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Tycho / on Fri, Nov 6 2009 at 12:00 am

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A Truly Fascinating Phenomenon

We spent quite a bit of time trying to determine how we felt about the Dragon Age situation described in today’s comic - a character appears in your camp who offers a questline that is only available in downloadable content.  The character is literally a salesman.  Is this an act of abominable evil?  Or is the mass of this evil sufficient to unfold itself - like a Popple - into a creature capable of love?

The very moment that the Collector’s Edition became available for purchase, I did so.  You might imagine that, having done an eight page project for the title, we might have received some kind of consideration in this respect - but as a site that does not offer numerical scores, indeed, as a site which finds the entire notion of numerical scores abhorrent, we don’t manifest near the top of that particular queue.  But there’s never been a possibility that I would not purchase Dragon Age, from the moment we saw it in an elemental form at the Electronic Entertainment Expo five years ago.  Then, in my mind, I set aside an inviolate amount which would always be oriented toward this purpose.

We are apparently at a point now where the Collector’s Edition is not the ultimate manifestation of a game.  Modern Warfare 2, which is the most important product ever, has offered up a Veteran Edition, a Hardened Edition, a Prestige Edition, and presumably a Tumescent Edition.  Back when I purchased my Dragon Age, though, I think I had a reasonable expectation that it would be a definitive product.  A trailer emerged for Warden’s Keep, and something scratched at the base of my skull when it did so, something about what version would or wouldn’t include it, but I felt confident that this didn’t apply to me.

It turns out that this content comes with the quote Digital Deluxe edition - which they might consider calling the Complete Edition, or perhaps The Entire Game Edition, as it includes the Entire Game.  You know perfectly well that I don’t have a problem with the concept of “premium” game additions, I’m unique among amateur industry observers in that I don’t ladle up populist bullshit in an effort to make myself appear a man of the people.  I like buying things.  But jeezy creezy, guys.  The timing, execution, and decision making here are fucking cavalier.

Like Oblivion, the scope of the Dragon Age experience provides some built-in protection from assertions that the base experience is incomplete without the content.  There was a time when companies demurred when discussing downloadable content at launch, other than the most routine assurances that maps - of some kind - would be forthcoming.  Now, we’ve reached a new threshold, where Day One DLC and the promise of Two Years of unrelenting premium offers are the goal - where pitchmen emerge unbidden in our role-playing games and try sell us valor a la carte. 

Incredible. 

(CW)TB out.

these words get overused


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