0 product.

      That's both subjective on a case by case basis, and really hard to argue in a lot of cases. Charging 5 dollars for day 1 DLC is partly a way of increasing the price by 5 dollars but cutting the various middle men out of the process. If you are a semi indie studio and you sell a game for 50 bucks at Walmart, walmart takes about 15 bucks (steam, gamestop about the same), your publisher takes 17 or so, and you're left with 17. But you get 100% of the DLC. So rather than getting 17 dollars for a copy you just got 22 (without having to push the whole cost through the chain). Usually publishers these days are smart enough to demand a cut of the DLC so it goes from being the publisher getting 35 bucks to split with you to getting 40 to split with you, but either way, the developer still takes home a lot more cash this way.

      Most DLC is also not really major, relative to the price. A 5 dollar DLC doesn't have 1/10th the content of the game in it, if you're really lucky it has 1/20th, so you're significantly overpaying for that one piece of content in the hopes that more money goes back to the people who actually made the product than the people who distributed the product or left it in a box in their bathroom waiting for you.

      Lets take a non bioware topical example: Guild Wars 2. Every retailer near where I am sold out on pre -orders of the collectors edition day one. Too bad I was away that day on business and missed my pre-order chance. Now with a 'digital deluxe' or similar edition I'm basically buying in a bundled DLC, call it whatever you want, you're paying for day 1 DLC. So I can't get the collectors edition, or at least, I can't be sure I can get the collectors edition, but I can be reasonably sure I can get the important game content one way or another.

      In short: your concept of DLC and his aren't necessarily the same thing. You're not wrong, but neither is he. That perspective matters a lot. He's talking to other game developers, and in that sense he's right. Day 1 DLC (including in collectors editions or content that could have been in collectors editions but a player didn't buy that) is hugely popular, and that should be obvious enough to everyone.

      Extra less relevant bits:
      Dragon age origins (the product in question) launched with 3 version. Regular retail. Collectors (physical) and digital deluxe. The digital deluxe had a *code* to download the day 1 DLC for free (so he's counting that in his stats almost certainly since it wasn't technically bundled), but the digital deluxe had a soundtrack and some desktop theme crap too. Why pay for the sound track and desktop wallpapers when you can just buy the actually game content for 7 bucks or whatever, save yourself 3 dollars, (or maybe 13, i can't remember). In his context a significant portion of the launch day had people buying basically the 2 special editions or a la carte versions of the special editions.

    • If only those companies had a convenient way to deliver that day-1 DLC without hogging all the server bandwidth. Some sort of means to piggyback the DLC on the physical media shipped with the original game perhaps. With some effort they might even be able to integrate the activation mechanism of the DLC with the activation mechanism of the original game.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Not to mention you could find players that tried to excuse the Diablo 3 always online douchebaggery as well, never underestimate the ability of the fanbois to take a good asspounding by the corps and beg for more.

      Personally if they want to sell hats or some other non game changing crap? I have no problem with that. A good example would be Saints Row 3 and the silly costumes, hell I bought a few of those on the last Steam sale because I thought some of it looked like a good goof. But yeah when they are sel

  • Well fuck. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XiaoMing (1574363) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:08PM (#41040919)

    You know what that really means? We're now going to "get what we want" because more companies will just leave out things that would be in the game otherwise and monetize it into "Day1 DLC" instead.

    • Re:Well fuck. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:12PM (#41040959)

      Yeah, and if your game takes me only a day to complete I doubt I'm going to bother to pay for your DLC.

      • Re:Well fuck. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by poity (465672) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:21PM (#41041525)

        Seriously, who are these people who finish an RPG in 1 day? Do they pay for a hooker and finish in 2 minutes? Do they order a fine steak and drink it out of a blender? What the world?

        • Wouldn't the better analogy be hiring a hooker and taking viagra and just boning her non-stop for 24 hours?

          But ya, I see your point.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          No one completes a RPG in a day. The real problem are the CoD/BF kiddies who buy the crap for their action games. Developers and publishers have seen this as a "OMG MONIES" mechanism and believe it will translate over into PC gaming, to a point it has, and to a point it hasn't. Plenty of gamers have said fuck you, plenty like me who play in ladder tournaments(Shogun 2) don't have much of a choice, if we want to keep up with other people. But I just wait until there's a sale on that stuff, I'll buy DLC,

    • Yeah, well, Piratebay is great to unmonetize content, so we'll see how that DLC strategy goes.

  • DLC? really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tulmad (25666) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:11PM (#41040943)

    Or you could, I dunno, release the whole fucking game all at once.

    • Re:DLC? really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:24PM (#41041069)

      Exactly. It's interesting that the Bioware drone mentions Dragon Age, since the DLC was advertised IN the game. You reached a quest giver, and he told you that you had to buy his quest!

      • Re:DLC? really? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Tapewolf (1639955) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:44PM (#41041261)

        Exactly. It's interesting that the Bioware drone mentions Dragon Age, since the DLC was advertised IN the game. You reached a quest giver, and he told you that you had to buy his quest!

        And that is the reason I never completed the game, I got sick to death of having the suspension of disbelief ruined by its blatant attempts to nickle-and-dime me.
          Okay, so I was kind of pissed that I wasn't going to get the Werewolf Army I'd hoped for to battle the undead, but what pushed me to breaking point was finding someone on the way to the Dwarf City who was desperate to have their Significant Other rescued or somesuch. I figured it would help me get over losing the wolf army, so I agreed - and he demanded money for the privilege of having his beloved back. So I played System Shock instead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The one that gets me is the "DLC" that isn't even DLC. Instead, it just unlocks content that was already on the CD/DVD.

    • Your definition of "the whole fucking game" differs from the publisher.

      Guess who gets to decide that.

      Your only vote is: buy or don't buy.

      Nobody reads the rants on the forums.

    • Or you could, I dunno, release the whole fucking game all at once.

      They don't need to. It's right in the summary:

      Melo said that 53 percent of all sales for the first Dragon Age: Origins DLC pack — which was released on the same day as the full game — were made on release day."

      That means that people are willing to pay for it as extra DLC on release day - it would be a poor business choice to include that content when so many people are willing to pay for it.

      • There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

        I'm willing to be that he's including in his numbers all the people who bought editions of the game that came with the DLC included.

        For DAO, these included a home base with a storage chest [wikia.com]. I mean, FFS, a home base with a storage facility has been part of the RPG milieu for as long as I can remember (in games where you have a limited inventory capacity). You have sufficient camp followers with wagons in DAO to justify a chest being part of your camp, so it's not don

  • Solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mystra_x64 (1108487) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:14PM (#41040979)

    I have a solution for you. Just release half of your game and put the rest in DLC. Pure genius. Too bad it's not just my imagination.

    • Even better, release the first half for free and do like the classic shareware model (without the sharing, I guess).

    • by stms (1132653)

      I know you're being sarcastic but episodic gaming would be a better solution for what these companies want to do. You could either buy a game pass for $60 and get all the DLC as it comes out for free or you could buy each individual DLC as it comes out which would be a bit more in the end. They could charge some people more for their game and would piss fewer people off the only downside is they couldn't do a big release all at once.

      • Regarding episodic gaming, are there any companies apart from Telltale that have managed to acceptably use the episodic model?
    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Funny)

      by Exitar (809068) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:52PM (#41041323)

      Just release the loading screen and put the *whole* game in DLC!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...would prefer if that content was included in the game in the first place.

  • by Sydin (2598829) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:19PM (#41041017)
    They don't just take that "Day One DLC" that everybody wants so much, and just makes it a part of the initial release at no extra charge. Why does it have to be DLC at all? It's already finished and ready to be played, right? So why isn't already on the disk with the rest of the content I bought? If people are finishing your game and complaining they want more to do, it doesn't mean people want to pay MORE for more content. It means people didn't feel they got $60 worth of content in the game, only for the publisher to turn around and demand more money if you want to be satisfied. If somebody orders a full cake, you cannot only give them 3/4's of it, charge extra for the remaining 1/4, and then turn around and claim that people are obviously clamoring to pay for that extra 1/4. That's now how it works, Bioware.
    • by Imrik (148191)

      I agree with making it part of the release at no extra charge, but there is a reason for it to be DLC. From the time the game is finished to when it actually goes on sale there's a period of 1-2 months. During this time you can either take the people that worked on the game and assign them to a new project or you can have them work on additional content for the game that wasn't finished by the deadline. (note that this doesn't apply for the on disc DLC that some companies have put out)

  • translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:22PM (#41041051)

    When he says there are players who "want" Day-1 DLC, what he means is that there are players who will buy Day-1 DLC. Therefore Bioware is going to keep doing it.

  • by DrEldarion (114072) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:25PM (#41041081)

    People who rail against day 1 DLC have no idea how releasing a game works. Especially with giant sprawling games, once you near the release date, there are a lot of specialists who have completed their contribution to the final project. Artists may be done with their portion, story writers may be done with their portion, certain programming teams may be done with their portion, etc. They need something to do, so they start working on DLC.

    "Ah, but they could put that right on the disc in the first place!", you may say. No, they can't. By this point, the game needs to be finalized so they can thoroughly test it, create a master copy, and begin mass production. In the month(s) that this can take on a large title, there's plenty of time to get a significant DLC pack out.

    Now, I'm not saying ALL day 1 DLC is because of this (especially rageworthy is something that's on-disc but a day 1 "unlock" DLC) but a very significant portion is. They're not trying to cheat you out of content you should have had, they're just making good use of the time it takes for a game to go from finished to available in stores.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:32PM (#41041149)
      There have been times where the 'day 1 dlc' data was on the disk, and all buying the dlc did was allow you to access it.
    • by _Ludwig (86077)

      So why doesn’t the DLC require the same amount of thorough testing, mastering, etc.?

      • by bidule (173941)

        So why doesn’t the DLC require the same amount of thorough testing, mastering, etc.?

        It could. What's the lead time for printing boxes, pressing cds and shipping them to retailers?

        Now, I don't buy DRM or DLC so I don't care anyway. Maybe that's why I can play fair.

    • by Kalriath (849904)

      Perhaps instead of devoting those specialists to DLC, they could devote them to fixing the broken game instead (seriously it took 5 fucking patches to get Skyrim even playable) so that the Day 1 patch makes the game playable?

    • "People who rail against day 1 DLC have no idea how releasing a game works. "

      No this is all because of modern development costs and team sizes, in the late 90's early 2000's game team sizes were orders of magnitude smaller as well as costs to develop said game. DLC is a way to try to exploit gamers for extra cash by cutting up and parcelling out pieces of the game that you already had planned from the get go during the design phase. When content was less costly and lower resolution you could produce more

  • Just wait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:53PM (#41041327)

    Wait until the "game of the year" or "platinum edition" or "gold edition" or "diamond edition" or "complete edition" goes on sale for $10 and you'll have ALL the DLC on day 1. On top of that, most of the compatibility and quest bugs will have been squashed.

    Problem solved.

    • by game kid (805301)

      But then I'd pay $40 for a "$60" game instead of $120! Why would I want that to happen!?

  • In a few months we'll be hearing how all their loses in revenue as of late is due to piracy... and has nothing to do with their "Lets squeeze blood from a stone" business model.
    • Yarrr Maytee! I be one of yon vocal minority wot rattles 'is sabre in opposition to the phoney copyright and patent artificial scarcity scams. Boycott be unto any lilly livered bilge rats playing Project $10, or foisting a fools booty on the lot of us with their intrusive DRM. Though I be a right fair and upstanding merchant myself and abstain from scuttling their digital ships, raping their virtual wenches, and absconding with their intangible "goods", they're within right to count me a Pirate! Dark d
  • Day 1 DLC that was on the disc to begin with is not content anyone should be paying money for. It is the most perverse form of DLC and all you're really "downloading" is the key to unlock it.

    Day 1 DLC that is a result of work done after the game is gold yet still having the business end finalized are welcome in my opinion. This is the content I can see people finding value in. This is the content I would not mind spending money on.

    Of course the distinction between these are often lost to the masses who eith

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:35PM (#41042097)

    Bioware are blatant liars and greedy money mongers. Nothing else. Ever since they have joined with EA they have gotten worse and worse and worse. For many many years bioware made great games but ever since they joined with EA they have just been pimping dlc left and right and creating games that for the first time in their history have been garbage. All the DLC codes they were whoring in dozens of products for mass effect. Dragon age was pimping DLC before its release and it was a shit game. Even knights of the old republic is a major let down. Bioware's prestiege and pedigree has gone right down the crapper since joining EA.

    Bioware before tried to say "Well the reason we had day 1 DLC for mass effect 3 was because we finished the game 6 weeks before it was released and that finished product had to have 6 weeks to be approved, then packaged and shipped to store. So in that time we decided to create the day 1 DLC to keep our teams busy blah blah blah". Bullshit. You cant tell me they suddenly at the drop of a hat decided to write, design, storyboard, create, build, code, debug, trouble shoot, beta test, bring voice actors in to record dialouge, have artists create the levels, sound guys put in effects, compile the code, submit it to sony/microsoft for approval to be uploaded and then uploaded it in less than 6 weeks? Horse shit.

    Then what happens when mass effect 3 turns out to be yet another bioware turd? They blame the gamers. That bitch at bioware actually had the balls to say "gamers arent developers so dont act like them" because gamers didnt like the game. Ok sure Im not a developer, but that doesnt mean I cant know if I like something or not. Im no chef but I damn sure can tell you mcdonalds hamburgers suck, Im no director but I really hated the transformers movies, Im no author but I dont like the book atlus shruged. Just because I dont make games doesnt mean Im not able to dislike them and it doesnt mean I should automatically like everything just because the creator tells me I should because they say so.

    So in short. Fuck bioware.

    And now. Why DLC is bullshit.

    1) When you pay for DLC you are telling developers "I want to pay more for my games. I am willing to pay you more than 60 dollars for my game". The more you buy DLC the higher the chances of games costing more instead of less because you prove youre willing to spend over msrp for a game.

    2) Its all digital and you will never own it. DLC is digital content. You pay for it but you dont actually own it. You cant sell it, you cant trade it, you cant let a friend borrorow it and in 10 years from now Im willing to bet you wont even be able to download it again.

    3) DLC encourages developers to split up content for the game you paid for full price for to sell you later. They design a game they say "We will take out this part and that part and sell it to them as extra" instead of saying "They paid full price for a game so they should get the full game". Developers/publishers would probablly sell more games if they would actually give their customers full games instead of selling partial games at full price and selling the rest for even more money.

    4) DLC pisses off gamers when its sold as incentives at different stores. Say a game is coming out and 3 different stores has bonus DLC codes with each one being different. Now for gamers who really want that game and to play everything thats a asshole move.

    Bottom line is I dont support developers that pimp DLC a lot, especially before the full game actually comes out. I buy their games used so I dont give them a single cent.

    Fuck bioware and fuck every developer like them that forces DLC down our throats and then says we want it. Dont buy their games new, buy them used or pirate them.

  • by Morpeth (577066) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:35PM (#41042101)

    Loved these guys in the Baldur's Gate/Neverwinter Nights days, they supported a huge modding community and made in-depth, long RPG games that were a joy to play. Not so much now, though graphically Dragon Age is of course superior, I'd still take BG/NWN over DA any day.

    Not sure if it's because they sold their soul to the devil (EA) or just greed, but they've become just another "rush it out the door, and nickel and dime them later" big company that forgot their roots imo. They don't even really support the mod community now, since they want to make their money by releasing ridiculously short RPGs (too much shiny fluff, not enough meat) then charge for DLCs from day 1. Patooeee...

    This is why I hardly by games when they're released anymore. I'll wait until a year later when the special pack with the original game, patches, and all the DLCs comes out for 1/2 the price or less. I got like 9 premium titles with all the DLC/expansions during the Steam summer sale for like $55 a few weeks ago. They'll keep me busy for more than a year, easy.

  • by LordNimon (85072) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:55PM (#41042627)

    A lot of problems would be solved if you wanted 3-6 months after a game is released to play it. The game drops in price, most bugs are fixed, and a lot of DLC becomes available, sometimes at a discount. I haven't played ME3 yet, and I'm glad I waited.

  • ea crapping on their Customers has lead to them selling the company. That is what day-1 DLC gets.
  • by Altanar (56809)
    Despite what people may like to hear, there are a lot of people like me who, if there's no DLC available when they beat the game, don't ever pick up the game later. Even a couple weeks after I beat the game is way too long. If it's not there, I'm not going to spend the time popping in games I consider over and done with 3 months after the fact just for a small snippet of DLC.
  • All I can say is:

    I liked Mass Effect 1 quite a bit.

    I completely loved Mass Effect 2, one of the best games I've ever played.

    I am not getting Mass Effect 3.

    The ball is in your court BioWare.

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