By Kevin Kennedy (Theonekk)
Now, it may be a little late (I mean it’s already late January), but I think I’ve figured out my gaming resolution for 2014: stop buying DLC. This may seem a bit extreme, but it makes a lot of sense in context, and with a few qualifications.
First, let me set up the situation. I have a serious backlog of games, and I often find myself hesitant to even start a lot of new games until I know I’ll have time to complete them. Every week, I still go on the PSN and I often still find myself buying and downloading new DLC for some of my favorite games. Great, right? When I look at my purchases and what’s actually added substantial play, I’m just not getting much for my dollar. For example, I bought the season pass for Borderlands 2, and purchased a few extra DLC packs that seemed really interesting (because I just HAD to have that Psycho!). Yet, the total time I’ve spent on the DLC is about 2 hours. This is not to say that the DLC isn’t great. In fact, a few hours of play has shown me that it’s really quite fun. The problem is that much of it is level-specific, and every time I go back to Borderlands 2 I end up sitting for one play session and then moving on to something different. When I look at other games, the situation is even worse. I bought a whole lot of DLC for Uncharted 3, for example, just as my interest in multiplayer waned and I moved on.
This is not to say that I won’t go back to these games at some point and play them again. I make sure to hold onto games I feel are worth a second play, but that second play may be a year or more down the road, and honestly I can’t say for sure it will ever happen. My affections seem to be fleeting. I’m always focused on what’s next, and I know I’m not the only gamer who feels this way. The problem with DLC is that by the time a lot of the good stuff comes out, I just don’t have the attention I need to give to the game to make it worthwhile. I’ve already moved on, or am about to, and I hate to just play a DLC on its own months or years after I’m done with the game.
Add onto this DLC that just isn’t worth the money. So much DLC seems awesome, but really adds little value. I often find myself buying this when I’m playing a game because I think to myself that I’ll be playing this game for months and months and a little change might be nice. The reality, however, is that I’ll probably stop spending a lot of time in that game in a month or two, and I’ll probably forget all about that nice new gun or that great new skillset when (and if) I come back.
I’m definitely not saying all DLC is worthless. Far from it, in fact. I can think of a lot of DLC that has added a lot of value. In Dragon Age, for example, Awakening gives a great wrap-up to the game,and Witch Hunt, though brief, offers a taste of what is to come (or at least is hopefully coming in Dragon Age 3). Yet even in that game there is DLC that adds very little. That mission in the deep roads? Those gifts for companions? Those don’t seem necessary. And even with Dragon Age, if I hadn’t caught on to how amazing that game is later in its life cycle, I would have bought these pieces of DLC and not touched them for months or years.
After saying all this, there are some exceptions to my new no DLC resolution. If I start replaying a favorite game with full attention, and some great DLC has come out since I last played, maybe I’ll bite, but overall I’m going to try my hardest to fight my constant urge to buy that new DLC that comes out on PSN every week. To me, DLC is like the candy in a checkout lane. Sure, it may seem like it’s the most important thing while you’re waiting to check out, but chances are once you get home and figure out what you’re having for dinner, you won’t care as much.
Image from Borderlands 2, Copyright 2K Games
Image from Uncharted 3, Copyright Naughty Dog