Discussion of possible DLC shenanigans after release

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Discussion of possible DLC shenanigans after release

This topic contains 22 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Draxynnic 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #270151

    Low_K
    Member

    So starting a new thread on the subject as I feel there is a lot of worry with fans of the game with the latest step Triumph took going into business with Paradox.

    Paradox is known for many strategy games, which you’d think would make a wise decision to cooperate with when you are a small studio from the Netherlands. Paradox has a shadow side too, however. They are widely known for releasing bug-ridden, rushed games which need a gazillion patches to make work.

    The excessive stacks of DLC doesn’t help with their reputation either. DLC’s which only add a few cosmetic things, or one or two features are sold for premium prices. A bit like the trend nowadays, with Ubisoft on the forefront to name one.

    While I know it gives a steady flow of income, it is widely frowned upon because most DLC add something which would have been added in the main game.

    In the other thread I put some examples of DLC’s Paradox released for many games;

    Crusader Kings 2 – 28 (!!!) DLC’s
    Cities: Skyline – 15 DLC’s
    the aforementioned Stellaris – 11 DLC’s
    Tyranny – 5 DLC’s

    Truth be told, Paradox is not the only one who does these things. The big companies like 2K, Ubisoft and Square Enix (to name a few) also use this irritating business plan and so it is a trend with companies to shove content down people’s throats, which 90% of the time should be included in the base game. This is a trend you see a lot lately and it seems that this (and micro-transactions) is the most modern way to milk customers.

    What do I want to achieve with this post? I just hope you keep some of your own identity and not give in to the big Paradoxian-Daddy in regards to release deadlines and DLC shenanigans. Why am I worried about this fact? I’ll explain in the following paragraph;

    Age of Wonders 3 was delayed on release because you wanted to iron out some bugs and other things; This you could do when you were independent. I highly doubt the Overseers of Paradox will allow you to do this if the release date is set.

    The DLC strategy you took with Age of Wonders 3 was the best you could do. I am all for DLC, don’t get me wrong, and you released two hefty, content heavy DLC’s which actually were priced right for the amount of content they added to the main game.
    I am afraid with Paradox, they force you to split these DLC’s into smaller chuncks. So, taking the example of AoW3 DLC, Eternal Lords: Paradox-antics would mean you first release a DLC which adds the Necromancer race, priced €9,99. A month later you would release a Frostling race, also priced €9,99. Then comes the Tigran race, €9,99. A month later a fourth DLC will be released, The features DLC which contain Race Governance, Unifier Victory mechanic and dozens of new map locations, priced €6,99 and so on and so on.

    I truly hope you don’t go this path but am afraid your cooperation with Paradox will mean just that. Ofcourse I don’t know the main reason for going into this cooperation, as I would think you would’ve cashed in enough with Aow3, to release the next game also as an independent company, but I cannot look into your financials ofcourse.

    As someone who grew up with the Commodore 64, I saw the impact takeovers had for independent companies. Great companies like SSI, SSG, Sirtech and Westwood were all defunct a few years after they were taken by bigger fish. Their IP’s and games destroyed by their new owners or sold on and then get destroyed (Jagged Alliance series one of the prime examples). I truly hope this will not happen with you and your IP. Your games are among the best games ever made, and please don’t let a big fish destroy everything you worked so hard for.

    Kind regards,

    Low

    • This topic was modified 9 months ago by  Low_K.
    #270158

    Rhaeg
    Member

    Low_K, I understand what you’re saying and while I’m not a fan of Paradox’ dlc strategy, we may have to accept that what we want is no longer possible. You write

    The DLC strategy you took with Age of Wonders 3 was the best you could do. I am all for DLC, don’t get me wrong, and you released two hefty, content heavy DLC’s which actually were priced right for the amount of content they added to the main game.

    but what we don’t know is if for Triumph themselves it was also “the best you could do”. Obsidian Entertainment released Pillars of Eternity (classic isometric view RPG à la Baldur’s Gate) a few years ago and followed that up with the White March parts I and II. These were two classical, meaty expansions/dlc’s featuring everything from new areas, NPCs, quests, etc., “just like they made ’em in the good ol’ days”. A few months ago I read a piece somewhere online (I’ve been trying to find it again, with no result yet alas) in which a developer from Obsidian was quoted saying that they will likely not be offering similarly sized expansions for Pillars of Eternity II but will probably be going with smaller sized dlc. The reason for this? White March I & II, as much as all the fans seem to have liked them, were not profitable. At all. I don’t mean that profits were disappointingly low, there just weren’t any – they actually lost money on making and releasing these expansions.

    I found that pretty sobering to read. Obsidian have always been very much in favour of the classical meaty expansions and against the small dlc’s and microtransaction models, but they just can’t do it like that any longer. I get the feeling that they will still be going for some middle ground: no packs with a few portraits for 5 euro’s and all that (that’s what Paradox likes to do) but things in the order of magnitude of “€10 for a new AOW race” sound likely to me.

    Personally I could live with these kind of prices. I don’t mind paying something as long as the content is good. I’m pretty happy with how Creative Assembly has been doing their Total War:Warhammer I dlc’s: they are a bit overpriced IMO, but the content is good and for me has lots of replayability value. So I will pay, even though I feel the price is very steep. The upside of this is that the producers make a decent or good profit and are willing to produce a lot more content for a product I like.

    Anyway, what we really need to know for a sensible discussion about AOW dlc’s to take place here is whether Triumph made a good profit with their AOW3 expansions and I have no clue if they are willing to talk about that.

    Edit: lol @ CK2 28 dlc’s, hahaha that’s completely ridiculous. At least Steam has a great deal for me I see now: only €268,82 for the entire lot 😛

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Rhaeg.
    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Rhaeg.
    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Rhaeg.
    #270163

    Low_K
    Member

    Yeah, I know what you are saying, Rhaeg. I remember a discussion a few years ago about the profits of AoW3 and its DLC’s and what I can remember was is that Triumph did make a good profit from them. I’m getting old though, so don’t remember the exact details. I didn’t know about Obsidian but it sounds viable. Ofcourse a lot of DLC’s will get more profits but i am truly afraid that people will let them pass (if they are overpriced for the content they add, like a new skin or cosmetic stuff some games have in their DLC’s), and thus wait for the DLC’s to go on sale. This will mean that they got less revenue from it instead of a reasonably priced DLC like the 2 AoW3 ones. A game worth playing is a game worth supporting financially, it stops when they go the milking route and release stuff like I stated in my example of the Eternal Lords DLC breakdown.

    I bought Civ V (which I netted a great deal of hours into) when it was bundled with all released DLC on Humblebundle for a few euros. No way I would pay full price for a game with so much DLC.

    Your edit about Crusader Kings; I lol-ed too when I saw the bundle price, especially because that game regularly is on sites like Humblebundle with a huge discount when you only have to pay20-30€ for it plus all DLC. I don’t think the dev’s make much profit from those sales. But 28 DLC’s, that is really pushing it 😀

    Btw, good to “see” you again. been too long!

    Kind regards,

    Low

    #270164

    Rhaeg
    Member

    Btw, good to “see” you again. been too long!

    Aww, thanks 😉 I’ve always kept reading forums btw these past few years, but not much to post about. Haven’t played a lot of AOW3 too these past two years or so as I’m pretty much a solo player and for some reason that I don’t really understand myself I never try out any mods, so there wasn’t much new for me to try in AOW. I only made it to about 700 hours of play according to Steam 😛 Can’t wait for AOW4!

    (the joke will be on me if the new game is not AOW4, I guess)

    On topic: good news if the AOW3 expansions did well for Triumph. If that’s true we’ll see whether they still have room to determine their own dlc strategy or if it will be Paradox calling the shots. In case of the latter, expect a few new character creation options (hair styles, backgrounds etc) for your leader to be sold for €7,99…

    #270225

    Draxynnic
    Member

    One thing that SikBok mentioned in the… erm… announcement of the announcement of the new game, is that the DLC question is one that tends not to be discussed with a suitable degree of nuance.

    DLC is, I think, on the whole, a good thing. In the current days of digital distribution, most things are going to be downloaded anyway, and DLC offers a means of providing expansions and mini-expansions without the developer having to go to the expense of physical distribution for content that might not otherwise be worthwhile. On the other hand, we have certainly seen examples of DLC practices that have gone to the point of being exploitative.

    What seems to be a reasonable ‘moderate’ stance is for content to be priced somewhere around the $10-$20 mark, as long as it’s chunky enough to be considered at least a mini-expansion. Small DLCs are acceptable, but should be cheap and used sparingly.

    I think it’s telling, and indicative of what works going into the future, that some of the more popular recent offerings in this genre have followed (or, possibly, you could say, set) these guidelines:

    AoW3, for instance, has, essentially, two mini-expansions: Golden Realms and Eternal Lords. Golden Realms has a new race, a new dwelling, and a mini-expansions worth of new features at the lower end of the mini-expansion scale. Eternal Lords is on the upper end of the scale, but is considerably meatier. The Deluxe Edition DLC is arguably a bit pricey for a bonus scenario and a soundtrack, but that’s more about the prestige.

    Endless Legend has four mini-expansions, all priced relatively low in the mini-expansion price range, and offering new mechanics and most of them offering a new major faction as well. There are a couple of small updates, but they’re priced accordingly and there’s only a two of them.

    Neither have day 1 DLC that isn’t of the “upgrade to the deluxe edition” kind.

    Total War Warhammer is possibly getting towards the expensive end, to an extent that they might not have gotten away with it so well if it wasn’t a melding of two large franchises, but is still, I think, reasonable for what you get (if on the high end therof). They were lambasted for Chaos Warriors being, effectively, day 1 DLC, although they were offered as a preorder and, after some controversy was raised about preorder culture, early adopter bonus. Expansions in the range of $10-20 have introduced new races, which is probably reasonable given that a new race in TWW is probably more work than a new race in AoW3 or EL, although the more expensive ones might be at the upper limit of what is reasonable. The Lord packs are probably also skirting the edge of being reasonable, but do add significant enhancements to the races in question. There is a cosmetic upgrade DLC, the ‘blood and gore’ pack, but that seems to be intended as a means of keeping the rating of the core game down.

    On the whole, I’d probably say that for a strategy game, if the DLC policy is at least as reasonable as that of TWW, it’s probably appropriate. I don’t believe any of the games above have been considered to be failures financially-speaking, and the first two have, to my knowledge, avoided significant grumbling on the DLC question – TWW has had some, but CA’s DLC policy there has been mostly accepted, and despite a few missteps CA has been fairly responsive in identifying what people are unhappy with and doing better next time. So I think it’s fair to say that the TWW DLC policy is somewhere close to the border of what the market in the genre accepts.

    #270258

    Low_K
    Member

    Aww, thanks 😉 I’ve always kept reading forums btw these past few years, but not much to post about. Haven’t played a lot of AOW3 too these past two years or so as I’m pretty much a solo player and for some reason that I don’t really understand myself I never try out any mods, so there wasn’t much new for me to try in AOW. I only made it to about 700 hours of play according to Steam 😛 Can’t wait for AOW4!

    Same here, been keeping up with the news and stuff but didn’t feel the need to post stuff. Until the Paradox merger, I thought this would be the grand time to re-appear and make my worries heard. 😛

    <<SNIP>>

    Ah great to see another familiar face! 🙂

    I can imagine the DLC policy is still in its pre-teen stage, but no doubt Triumph won’t have anything to say about the strategy the Paradox Overlords want to follow to milk every drop out of the franchise.

    The examples you used are games which aren’t published by Paradox (except AoW3 ofcourse 😀 ) and I agree that DLC’s are part of today’s market. The problem I have with them is that the trend seems to be to release DLC which is an easy money grab, offering only some cosmetic stuff or a new, single weapon or something. Again, Paradox isn’t the only one which has this DLC policy. Take the Great-Evil-Of-Most_Evil-Evils, Ubisoft. And now rainbow Six: Siege. This game has 42 (yes, 42!!) DLC. You have to pay €8 for a skin for ONE weapon, some headgear cosmetics and some item. I mean who buys this crap?

    Ofcourse RS:Siege is a FPS and is marketed for another player-base than strategy games. Paradox, however, follows this trend with strategy games too, I wrote some examples of games with ridiculous amounts of DLC in my opening post. Again, I would be happy with beefy DLC’s like the two of AoW3, they were well worth the money, but if Paradox offers me DLC which, for a premium price, contains a single race or some cosmetic stuff, I’ll pass and I think many with me. I’ll grab it when it’s on a Humblebundle sale, and support charity to boot!

    My main point is that with Paradox swallowing a “little” fish gives them a lot of influence regarding the policy of release dates and DLC offerings. I highly doubt Triumph has anything to say on the matter and will be forced to release some unfinished, buggy product, like the Hearts of Iron series before them, when the release date crept up. Delaying for some patchwork? I highly doubt it.

    but as Sikbok mentioned in the other thread, the game is not out yet. Not even announced, but if enough people let their worries be heard, maybe, just maybe something will be done. Although it will be a small chance that Paradox listens. I am afraid we’ll see the DLC strategy as they did with Stellaris; trying to persuade people to fork out €8 for a new race, which only contains some portraits and some ships.

    Kind regards,

    Low

    #270457

    Hide
    Member

    The problem I have with them is that the trend seems to be to release DLC which is an easy money grab, offering only some cosmetic stuff or a new, single weapon or something. Again, Paradox isn’t the only one which has this DLC policy. Take the Great-Evil-Of-Most_Evil-Evils, Ubisoft. And now rainbow Six: Siege. This game has 42 (yes, 42!!) DLC. You have to pay €8 for a skin for ONE weapon, some headgear cosmetics and some item. I mean who buys this crap?

    While I agree with pretty much everything that has been said about reasonably priced DLCs in this thread I don’t understand why you would worry too much about this particular example.
    As you said: Who buys this crap?
    Especially if it is only cosmetical I’d argue no one is forcing you to buy it. Of course it might be a missed opportunity because the content could’ve been released in a larger pack with other content to a more reasonable price but I would, when looking at DLCs like that, only laugh about it and never take a look at it again – maybe if it’s on sale for -75%.

    But I don’t expect Triumph to release DLCs of that kind anyway. My only experience with Paradox lies in Stellaris and I also think that the DLCs for that game are somewhat okay.
    Yes, there are those two cosmetical DLCs that you mentioned – portraits and ship-designs – but I just didn’t buy them. The other DLCs are adding interesting game mechanics, so much so at least that with a small discount they are worth buying. They would be much more worth it if most of the features weren’t released for free with huge patches which is a great move by Paradox in my opinion.

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Hide.
    #270471

    Gloweye
    Member

    Well, i think triumph WILL have something to say – after all, they are still the developer, and paradox got reason not to anger them – they could just quit and start a new studio. Paradox bought Triumph, but the most valuable asset they have is their reputation – and that goes with the employees.

    I know the triumph dev’s a bit, I’ve had a beer with them…they won’t be happy making crappy games.

    #270487

    Low_K
    Member

    While I agree with pretty much everything that has been said about reasonably priced DLCs in this thread I don’t understand why you would worry too much about this particular example.
    As you said: Who buys this crap?
    Especially if it is only cosmetical I’d argue no one is forcing you to buy it. Of course it might be a missed opportunity because the content could’ve been released in a larger pack with other content to a more reasonable price but I would, when looking at DLCs like that, only laugh about it and never take a look at it again – maybe if it’s on sale for -75%.

    But I don’t expect Triumph to release DLCs of that kind anyway. My only experience with Paradox lies in Stellaris and I also think that the DLCs for that game are somewhat okay.
    Yes, there are those two cosmetical DLCs that you mentioned – portraits and ship-designs – but I just didn’t buy them. The other DLCs are adding interesting game mechanics, so much so at least that with a small discount they are worth buying. They would be much more worth it if most of the features weren’t released for free with huge patches which is a great move by Paradox in my opinion.

    I agree with you that you have a choice wether you buy a DLC or not, appearantly people buy that single skin DLC regardless, otherwise the developers wouldn’t get away with offering it 🙂 And I don’t share your confidence about Paradox not releasing those DLC’s as will be clear by now. I am not argueing that I will never buy the DLC’s, I will eventually. Prolly when they are bundled in a pack with a hefty discount. If everyone does this, developers will realise thsi is bad practice and change their ways. Unfortunately people still buy them full price which will change nothing 🙂

    Well, i think triumph WILL have something to say – after all, they are still the developer, and paradox got reason not to anger them – they could just quit and start a new studio. Paradox bought Triumph, but the most valuable asset they have is their reputation – and that goes with the employees.

    I know the triumph dev’s a bit, I’ve had a beer with them…they won’t be happy making crappy games.

    There we disagree, Gloweye. Also good to see you again, btw 🙂

    Paradox doesn’t need to care if they anger them or not. I don’t know the exact terms of the sale, but what I suspect is that Paradox owns the IP now. They can easily let Triumph go defunct, put some new team on the game and do as they please. And Triumph can ofcourse start fresh, but without the Age of wonders IP, and as they are a small company, I really doubt they will survive for long. If they could survive as an independent, why the sale to Paradox? Maybe it’s a quick cash-grab for them, or it is all about survival. While AoW3 was a success, it is quite a while since it was released. Rent, employees and other things are very expensive, so the profits will dwindle fast. I doubt they sell enough each month to keep funding the development, which makes me believe the sale was necessary.

    I believe you when you say the Dev’s hate making crappy games, I experienced the contact on this forum as guys who actually care about their playerbase and community. That is why I am so determined to make my point.

    I am afraid, in the end, they will have nothing to say because Paradox owns them, and more importantly, owns their IP. Paradox is their employer now and can easily let go of them; them being the employees. Paradox doesn’t care one bit about the reputation of Triumph methinks, all the big companies don’t as history shows with studios as Westwood, SSI, etc. Would you buy Age of Wonders 4 if it was the next best thing in turn-based 4x, with great new features, excellent playability and graphics, but it wasn’t made by Triumph? I think you would, as I and many with me. I truly hope Triumph can maintain some of its own identity, although I doubt they will have any say when their boss says to release an unfinished, buggy game.

    Kind regards,

    Low

    #270488

    Gloweye
    Member

    There we disagree, Gloweye. Also good to see you again, btw

    Good to see you again to.

    Paradox doesn’t need to care if they anger them or not. I don’t know the exact terms of the sale, but what I suspect is that Paradox owns the IP now. They can easily let Triumph go defunct, put some new team on the game and do as they please. And Triumph can ofcourse start fresh, but without the Age of wonders IP, and as they are a small company, I really doubt they will survive for long. If they could survive as an independent, why the sale to Paradox? Maybe it’s a quick cash-grab for them, or it is all about survival. While AoW3 was a success, it is quite a while since it was released. Rent, employees and other things are very expensive, so the profits will dwindle fast. I doubt they sell enough each month to keep funding the development, which makes me believe the sale was necessary.

    From what I gathered, they sold because Paradox (the publisher) will cover their own weaknesses, and they believe they’ll have the creative license to play to their own strengths. Paradox spend a pile of money on them because Triumph has something they didn’t – and not just a few protected names and such. I dont think they’d spend that much money just to throw it away by not allowing triumph to do their thing.

    I am afraid, in the end, they will have nothing to say because Paradox owns them, and more importantly, owns their IP. Paradox is their employer now and can easily let go of them; them being the employees. Paradox doesn’t care one bit about the reputation of Triumph methinks, all the big companies don’t as history shows with studios as Westwood, SSI, etc. Would you buy Age of Wonders 4 if it was the next best thing in turn-based 4x, with great new features, excellent playability and graphics, but it wasn’t made by Triumph? I think you would, as I and many with me. I truly hope Triumph can maintain some of its own identity, although I doubt they will have any say when their boss says to release an unfinished, buggy game.

    I think that if the dev’s collectively quit and restarted, they might be smaller for not being able to do AoW, but they’d take a significant part of the player base along with them. Also, while Paradox’s track record may not be flawless on the DLC part, as far as I know they haven’t manhandled other developers. Also, the DLC madness seems to be mostly concentrated into their self-developed games, not in those of other developers they published.

    It seems to me that they want to use Triumph to do something they really couldn’t do themselves – make an AoW-type game that actually gets successful.

    Which is why im hopeful for the future, even though I must admit im not without doubts myself.

    #270539

    SikBok
    Keymaster

    Well, only got through part of the OP. But posting now. Will try to get back to comment on the rest later.

    Triumph took going into business with Paradox

    Just to make sure we are all on the same page here. Triumph was acquired by Paradox Interactive, so we are now a Paradox Interactive company. Which is a bit beyond a typical publisher deal.

    Paradox has a shadow side too, however.

    I’d argue this has been getting much better over the last couple of years. Then again, if a release is buddy or if DLC is excessive is certainly something opinions can differ on.

    because most DLC add something which would have been added in the main game.

    That’s one I do not agree with in general.
    If there is a bug, fixing that bug in something that has to be purchased is bad form. However what you typically see – both PDX and Triumph do this – is a free patch to address bugs released together with a DLC that adds content/mechanics.
    If content and mechanics are added I find the ‘should be included in the base game’ argument to not be that strong. There’s been some nice videos on the subject on youtube – from Total Biscuit & Jim Stirling iirc – that address this argument.
    Personally I find the implicit ‘they left this out to sell it as DLC’ something that doesn’t hold for the games – and DLCs – I’ve worked on. I imagine the argument stems from ideas how game development works that do not match with my experience of it.
    Also, both for content and mechanics, release remains an eye-opener. When you guys & girls get a hold of a game there are so many comments, opinions, ideas, etc. These are – in a large part – what we decide DLC content on.

    #270580

    SikBok
    Keymaster

    Just read through the entire discussion.

    To get some nuance in the discussion on DLC : )> Imho we are confounding two things in the discussion above. There is:

    1. The amount and type of DLC.
    2. The price of DLC.

    For me there is a difference between the discussion if DLC is a good thing and how much DLC should cost. Note that I’ll happily discuss the first, but not the second.

    Then on the acquisition and how Triumph will function now we are part of Paradox, which seems to be the discussion underlying that of the OP.
    I fail to see the rational behind Triumph going ahead with the acquisition if it was the bad deal being described above by Low_K. There was no pressing need to go ahead with the acquisition if it was on unfavorable terms.
    To illustrate, the entire team we had before the acquisition is still here. Which includes the founders/owners of the studio.
    So, while I understand that someone might worry about what will happen to Triumph I do not agree with the arguments.

    #270582

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    As far as I can say, the problems people have with the flood of DLcs is probably based on the same feeling I had reading Marvel Comics: even following only ONE Super Hero (say Spiderman :)), it became somewhat impossible to follow the WHOLE story, simply because they were branching things so much out. The Amazing Spiderman, Marvel Team-Up, Peter Parker The Spectacular Spiderman and so on and so forth, and endless stream of stuff you couldn’t buy all – and that made it somehow pointless to even TRY to follow the story.

    Same thing – probably – here: if you like a game, there is always this “collector gene” that wants you to “have it all”, just for the sake of completeness. However, with DOZENS of DLCs (in some cases) that gets annoying, since a lot is purely cosmetical – worse: it’s TARGETING said collector gene to make money.

    So what is actually necessary for people is to not simply buy stuff, but make a choice – and leave the game incomplete.

    So I guess, what people are expecting from Triumph as a “serious” developer: publish only DLCs that truly advance the game, and keep them to a managable number.

    I hope I could help. 🙂

    #270602

    SikBok
    Keymaster

    Point taken Jolly Joker.

    Also posted on Steam earlier today on DLC, opinions and cosmetic DLC. I’ve seen both people asking us to add cosmetic only DLC and specifically to not add cosmetic DLC. My argument there was that by offering both, we’d cater to both audiences.

    That does imply people not buying the DLC they did not like, which goes against the collector gene argument.
    However – given that there is no literal collector gene – I’m not sure its fair to not offer cosmetic DLC to people that want it, to protect people from buying something they do not want just to complete their collection. I agree targeting addictions or disorders is bad, but imho that’s not what cosmetic DLC does.

    Clearly indicating what type of DLC it is and what the contents is that can be bought should allow people to make an informed decision. And that’s pretty much what I see Stellaris is doing, distinguishing between Story Packs, Species Packs and bigger named Expansions such as ‘Utopia’ and the latest ‘Apocalypse’ DLCs.

    #270603

    Thariorn
    Member

    Imo it’s very important to distinguish the type of DLC a game may offer.

    For instance, a DLC in the veins of “Eternal lords” is content. It has to be coded, playtested, translated.
    A DLC in the veins of “Random weapon skin” is, imho, no content. It does not have to be coded or playtested. it has to be created, but, the creators most often than not are NOT the people who’d code content. They are artist and/or somethimes not even heavily affiliated with the developer, e.g. interns or contracted artwork.

    And whilst I understand how people can get pretty emotional and petty about cosmetic DLCs they should realize that artists rarely work in the same timeframe as coders.

    Once a game is released, hopefully ironed-out, artists/modellers don’t have any work for that game, unless more content is already planned.
    So what are they supposed to do? Twiddle their thumbs?

    Now I do not know what those “26 DLCS” Crusader Kings II has are about, whether they’re content or cosmetic, but offering studio-affiliated artist the chance to continue “working” on a game by creating cosmetics is a great way for all associated parties to generate income.
    The problem, as Jolly Joker described, is this collector gene, people not being able to just not buy a cosmetic DLC.

    Then again, if no one were to buy cosmetic DLCs the publisher would incurr loses too as, shockingly, even artists require payment in order to live 🙂

    I’ve took the liberty to add TAGS to the thread Low_K

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Thariorn.
    #270605

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I’d like to clarify, that, yes, I think that MOST complaints come on people realizing that they SHOULD not buy this or that DLC because it doesn’t offer content they feel will really benefit their game or is way too expensive, but STILL WANT TO (due to the “collector gene”).

    From a business point of view, the best thing you can do is – imo – deliver a very BASIC game for a very MODEST price, then put out a ton of relatively expensive DLCs, catering to each and every taste.

    Looking at this from all angles, it should be clear that everyone will profit from that – except the collector.
    However, the collector is irrational anyway – basically kind of like a junkie. I mean, a good deal is defined as both parties being satisfied with it (which doesn’t mean the deal has to be fair). With all info about a product being on the table, no one is FORCED to buy, if a deal wouldn’t be satisfactory – except when there is some kind of COMPULSION to buy against better knowledge.

    So – I think, only false advertising is abominable. Otherwise? If everything is labeled, like it is, everything is fine.

    #270606

    Taykor
    Member

    a very BASIC game for a very MODEST price, then put out a ton of relatively expensive DLCs, catering to each and every taste.

    I’m not sure I like this modular structure. Even if it allows of customization of your personal game it still feels wrong. It’s as if you could assemble your own version of a movie (select actors for every role and then your preferable ending!) or a painting (these three nice backgrounds and a bit of customized stuff in the foreground).
    Though people do almost exactly that by modding…

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Taykor.
    #270608

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    It’s more like a car you configure.

    Anyway, I agree that this model is not without risk when it comes to gaming. It may well be that you don’t do yourself a favor by releasing a basic game version – it may simply feel TOO basic and uninteresting, and there are enough examples recently for games that needed more work to finally become good.

    #270609

    SikBok
    Keymaster

    Imo it’s very important to distinguish the type of DLC a game may offer.

    Thanks for making the distinction. I consider myself to be Ninja’ed : )>

    deliver a very BASIC game for a very MODEST price, then put out a ton of relatively expensive DLCs, catering to each and every taste.

    Though people do almost exactly that by modding…

    If a game is basic – even for the price – I don’t think it would sell well in the genre we are in. As a consequence any DLC put out will have fewer potential customers.
    Of course, there are people that will by the base game with DLC later. But I imagine we’d have a hard time convincing people that’s a good idea if the base game is felt to be lacking.

    I agree with Taykor that modding is there to make people adapt a game to their tastes.

    I’d agrue DLC is there to give you more of a thing you like.

    #270610

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Well, that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it?

    “Early Access” is a consequence of a fact that it’s quite a problem to deliver an interesting game on a BASIC level (that is, on a level that is missing a lot of candy, but offers the actual game) – you get a somewhat incomplete complex thing.

    Ideally, the basic release of a game should simply work. There are lots of games that more or less didn’t – or were not good. Civ 5, for example, Gal Civ 3, probably Stellaris (I don’t have that). Endless Legend did, though (as did AoW 3).

    So the problem are big, expensive games that are playable from a technical point of view, but are lackluster after release and NEED a couple of DLCs to become really interesting.

    On the other hand, AoW 3 would have been quite good right from the start with 5 Classes and 5 Races and NO campaign (imo, AoW 3 is a game where the campaign isn’t the main attraction, although, I hasten to add, it’s not bad either – it’s icing on the cake: if the basic game would suck, the campaign mode couldn’t save it, but with a captivating basic game enough people would lick their lips in expectation of one or more campaigns).

    What I want to say is, that what I would consider a good game can quite probably be REDUCED to a sufficiently interesting basic game.

    And while there is a risk that a basic game wouldn’t garner enough interest, if a really big game is lackluster there is the risk that people shelve it as well.

    But this is probably off-topic.

    I just wanted to shed some funnier light on what I think makes some people somewhat wary of DLCs (the collector mentality).

    #270614

    Low_K
    Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone! You guys ready for another wall of text?

    because most DLC add something which would have been added in the main game.

    That’s one I do not agree with in general.
    If there is a bug, fixing that bug in something that has to be purchased is bad form. However what you typically see – both PDX and Triumph do this – is a free patch to address bugs released together with a DLC that adds content/mechanics.
    If content and mechanics are added I find the ‘should be included in the base game’ argument to not be that strong. There’s been some nice videos on the subject on youtube – from Total Biscuit & Jim Stirling iirc – that address this argument.
    Personally I find the implicit ‘they left this out to sell it as DLC’ something that doesn’t hold for the games – and DLCs – I’ve worked on. I imagine the argument stems from ideas how game development works that do not match with my experience of it.
    Also, both for content and mechanics, release remains an eye-opener. When you guys & girls get a hold of a game there are so many comments, opinions, ideas, etc. These are – in a large part – what we decide DLC content on.

    Yes, I agree that Triumph as well as Paradox release free bugfixes. The problem I have regarding Paradox is that almost every game they release, it first needed a hefty bugfix-patch. This makes me wonder if games don’t get rushed out of the door to reach a certain deadline. The best example is Hearts of Iron. It needed stacks of patches to get playable. True, that is a huge, complicated game, but some of the fixes were really easy to spot when they Beta tested it a bit more. Again, Triumph delayed AoW3 on release date to iron out bugs, which was great, and I truly doubt Paradox would let you guys (and gals) do that with your new Mystery Game (which I think I forfeited the chance to beta-test with my critisism.:Dl).
    I also agree (we are a lot in agreement as you see lol), additional content and mechanics should be in DLC if they won’t add it in the main game. What I mean is that some publishers lock some content, which is already implemented in the game, and then let you unlock it for a price (or different game-system. PS4 exclusive content for instance). The aforementioned TotalBiscuit also has a Youtube view on it (I believe regarding that hacking game from the Evil Ubisoft). I haven’t found these antics with Triumph nor Paradox however. The fear is there though, although truth be told, the probability is low because of our niche game genre.
    I experienced you guys as one of the few developers who actually listen to their community and release great DLC. And I am sure you will release great, worth-their-content DLC’s, I am just afraid Paradox will force you to release chunks of it, just to make more money as they do with most their games.

    Just read through the entire discussion.
    To get some nuance in the discussion on DLC : )> Imho we are confounding two things in the discussion above. There is:

    1. The amount and type of DLC.
    2. The price of DLC.

    For me there is a difference between the discussion if DLC is a good thing and how much DLC should cost. Note that I’ll happily discuss the first, but not the second.
    Then on the acquisition and how Triumph will function now we are part of Paradox, which seems to be the discussion underlying that of the OP.
    I fail to see the rational behind Triumph going ahead with the acquisition if it was the bad deal being described above by Low_K. There was no pressing need to go ahead with the acquisition if it was on unfavorable terms.
    To illustrate, the entire team we had before the acquisition is still here. Which includes the founders/owners of the studio.
    So, while I understand that someone might worry about what will happen to Triumph I do not agree with the arguments.

    I don’t agree with you that the amount/type and price of DLC are two seperate discussions. Price and amount are dependant on each other.

    I think we all agree that DLC in itself is welcome, it greatly enhanced your game for instance. Price and amount were very well thought out with both AoW3 DLC’s. It becomes a bad thing if that DLC is released in order to milk the customer. Releasing DLC with ridiculous price tags which could easily be bundled into a big DLC for a normal price. My previous examples all show these antics with Paradox so I am truly afraid they will do it too with your new game. They are a company and they only care about making money. They are far away from their customers as they are just too big. All the big players do this, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Capcom, etc. The business plan is milking players with below-par DLC which they sell for premium prices. That is why I am sad to see you get swallowed by them; You were always great for your customers and actively posted on the forum, listened to suggestions, etc. I hope you still are able to do this (as you do now), my only fear is that you will get lot of flak for releasing below-par DLC which was forced through your throats by Paradox.

    I didn’t say it was a bad deal for Triumph to go ahead with Paradox, again, I don’t know the exact reason behind your action, as I suspect you got a lot of revenue from AoW 3. Enough to stay independent. Ofcourse you wouldn’t have brokered a bad deal or unfavourable terms, that is not my point. My point is that Paradox now owns you and, more importantly for them, your IP. I suspect the aquisition was necessary for you to survive and I would like some more details of the “why” to make it all a bit clearer. Like I said before, was it an easy cash-grab or a straw to survive? Or another reason? And maybe I am totally wrong with Paradox now owning your IP, but if they don’t, I truly wouldn’t know why they bought you in the first place. I doubt they would spend a lot of money just for you being great guys. I suspect you won’t go into detail about the aquisition, but some general idea would be welcome.

    I am really glad your original team is still here (looking forward to the Let’s Plays of Tombles again), and I truly hope you guys keep working on great games.

    (SNIP)

    (SNIP again)

    So I guess, what people are expecting from Triumph as a “serious” developer: publish only DLCs that truly advance the game, and keep them to a managable number.

    I hope I could help. 🙂

    Another familiar face! Great stuff!

    As to your reply; Iagree completely. It seems you said in one sentence where I needed a whole Chinese Wall of text for! ultra-lol!!!

    Also posted on Steam earlier today on DLC, opinions and cosmetic DLC. I’ve seen both people asking us to add cosmetic only DLC and specifically to not add cosmetic DLC. My argument there was that by offering both, we’d cater to both audiences.

    That does imply people not buying the DLC they did not like, which goes against the collector gene argument.
    However – given that there is no literal collector gene – I’m not sure its fair to not offer cosmetic DLC to people that want it, to protect people from buying something they do not want just to complete their collection. I agree targeting addictions or disorders is bad, but imho that’s not what cosmetic DLC does.

    Clearly indicating what type of DLC it is and what the contents is that can be bought should allow people to make an informed decision. And that’s pretty much what I see Stellaris is doing, distinguishing between Story Packs, Species Packs and bigger named Expansions such as ‘Utopia’ and the latest ‘Apocalypse’ DLCs.

    Yes, and to add to that collector gene (I myself am a hoarder , not only in computer games but also with tabletop stuff), there are also people who like to support small developers. I bought a few copies of AoW3 to gift to friends, just to support you guys because you were a small company back then. I still wouldn’t have bought all the Paradoxian DLC, should it be available then, but am more inclined to support you guys than the big company who owns you now. I would be much more vote with my wallet now than when you were independent.

    I agree that you have a choice which DLC you buy, but offering sub-par DLC for a premium price is where the line is drawn. I am not against cosmetic DLC in chunks, am really not, but the price they ask for said DLC is beyond ridiculous. I mean asking € 8 for some portraits and some ships is not offering great DLC, it is milking customers and ripping them off. If they want to release cosmetic stuff, just make a cosmetics bundle and put a normal price on it. Or sell the aforementioned DLC for €0,99 or something, if you really want to sell it in parts. I must say most bigger DLC’s are (usually) reasonably priced and I usually can justify the price-quality-amount comparison.

    Imo it’s very important to distinguish the type of DLC a game may offer.
    For instance, a DLC in the veins of “Eternal lords” is content. It has to be coded, playtested, translated.
    A DLC in the veins of “Random weapon skin” is, imho, no content. It does not have to be coded or playtested. it has to be created, but, the creators most often than not are NOT the people who’d code content. They are artist and/or somethimes not even heavily affiliated with the developer, e.g. interns or contracted artwork.

    And whilst I understand how people can get pretty emotional and petty about cosmetic DLCs they should realize that artists rarely work in the same timeframe as coders.

    Once a game is released, hopefully ironed-out, artists/modellers don’t have any work for that game, unless more content is already planned.
    So what are they supposed to do? Twiddle their thumbs?

    Now I do not know what those “26 DLCS” Crusader Kings II has are about, whether they’re content or cosmetic, but offering studio-affiliated artist the chance to continue “working” on a game by creating cosmetics is a great way for all associated parties to generate income.
    The problem, as Jolly Joker described, is this collector gene, people not being able to just not buy a cosmetic DLC.

    Then again, if no one were to buy cosmetic DLCs the publisher would incurr loses too as, shockingly, even artists require payment in order to live 🙂

    I’ve took the liberty to add TAGS to the thread Low_K

    It gets repetitive, but great to see you too!

    I agree with your points to a certain degree. I understand that artists need to get paid too. But if they are interns or contracted, they can easily be let off when the game is released as I can imagine they are only hired for a particular project and most companies have in-house artists too.
    If the company wants to hire them or extend their contracts however (or use their in-house artists), you are right that they should be able to produce cosmetic content when the coders are bugfixing.

    But you cannot tell me those artists work, with their entire team, on one weapon skin, then the company releases it for a premium after which the artists start working on the second weapon skin, which again gets released and so on.
    My guess is that they make a whole set of skins, and they just get released one by one every month or so. The company can also decide that the artists’ work can be bundled in one big cosmetic bundle, and sell that as DLC. But releasing it in chunks generates more money. Ofcourse if no one would buy aforementioned weapon skins, those practices will be short-lived very fast and publishers will have to think of other ways to milk their customers. I doubt the artists suffer either way.

    And thanks for the TAGS 😀

    I won’t quote all the replies after my (iirc) German friend Thariorn (as I doubt the forum can take any more text 😉 ), but will try to reply in general.

    Collectors are like junkies (as said before, I am one), as Jolly Joker said, but even I draw the line at the practices companies have regarding overpriced DLC. I ultimately will aquire all DLC, but only in a bundle with a huge discount (usually through some Steam sale, or Humblebundle…well…bundle).

    I agree with Sikbok that doing a basic game for a premium price would be counter-productive. The big baddies like Ubisoft might get away with it (with their DLC-swamped shooters), but I also doubt this will work for this niche genre. Modding helps tremendously in improving the game and I hope you add that to your Mystery Game too. There are, however, also people who never use Mods and only play with official content, so for them an offical cosmetic DLC would be welcome which they can use to customise their game. Just price it accordingly!

    Jolly Joker (I am always tempted to write Jolly J.)has a good point that some games really need DLC’s to improve. If I take the example of Civilization V, that game really need Brave New World and Gods and Kings lotherwise it is a bland 4x, those DLC’s introduced so many new features and really finished the game. 2k has also an annoying habit of releasing overpriced DLC btw.

    Phew, hats off everyone who ploughed through this Chinese Wall of Text. You deserve a cookie. I will now try to post it (as I write this in Word as I experienced the forum not being that stable with huge texts).

    Kind regards,

    Low

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Low_K. Reason: Spelling
    #270626

    Taykor
    Member

    The amount and type of DLC.
    The price of DLC.

    I don’t agree with you that the amount/type and price of DLC are two seperate discussions. Price and amount are dependant on each other.

    I have to say I definitely agree here. You can discuss them separately as long as you like, but people will never think about it like that. Both things are important and depend on each other and are considered together before a purchase.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Taykor.
    #270690

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Imo it’s very important to distinguish the type of DLC a game may offer.

    For instance, a DLC in the veins of “Eternal lords” is content. It has to be coded, playtested, translated.
    A DLC in the veins of “Random weapon skin” is, imho, no content. It does not have to be coded or playtested. it has to be created, but, the creators most often than not are NOT the people who’d code content. They are artist and/or somethimes not even heavily affiliated with the developer, e.g. interns or contracted artwork.

    And whilst I understand how people can get pretty emotional and petty about cosmetic DLCs they should realize that artists rarely work in the same timeframe as coders.

    As an anecdotal observation…

    It’s probably also worthwhile to avoid having content mixed in with cosmetic DLCs.

    Now, there’s a bit of a double-standard here. Content DLCs and expansions are generally expected to have additional graphical resources bundled in with them. However, it can put a bad taste in the customer’s mouth if it’s clear that the majority of what justifies the price is cosmetic, but there’s some gameplay addition thrown in such that if you want the ‘complete’ gameplay, you need to buy the cosmetics even if you don’t care about them.

    This was, in fact, one of my contributing factors to deciding to abandon D&D 4E – namely, when WOTC started incorporating attack cards into miniature packs. Which then meant that, even if you had all the books, you would not have a complete set of the rules unless you also bought all of the relevant miniature packs as well, regardless of whether or not you actually wanted the miniatures (which was what the price tag was based off). Now, this was far from being my only consideration – I wouldn’t even consider it the primary one – but it was something I considered to be a bit fo a dodgy practice that left a bad enough taste in my mouth that it contributed to the load of straw the proverbial camel was carrying.

    Now, software isn’t really comparable, since that example involved actual, physical objects. But let’s imagine that, for the sake of illustration, Triumph were to put out an absolutely awesome graphics update for AoW3 that the customer base broadly agreed was worth the $5 asking price if you were interested in the improved graphics. As long as copies of the game with the update are compatible with copies without, so far so good – people who don’t care about cosmetics (or don’t care enough to pay $5) can still enjoy the full gameplay without it.

    Now, let’s imagine that this update was bundled in with a single new specialisation. A single new specialisation is probably not something that would be worth $5 on its own, and a player would probably be justified in being upset about having to choose between spending $5 on graphical updates they don’t care about, or on missing out on a single gameplay element which, on its own, is not worth the asking price. That’s something I can see people being annoyed about.

    (Incidentally, Thariorn, I have a feeling that TotalBiscuit presented much the same argument in one of his videos, defending day 1 cosmetic DLC. I’d have to admit I’m not 100% convinced that the results should be DLC as opposed to being rolled in as an added bonus, but I’m not opposed enough to particularly care about it either.)

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