Author Topic: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?  (Read 2615 times)

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
consumer satisfaction
Somehow, I don't think it was that important to begin with.


 

Offline Thaeris

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
We seem to bring that particular expansion up a lot in these threads, but I want to point out that, even though vanilla ST isn't that good, we still talk about it quite often and even went through the effort of re-making it. It was a full, albeit shoddy, package that was somehow valuable to a good number of people.

The original concept of this thread was to try and figure out why manufacturers departed from the model of making full expansions of games to just making bits and pieces of them which more often than not seem to be gimmicks rather than elements which expand the scope of the game or story.

...Obviously, there are exceptions to this assessment (which is a good thing!), but even among the better examples of DLC, very few create entirely new dynamics and story arcs in existing games like the old expansion packs did. And yes, even Silent Threat did that.
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Offline An4ximandros

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?


So called "modern" DLC existed back in the physical format era.

 

Offline The E

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
The original concept of this thread was to try and figure out why manufacturers departed from the model of making full expansions of games to just making bits and pieces of them which more often than not seem to be gimmicks rather than elements which expand the scope of the game or story.

I would still take exception to that. Sure, we have tons of cosmetic DLC, weapon packs, skin packs and the like which didn't exist back in the days of noone having a fast net connection, but there's also a ton of story DLC available that definitely does expand the scope of the game or its story. The various expansions to Borderlands 2, or the Bioware games, or the Missing Link DLC for DXHR, or the expansions to Saint's Row 3, or GTA 4's Tales from Liberty City, all of them fulfill the content requirement you put forth as the major difference.

Sure, there is bad DLC, but there also were bad expansion packs. And while in the old days only the biggest games were able to get enough funding to make expansions, the DLC model makes it possible to expand upon games that aren't quite as big.
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Offline deathfun

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
Quote
The original concept of this thread was to try and figure out why manufacturers departed from the model of making full expansions of games to just making bits and pieces of them which more often than not seem to be gimmicks rather than elements which expand the scope of the game or story.

I think I mentioned this before, but I'll say it again in a different fashion

Think of the packages you had before as bundles. They've got all the content on one convenient disc
Think of the DLC types you get now. They're basically taking apart the bundles and spreading their individual pieces as solo items at a higher than usual price

This enables players to choose what they want rather than having to pay for everything (including aspects they don't care about). This saves players money as they get what they want, for less of a price. Developers in turn, get more money since more players feel inclined to purchase the DLC involved with their game, as opposed to the fewer who get the whole 40$ bundle.

From a marketing standpoint, it's more profitable.

So, that's my theory as to why

Quote
very few create entirely new dynamics and story arcs in existing games like the old expansion packs did. And yes, even Silent Threat did that.

I'll just list the ones I know that have done as you've described as "few"

Grand Theft Auto
Army of Two
Call of Duty: World at War (zombie maps add new dynamics and story [despite the story being more an easter egg])
Fallout 3
Red Faction: Armageddon Guerrilla (made an error there)
Bioshock
Borderlands
Army of Two: 40th Day
Bioshock 2
Red Dead Redemption
Fallout New Vegas
CoD: Black Ops (zombie maps)
Dead Space 2
Saints Row 3
Skyrim
L.A. Noire
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Borderlands 2
Infamous 2

Each one of those games has new story added and most have new dynamics
"Few" is a terrible choice of words. Exceptions to the rule are also what I wouldn't classify these as since they're 1/3 of my games.

Sure it isn't the majority, but when someone says exceptions, I tend to think one or two. Not 33%
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 07:07:22 pm by deathfun »
"No"

 

Offline BloodEagle

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
Has there been any DLC that significantly modified and / or added to the existing gameplay mechanics (and I'm not talking about changing a variable) of a game?

Expansion packs (the good ones) definitely used to do that.

 

Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
new, more powerful weapons/powers is like the life blood of DLC.
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Offline deathfun

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
Technically speaking, those add to the existing gameplay mechanics...

So I know what I'm looking for, I'd like to ask that you provide some examples BloodEagle. I don't want to go searching for what I think you mean by significant additions
"No"

 

Offline Flipside

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
Thing is, take games like Tropico 3, there is DLC such as the Plantador set, which just adds a couple of minor things, and there is an expansion called Modern Times that adds a bunch of stuff (though, in my honest opinion, not quite enough to warrant the price tag, but that's personal opinion).

I'm just not sure where the 'line' exists, it appears that DLC is something that works within the current game framework, whereas Expansion Packs require an alteration to the core files. Might this explain the drop in expansions in a way, since the existence of things like scripting mean that the original core files are a lot more flexible than they used to be?

 

Offline Thaeris

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
The original concept of this thread was to try and figure out why manufacturers departed from the model of making full expansions of games to just making bits and pieces of them which more often than not seem to be gimmicks rather than elements which expand the scope of the game or story.

I would still take exception to that. Sure, we have tons of cosmetic DLC, weapon packs, skin packs and the like which didn't exist back in the days of noone having a fast net connection, but there's also a ton of story DLC available that definitely does expand the scope of the game or its story. The various expansions to Borderlands 2, or the Bioware games, or the Missing Link DLC for DXHR, or the expansions to Saint's Row 3, or GTA 4's Tales from Liberty City, all of them fulfill the content requirement you put forth as the major difference.

Sure, there is bad DLC, but there also were bad expansion packs. And while in the old days only the biggest games were able to get enough funding to make expansions, the DLC model makes it possible to expand upon games that aren't quite as big.

E, mate... (and deathfun for that matter)

...why did you selectively just use that section of the post as a quote? Almost every possible sentiment that you cover in your post is covered in the line right below it:

...Obviously, there are exceptions to this assessment (which is a good thing!), but even among the better examples of DLC, very few create entirely new dynamics and story arcs in existing games like the old expansion packs did. And yes, even Silent Threat did that.

And I still might be a little jaded. But I don't think I'm hiding behind this overly-blind cloak of nostalgia that you may think I am.
"trolls are clearly social rejects and therefore should be isolated from society, or perhaps impaled."

-Nuke



"Look on the bright side, how many release dates have been given for Doomsday, and it still isn't out yet.

It's the Duke Nukem Forever of prophecies..."


"Jesus saves.

Everyone else takes normal damage.
"

-Flipside

"pirating software is a lesser evil than stealing but its still evil. but since i pride myself for being evil, almost anything is fair game."


"i never understood why women get the creeps so ****ing easily. i mean most serial killers act perfectly normal, until they kill you."


-Nuke

 

Offline deathfun

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
Quote
...why did you selectively just use that section of the post as a quote? Almost every possible sentiment that you cover in your post is covered in the line right below it:

Um...
I used your bottom line...

The first segment was just answering the "Why developers do as they do" segment of what you said as I figure it
"No"

 

Offline The E

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
E, mate... (and deathfun for that matter)

...why did you selectively just use that section of the post as a quote? Almost every possible sentiment that you cover in your post is covered in the line right below it:

...Obviously, there are exceptions to this assessment (which is a good thing!), but even among the better examples of DLC, very few create entirely new dynamics and story arcs in existing games like the old expansion packs did. And yes, even Silent Threat did that.

And I still might be a little jaded. But I don't think I'm hiding behind this overly-blind cloak of nostalgia that you may think I am.

Let me turn the question around then, how many expansions were there that actually did make material changes to the basic gameplay or storytelling of a game? I admit that I do not have that much experience with them, but what I have seen so far was definitely more in the "Mission pack" variety, that is, more of the same basic gameplay that was present in the original release.

See, I'm not really sold on the idea that ye olde expansion packs were that different from what we get as DLC today. Sure, there was less of it, and there's an entire subsection of DLC that couldn't have existed back then (the aforementioned cosmetic stuff), but from what I can gather, you'd mostly get the same sort of content you get as DLC today.

The thing is, you're saying that what used to be the exception back then is now the norm and vice versa, and I would like to see some actual indications for that.
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Let there be monsters and let there be pain
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Offline headdie

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
most addon packs I came across were basically missions to tell an extension to the main story with a couple of extra badguys and new units/weapons/abilities for the player
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Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
the very few expansion packs i ever bought/played i would classify as "almost-games."  They had the same or almost the same length as the original in playtime/missions etc.  They just used the same engine and assets, with maybe a couple extra characters, weapons, units, or whatever thrown in.  They usually cost somewhere between 40-60% of the original game (initial retail), which seems pretty fair to me since they added almost a second entire game, but the developer didn't have to develop a whole new one from scratch.  I haven't seen DLC to this extent.  The DLC that actually expand the game rather than adding a new hat to a character are pretty much limited to a pack of minor side-missions or a single extra "story" mission.  They often aren't very much cheaper than what an old expansion pack might cost.  I don't see DLC as nearly as good a value.  Especially since now DLC is a given and the original game is designed around continual releases of DLC and yet still costs the same initially. 
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Offline BloodEagle

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
Technically speaking, those add to the existing gameplay mechanics...

So I know what I'm looking for, I'd like to ask that you provide some examples BloodEagle. I don't want to go searching for what I think you mean by significant additions

I think I posted a small list of the ones I've personally seen, on the other page.

 

Offline deathfun

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Re: What Ever Happened to the Expansion Pack?
I think I posted a small list of the ones I've personally seen, on the other page.

Yup, took a gander

Anything from Bethesda fits with the "Tribunal" expansion that you mentioned (Dawnguard and Dragonborn being the best examples)

The Command and Conquer can be best fit with Gods And Kings for Civilization (though if I do recall, it's referred to as an expansion as opposed to DLC. It only contains one piece of DLC as it is a necessity in order for one of it's new 'missions' to be accessible [Spain DLC])

The DLC for that game though, does add new civilizations as well as scenarios which fall in line with new missions and units which the CnC expansion gave

The Secret Weapons pack adds "new weapons, vehicles, battles, factions, and a new gameplay mode". Most DLC packs that aren't the 99 cent variety fulfill these type of additions (I will note that they don't fulfill ALL the parameters ALL the time). Notable one being Killzone 2 map packs, GTA IV additions, Red Dead Redemption DLCs (individually, they fulfill an aspect, as a whole, they cover all of the additions)



I suppose, easiest way to put it is simply as I said earlier: Expansions are consolidated DLC
So technically, developers didn't shy away from expansions so much as they just broke them up into pieces allowing for earlier distribution one piece at a time. GOTY rolls out, and you've got the consolidated DLC (IE, Expansion pack) included with your original game (Not unlike when they sold expansions with the original game - Starcraft and Starcraft BW comes to mind)

So in conclusion, nothing changed other than how they distribute the content, and the pace of which it is distributed.



(I put this here in case you wanted to see how I look at things in different wording)
Instead of looking at JUST one piece (or type) of DLC, look at ALL of the DLC for ONE particular game. What does all that content look like to you? To me, it looks like an expansion pack
"No"