Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

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TheFeniX
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Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby TheFeniX » 2015-02-18 12:05pm

So, Evolve was a game I was fairly interested in. I got in on the beta due to having... some game. But I forgot I installed it because FFXIV won't play itself. Most of what I know about the game is from reading and it's getting beat up by everyone but the larger review sites. The primary complaint is the DLC and packaging. The DLC itself doesn't seem to be the issue, but the idiotically confusing way it's all setup. Personally, I think including $120 worth the DLC before launch is shady, but the developers were at least upfront about it. The problem is that knowing what DLC you need to buy to unlock everything is very confusing. There's multiple different packages with a lot of overlap. To me, DLC launched at the same time as the release will always be a cash grab and should be avoided. I don't care if two different teams worked on it or whatever bullshit they come up with. It's been found to be lies too many times for me to think it's a legit argument.

On the content front, this does not full like a fleshed-out $60 game. L4Dead2 took a lot of heat for coming out a year after L4Dead 1, but at least that was a stand-alone game with varied content such as new infected, new maps, new characters, new game-modes. Evolve has a pittance of that content and one singular game-mode. Sure, they may add more, but it's going to be priced on top of the $60 already spent on the game, or included in the price of the Season Pass. Once again though, the developers were very upfront about this.

But I don't think this is acceptable and will not buy the game at anywhere near list-price. It would be like Gat out of Hell being $60, when it's very clearly a blow-off $20-$30 "expansion pack" level patch and was sold as such. It seems the community is in some sort of agreement with me. I can't find it, but I saw a screen-cap of current Evolve games being played and it can't even beat current L4Dead2 games played. Though I can't back this assertion up.

This has brought up a peeve I've had for a few years. I've read more than a few articles that are basically "stop complaining about DLC, it's here to stay. There's nothing you can do about it" or "short games are fine" (which is true). Hell, I think Cracked just released an article in this vein. But it ignores that I can do something: not buy your game. And I don't have a problem with low-content games... when they aren't sold as full-priced ones. Instead of learning from this, developers just attribute bad press to trolls who don't matter. Then when their game fails to meet their goals, they once again blame trolls (like the with new Devil May Cry game), rather than admit maybe they fucked up.

A shame because I was really looking forward to another good co-op game. I have always loved asymmetrical Multi-player such as Natural Selection, The Hidden, and Zombie Master.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Grumman » 2015-02-18 01:13pm

It has always sounded too limited in scope to be a $60 game. I definitely like the core concept of the alien safari FPS but they need more than 4 guys, 1 monster to work with. Maybe throw in a 3 Hunter vs. 3 Hunter race to see who can bag the most albinos the fastest. Or a mode where the hunters get a VTOL that is easier for the monster to evade, but can be used to get around faster or turn the tide of a fight if they catch the monster out in the open. Things like that.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby TheFeniX » 2015-02-18 01:13pm

Order 1886 has been taking some heat too. The developers have come out with their own criticism of the critics, which is generally a bad idea. The campaign is written off as fairly short. Now, this isn't a bad thing in of itself. CoD games have shorter episodic campaigns. Yet they also have hours upon hours of content and development into the multiplayer portions. Many great games exist that are short on content... except they are usually not $60 titles. Forbes has a write-up I have a hard time arguing with when it comes to lower-limit to campaign length. The thing is, for me personally, it just seems we're getting a lot more "do as little as possible and charge as much as you can" out of the supposed upper-crust of video game developers and publishers.
Now that Evolve has launched last week, the other major console release of the month is The Order: 1886, the Sony PS4 exclusive developed by Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica, who between them have been responsible for PlayStation’s famed God of War series over the years.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a major game release without some sort of controversy, and the issue this time is an old one, a debate about game length that was sparked by a YouTuber uploading what he claims is the entire game online, which clocks in at just over five and a half hours, including the game’s lengthy integrated cutscenes.

This weekend brought us an impassioned defense of The Order by Ready at Dawn CEO Ru Weerasuriya, as told through Eurogamer, in response to the concerns about playtime.

“I know there are numbers out there,” he said. “I know why the question comes up. I know numbers have been put out there that are actually not right. It’s impossible to finish the game in that time, so we know the numbers are wrong.”

While Weerasuriya says the YouTube playthrough time is incorrect, he does not offer a counter in the form of an average playtime through their own testing, but instead uses the opportunity to talk about why it’s alright if shorter games exist, given the wide scope the market today.

“Do we all need to do the same thing?” he asks. “I hope people who do like these kind of games, do play them. But I also want to be in an industry where me as a gamer, I’m given the choice to do that. I’ve played games that lasted two hours that were better than games that I played for 16 hours. That’s the reality of it.”

The Order: 1886 is coming under fire for this issue in particular due to the nature of the game. Weerasuriya cites Modern Warfare as having a short campaign he loved, but that game came with a multiplayer mode that accounts for dozens, if not hundreds more hours of playtime. The Order has no such mode, nor does it seem to have a New Game+ option where players can replay the story with a host of upgrades acquired through an initial playthrough. That means however long the story is, it’s unlikely there will be much replayability past the original length, and no additional gameplay time is added through multiplayer.

And the“two hour games that are better than 16 hour games” that Weerasuriya references almost assuredly weren’t sold for $60. Many indie games boast very short lengths, but are often a third or a quarter or less of the price of a new AAA blockbuster like The Order.

So, assuming the five and a half hour playtime is wrong, and it’s more along the lines of seven or eight hours, does that make The Order a bad deal? That’s a complicated question, and this is a debate that’s been raging in the video game space for years now. Is “entertainment dollars per hour” an appropriate metric by which to judge a game?

Recently, I’ve found myself on the other side of the fence, criticizing games for being too sprawling and filled with fluff. Last year I took aim at two of 2014’s biggest games, Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, the latter of which was recognized by most major outlets as Game of the Year.

Far Cry 4 was a solid game that seemed determined to artificially extend its playtime by inserting side-quest after side-quest, and minigame after minigame. In my detailed breakdown of the game’s activities, given all the stuff you could do in a playthrough, maybe three hours were devoted to the actual, core story missions of the game, while you could spend another sixty hours easily completing every non-plot related minigame and sub-mission out there. It felt as if the game may have reached the Ubisoft breaking point of being almost entirely made up of side-quests.

Dragon Age was a different story, a game that did have a hefty central storyline, and side-quests that were often more than just glorified minigames. And yet, the game was so long, that when I said I sunk 40 hours into it and was exhausted because I didn’t feel like I was anywhere near completion, fans told me I just wasn’t dedicated enough, and everyone knows that you had to play the game for 80-100 hours to really be able to judge it fairly.

All this is to say that I believe that games can actually be hindered by being too long, as the “value” you receive for “dollars per hour” is outweighed by the game feeling artificially bloated and being borderline impossible to complete for those with family/work/school responsibilities. Games like Dragon Age and Far Cry now make you grind out hours of side quests in order to be powerful enough to progress in the main story. Others like Destiny have a story that can be beaten in probably five or six hours, but players will spend hundreds more playing the same Strikes and Raids on repeat. It’s “content” without really being content.

Yes, this is technically a good value, given that for Far Cry and Dragon Age I’m paying roughly $1/hr for my entertainment buck, with Destiny probably being closer to $0.30, given how much time I’ve sunk into it. And yet, do I dislike other games because they’ve given me shorter experiences? Absolutely not.

Wolfenstein: The New Order, Shadow of Mordor, BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us have all been dramatically shorter than the aforementioned games, ranging from probably 10-15 hours with not much replayability to them, if any. And yet, they’ve been some of my favorite titles of the last few years regardless, because of how well their campaigns were designed, or how well their stories were told. I don’t regret paying full retail for any of them, even if they didn’t give me sixty hours of side-quests to pad out my experience.

And yet, is there a downward limit? Despite what I’ve said above, yes, absolutely there is. There has to be.

Despite the story-based games I mentioned being “shorter,” I don’t think a one of them is under ten hours, unless you’re doing a speed run. To me, ten hours seems to be about the minimum appropriate length for a campaign or story mode in a $60 game not attached to an overwhelmingly attractive multiplayer experience like you’d find in Halo or Call of Duty. I seem to remember completing most God of War games, for example, in about 10-12 hours. Even a game like Telltale’s Walking Dead has a five-episode story that ends up being about 8-10 hours by the end, yet that game sold new for $25.

But if The Order is 6-8 hours, and a lot of that is lengthy cutscenes (albeit interactive ones), I can see why that might rub some players the wrong way, in much the same way that Evolve as a multiplayer-only title is having trouble convincing some it’s worth a full $60 while lacking a campaign mode. It’s the opposite problem, but a similar issue. Evolve, however, can boast hours and hours or replayability if players like the core game, while The Order likely cannot.

Kyle Orland wrote a great defense of shorter games for Gamasutra back in 2010, when some critics were questioning the length of Limbo, which most could beat in about four hours. Since then, we’ve seen this come up again with Gone Home, a two hour “experience” some were hesitant to classify as a game, but others viewed as one of the best games of the year. As recently as a few months ago, Polygon’s Ben Kutchera wrote a column about his love of short games as a busy parent, citing The Vanishing of Ethan Carter as an example, which clocks in at about five hours of gameplay.

But the common thread? Again, all three of those games, and most other truly “short” games are indies, sold usually from $10-20. I think saying that “people who think short games suck are wrong” is something of a straw man argument. Probably everyone has had a good short gaming experience at some point or another, or at least recognizes that it’s possible. But there is a difference between $15 for four hours of Limbo and $60 for six hours of The Order: 1886. A reviewer can advise a fan to “wait for a sale” to pick up a short game if price is a factor, but obviously the dev wants to sell their game for the full $60 to as many customers as possible, and “waiting for a sale” often means “buying used,” which does nothing at all for those who made the game.

There isn’t some magic formula that can deduce exactly how long a game has to be at minimum to be worth the cost. You can use analogies to (clearly overpriced) movie tickets if you want, but that’s an imperfect system at best. And in fact, Ready at Dawn uses movies as the opposite side of the argument in the Eurogamer interview, saying that length alone doesn’t signify quality in film. “Just because a movie is three hours long, it doesn’t make it better,” Weerasuriya says.

That’s true, but while a ninety minute movie costs as much as a three hour one, there is still a downward limit. If theaters and studios started charging $12 a ticket for a 45 minute feature, you can bet that there would be pushback, so much so that only rarely will you ever see a movie released that clocks in under an hour twenty or so. Short films may have their own Oscar category, and no one is denying their quality, but no one is paying $12 each to see them either.

It does seem plausible that The Order: 1886 may be scraping the bottom when it comes to the minimum accepted length for a $60 game if these campaign length guesses are anywhere close to accurate. The fact that Ready at Dawn didn’t counter with specifics that show the YouTuber is outright lying, and the game is really 10-15 hours, says that the five and a half hour estimate is probably not all that far off. Even with the benefit of the doubt and assuming somehow there’s an extra two hours in the game the YouTuber cut out, it’s still a tricky proposition to charge $60 for that.

As a result, The Order: 1886 has to simply be amazing. What is true about shorter games, is that the less time you spend with them, the better they have to be. Gone Home, Limbo, Portal and others packed a hell of a lot of brilliance into just a few hours. The Order will have to do just that or else it simply can’t even begin to make the argument that it’s worth the price. That $60 will have to be seen in the quality of the visuals, story, voice acting, and gameplay, if the actual physical content isn’t there. But the shorter the game, the better all those aspects will have to be in order to make it seem worthwhile.

The Order’s review embargo lifts on Thursday, the 19th, with the game’s release on Friday, the 20th, so we should know a lot more about where the game stands by the end of the week. But for now, despite the fact that “dollars per hour” is a flawed metric of quality, The Order does raise a few important questions about what justifies a $60 price point.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-02-18 02:53pm

Personally, I think including $120 worth the DLC before launch is shady, but the developers were at least upfront about it. The problem is that knowing what DLC you need to buy to unlock everything is very confusing. There's multiple different packages with a lot of overlap. To me, DLC launched at the same time as the release will always be a cash grab and should be avoided. I don't care if two different teams worked on it or whatever bullshit they come up with. It's been found to be lies too many times for me to think it's a legit argument.


Isn't most of that DLC just cosmetic stuff ?
Usually produced by the art team after they have finished all the work they can do on the game, while other teams still have things to polish up.

Cosmetic DLC isn't something I can honestly complain about. Maybe I'll buy a few pieces of it that I like, maybe not. But most of it I'll never purchase* because I know that I'll never use most of it. Because I'll be using the cosmetic options I like the most.

Why do people have a problem with cosmetic DLC ?

*Unless it comes as part of a package that is the cheapest way to get the DLC I want.

Now the content DLC being confusing, that's something to be annoyed about.

While Weerasuriya says the YouTube playthrough time is incorrect, he does not offer a counter in the form of an average playtime through their own testing, but instead uses the opportunity to talk about why it’s alright if shorter games exist, given the wide scope the market today.

A developer that heavily pushed "cinematic" 30FPS and black bars at the top and bottom of the screen is unwilling to respond to criticism with facts. This could blow up into an entertaining trainwreck.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Grumman » 2015-02-18 03:19pm

bilateralrope wrote:Isn't most of that DLC just cosmetic stuff ?
Usually produced by the art team after they have finished all the work they can do on the game, while other teams still have things to polish up.

And these skins aren't "work they can do on the game"? Those skins, produced by the art team during the game's development, couldn't have been part of their $60 game proper as customisation options if the developers weren't such stingy bastards?

Oh, and on top of everything else: I was just reminded that these are the assholes who fired their community manager in disproportionate retribution for a Twitter comment disagreeing with exactly that kind of disproportionate retribution.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby TheFeniX » 2015-02-18 04:01pm

bilateralrope wrote:Isn't most of that DLC just cosmetic stuff ?
Usually produced by the art team after they have finished all the work they can do on the game, while other teams still have things to polish up.
I've never seen proof of the "usually" part. As Grumman pointed out, this is stuff ready to go at launch. Would not surprise me in the least if it's all "on-disc" and unlocked.

Cosmetic stuff is a great way to subsidize a F2P or cheap games, not a AAA $60 title when cosmetic unlocks have been a part of these games (for free, merely requiring time spent, usually) to unlock. And since reskins are so easy to shit out these days, it's a lazy cash-grab. Also of note, it gives them more incentive to stifle any modding communities that may crop up.

Why do people have a problem with cosmetic DLC ?
Because it didn't used to cost money. So, if you've been around long enough, you remember that good developers give you this stuff as part of your investment. These days, they just cut out finished work and sell it for extra. This is why people hate launch day DLC.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Mr Bean » 2015-02-18 04:05pm

About order 1866 let me steal and excellent quote about the guy who posted the five hour walk through

Carbon wrote:The guy who made the video of the 5 hour walkthrough where he does everything at an average pace says there's 3 hours of cutscenes, 1 hour of interactive cutscenes, and 1.5 hrs of gameplay


I watched two parts picked at random, he's not kidding, it's a SHORT game.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-02-18 04:39pm

TheFeniX wrote:Because it didn't used to cost money. So, if you've been around long enough, you remember that good developers give you this stuff as part of your investment. These days, they just cut out finished work and sell it for extra. This is why people hate launch day DLC.


How many games gave you a similar number of cosmetic options ?
I can't remember many. I mainly recall RPGs where the skin is tied to item stats, which is not a case where I'd say the player has choice.

Cutting content from the game is a problem with DLC. I can't argue that.

I find that the best question to ask is if the base game, when played without any DLC, feels complete or feels like bits are missing. If it feels like bits are missing, bits that are included in DLC, then that DLC is a problem. I don't see how I'd be convinced that cosmetic DLC will be a problem with that question.
DLC only weapons/classes/other things that affect gameplay can be. Evolve isn't doing any of them as day 1 DLC, but few people complain when other games do. For example, Battlefield Hardline has a regular and digital deluxe version. The DD version is a day 1 DLC which comes with two weapons that only there.
DLC only maps are a big problem because they split the multiplayer community. All maps in Evolve will be free.

What I see is that people are complaining about Evolve for including a shitload of cosmetic options which do not affect gameplay at all. But I don't see anyone complaining when other games include a few gameplay altering options as day 1 DLC. Why is pure cosmetic stuff a bigger problem than gameplay altering DLC ?

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby InsaneTD » 2015-02-18 07:05pm

bilateralrope wrote:
TheFeniX wrote:Because it didn't used to cost money. So, if you've been around long enough, you remember that good developers give you this stuff as part of your investment. These days, they just cut out finished work and sell it for extra. This is why people hate launch day DLC.


How many games gave you a similar number of cosmetic options ?
I can't remember many. I mainly recall RPGs where the skin is tied to item stats, which is not a case where I'd say the player has choice.

Borderlands is a great example for butt-tons of cosmetics, the flip side is, the vast majority of that can be unlocked while playing, or if lazy, paid for. If evolves cosmetics can be unlocked by playing a well as purchasing, then I'd personally have no issue with it. Unfortunately for them, first I heard of the game was when a mate complained about the lack of content and heard nothing but bad stuff about it since. They failed at PR/Marketing.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Mr. Coffee » 2015-02-18 07:27pm

BR, go fire up Steam right now, go to Evolve's store page and read. The cosmetic DLC's aren't that big a deal, until you look at the prices they're charging. The thing that's really pissing people off is that you have to pay for extra hunters and monsters at $7.50 and $15 a pop respectively (just skins for now, but apparently those are supposed to be fully fleshed out new monsters and hunter classes eventually). If you bought all the DLC's separately it'd cost $85.88, or you can buy their ultrasuperdeluxe version of the game with all the DLCs for the low, low price of $100.

There's DLC and then there's blatant arm-and-leg-and-fuck-the-user cash grabbing. Seriously, you're trying to defend a publisher charging AAA game prices for an unfinished, casual game with 1/3 of the content locked away as DLC.
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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Joun_Lord » 2015-02-18 07:42pm

Mr Bean wrote:About order 1866 let me steal and excellent quote about the guy who posted the five hour walk through

Carbon wrote:The guy who made the video of the 5 hour walkthrough where he does everything at an average pace says there's 3 hours of cutscenes, 1 hour of interactive cutscenes, and 1.5 hrs of gameplay


I watched two parts picked at random, he's not kidding, it's a SHORT game.


That sounds terrible. I know the PS3 got a lot of flack for having some games that were considered interactive movies (whats the best PS3 game? Talladega Nights!) but to literally have a game that clocks in at 5 hours with over half of that being cut scenes sounds like it won't go over too well for most gamers except the artsy fartsy types (then the Gamergate types will have to be diagrammatically opposed to the game even if its good).

Between the 5 hour playthrough and the damning "review embargoes" that tends to only be for terrible games (save strangely Shadows of Mordor which was considered a really good game) this game probably won't do too well. Hopefully atleast. It might be "gamer privilege" talking but one should not accept a $60 game that might have $20 of content.

Evolve sounds little better. I can handle Day One DLC if its cosmetic bullshit that is optional. If its new gamemodes and enemies that should have been part of the base game, thats hinky. If its Day One required DLC to get the fullest experience that a straight up rip-off.

Mind you I think paying $60 bucks for a complete multi game is bullshit anyway. Its different for L4D because that game has a single player campaign that you can play with yourself on. If there is a single player mode on Evolve it sounds like it will just be not much different from playing Quake bot matches.

Thankfully neither or these game were on my radar, Evolve because I rarely play multi games and the Order because I am Glorious PC Master Race, but for gamers that were looking forward to these games they should be rightfully perturbed.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Terralthra » 2015-02-18 08:05pm

Well, most games have review embargoes. It's (typically) the bad games that have review embargoes that last until after launch.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Vendetta » 2015-02-18 08:07pm

bilateralrope wrote:Isn't most of that DLC just cosmetic stuff ?
Usually produced by the art team after they have finished all the work they can do on the game, while other teams still have things to polish up.

Cosmetic DLC isn't something I can honestly complain about. Maybe I'll buy a few pieces of it that I like, maybe not. But most of it I'll never purchase* because I know that I'll never use most of it. Because I'll be using the cosmetic options I like the most.

Why do people have a problem with cosmetic DLC ?


I think people are having a specific problem with Evolve because the core content of the game is so lacking. It's a multiplayer only game with relatively little variablility in play despite being asymmetrical due to the smallish character and monster pool.

If there had been a lot of content in the base package then them selling cosmetic DLC, even day one, wouldn't have been a problem. But there isn't, Evolve is super content light to start with so it aggrieves people to see a lot of work having done on it that they're being asked to pay extra for when they're already not getting a lot for their money.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Terralthra » 2015-02-18 08:09pm

As for the idea of Cosmetic DLC...I assume we mean stuff like...customs skins for your avatar? Yeah, I remember the first multiplayer game I played a lot of, Quake 2, came with 4 player models and about a dozen skins for each one. And that was just in the game, period. Third-party models and skins were legion, of course.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Vendetta » 2015-02-18 08:12pm

Terralthra wrote:Well, most games have review embargoes. It's (typically) the bad games that have review embargoes that last until after launch.


You know how popular sites on the internet update and someone posts "First" just to be the first to post. Without review embargoes that's basically all you could expect from reviews, because everyone would want the traffic for being the first to get something out there about the hot new game.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby TheFeniX » 2015-02-19 12:31pm

bilateralrope wrote:How many games gave you a similar number of cosmetic options ?
Depends. Resident Evil 5 and Force Unleashed were just two off the top of my head. Certain competitive games had dozens. Even the shitfest of Brink had loads of unlocks. Going back, Unreal Tournament and other arena shooters were big on them. This many? There aren't a whole lot. Maybe Payday 2, which you also pay for. But many games will rely on the players to make their own cosmetic stuff, like Jedi-Oucast/Academy. Or Beth releases Horse Armor and gets mocked ruthlessly.

What I see is that people are complaining about Evolve for including a shitload of cosmetic options which do not affect gameplay at all. But I don't see anyone complaining when other games include a few gameplay altering options as day 1 DLC. Why is pure cosmetic stuff a bigger problem than gameplay altering DLC ?
Maybe not so much now as the changes in the way content like this is handled has moved slowly over the years. It wasn't an explosion, but a slow erosion. There was, however, a huge blow-up in the Battlefield community when unlocks for BF2 kits were shown specifically because players were not used to the idea of playing the game giving you better gear, outside of RPGs. Sure, CoD does it non-stop now, but this was an entirely new concept. The TF2 community was split badly on this issue as well.

Cheat codes are in the same vein. Many started out because games were Nintenhard and programmers may not be the most badass gamers, so they put cheats in to make playtesting a lot easier. With the advent of Achievements, many are dummied out and now developers instead sell you cheat codes. A good developer would instead lock them behind beating the game, or something in that vein. I don't think there's any way you could convince me selling cheat codes isn't just a lazy cash grab.

The thing is: both CoD and Battlefield not only have enough of a fanbase of people that will buy the games no matter what, but reviewers are not as ready to rake these types of publishers over the coals. Instead they wear kid's gloves. Neither Evolve nor 1886 have that kind of fan loyalty willing to devote time and resources to calling people out. CoD and BF have just as many, if not more, detractors. But those are drowned out soundly by people who will shower praise on EA and Activision. Or more specifically, Dice and Infinity Ward (and Treyarch, but CoD fans hate them because CoD players are terrible people).

Vendetta wrote:You know how popular sites on the internet update and someone posts "First" just to be the first to post. Without review embargoes that's basically all you could expect from reviews, because everyone would want the traffic for being the first to get something out there about the hot new game.
It's only an issue if your press has the mentality of bloggers.... so... it's an issue. But I can't give publishers any credit here because unless they are concerned with the people they give advanced copies to flat-out lieing about their game, they shouldn't have anything to hide in order to protect those tasty pre-orders. Review embargoes are in no way friendly to the consumer.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby TheFeniX » 2015-02-19 04:05pm

Joun_Lord wrote:Mind you I think paying $60 bucks for a complete multi game is bullshit anyway. Its different for L4D because that game has a single player campaign that you can play with yourself on. If there is a single player mode on Evolve it sounds like it will just be not much different from playing Quake bot matches.
I missed this:

Games with almost complete MP experience well worth the $50-$60 played. Unreal Tournament and (some) of it's sequels. Chromehounds. Team Fortress 2. Certain MMOs. Battlefield (at least 2, 3, and 2142). Titanfall (if the wife is to be believed). L4Dead is close enough to an MP only game to count as one. When bots function as a substitute for real players, it's pretty much the same thing, a la Battlefield "Campaign Mode" which is just set-piece MP with bots.

This was a big complaint with RE5 and 6: the games are built from the ground-up with Co-op in mind and the AI makes a piss-poor substitute for a real player. Labelling the game "Single-player" is sort of disingenuous when your experience will be hamstrung because the developers kind of screwed the pooch on the AI. This is why I would consider Gears of War a Single-player game, even though it was built for co-op. Dom and the rest of the AI have a lot of decision making to do. For just one example, he won't immediately revive you to the exclusion of everything else if you go down. His choices are based on proximity and the amount of threat in a given area. The "bullet-sponge" design of the enemies means less work devoted to make their accuracy with weapons a non-issue (note: they ruined this in 3 with 3 AI. They can basically beat the game for you).

Meanwhile, L4Dead AI will bee-line (or teleport) halfway across the map, even leaving other real players behind to save a downed player, even though making it to a closer safe-house would be a more prudent course of action and would let you complete the level. They also avoid using pretty much anything but their gun and melee. valve tried to clean this up in 2, but it didn't pan out. Having one bot around due to their uncanny accuracy is great, but they are still just dumb escorts, essentially no different than Jedi-Academy/Outcast MP bots. Hell, UT99 MP bots had better AI than most of what I've seen in modern games. At higher difficulties, they would actually retreat and use cover, which probably explains why GoW was so good years later.

If MP-only games aren't your cup of tea, that's fine. But there's plenty of MP only games out there with enough content and general enjoyment to be almost infinitely replayable and well worth a AAA price. Early in my life, I would have considered $15 a month for an MMO a complete waste of money as I'd rather play a free mod for HL (Natural Selection) for 5 years straight, but gaming tastes can change.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Terralthra » 2015-02-19 05:58pm

TF2 was never $50-$60. It was $50 when it was part of the Orange Box, when it was in a box with HL2, HL2ep1, HL2ep2, Portal, and TF2. That's two older story-driven games, two new ones, AND a strong MP game, for $50. TF2 was $20, before it was F2P.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Vendetta » 2015-02-19 07:34pm

TheFeniX wrote:It's only an issue if your press has the mentality of bloggers.... so... it's an issue. But I can't give publishers any credit here because unless they are concerned with the people they give advanced copies to flat-out lieing about their game, they shouldn't have anything to hide in order to protect those tasty pre-orders. Review embargoes are in no way friendly to the consumer.


It's not just the "blogger mentality", it's the brute rules that the first out with a review will get the page hits and the money. A review the day after the review copy arrived that had the bare minimum of game played to write anything vaguely relevant will get the eyeballs and the ad money.

Ensuring that all the reviewers have time to actually put a decent amount of time into a game and write some copy and can then all release it on the same day is totally fine, but there really should be a big red flag when the embargo expires less than, say, a week before release. (Too early and everyone's forgotten your game when it comes out, so that's bad for the publishers as well)

TheFeniX wrote:Or Beth releases Horse Armor and gets mocked ruthlessly.


People mock, but if horse armour got released today by Ubisoft it would be £5 not 75p.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-02-19 09:58pm

Lets start off with bashing Order 1886 a bit.

Judging by the Polygon and Kotaku reviews, everything about it sounds bad. The Kotaku reviewer took 7 hours to play through it. The Order 1886 reuses the same QTE boss battle for both Chapter 4 and Chapter 16 (Final Boss). The final boss appears to be a hairy, naked man. Not a werewolf.


Mr. Coffee wrote:BR, go fire up Steam right now, go to Evolve's store page and read. The cosmetic DLC's aren't that big a deal, until you look at the prices they're charging. The thing that's really pissing people off is that you have to pay for extra hunters and monsters at $7.50 and $15 a pop respectively (just skins for now, but apparently those are supposed to be fully fleshed out new monsters and hunter classes eventually). If you bought all the DLC's separately it'd cost $85.88, or you can buy their ultrasuperdeluxe version of the game with all the DLCs for the low, low price of $100.

There's DLC and then there's blatant arm-and-leg-and-fuck-the-user cash grabbing. Seriously, you're trying to defend a publisher charging AAA game prices for an unfinished, casual game with 1/3 of the content locked away as DLC.

I'm only defending the cosmetic cashgrab, because I view it as harmless. You won't be at any disadvantage should you simply not buy any of it. I also think that complaining loudly about it risks drowning out complaints about actual problems like the base game lacking content or gameplay affecting DLC being expensive.

Complaining about the total cost of the cosmetic DLC when no person is likely to use all of them even if they were free doesn't seem like a well thought out argument.

If you don't want to touch Evolve because of the cosmetic DLC, I suggest you focus on the bigger problems Evolve has. Like the lack of content, or the high price for DLC that does affect gameplay.

Terralthra wrote:As for the idea of Cosmetic DLC...I assume we mean stuff like...customs skins for your avatar? Yeah, I remember the first multiplayer game I played a lot of, Quake 2, came with 4 player models and about a dozen skins for each one. And that was just in the game, period. Third-party models and skins were legion, of course.


Ah, yes. I'd forgotten about them. So I'll concede that cosmetic options were something we used to get for free.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-02-20 04:01pm

Sorry about the double post, but I found this opinion piece in defence of cosmetic DLC.

Cosmetic DLC Isn’t Evil, And It’s Probably Keeping Game Prices Down

by Mike Futter on February 13, 2015 at 04:05 PM

This week, there has been much hand-wringing over Evolve. It’s not because the game is multiplayer-focused. It’s not even the confusing pre-order/pre-purchase options. No, this week we’re revisiting one of gaming’s most contentious sometimes-issues: day one DLC.

Since it began on consoles in the PlayStation 2/Xbox era, gamers have had a complicated relationship with add-on content. In its infancy, the phenomenon was heralded as a revolutionary way to interact with games over longer periods. There were even promises of Valve Workshop-style stores in the run-up to the Xbox 360 launch.

The reality is far less glamorous, because DLC (like nearly everything else in the gaming world) had some pretty significant growing pains. These were, in part, due to minimal education efforts from publishers.

For instance, when EA started selling unlock codes on the Xbox Live Marketplace, gamers immediately asked why items like bonus in-game currency and weapon unlocks (available in many older games as button-based cheat codes) were now carrying a price tag. EA never successfully bridged the gap for consumers with acceptable reasons for the practice.

When Bethesda sold the wildly successful horse armor for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, players questioned why we needed such a thing (many of them doing so as they pressed the button to purchase). Horse armor has become a well-worn joke in the industry, but Bethesda is having the last laugh.

While frustration with these practices rumbled under the surface for years, blowback didn’t erupt until publishers started pushing DLC on the same day as full-priced retail releases. Gamers started coming home (often updating the game with a day one patch) and then stared down a growing list of gameplay-enhancing add-ons.

The outcry was understandable. The communication from publishers behind these efforts was typically poor, and some gamers to this day question how DLC can possibly be in development before a game is entirely finished (short answer: not every staff person works on every stage of a game, and this keeps people employed).

Day-one DLC became entangled with disc-locked content (Capcom in particular was notorious for this practice with regard to costumes and skins). Gamers used to unlock these elements through play, and now developers were walling them off on the disc, making us pay for access to them.

This was a hotter issue at the start of last generation, when gamers were stomaching a 20 percent increase in the base price of games. In nearly a decade, retail prices have remained largely constant. We’re paying $60 today for games that on large offer overwhelmingly superior visuals, audio, gameplay features, and interconnectivity than the ones for which we paid the same price in 2005.

Budgets are increasing significantly. Whether those costs are being kept under control is a topic that has come up before (particularly with regard to the Tomb Raider reboot and comments made by Square Enix in 2013). Regardless of why, though, bottom line costs to make a game continue to mount, and we’re still paying the same price of entry.

On a PAX East panel in 2014, former Harmonix director of publishing and public relations John Drake laid it out bluntly. “$60 per customer just isn’t enough,” he said. Publishers found themselves looking for ways to offer more content with more reasonable development costs.

Out of this reality was born the season pass, a way for publishers to collect revenue early for unreleased add-on content while a game is getting buzz. (There is more to how this works in the accounting department, but the principle is what matters here.) It also spurred the creation of heaps of customization content. Evolve is only the latest title to offer players the chance to doll up their characters on the first day.

Gears of War 3 launched with $45 of weapon skins. Fighting game players have been paying for costume DLC at launch for years. The Batman Arkham series offers up classic costumes you can buy but not use in the campaign until you’ve finished the story. The Last of Us rolled out pack after pack of customization items for its multiplayer campaign. When they were all released, Sony stopped offering the bundle pricing that made them more affordable.

When Evolve was released this week, it became a punching bag because of $61 of cosmetic offerings (a number that was widely misreported as more than $130). These reports touched off a wave of anger aimed at Turtle Rock Studios and 2K. But here is the reality. Evolve’s DLC does not impact gameplay. It is not Mass Effect’ 3s additional character. It is not the actual ending of the game as was offered for Asura’s Wrath. It’s completely cosmetic.

Where it counts, Evolve does DLC right. There are more maps coming, and they'll be free for everyone. When new hunters and monsters are released, the player base won't be fractured. You'll be able to play alongside people that have the new characters, even if you don't open your wallet again.

Yes, I’d love to return to a time when we could unlock the coolest skins through gameplay and use them as badges of honor in multiplayer. Those days are fading, though. These entirely optional items are the new avenue to looking slightly different in-game.

Publishers are making these additional items available for a price, and believe it or not, these customization downloads make big money. At the same time, they are giving publishers a way to monetize the player base that’s interested in looking prettier in game without impacting the entire market with higher base pricing.

Development costs are rising, consumer pricing is level. Something’s got to give, or in this case, someone who is gleefully spending money on in-game skins.

Cell phone manufacturers aren't evil for selling colorful cases for your phone. Nintendo isn't exploiting customers with New 3DS faceplates (in the markets that version is being sold). Publishers aren't evil for selling cosmetic DLC. It's time we stopped vilifying the practice. After all, it's entirely opt in.


If cosmetic DLC is a significant factor in keeping the retail prices of games down, I say that it's a good trend. At the very least, I prefer it to the other options.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Grumman » 2015-02-20 05:27pm

Where it counts, Evolve does DLC right. There are more maps coming, and they'll be free for everyone. When new hunters and monsters are released, the player base won't be fractured. You'll be able to play alongside people that have the new characters, even if you don't open your wallet again.

Evolve is a multiplayer arena only game. Not forcing you to find another four people who bought the same combination of map and character DLC isn't praiseworthy, it's a failure to commit suicide. They're not doing it for your sake, they're doing it because they can't extract more money from their player base by refusing to let people who buy DLC actually use that DLC.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-02-20 05:53pm

Grumman wrote:
Where it counts, Evolve does DLC right. There are more maps coming, and they'll be free for everyone. When new hunters and monsters are released, the player base won't be fractured. You'll be able to play alongside people that have the new characters, even if you don't open your wallet again.

Evolve is a multiplayer arena only game. Not forcing you to find another four people who bought the same combination of map and character DLC isn't praiseworthy, it's a failure to commit suicide. They're not doing it for your sake, they're doing it because they can't extract more money from their player base by refusing to let people who buy DLC actually use that DLC.


Call of Duty has map packs:
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Season Pass: Get four action-packed DLC Map Packs*, each delivering a collection of innovative Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer content and more.

So I wouldn't call them suicide. If Evolve manages to sustain a playerbase, they would probably be willing to pay for map packs. Especially players who can't play with friends because those friends like the new maps.

Character DLC working while you're playing against people without it is nothing new. Still, when people are complaining about all the harmless cosmetic DLC in Evolve, it seems quite fair to point out the things Evolve is doing right with DLC.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby Vendetta » 2015-02-20 08:40pm

bilateralrope wrote:
Grumman wrote:
Where it counts, Evolve does DLC right. There are more maps coming, and they'll be free for everyone. When new hunters and monsters are released, the player base won't be fractured. You'll be able to play alongside people that have the new characters, even if you don't open your wallet again.

Evolve is a multiplayer arena only game. Not forcing you to find another four people who bought the same combination of map and character DLC isn't praiseworthy, it's a failure to commit suicide. They're not doing it for your sake, they're doing it because they can't extract more money from their player base by refusing to let people who buy DLC actually use that DLC.


Call of Duty has map packs:
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Season Pass: Get four action-packed DLC Map Packs*, each delivering a collection of innovative Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer content and more.

So I wouldn't call them suicide. If Evolve manages to sustain a playerbase, they would probably be willing to pay for map packs. Especially players who can't play with friends because those friends like the new maps.

Character DLC working while you're playing against people without it is nothing new. Still, when people are complaining about all the harmless cosmetic DLC in Evolve, it seems quite fair to point out the things Evolve is doing right with DLC.



Evolve ain't Call of Duty though.

CoD has a massive and massively committed playerbase, so much so that splitting it doesn't hurt it too badly. Evolve needs to build that playerbase essentially from scratch because it's a reasonably new type of game and it is a bad value proposition to start with so it isn't going to.

As for "Doing it right", it would probably have been more right to include more maps and modes to start with instead of making sure there was enough cosmetic DLC to sell day one to double the price of the product, because the game doesn't have enough in it.

And also: Is that cosmetic DLC really harmless? Do you honestly believe that the full cost of creating it is going to be recouped only via selling it individually? If you do I have a bridge to sell you. That cost is bound to be at least partially covered by the base price of the game as a hedge against the DLC performing poorly by itself.

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Re: Evolve and Discussion about Content and DLC

Postby TheFeniX » 2015-02-21 02:49pm

Terralthra wrote:TF2 was never $50-$60. It was $50 when it was part of the Orange Box, when it was in a box with HL2, HL2ep1, HL2ep2, Portal, and TF2. That's two older story-driven games, two new ones, AND a strong MP game, for $50. TF2 was $20, before it was F2P.
You are correct. I spaced completely on TF2 inclusion into the Orange Box.

Vendetta wrote:It's not just the "blogger mentality", it's the brute rules that the first out with a review will get the page hits and the money. A review the day after the review copy arrived that had the bare minimum of game played to write anything vaguely relevant will get the eyeballs and the ad money.
Then they need 99% complete copies of games weeks before release to keep that from happening. Movie studios do this all the time with test audiences. What makes video game publishers so special?

People mock, but if horse armour got released today by Ubisoft it would be £5 not 75p.
As was posted later on, the Horse Armor, for all the mocking and stupidity was hugely successful. Even though it should have been laughed off the Internet. I was really just making a poor jab at people who would bother paying for models and textures in Beth games when the modding community does it better.

bilateralrope wrote:If cosmetic DLC is a significant factor in keeping the retail prices of games down, I say that it's a good trend. At the very least, I prefer it to the other options.
Budgets keep balloning when the technology to develop games keeps dropping. The ballooning budgets is almost all tied up in marketing and with certain games, the licensing. People say the same thing about all MMOs being $15 a month for server costs when maybe $0.50 of that goes to maintenance. The rest of it is pure profit. As time goes on, it's become even cheaper as hardware and hosting costs have bottomed out in data centers.

Vendetta wrote:CoD has a massive and massively committed playerbase, so much so that splitting it doesn't hurt it too badly. Evolve needs to build that playerbase essentially from scratch because it's a reasonably new type of game and it is a bad value proposition to start with so it isn't going to.
When IW sold ported MW1 maps for MW2, everyone was fucking pissed because it would split the community and it's ported maps from a game you and IW already owned. That said, those MW1 maps were and still are some of the best balanced MP maps I've ever played. Anyways, people got mad and bought them anyway and Activision made millions by doing next to nothing. Buy, as you said: they can do that. It's CoD.

And also: Is that cosmetic DLC really harmless? Do you honestly believe that the full cost of creating it is going to be recouped only via selling it individually? If you do I have a bridge to sell you. That cost is bound to be at least partially covered by the base price of the game as a hedge against the DLC performing poorly by itself.
Take one look at the Bethesda game modding community to see just how fast some guy in his basement can crank out highly-detailed models and textures to see just how little time and money this stuff takes to do. Sure, creating massive worlds and detailing them out is one thing, but even I can reskin models and I am terrible at photoshop. Once you understand modelling, the modelling software has come so far, people are banging awesome stuff out in less than one 40-hour work week.

Or you can look up the stuff Beth guys did when they were given one week to mod whatever they wanted into Skyrim. One guy added in spears, with relevant (if not sort of janky) animations, and it functioned in the game. This is after Beth claimed the engine couldn't support spears. So trying to sell me a pack of weapon skins for $5 is dumb. Hell, they could sell it for $.50 and still make a killing.


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