Up For Debate - Locking DLC Behind Pre-Orders

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Dec 6, 2015 4:00 PM
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A little while back, when Creative Assembly announced a launch date for Total War: Warhammer, it, for want of a better word, pissed off a heck of a lot of fans with the announcement of the Chaos race being a pre-order exclusive. For Warhammer Fantasy fans, Chaos are a massive deal. It’s like making a Star Wars game and throwing in the Jedi as pre-order DLC.

Suffice to say, the outrage was real. But, the Chaos DLC isn’t going to cost anyone anything, directly at least. All you have to do is pre-order your copy of Total War: Warhammer and you’ll net access to the playable race. What that does mean, however, is laying down £50 on a totally unknown quantity, with few previews and no reviews from which to base your decision. Total War: Warhammer could be terrible, and then you find yourself down £50 because you wanted to guarantee that Chaos content.

Now I’m not saying this is anything new. This has become an epidemic which has spread across gaming. Perhaps in some cases by force, due to rising development costs, but other times through greed. The more gamers a publisher can lock down to paying full price on day one, the better. They’re not interested in people waiting for an 85% off deal on Steam.

What we have no though is crazy situations like we had with Watch Dogs, where a total of nine different versions were available to pre-order, each offering different additional content. There aren’t all that many games these days that don’t have pre-order DLC, or at least the biggest games. Fallout 4 was a bit of an anomaly on that front, but it’s a neat touch.

However the developers and publishers dress it up, you can’t shake the feeling you’re not getting the complete game. Whatever way pre-order DLC gets chopped up, you typically need to commit to a purchase while still unsure of its quality, or buy the DLC separately when it’s available further down the line.

From my experience with pre-order DLC, it’s usually the odds and ends that get slapped in, usually nothing of real quality. Take a look at any PS4-exclusive content in third-party games for example, like Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Destiny or Watch Dogs, and it’s far worse content than the main game. That definitely looks set to change with Chaos pre-order DLC though. This looks to be a major component of Total War: Warhammer, and it’s all too easy see why fans might be riled.

Where do you stand on pre-order DLC? Is it a necessary evil? Or does it put you off picking up a game entirely? Let us know what you think!

Does pre-order DLC encourage you to pre-order?

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16:51 Dec-07-2015

Well I like dlc's if it is from ur favourites games as they increased the life of the story you love,what if rockstar annouce gta v story dlc?surely everyone will get it.so its good devs making dlc's these days.

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17:04 Dec-07-2015

Not good when they already have all the content at launch and you have to fork out extra just to get the full game. That's called GREED.
What you are describing is what DLC actually USED to be at the start. Expansion packs were even better.

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13:05 Dec-07-2015

Yep, pre-order DLCs do encourage me to pre-order.
If I'm certain I'll want to play a game the day it's released, I pre-order it. And I like the DLCs I get for it.
I don't see it as locked content you have to pay extra for (if you don't pre-order), I see it as a reward to the fans who believe enough in a game to buy it before it's released.

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12:43 Dec-07-2015

Pre order dlc is the bastard son of satan!

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12:00 Dec-07-2015

Pre-Order DLC means "we have the content, we planned it all out but we want to charge you extra for getting the full game"... I understand expansion packs, like they used to be with Diablo 2, Morrowind, etc - they came waaay after the game was done and they'd refresh the game with tons of extra content and even graphical upgrades. These days they just slap an etxra weapon together, maybe some weird mission, maybe a mash-up item/quest with another franchise - DONE, BUY BUY BUY

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12:06 Dec-07-2015

That being said - I do buy DLC, but only if:
1) I've finished or am playing the game AND I like it
2) It's bundled in with no price difference from the main game (say, on discount)
3) I't heavily discounted and I feel like it's worth it

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13:15 Dec-07-2015

Example 1: I've finished Bioshock: Infinite and I absolutely loved it! So I bought the Burial at Sea DLC to get back into the game exploring Rapture.
Example 2: When I bought Hitman: Absolution it was a Steam Christmas Sale time and the DLC were, although plenty of, heavily discounted (90% or so). So I bought it all.
Example 3: The Witcher 3. Still haven't finished it, but it's so glorious that buying the DLC was a no-brainer!

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10:23 Dec-07-2015

This is an area where i dont feel bad downloading pirate copies of games. Sure i'll buy the game, but the cracked copy has all the day 1 exclusive and store exclusive DLC.

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12:02 Dec-07-2015

Although I agree that us paying customers get a d**k slapped in our faces with this, I still don't thing discussing piracy is appropriate... Arguably it's what got us into this mess to begin with (not that it does anything for the pirates, paying customers just end up paying more)...

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23:22 Dec-07-2015

I don't know if you can really argue for a link between piracy and pre order DLC. I think pre order DLC would still exist regardless of whether or not piracy was a thing. These game companies would like you to think things like pre order dlc is an attempt to compensate for money lost to piracy but it's really just them being greedy.

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00:30 Dec-08-2015

Well, like I said - it's up for debate whether or not it's what impacted the dawn of DLC. I wish everything was kept the way Expansion Packs were back in the day, but it's now only a mere mirage in a dessert storm of bogus DLCs...

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09:45 Dec-07-2015

I love total war and been a fan since medieval 2, the content never lack but since rome 2 I have to reconsider of buying the game cause its so lag even my Gpu hardly to handle 40-60fps despite the low minimum req base on the game :(

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09:10 Dec-07-2015

As if 60 euro's isnt already expensive enough :(

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00:59 Dec-07-2015

Honestly, I am utterly put-off by pre-order DLCs (although purely cosmetic DLC is mostly harmless). Besides I think that important pre-order DLCs (like a part of a campaign, characters and more) actually encourages piracy.

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09:31 Dec-07-2015

yes becuz den u get all dlc xd

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00:32 Dec-07-2015

The idea that they make dlc content even before the release is aggravating. Dlc content is supposed to be for additions to a game to increase its playability and life down the road. To use game-changing dlc as bait to buy a game at pre-release pricing is a huge turn off for non-fan boy gamers. Guess I'll not be worrying about getting Warhammer now.

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00:29 Dec-07-2015

TO me I consider it cut content (Because they usually will charge for that dlc after launch if you did not pre-order)

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23:40 Dec-06-2015

These kinds of practises suck, sure. But it were the gamers that helped create this system, and now that game developers see that they can profit from these kind of practises, they are never gonna stop doing them.

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23:06 Dec-06-2015

DLC's in general suck, I love the concept but I hate the business being made out of it. Charging us 10 dollars to play an additional 2 hours of gameplay. but, There are some good DLC's to be played (like Dragon age origins awakening)

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23:32 Dec-06-2015

In my experience it has worked well for total war games since even a single faction gives you a full campaign of 50 hours+ so if they charge £6 for chaos after release it still ends up a good deal even though the preorder idea is not right

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17:43 Dec-10-2015

^^and that's a excellent example of a good game. If someone is charging me 10 dollars for a DLC. That dlc better have 5+ hours worth of content or else I concider that they are overcharging me.

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23:04 Dec-06-2015

i dont actually like to preorder games or dlc, i just wait to see the actual game and than order

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22:50 Dec-06-2015

I preorder a game based on the history of the developer and the quality of decent shows of the product. Bonuses to me are just that, bonuses. They are never an incentive.

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23:04 Dec-06-2015

Not the best idea, Ubisoft and EA are prime examples, they used to be so awesome in terms of everything, nowadays they have poor performing games(Ubisoft) and content-lacking games(EA).

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00:11 Dec-08-2015

That is the reason I have not pre-ordered one of their games for several years now. Battlefield 4 was the last from EA. I do not think I have ever pre-ordered from Ubi.
Obviously when considering their history, I don't really consider "ancient" history, but recent history only.

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22:35 Dec-06-2015

remember the days when dlcs where the size were the size o a short game?


neither do i

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00:14 Dec-08-2015

Obvlivion DLCs, Skyrim's Dragonborn (and to a shorter extent, Dawnguard). Fallout 3 DLCs were pretty big, especially all together. Most recently The Witcher 3 with the first expansion being 10 hours, the next set to be 20, which together add up to the time it takes to complete The Witcher 2. So that is literally another game.
There are plenty of examples, you just have to look in the right place.

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22:32 Dec-06-2015

IMO it sucks. DLCs as a whole suck. I prefer if DLCs are included in the game from the get go, I would even pay more for that.

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23:09 Dec-06-2015

DLCs is pretty much a money grab. DLCs are only good if it is an expansion. (Dragon Age Origins: Awakening is a good example of this)

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23:38 Dec-06-2015

Or Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone

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00:42 Dec-07-2015

The Witcher 3 dev's were nice enough to release a load of free DLC too that added a hell of a lot to the game. And having played some of it, I was happy enough to buy Hearts of Stone, it's a great game. I'd like to see more of this kind of attitude towards gamers in general. They're in the right direction.

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05:11 Dec-07-2015

ProjectRedCD is the only company I can think of that give free DLC. (and the free DLC is good unlike the 99% of other free dlc.)

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22:20 Dec-06-2015

Misconception I see here is that CA aren't locking out Chaos, they are making it playable which isn't a big deal considering you get 100s hours from TW anyway

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22:58 Dec-06-2015

I certainly think the preorder could've been different but reading their blog post shows CA are in the hands of SEGA and doing it any other way would be tricky

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23:01 Dec-06-2015

Link to the blog post, definitely take it with a grain of salt but they aren't as bad as people like angry joe try to make out http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/164869-Total-War-WARHAMMER-Dev-Blog-–-Chaos-Warriors-Pre-orders-and-D

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22:06 Dec-06-2015

Watch out EA, Creative Assembly is coming for your award.

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20:59 Dec-06-2015

I think the way bf3 did it with back to karkland was acceptable. The dlc, I think a week or so after release, became a free addon to all users. Pre orders and limited edition buyers just got it a tad early.

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20:31 Dec-06-2015

I don't have much to add that no one has already said. Although, Fallout 4's pre-order bonus put me off buying it a little bit, but only because I don't plan to ever play Dota 2. I caved in eventually because I wanted to preload, but plan to sell the thing off whenever I get it.

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