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Default Are the days of the major 20-30 hr. expansion gone?

December 18th, 2012, 02:36
I was just thinking.

The last time we had any kind of serious CRPG expansion was Dragon Age: Awakening.

It seems like the popular release model these days is base game, then bite-sized DLCs until the NEXT game.

I don't know about you guys, but I'd prefer to play a full-fledged expansion than its equivalent (if they even are) in smaller DLCs. I want the experience of playing the base game again - and it want it to last longer than one or two play sessions. I don't mind waiting longer for a release and I don't mind paying $20-$30 dollars if the content is there.

Dragon Age 2, Fallout:NV, Fallout 3, Skyrim —- all AAA RPG titles without major expansions.

I suppose if you have enough DLCs and wait to play the game again until ALL of them are released, then that could offer enough content to feel like an expansion. FO3 and NV probably fit that description.

But to me there is just a different feel in knowing you're playing a multi-quest campaign that revives the experience of the base game and keeps you satisfied until the sequel comes out.

Dragon Age did this perfectly. They had several DLCs after the base game. Then they hit you in the end with a major expansion. There is soo much in DA:Origins and I spent hundreds of hours enjoying that game. It's a pity DA:2 couldn't repeat this experience.

Anyway, just some ramblings. Ironically, I'm going to get back to replaying the DA2 DLC: Legacy, now.

EDIT : Just remembered — we had the Divinity 2 expansion as well. Kudos to Larian for that.
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December 18th, 2012, 07:39
Dragon Age 2's final DLC was supposedly going to be expansion-sized but they dropped it because the entire world turned against Bioware and they deemed it wouldn't be profitable to release. Also, it sounds like it was almost done before it was dropped.
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December 18th, 2012, 09:50
Proect Eternity should have a classic expansion.
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December 18th, 2012, 10:06
The times are over. The 20 hours expansion pack was a child of the retail market. When retail presence was necessary to reach the customer you had to deliver a certain amount of content to make the box attractive at mid price.
Nowadays it's much easier to produce small pieces of content, call them DLC, bundle them into packs, sell a bundle of packs as season pass, create Digital Ultimate Deluxe GOTY Editions … and keep doing so for as long as the stuff sells or until the sequel comes.
Other positive effects are a probably much higher attach rate - who would buy the standard edition if he could get the GOTY with twice the perceived value for 2$ more -, far less risk (lower budget and no retail release!) and continuous media coverage for the different DLCs.
Only AAA games will still get the occasional expansion. It's worth doing if you can predict a 30% attach rate on a 5M+ installed base.
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December 18th, 2012, 11:04
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The times are over. The 20 hours expansion pack was a child of the retail market. When retail presence was necessary to reach the customer you had to deliver a certain amount of content to make the box attractive at mid price.
Nowadays it's much easier to produce small pieces of content, call them DLC, bundle them into packs, sell a bundle of packs as season pass, create Digital Ultimate Deluxe GOTY Editions and keep doing so for as long as the stuff sells or until the sequel comes.
Other positive effects are a probably much higher attach rate - who would buy the standard edition if he could get the GOTY with twice the perceived value for 2$ more -, far less risk (lower budget and no retail release!) and continuous media coverage for the different DLCs.
Only AAA games will still get the occasional expansion. It's worth doing if you can predict a 30% attach rate on a 5M+ installed base.
Thank you. You pretty much summed up why I'm disgruntled with the industry right now.

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December 18th, 2012, 13:55
Except for Crusader Kings 2, I've never bought a DLC. Especially not for RPGs, as after I finish a game I uninstall it, and I'm not going to re-install the game to play 3 extra hours.
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December 18th, 2012, 16:39
Whenever this comes up I always respond with this - Does it really matter? I mean, these games usually give you some decent DLC. Look at Skyrim. Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn. None of them are technically expansions, yet combined they are worth more than an expansion would be. Fallout 3's DLC added up to about the size of an expansion, if not bigger. The list goes on and on.

I just don't see what the big fuss over lack of expansions is. I would be more worried about lack of DLC at all, because then that means your favorite game isn't getting expanded in any way.

But overall I'm quite happy with DLC. It splits up the large expansions into smaller segments and gives you the options of which segments you want to buy.

I don't believe that if DLC didn't exist, all these games would be getting these huge, epic expansions all of a sudden. No. A game is going to get the post-launch support that it's going to get. Rain or shine.

I'd also prefer a tightly packed DLC with premium content than a watered-down expansion with fluff content. I'm not saying all expansions are like that, but at least with DLC, most DLC add a nice tight package of content to their games.

DLC is not the end of the world . I'm not quite sure why some gamers have such an aversion to it.
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December 18th, 2012, 18:48
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Whenever this comes up I always respond with this - Does it really matter?
There is a difference, though. While it might take the same amount of time to read 3 short stories versus 1 novel, the experience is different. I would say most of us are OK with short stories, but some will want the depth of story and character that can only delivered in the longer format. The same concept applies to games. For those folks, the current market pretty well sucks.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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December 18th, 2012, 20:29
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
There is a difference, though. While it might take the same amount of time to read 3 short stories versus 1 novel, the experience is different. I would say most of us are OK with short stories, but some will want the depth of story and character that can only delivered in the longer format. The same concept applies to games. For those folks, the current market pretty well sucks.
Your also correct. I have no problem with dlc just how it is used and never put on sale. Bioware/EA/Activision are the worst example.

Bethesda and Obsidian did it right. At least they offered a true game of the year with all the dlc included. It also felt like expansions not 2 hr game extensions or cosmetic packs.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; December 19th, 2012 at 03:09.
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December 18th, 2012, 21:53
Let's not forget that Bethesda and their FO/TES DLC is the exception, and not the rule.

The DLC business model has all but eliminated expansions and what they used to bring to the experience.

If you're fine with less content for more money - then there's no issue. I'm not happy about it, however.
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December 19th, 2012, 02:29
Well, I think they NEED to be asking for more money. Selling more copies works great but eventually you get to the saturation point and have to start asking for more money to make games bigger (and hopefully better).

My first thought when reading the topic, though, was that we're lucky to still get 20-30 hour GAMES, never mind expansions. I get scared every time I go look and my favorite games and see via the achievements that most people don't finish. Even shorter games are lucky to get a 50% completion rate! I suspect the only thing keeping our games somewhat detailed is that so many people THINK they want all that extra content.

P.S. Another expansion: Albion Prelude for X3: Terran Conflict. Took me 40 hours to complete that.
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December 22nd, 2012, 01:06
It does seem like standalone expansions are becoming far more common though.

And when were expansions in the 20-30h range?
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December 22nd, 2012, 01:13
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Let's not forget that Bethesda and their FO/TES DLC is the exception, and not the rule.

The DLC business model has all but eliminated expansions and what they used to bring to the experience.

If you're fine with less content for more money - then there's no issue. I'm not happy about it, however.
I'm happy with MORE content for REASONABLE money. That's all DLC is. It's more game content that wasn't included with the game for a reasonable asking price.

I'm very happy with the current model. I think some of you have it twisted. Why aren't you just happy to be getting any extra content at all? Be thankful you're getting any DLC. Companies aren't obligated to provide post-release game support. It's a bonus.

Bottom line is, if I'm playing a game that I love, I want all the DLC I can get for it. Expansions are cool too, for certain games, but DLC also works and overall just gives you more options of how you want to play. No one is forcing you to buy that content but they are offering it. I love it.
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December 22nd, 2012, 02:35
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I'm happy with MORE content for REASONABLE money. That's all DLC is. It's more game content that wasn't included with the game for a reasonable asking price.

I'm very happy with the current model. I think some of you have it twisted. Why aren't you just happy to be getting any extra content at all? Be thankful you're getting any DLC. Companies aren't obligated to provide post-release game support. It's a bonus.

Bottom line is, if I'm playing a game that I love, I want all the DLC I can get for it. Expansions are cool too, for certain games, but DLC also works and overall just gives you more options of how you want to play. No one is forcing you to buy that content but they are offering it. I love it.
Take look at Neverwinter nights 2 and it's 2 expansions mask of betrayer and storm of zehir(this second one I didn't like so much but many people loved it so it serves to this example but I did appreciate what they where trying to do even if it didn't turn out to my taste).Original campaign was good but it's after expansion games this game became classic for many, they both offer totally different gaming experience.This is just one of more known examples but there are lot more(first Dawn of war,Civ IV,HoI II/III,Titan quest list goes on..).My point something like this couldn't be accomplished with simple low cost/low content DLC or few.DLCs work but they cannot accomplish what full expansion can and that is why I dislike current system.
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Be thankful you're getting any DLC. Companies aren't obligated to provide post-release game support. It's a bonus.
You make it sound like companies are doing it for charity not for large sum of money.I am not thankful because time and resources they are using could be used for making expansion or sequel or new game.
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December 22nd, 2012, 03:04
Ah Fluent I love comments like yours.

There as typical as those who really hate dlc. I guess we should all be thankful, and realize this new generation of gamers are like fluent.

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December 22nd, 2012, 04:46
New generation? I have been playing games for over 20 years . If that's what you consider the "new generation" then have at it. You can call it whatever you want but bottom line is I'm happy with modern gaming, DLC and all.

And yes, of course companies are releasing DLC for money, but in the end they are still attempting to please fans of their games by offering more content. I'll take more content for the games I love any day.
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December 22nd, 2012, 06:25
I usually wait to buy most games about a year or two after launch, when they are on sale via Steam below $10 including all DLC. If they include several short 3-5 hour DLC, I suppose the complete version with all the DLC is comparable to an expansion in terms of additional content.

The sort of DLC that I'm inclined to buy at full price would be something that significantly enhances the replay value of the game by expanding on the base gameplay features. Skyrim's Dawnguard, for example, which adds new joinable factions, new skill trees and is a basis for a number of interesting mods, not to mention quite a lot of content. If it makes the game worth playing through again, that is another hundred hours or so.
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December 22nd, 2012, 08:58
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
New generation? I have been playing games for over 20 years . If that's what you consider the "new generation" then have at it. You can call it whatever you want but bottom line is I'm happy with modern gaming, DLC and all.

And yes, of course companies are releasing DLC for money, but in the end they are still attempting to please fans of their games by offering more content. I'll take more content for the games I love any day.
Bah I love generalizing everyone on the forums should know this by now.

I disagree with the offering more content. Some company's like was mentioned before do it right others have no clue. Unfortunately a majority of developers and publishers fall into the latter category.

So when these company's finally get a clue then I will be thankful. Don't see that happening anytime soon though. In the meantime how about another map pack or cosmetic addon for $5-$15. Be thankful now.

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December 22nd, 2012, 09:41
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I'm happy with MORE content for REASONABLE money. That's all DLC is. It's more game content that wasn't included with the game for a reasonable asking price.
No, that's what you think DLC is. You're the sort of person who apparently thinks that all DLC is reasonably priced. Not particularly in touch with reality - I'd say.

There's this thing known as impulse buying and buying based on expectations. DLC, like games themselves, are often hard to quantify for the consumer. That's why publishers are taking advantage of the unknowable factor. They build a strong platform, being the base game, and then they milk it for all it's worth - because they know people will use the base platform as the assumption for future content.

Some of us have chosen to learn from that and won't support DLC blindly.

I'm very happy with the current model. I think some of you have it twisted. Why aren't you just happy to be getting any extra content at all? Be thankful you're getting any DLC. Companies aren't obligated to provide post-release game support. It's a bonus.
I think you and most publishers have it very, very twisted. I'm not thankful for the opportunity to pay money for subpar content. I'd have to be a bit of a fool to be thankful for that.

I can be thankful on rare occasions when DLC constitutes good value for money. However, why would I be thankful if I'm getting what I'm paying for? That should be the base assumption. The publisher should be thankful they're getting paid, in that case.

Companies aren't obligated? You're not kidding. They're doing it because they can generate extra profit - which, while no obligation, is certainly a powerful incentive.

That said, there are exceptions to every rule - and DLC can be very good. It's just not a very typical scenario.

You, however, can be thankful for whatever you want.

Bottom line is, if I'm playing a game that I love, I want all the DLC I can get for it. Expansions are cool too, for certain games, but DLC also works and overall just gives you more options of how you want to play. No one is forcing you to buy that content but they are offering it. I love it.
I'm sure you love it - as do many consumers without a critical bone in their body. Some people are happy no matter how they're being treated, because they're oblivious to the process involved - or maybe they just don't care about things being fair.

I'd prefer it if DLC hadn't destroyed expansions almost entirely, because DLC is so much easier to profit from. That you love it means you're supporting it, and that's not something I appreciate - but I can't change that.

Unfortunately, a lot of people buy blindly and they can't really see the long-term effect of supporting the DLC model so willingly. So, they've enabled publishers to get rid of those pesky expansions that take so much work - and we've gotten DLC instead. I'd estimate that ~75% of all DLC is superfluous or trivial content. The rest is a mixed bag, but on rare occasions - we'll get something like the DLC for Bethesda games.

I can't really be thankful for a serious step down when it comes to gaming, because I'm quite passionate about it. Well, I used to be - anyway.
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December 22nd, 2012, 10:11
There's nothing wrong with DLC. Plenty of DLC adds a fair bit and the costs are cheaper and the turnaround for release is faster. Just because a few companies are shady about it doesn't mean everything's awful. We've had shitty expansions too! Personally, I found the outsourced expansion pack for Diablo awful!

The DLC expansions we got for CK2 have all added substantially to the game. And they cost, what, $5 each when not on sale? Obviously the end of the world, right!

DA:O had Awakening, there's an RPG with a large expansion within the past 3 years. End of times talk, here, folks!

Borderlands had 4 small/mid-sized expansions that, when combined, created a full expansions worth of content. Were they cheap? Yes. Borderlands 2 has the same. Do they add enough content? They sure seem to.

Both Fallout 3 and NV had the same deal. 4 small to mid-sized expansions that, when combined, provide roughly the full amount of gameplay additions an expansion would. Sounds fine to me!

Battlefield 3 had four (of five total) map packs released already, each one added substantially to the game. 9 maps at launch, 4 per pack. Were the costs high? $15 each or $40-$60 (regular price) for the lot. Maybe a little high, but the game comes with 9 maps and they are adding 20 more with that. 20 more. That's over twice as many as the game shipped with. And they came with new game modes and other things as well. IMO, each of those packs was enough to constitute a full expansion 10 years ago. And with the way PC digital sales go, I was able to get the whole Premium bundle for $25. Now that was a deal.

Then we get to THQ and their stuff. Their pattern is releasing 3 content packs for games that, when combined, form about the length of gameplay a single expansion pack would produce. Costs? Under $30. Of course, they add to that with buckets of cosmetic stuff and the other questionable DLC, but that's clearly optional and their prices for that stuff is pretty low. I wouldn't buy it on it's own, but if someone wants to spend $1 on a goofy weapon for a game they like, how does it affect anyone but them?

Tales of the Sword Coast cost me $40 at retail. Hate to say it, but I never got $40 of fun out of it. I've enjoyed a few CK2 expansions more. I've enjoyed my Saints Row 3 season pass more. Does that mean I'm giving in to THE MAN and THEIR BULLSHIT WAYS TO RIP ME OFF? No. It means I enjoyed those games and enjoyed the additional content that was created and offered for sale.

Crying about it and being ridiculously "anti-DLC" just makes you miss out. This is how addons work now, outside of those standalone expansions like Fallen Enchantress and those Spellforce games. Now that I find BS! Why re-sell the same content repeatedly?
Last edited by darkling; December 22nd, 2012 at 10:22.
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