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Regarding Paradox Interactive, DRM's and GoG


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As to Fluff, a mentality that selling side-content like character portraits does lead to cutting content to sell later. It's seems to be getting worse with each iteration of a game starting to do it. If a game has a feature to import custom portraits why sell a portrait pack as DLC down the line? More money can be garnered from the end-user by having fewer intial portraits, and making it difficult to import user created ones. That's rather simplistic take on it.

 

Just seems this generation of games is more vabid, maybe I'm putting to much blame on DLC. It could be more indicitive of less original ideas or developers and publishers not taking risks rehashing old material. Sorry if I come across as trolling you guys, I don't really post on this particular forum very often and mentioning DLC/microtransations is like my big red button.

 

Your take on it is exactly what you said, simplistic. You keep going back to one point, cutting features. Which nobody here is asking for or suggesting.

DLC doesn't have to be cut content to sell later, and if that's why you're against DLC you should be against Expansions too because the exact same argument could be used against them as well. Extra portraits for example could just be something they didn't have the time or money to produce for the original game or expansion that they release later for a few dollars, if you don't want them don't buy them..everybody wins.

 

As to modding, again.. same point. Why buy an expansion if people can just mod games? Simple answer really, they will be of a high quality, official, and supporting the devs.

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I've played way too much Crusader Kings 2 in my time and my history with Paradox games goes back to the original Europa Universalis. I beta tested the original Hearts of Iron and Victoria. Paradox and I get along just fine, on the whole, and I'm quite happy Paradox was chosen to help PoE reach the unwashed masses.  

 

With that thought in mind, I would ask Obsidian to avoid doing what Paradox does with their more recent titles. If you've got an expansion, don't chop it up and sell it in separate pieces. Crusader Kings 2 regularly sells the expansion itself, the new character models for the expansion and the music for the expansion separately, alongside a whole crapload of $2 unit packs and such that seem like they're designed to bleed you for as much as they can get. It gives me the disturbing feeling that I'm dealing with microtransactions, which conjures up traumatic memories of my experiences with EA games. 

 

Not that I really expect Obsidian has any intention of going that route, but the association with Paradox conjured up the thought.

 

Still waiting on that Steam sale to get Rajas of India. $15...pffft, what do they think I am, made of money?

I've seen this sentiment before I just really don't get it. What's wrong about selling it in separate pieces? I have more than a few friends that couldn't care less about unit sprites, music, and face packs. Why should they have to pay the extra $5 to $10 dollars just to be able to get the expansion stuff they want? It's not like if they included them all in one pack the price would remain the same.

 

Regardless, that's not how it will work with PoE.

 

When I see a whole crapload of unit packs being sold for $2 a pop, with another $2 for music and $2 for portrait packs and $2 for this and that and everything else, I don't get the sense that Paradox is helpfully separating content so as to limit price for customers who aren't interested in all their content. I get the sense they're deliberately separating content so as to inflate price and force people to pay more than they normally would if they want the complete package. You really think it would destroy their bottom line to add in music to a map pack with a few new events and gameplay mechanics they're currently selling for $15? 

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As to DA2 having mods Jarrakul, I'll have to be honest and say I didn't really look for them. I finished the game quite early on, and never replayed it. I did notice the 9 pieces of DLC armor and noted the NPCs not being as customizable as DAO. Still the game doesn't seem to have any side-quest mods; though most games don't. The game itself was average, and worse then it's predessor. I did finish it just never had the urge to replay it. I did feel like the game had to much backtraking, but that was the whole re-useing areas problem many account to the game.

 

As to Fluff, a mentality that selling side-content like character portraits does lead to cutting content to sell later. It's seems to be getting worse with each iteration of a game starting to do it. If a game has a feature to import custom portraits why sell a portrait pack as DLC down the line? More money can be garnered from the end-user by having fewer intial portraits, and making it difficult to import user created ones. That's rather simplistic take on it.

 

Just seems this generation of games is more vabid, maybe I'm putting to much blame on DLC. It could be more indicitive of less original ideas or developers and publishers not taking risks rehashing old material. Sorry if I come across as trolling you guys, I don't really post on this particular forum very often and mentioning DLC/microtransations is like my big red button.

You can use the same exact argument for expansion packs.

 

I plan on downloading the expack. See? DLC.

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I've played way too much Crusader Kings 2 in my time and my history with Paradox games goes back to the original Europa Universalis. I beta tested the original Hearts of Iron and Victoria. Paradox and I get along just fine, on the whole, and I'm quite happy Paradox was chosen to help PoE reach the unwashed masses.  

 

With that thought in mind, I would ask Obsidian to avoid doing what Paradox does with their more recent titles. If you've got an expansion, don't chop it up and sell it in separate pieces. Crusader Kings 2 regularly sells the expansion itself, the new character models for the expansion and the music for the expansion separately, alongside a whole crapload of $2 unit packs and such that seem like they're designed to bleed you for as much as they can get. It gives me the disturbing feeling that I'm dealing with microtransactions, which conjures up traumatic memories of my experiences with EA games. 

 

Not that I really expect Obsidian has any intention of going that route, but the association with Paradox conjured up the thought.

 

Still waiting on that Steam sale to get Rajas of India. $15...pffft, what do they think I am, made of money?

 

I've seen this sentiment before I just really don't get it. What's wrong about selling it in separate pieces? I have more than a few friends that couldn't care less about unit sprites, music, and face packs. Why should they have to pay the extra $5 to $10 dollars just to be able to get the expansion stuff they want? It's not like if they included them all in one pack the price would remain the same.

Regardless, that's not how it will work with PoE.

 

When I see a whole crapload of unit packs being sold for $2 a pop, with another $2 for music and $2 for portrait packs and $2 for this and that and everything else, I don't get the sense that Paradox is helpfully separating content so as to limit price for customers who aren't interested in all their content. I get the sense they're deliberately separating content so as to inflate price and force people to pay more than they normally would if they want the complete package. You really think it would destroy their bottom line to add in music to a map pack with a few new events and gameplay mechanics they're currently selling for $15?

Would it destroy their bottom line? Probably not, but it might mean the have less leeway to do things like bug testing and polishing. Do you remember when HoI3 was released? Now compare that to EUIV.

"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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Personally I don't think you're trolling at all Mr McKinnon, you raise valid points, and we have seen several games where one simply cannot purchase an entire product but must buy overpriced dlc to complete the experience. The price certainly is overblown on most dlc considering the base game, and I see this as rather a profiteering business practise, that has a distasteful ring to it. Not to mention that quite often dlc items break the game or make its base items totally undesirable, thus removing whatever enjoyment one may find in the accumulation of mountains of vendor trash.

 

That said however four fine examples of dlc were the New Vegas adventures from Dead Money onwards, which added significantly to the base game as well as featuring their own satisfying and rich content, as you are no doubt aware. I would champion that form of dlc which was more like the old expansions rather than arbitrarily splitting the content up to nickle and dime the less discerning, but then again if somebody wishes to purchase overpriced content they're welcome to and somebody should probably cater to them, as easy money is easy money and there is no shame in making a profit.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Personally I don't think you're trolling at all Mr McKinnon, you raise valid points, and we have seen several games where one simply cannot purchase an entire product but must buy overpriced dlc to complete the experience.

Besides a few obvious exceptions, name the games that needed DLC to "be complete".

 

No, seriously.

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You wish me to be serious Mr Bryy? Most certainly not.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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You wish me to be serious Mr Bryy? Most certainly not.

 

I would actually, I don't agree with you..bu the whole point of a debate or discussion is to actually back your opinions to make points. Not just say "I think this" with nothing to enforce it.

 

Will it change my personal opinion? Probably not, but who knows. Plus as someone who has never played a game that had overpriced DLC, or a game with DLC that "broke it" I'd be interested in these examples. Required to have a complete game though? Yes, of course.. but just because one game did that doesn't mean another has to and it isn't DLCs fault someone chose to use it that way.

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Well if you insist gentlemen, personally I thought both Dragon Age's were incomplete and the second Mass Effect game, and that the price of Warden's Keep, the Cerberus thing and all of those was extremely overpriced when compared to the hours of value I garnered from the base game. I forget the rest but there were a few that I disliked at the time.

 

Is that serious enough or should I include some form of emoticon?

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Would it destroy their bottom line? Probably not, but it might mean the have less leeway to do things like bug testing and polishing. Do you remember when HoI3 was released? Now compare that to EUIV.

 

Old paradox released bug-ridden games and then followed them up with free support for months or years on end. You didn't want to buy a Paradox game on the release date, but in a few months you'd (in many cases) have a fantastic strategy game on your hands. There has never, to my knowledge, been a time when Paradox didn't have time for bug testing and polishing. Its just all the bug testing and polishing was done after the release, which understandably put a lot of people off.

 

Still, that strategy also won them loyalty. There are plenty of companies more than happy to release buggy games, make whatever money they can and not give a second thought to the customers afterwards, since fixing the problems is apparently judged more costly than letting them linger. Think Lucasarts and KOTOR 2 or Creative Assembly and some of its more recent Total War titles. In that context, it's a relief knowing you're dealing with a company that won't just take your money and tell you to go screw yourself after. 

 

With CK2 and EU4, I agree, they've turned a corner and now release functional, much more user friendly games from day one....then still follow up with years of patches and support, even independent of the DLC.This is a massive improvement and I'm happy for it.

 

I think what you're presenting is a false dichotomy, however. I don't think it's 'nickel and dime our customers for everything they have' vs. 'release buggy, unpolished games.' If anything, just as their continued support for their games wins them good will, I think selling a DLC that contains portraits, music and all the rest for $15 would win them more loyalty than selling the same but chopped up into pieces so you have to pay more, bringing in short term money but irritating their customers.

 

Personally, I'd be happy to buy a complete DLC right out the gate with all the new stuff included in one bundle for a flat $15, if only to support a developer I like. Instead, I'm put off by Paradox's approach and pretty much always just wait for the Steam sale and end up getting everything I want for even less than $15 anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if there were many others like me out there. 

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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Would it destroy their bottom line? Probably not, but it might mean the have less leeway to do things like bug testing and polishing. Do you remember when HoI3 was released? Now compare that to EUIV.

 

Old paradox released bug-ridden games and then followed them up with free support for months or years on end. You didn't want to buy a Paradox game on the release date, but in a few months you'd (in many cases) have a fantastic strategy game on your hands.

Yes, when you bought the expansion. ;) Paradox Devs have said that the current model lets them put out more free patches and content than the older system, and I'm one to believe them.

 

Also, Fred Wester has said a few times that the reason their earlier games were so buggy was because they literally ran out of money had to just put the game out there so they could get money to keep the lights on. I'm more than okay with paying a bit more money to make sure one of my favorite game companies can keep making games I love that you can't find anywhere else.

 

I think what you're presenting is a false dichotomy, however. I don't think it's 'nickel and dime our customers for everything they have' vs. 'release buggy, unpolished games.' If anything, just as their continued support for their games wins them good will, I think selling a DLC that contains portraits, music and all the rest for $15 would win them more loyalty than selling the same but chopped up into pieces so you have to pay more, bringing in short term money but irritating their customers.

 

Personally, I'd be happy to buy a complete DLC right out the gate with all the new stuff included in one bundle for a flat $15, if only to support a developer I like. Instead, I'm put off by Paradox's approach and pretty much always just wait for the Steam sale and end up getting everything I want for even less than $15 anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if there were many others like me out there.

 

Umm... What? You're the one who thinks Paradox is trying to 'nickel and dime our customers for everything they have' not me. I think they DLC policy is actually really nice and I'm entirely behind it. Here's the what the discussion has been so far (apologies in advance for the hyperbole):

 

You: the new Paradox DLC makes me think they're trying to 'nickel and dime our customers for everything they have.'

 

Me: I disagree, the new DLC policy lets you get the content you want without having to pay for the content you don't want.

 

You: yeah, but they're probably inflating the price of each part. Couldn't they offer all of it for one lower price?

 

Me: they probably could but there might be other consequences to doing that which I'd rather not have.

 

You: that's a false dichotomy.

 

Anyways, Paradox is experimenting with the DLC model. Rajas of India includes both the Indian face pack and unit sprites, and it costs $15. So who knows, maybe you'll get your wish? :)

Edited by illathid

"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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As to Crusader Kings 2, I can say after having checked it out on steam a few months ago, the whole 20+ DLC was enough for me to give the game a pass. As in I will personally never buy it. The game could be complete without them, don't know. Not going to find out. This isn't me being an ass, it's me being intelligent in how I spend my money. Not being interested in large DLC post release strategies of game content. This release strategy did likely affect the game from day one, and by design. If you think otherwise, I'd be raising an eyebrow.

 

EDIT FOR GREAT JUSTICE:

On the original topic on DRM. If Obisidan and paradox make the game tied to steam keys, I don't see myself grumbling to much. I would prefer the game to run with a serial key from the physical game disc though. Still I remember buying Diablo 2 years ago (when it first came out) and a few years later dusting off the box having lost the serial keys(printed on the back of the manual if I recall). Damn was I upset for awhile, funny in retrospect. I hope Pillars will be good enough for me to dust off years after release to replay. DRM isn't fun, but I understand that publishers require it.

 

On the topic of GoG, I usually dont' buy games from there. Reason being I actually own the original CD's for many of the older titles they offer. Yeah, I'm that kind of collector. If GoG isn't one of the games sellers I can forsee a flood of angry backers, I won't be one, but a flood none the less.

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First off, W.MacKinnon, I certainly don't think you're trolling. I don't agree with you, but your arguments are reasonable and worthy of respect. As far as I'm concerned, keep it up.

 

Now, regarding DA2, my point isn't that it's a flawless game (although it's no coincidence that I seem to jump to its defense more often than most folks on these forums). My point is that the DLC doesn't substantially affect its flaws (except the preorder stuff, which as I noted leaves a bad taste in my mouth), so I don't think the "cut content for later DLC" argument applies. The costume packs, for example, add customization options to the main character, but main character customization wasn't especially lacking.

 

Nonek, I disagree with all three of your examples. I played DA1, DA2, and ME2 through at least twice each, and in all cases I had no DLC at all for the first playthrough (except, once more, the preorder stuff for DA2, but again I'm not defending that) and eventually had all (or nearly all) the DLC for one or more later playthroughs. While the DLC certainly added content, I never felt any of those games to be incomplete without the DLC. Even Soldier's Peak, which I have serious issues with, was not integral to DA1's plot, characters, or mechanical progression.

 

That said, I certainly don't agree that DLC is always good. It isn't. But I don't think the "cut content" thing is uniquely a problem of DLC as opposed to regular expansions, nor do I think DLC seems to lead strongly to lack of mod support (precious few games have mod support anyway, but the great flagships of mod support, the Elder Scrolls games and the latest two Fallout games, also have DLC and seem to do just fine). It is, of course, difficult to prove anything causal about market behaviors, but I just don't buy the argument that DLC, as a system, is causing very many (if any) of the problems that tend to plague modern games.

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Nonek, I disagree with all three of your examples. I played DA1, DA2, and ME2 through at least twice each, and in all cases I had no DLC at all for the first playthrough (except, once more, the preorder stuff for DA2, but again I'm not defending that) and eventually had all (or nearly all) the DLC for one or more later playthroughs. While the DLC certainly added content, I never felt any of those games to be incomplete without the DLC. Even Soldier's Peak, which I have serious issues with, was not integral to DA1's plot, characters, or mechanical progression.

 

 

Well that's your perogative Mr Jarrakul, however I disagree, Warden's Keep was for a half hour adventure massively overpriced and should have been included in the base game for the stash alone in my opinion, however the Stone Prisoner was acceptable in terms of value and content. All told though I would repeat that I believe the content gouged out of these games made them feel incomplete to me, and are a prime example of the poor practices and value of the trend. I'd prefer that dlc be like the Stone Prisoner or even better like the large adventures of New Vegas or Treasures of the Sun, though I have to admit that dlc almost embarassed the base game with how good it was, and I thoroughly enjoyed Dungeon Siege 3.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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On the original topic on DRM. If Obisidan and paradox make the game tied to steam keys, I don't see myself grumbling to much. 

I personally just think people grumble about Steam DRM due to inertia.

 

 

There's a lot of us though who won't buy a game that has DRM period though.

Which is why I end up not owning many modern PC games that aren't indie.

 

If I can't feel like I genuinely own what I purchase I don't want it, and I can't feel that way with DRM.

If they sell the game through Steam with DRM, I don't care.. but if that was the only way to get it? I'd request my money back.

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I want to support Nonek's examples here.

 

I remember VERY clearly how wrong it felt when (back in DA:O) I encountered that cut content teasing NPC in the camp. From that point onward I knew I'm missing something and couldn't shake off the feeling of playing an "incomplete" game. Luckily it was my friend not me, who bought it on release. I decided to wait and soon learned that EA is planning an "ultimate edition" which I ended up importing from UK few months later.

Likewise, I didn't even touch F:NV until it was released as complete edition and still don't have ME2 game.

 

If a publisher thinks, that I don't deserve to buy a game in a bundle with all the DLCs, even years after the initial release, because who cares for those filthy pauper's money, then... it's his right to think and do so. On the other hand I can decide that my money would be better spent elsewhere.

 

As for the "milking" customer with music, portraits, unit sprites (but not actual different mechanics underneath) and all that trivial stuff, I must go with "honestly don't care". Sure I've bought "CK II DLC collection", but only because it was on a massive sale and included 3 key DLCs I wanted to get, but not so much as to pay for them separately (The Republic, Sword of Islam and Sunset Invasion).

"There are no good reasons. Only legal ones." - Ross Scott

 It's not that I'm lazy. I just don't care.

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On the original topic on DRM. If Obisidan and paradox make the game tied to steam keys, I don't see myself grumbling to much. 

I personally just think people grumble about Steam DRM due to inertia.

 

 

There's a lot of us though who won't buy a game that has DRM period though.

Which is why I end up not owning many modern PC games that aren't indie.

 

If I can't feel like I genuinely own what I purchase I don't want it, and I can't feel that way with DRM.

If they sell the game through Steam with DRM, I don't care.. but if that was the only way to get it? I'd request my money back.

 

 

I used to think we could own software too and was concerned about DRM, and then I went to law school... ;)

 

Seriously though, the whole DRM v. no-DRM fight was lost decades ago when it was decided that the best way to sell software was through licensing. The software liscense you agree to when installing pretty much any program is at its core managing your "digital" rights. There are more restictive ones and less restrictive ones, but all of them limit your rights in the way you use the software.

"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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I used to think we could own software too and was concerned about DRM, and then I went to law school... ;)

Seriously though, the whole DRM v. no-DRM fight was lost decades ago when it was decided that the best way to sell software was through licensing. The software liscense you agree to when installing pretty much any program is at its core managing your "digital" rights. There are more restictive ones and less restrictive ones, but all of them limit your rights in the way you use the software.

 

You're entirely right.

I still like to fight it in any way possible though, preferring games from sites like GOG or through developers directly "without DRM".

I don't like internet requirements, frequent license checks, etc.

 

I'm also "one of those people" though, my main machine runs Linux, and I'm a heavy supporter of things like the copyleft system. Basically.. I'm an internet hippie. :p

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I used to think we could own software too and was concerned about DRM, and then I went to law school... ;)

 

Seriously though, the whole DRM v. no-DRM fight was lost decades ago when it was decided that the best way to sell software was through licensing. The software liscense you agree to when installing pretty much any program is at its core managing your "digital" rights. There are more restictive ones and less restrictive ones, but all of them limit your rights in the way you use the software.

 

IMO, there's a vast difference between an EULA that states, basically, "This software is only licensed for your use. You don't own it and you're only allowed to do certain things with it" and shackling that software with useless and intrusive protection measures that do nothing (as shown time and time again by groups that take delight in cracking and pirating) but irritate and inconvenience the very people that are paying for the software. One is a set of rules that tells you how you need to behave with the purchase. The other is the heavy hand of the law/big brother constantly making you prove you're not a criminal. IMO.

 

Don't get me wrong, I buy and play games that require Steam and Origin both. But I never pay full release day prices. The DRM severely devalues the software to me, so if they're shackled to some form of client or have limited activations, I only buy them on deep discount.

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