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Using Steam makes me feel dirty enough, this is just one step too far.

Dragon Age II

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There are few games I’m more excited for than Dragon Age 2, but I’m struggling with whether or not to purchase it. The prospect of zero-day DLC just feels wrong to support.

In four days we will have passed the deadline to get a whole bunch of free DLC with a Dragon Age 2 pre-order. I didn’t order it back when there was even more free stuff with the pre-order (in early January) and I don’t think I’ll pre-order it now. The thought of purchasing a game with hooks built into the launch product for pay-to-play DLCs is distasteful.

The video game industry is not the only one having trouble letting go of their content, but they are one of the few to settle on the concept of releasing incomplete products and then forcing you to pay large sums of money to fill in the blanks they’ve left in the game. The nearest equivalent I can think of would be paying for a newspaper and then being forced to pay again for access to their website.

I really liked the first Dragon Age and playing the game is a sort of communal event in our household, complete with discussions of characters, equipment and decision points. We all purchased the Ultimate edition when it was cheap on Steam over the winter holidays and played again. Complete with all the DLCs the game was pretty different, all sorts of new options for play and character-building unfolded and it was a whole new discussion.

Dragon Age is a game of many tellable moments but when the game first came out and people discovered that the game they purchased had holes left in it, that it was not the entire game they had spent $50-$60 on, the first and biggest tellable moment was the player’s encounter with the salesman NPC.

As time has gone on, it has become clear that EA and BioWare are the masters of this technique, selling you a game like swiss cheese and forcing you to pay half-again to fill them in. The infamous Warden’s Keep DLC cost $7 or 14% of the retail cost of the game. If you bought the game used, possibly at close to full price, The Stone Prisoner DLC cost $15. If you had connection problems the game might not authenticate saves made after playing through the DLC.

While building add-ons after the game’s release seems like a fine way to extend gameplay and increase profits, something just seems wrong about building hooks into your launch product to ask players to spend more money from inside the game. For this reason, I’m having trouble purchasing the game.

What about you? Has zero-day DLC stopped you from purchasing a game before? Will it prevent you from buying Dragon Age 2?

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