I’ve tried a good few MMOs from launch recently, and they all come with the tempting “Pre order to get this unique DLC!” lark.
Most of the “big name” MMOs will also come with various different versions, you standard, collectors, digital collectors, limited editions etc. and personally, I am fed up of it. The last few MMOs I’ve played have turned out to be let downs; Rift suffers from a lack of content; Warhammer Online was so imbalanced it took out all the fun; EQ2 became an uninspired grind… The list goes on, and I really don’t think developers should be expecting people to pay upto £129 for a CE before the game is even released.
It maybe just me, but I would like to get the best pre order DLC for an MMO, especially if it looks to be a game I’ll be playing for a while, I feel it’ll give me a serious helping hand when leveling and other things, for instance; for pre ordering Warhammer Online, you got a Campfire which you could stick on the ground, and it would be an AE heal over time, not a big heal, but it certainly helped and people used it as a sort of rally point when in the PvP skirmishes. Rift gave you a mount for pre ordering, and if you got one of the Collectors Editions, you got a reusable rune which would give your weapon +10 to a resist and +3 endurance, small, but it helps.
Star Wars: The Old Republic has gone one step further, you have a “Digital Collectors Edition” with a few bonus items, only on Origin, and at retail you have 2 versions, standard and Collectors, which costs £129 and comes with the usual stuff, statue, art book etc. Where it gets interesting is that it comes with access to a Collectors edition only unique merchant that sells exclusive items, these items are likely to be fluff, but it’s very annoying that they’re pushing people into spending quite a bit of cash on the CE to get access to electronic extras.
When Star Trek Online was coming up for release, they offered lifetime subscriptions with a few bonus bits of DLC, the game wasn’t even out and they wanted people to fork out £200 for it, a bit suspect if you ask me. A few months later, Cryptic did offer all the pre order DLC in their store, this caused bit of an uproar, but I really commend Cryptic for what they did, and think it’s the best course of action.
It really boils down to value for money, and “Modern” MMOs certainly don’t have the longevity offered by the first pioneers of the genre, games like EverQuest and Ultima Online, but they seem to be getting more expensive, especially for the desirable “Collectors Editions” with the game enhancing DLC. DLC is a direction the game industry is taking, so we have to get used to it, but I don’t like it. I don’t mind giving pre order customers an incentive to pre order, but allow people without money to burn to pick it up for a small cost a month or two down the line, let people know it’s “time limited exclusivity” and they really can’t moan when it gets released to everyone (but they will moan.. oh well).
I leave you with this image, not strictly MMO related, but it shows how some publishers treat their customers well, and others take you for every penny they can.
Note: I did it in paint as I’m slack.