A DLC Too Far

Borderlands is an online game I am keenly interested in.  Keen enough that I already bought it on Steam for a 10% discount.  In my morning tweets I saw Gearbox write that DLC (“downloadable content”) was already coming for the unreleased game (Borderlands drops 10/26).  Not only was it DLC, it was DLC that players had to buy!  My immediate thought was outrage.  How dare they?  To ask for more money before I even got to play the game I paid for was a slap in the face.  (The last 5-words, in a perfect world, would be written in a self-debasing sarcasm font.)

After looking at the neat DLC pictures of a zombie isle, I had another idea.  Gearbox devs were the good guys here.  They were letting me, the customer know, the specifics of their business plan before people shelled out for the game.  Players that were interested in Borderlands as a service would now have a more concrete understanding of things to come.  MMOs are definitely a service, and so many times we buy the initial offering without having a good understanding of the specifics of the bargain.  How often will we get content updates? How about paid-expansions and their cost?  What exactly does our subscription fee cover? A lot of times it is pure faith in the developer.

Now Gearbox’s DLC has the bonus that it is likely completely optional for Borderlands, but in our DIKU-world, MMO players don’t realistically have that option of choice.  The expansions either raise the level cap, gear cap, or just simply add in new must-haves.  It’s a siren’s song, and stuffing your ears with cotton might mean all your online friends leave you behind.  So it is nice, despite my initial outrage, to have a company show their hand for the customer’s benefit well before they “need” to. 

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