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The extra dime of gaming.

DLC. Downloadable Content. A scam of the ages? Or a choice for the masses?

If you're not aware, DLC is that extra bit of content that is (supposed to be) developed after the release of a game. Not to be confused with an expansion pack. What's the difference? The size and complexity. A DLC expands upon one or maybe two aspects of the game. Be it new models, new sound, new skills, or new levels. For an extra $1.99, you can unlock a new level. $9.99, a new character. The prices vary, but in the end they are all very much the same.

DLC is a mostly accepted fact of gaming life. Unless the developer is indie, or announces that they will not be releasing DLC, you should probably expect DLC. Those that do not accept this fact always counter with one reason or another. So I've decided why not express my opinions on DLC, just so long as you keep in mind, these are MY opinions. They are not meant to sway YOUR opinion, just to explain my view of things.

I accept DLC for what it is, extra content. The thing about DLC is, you don't need to buy it. It's completely optional and that's the way it should be. A huge list of DLC for me, isn't a bad thing. It allows me to improve upon the areas of the game I enjoy the most, while ignoring the areas I don't.

Take for instance, Paradox Development, for which most of my game time is spent playing their games. They develop what they call, a grand strategy game, or empire builders. These are games where you play not a character in a level, but a nation on a map. Your objective isn't clear, but you must survive 'til the end of the game. In these games you play on what is effectively an interactive map of Europe, or the world. You control army units, like units on a board. One unit generally represents a greater sum, like 1000 men. These units sit in provinces, and the provinces add up into kingdoms and empires. An obvious objective is to conquer as much of the map as possible whilst ensuring you do not get conquered. You have to manage your economy, relations with other nations, and other values. These kinds of games I really enjoy, because they are not based on a story. They are a free sandbox which you can do whatever you like within the limits of the game. This means it is very re-playable. In their game Europa Universalis IV alone, I have 1635 hours in total. I love adding a little bit of role-playing, or adding what those on the Paradox forums have called 'house rules'. These help keep the game fresh and interesting, and still challenging.

The problem with an empire builder, is all the nations eventually look the same. To improve this, they have added several units on the map which represent their area of the map. In Crusader Kings II for example, whose timezone ranges from the 700s to the 1300s. The map consists of the British isles down to India. To help players get more into the game, they have released numerous 'unit packs'. These are the units you see on the map. They do not make in mandatory that you buy these unit packs to play that particular nation, it will just help you get immersed into that nation. You won't buy it though, if you have no interest in that area of the map. You may buy the improved unit pack for the areas of the map that you do enjoy playing on. That's why I accept DLC.

You can improve the areas of the game you do enjoy, whilst ignoring the areas you don't. I slightly enjoy DLC more than expansions, because you only pay for what you want, versus buying the whole expansion and only enjoying 20% of its content. It all comes down to the price the company sets the DLC for. 1-5 dollars is completely fine. 10-15$ for a massive improvement, like overhauling an entire section of a game, like trade or war in EUIV, is also completely fine. It's the companies that charge $20 for some stupidly small improvement that it's better off being ignored, that cause problems in the DLC world. I smart shopper would just ignore these DLC like they never existed. A smart shopper might also wait for the DLC to be play-tested and reviewed before buying it. That way they can investigate it and decide if it's for them.

Enjoy the things that are worth enjoying!