Bi-Yearly Reminder that EU4 DLC policy has been terrible

Bi-Yearly Reminder that EU4 DLC policy has been terrible

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Im afraid this will go down the route of HOI4 where they will sell low effort uninspired mission trees as DLCs, something that even the most amateur modder can do instead of new mechanics or government types.
 
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I think the worst and best part of the DLC is the free updates. The free updates are great because we get some new content for free. The bad part is that they cause some confusion on whats free and whats paid. If the free updates where part of the existing paid DLC it would make them seem more worth the money we paid for them.

(Not saying the free updates should stop but just that if we never had them and they where part of the existing DLC I think people would just complain more about how many there are and less about how much content they provide.)
That's pretty much how EU 3 worked.
 
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To be fair, if they go with the timed model, only one DLC will be affected at a time, as no DLCs are released simultaneously (or even within a couple months from one another).
So a buyer would "lose" a single DLC's worth of money, not anything close to $50 or $100.
 
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All the DLC isn't worth less based on how long ago it was released though; the mechanics they add in don't become obsolete over time so there seems to be little reason to hand them out for free just because they are older? Despite this Paradox has been releasing lots of content previously locked behind DLC's into the base game for everyone to have access to.

Paradox is generally in a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of position for DLC. When they keep all the coolest mechanics in the DLC everyone complains that those mechanics have to be paid for, but if they release more "non-consequential" DLC that adds Mission Trees into the game everyone complains that it is a waste of money getting the DLC when "a modder could have added the same thing". If Paradox completely did away with DLC the only other way they could make money is to sell half-finished games for AAA price every two years. Somehow Paradox has to make the DLC super cool and game-changing, but at the same time not make it game-changing so that others aren't missing out on mechanics.

It is a shame that it can be hard to tell what exactly each DLC gives you without internet research, but it turns customers away when the Steam Store page is about thirty pages long describing the entire change-log and most people will still end up confused about what exactly is free and what isn't.
 
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All the DLC isn't worth less based on how long ago it was released though; the mechanics they add in don't become obsolete over time so there seems to be little reason to hand them out for free just because they are older?
The issue isn't really the real value of the DLCs, I myself have bought many on release and I regret nothing, I think they are a great value (with some exceptions).
The issue is that, as time goes on, the game gets more and more inaccessible to newcomers, as DLCs pile on.
So we have to ask, from a pure pragmatic and business point of view, do old DLCs still make enough money to warrant gating off potential customers like that?
For all the UI advancements they have done in this past decade to make the game more accessible, their business model does the exact opposite.

Paradox is generally in a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of position for DLC. When they keep all the coolest mechanics in the DLC everyone complains that those mechanics have to be paid for, but if they release more "non-consequential" DLC that adds Mission Trees into the game everyone complains that it is a waste of money getting the DLC when "a modder could have added the same thing". If Paradox completely did away with DLC the only other way they could make money is to sell half-finished games for AAA price every two years. Somehow Paradox has to make the DLC super cool and game-changing, but at the same time not make it game-changing so that others aren't missing out on mechanics.
HoI4 (and Stellaris apparently) seems to have reached an ideal compromise.
Basic mechanics go into the patch, flavor or a deeper dive into that mechanic go into the DLC.
I don't think any DLC for HoI4 is absolutely necessary, pretty much all you need to enjoy the game as the great powers of WW2 is there in the base game.
But if you feel invested in another minor powers, or perhaps China, or in espionage, or even go deeper into naval warfare, the DLCs are there for you.
 
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The issue isn't really the real value of the DLCs, I myself have bought many on release and I regret nothing, I think they are a great value (with some exceptions).
The issue is that, as time goes on, the game gets more and more inaccessible to newcomers, as DLCs pile on.
So we have to ask, from a pure pragmatic and business point of view, do old DLCs still make enough money to warrant gating off potential customers like that?
For all the UI advancements they have done in this past decade to make the game more accessible, their business model does the exact opposite.


HoI4 (and Stellaris apparently) seems to have reached an ideal compromise.
Basic mechanics go into the patch, flavor or a deeper dive into that mechanic go into the DLC.
I don't think any DLC for HoI4 is absolutely necessary, pretty much all you need to enjoy the game as the great powers of WW2 is there in the base game.
But if you feel invested in another minor powers, or perhaps China, or in espionage, or even go deeper into naval warfare, the DLCs are there for you.
If a new-comer does want to play with all the DLC features then the packs are available with most of the DLC on sale for the price of a AAA game. I personally agree that HOI4 and Stellaris are really good with their DLC, but one step onto the HOI4 forums and all I hear is people pointing out that the DLC is a waste of money because you can just mod the National Focuses of countries and all the other mechanics in the DLC are considered quite non-game-changing (adding Naval Mines or Airforce Volunteers etc.). If I watch any YT video about HOI4 they are almost all saying the DLC are bad for those reasons. I don't believe Paradox can have a DLC policy that a majority of people will be happy with.
 
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The Paradox DLC policy, in general, is obnoxious. Don't get me wrong, I love EUIV, CK2, Victoria II, and Stellaris, but the DLCs really add up. It isn't like EUIV is a free mobile game where you expect most of the features to be hidden behind a paywall. It's a $30 game (except when it's $10). That isn't at all unreasonable for non-AA game. I wish they would just release the game normally and add-in free updates as time went on. They could also release one or two DLCs along the way that added unique content but not 20. Buying every DLC for CK2, for example, is like a $300 dollar ordeal. It's ridiculous.
 
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Vaximillian

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The point of DLC isn't to pay for themselves, it's to maximize profits for Paradox.
Paradox have had six years of profits from selling Art of War, it has long paid for the expenses on making it. This is my point.
 
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If a new-comer does want to play with all the DLC features then the packs are available with most of the DLC on sale for the price of a AAA game.
That's very alienating to the average consumer.
If you have to watch several videos with instructions on which DLCs to buy, with many using terms you'll have absolutely no clue what they mean like "development" or "estates", all on top of a steam page with a gigantic list of DLCs and an egregious price tag at the bottom (yes, I know that tag includes even cosmetics, but someone visiting the page for the first time will not know that), you're basically asking people to not buy your game.

I personally agree that HOI4 and Stellaris are really good with their DLC, but one step onto the HOI4 forums and all I hear is people pointing out that the DLC is a waste of money because you can just mod the National Focuses of countries and all the other mechanics in the DLC are considered quite non-game-changing (adding Naval Mines or Airforce Volunteers etc.). If I watch any YT video about HOI4 they are almost all saying the DLC are bad for those reasons. I don't believe Paradox can have a DLC policy that a majority of people will be happy with.
I see no such widespread complaint in the HoI4 forum.
To me it seems devs are showing good will by putting the base mechanics in the patch, and players are showing good will by buying the DLCs (HoI4 DLCs do sell pretty well iirc), so it's win-win.
And as times goes on, with newcomers not having to buy a wall of DLC, instead the only instruction being "just get the base game, if you like it start looking into DLCs", the player base and consumer base only tends to grow.
In fact, I think the HoI4 forum is the one I see the most threads with "new to the game, plz help" of all PDX forums I visit.
 
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The Paradox DLC policy, in general, is obnoxious. Don't get me wrong, I love EUIV, CK2, Victoria II, and Stellaris, but the DLCs really add up. It isn't like EUIV is a free mobile game where you expect most of the features to be hidden behind a paywall. It's a $30 game (except when it's $10). That isn't at all unreasonable for non-AA game. I wish they would just release the game normally and add-in free updates as time went on. They could also release one or two DLCs along the way that added unique content but not 20. Buying every DLC for CK2, for example, is like a $300 dollar ordeal. It's ridiculous.
They have been developing EU4 for about 11 years now, working on it and improving it every day of those years (except for holidays). I don't believe $30 would be able to afford that. Most other game studios make money by charging you $80 for a game they worked on for 2 years, without any further updates to the game and a sequel the very next year.

Paradox have had six years of profits from selling Art of War, it has long paid for the expenses on making it. This is my point.
Companies don't suddenly owe a product for free once they have made their profits off the product.

That's very alienating to the average consumer.
If you have to watch several videos with instructions on which DLCs to buy, with many using terms you'll have absolutely no clue what they mean like "development" or "estates", all on top of a steam page with a gigantic list of DLCs and an egregious price tag at the bottom (yes, I know that tag includes even cosmetics, but someone visiting the page for the first time will not know that), you're basically asking people to not buy your game.


I see no such widespread complaint in the HoI4 forum.
To me it seems devs are showing good will by putting the base mechanics in the patch, and players are showing good will by buying the DLCs (HoI4 DLCs do sell pretty well iirc), so it's win-win.
And as times goes on, with newcomers not having to buy a wall of DLC, instead the only instruction being "just get the base game, if you like it start looking into DLCs", the player base and consumer base only tends to grow.
But the average consumer will buy the base game and play for awhile before they want to buy DLC and then they usually get the DLC that seems coolest for the way they like to play the game (i.e. "Conquest of Paradise" for players that enjoy colonialism). I do believe that one way of finding a happier middle could be having more spaced-out, larger DLC, but they would have to incease the price of these DLC to compensate and people would complain about paying $40 for a DLC.

Honestly I can't click on anything related to HOI4 DLC without someone saying "it is useless, save your money and don't think twice about getting this DLC" or "if you are interested in this DLC, just play National Focuses Reworked mod instead". I was considering getting "Man the Guns" over the weekend, so I thought to read the reviews, and it nearly turned me off from getting it because I couldn't find anyone talking positively about it.
 
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Paradox have had six years of profits from selling Art of War, it has long paid for the expenses on making it. This is my point.
Paradox is a business that exists to make money on top of expenses. If it just met expenses, then we wouldn’t have these games. Paradox doesn’t owe us anything other than the game we purchased. They didn’t have to patch the game all these years or release any DLC. My point continues to be: I don’t see them changing policies without some kind of viable alternative plan that will make the same amount of money or more.
 
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Vaximillian

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Paradox is a business that exists to make money on top of expenses. If it just met expenses, then we wouldn’t have these games. Paradox doesn’t owe us anything other than the game we purchased. They didn’t have to patch the game all these years or release any DLC. My point continues to be: I don’t see them changing policies without some kind of viable alternative plan that will make the same amount of money or more.
They don’t even have to make actual games, they could just make apps that just throw out splashes with maps and fans would still buy that.
Goodwill? Who needs that.
 
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EU4 is unplayable without DLCs.
The whole model for DLCs where they swallowed essential features and thus arrested development of those features while forcing modders and themselves to deal with legacy features to let those who don't own DLC play.
Even CK2, which did lock playability of whole aspects of game (Muslims, tribes, etc) and initially had crucial mechanics locked (WoL is most prominent one) didn't fall for that issue - it tried to keep unlocked most essentials, cheapened early DLCs (and gives them away for free even) and most importantly is NOT BROKEN when you play it without any DLC.

This is the main issue with EU4 DLCs compared to other PDX DLCs - too much essential things were locked... while also locking regional things. I must buy DLC to play as Orthodox if I want bonuses, I must buy DLC to get regional flavor, I must buy DLC to get government mechanics, I must buy DLC to do development, I must buy DLC to access advanced diplomacy, I must buy DLC to access QoL features, I must buy DLC to access estates... etc etc etc. Too many things are locked as of 1.29, game is unplayable without DLCs. And even worse, it is broken without them.

P.S. And yeah, there are missions, kind of pay-to-win thing. They don't even offer player any alternative playstyle at least like in HoI4, where you can change historical direction of the game, they are simply a set of objectives and bonuses, most of which boil down to conquer and get claims... and they don't always make sense. The most stupid case in last time is Austrian mission tree where you are asked to get Galicia (Eastern Europe, not Spanish) from Poland (like in partitions of Poland...) but then other mission asks you to do Personal Union with Poland. I have no idea how it makes much sense to anyone.
 
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Vohen

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But the average consumer will buy the base game and play for awhile before they want to buy DLC and then they usually get the DLC that seems coolest for the way they like to play the game (i.e. "Conquest of Paradise" for players that enjoy colonialism). I do believe that one way of finding a happier middle could be having more spaced-out, larger DLC, but they would have to incease the price of these DLC to compensate and people would complain about paying $40 for a DLC.
My experience in trying to get people to play these games begs to differ.
Whenever I direct someone to the steam page, even on sale, they immediately look at that wall of DLC and feel completely uncompelled to buy anything.
And I say "trust me, this game is great, it's completely worth it", but they still look at that and just don't.
I have lost many more battles than I have won to the DLC wall, even though we were supposed to be on the same side.

My point continues to be: I don’t see them changing policies without some kind of viable alternative plan that will make the same amount of money or more.
Imagine if, in the situation I described above, I managed to get not all, but at least most of the people I tried recommending this to did buy it.
How much money is Art of War and other old DLCs making them right now?
Is it worth it sacrificing those old DLCs that probably don't even sell much (if at all) when not on sale in exchange of getting more and more new players to get your game?
My whole point here is: PDX shouldn't do this for the goodness of their hearts, they should do it because it's costing them many, many potential customers.
It's hard to put a number to anything "potential", but the matter of fact is, each person who doesn't spend $100 upfront (on sale) could be one that would spend $40 initially, and over time as he becomes invested in the game and starts buying DLCs as they come (as many of us do), would end up spending perhaps even double that.
It is very likely that this policy is actually hurting their bottom line in the long run.

Honestly I can't click on anything related to HOI4 DLC without someone saying "it is useless, save your money and don't think twice about getting this DLC" or "if you are interested in this DLC, just play National Focuses Reworked mod instead". I was considering getting "Man the Guns" over the weekend, so I thought to read the reviews, and it nearly turned me off from getting it because I couldn't find anyone talking positively about it
And despite that, HoI4 and its DLCs are still selling very well.
It could mean a few things, all non mutually exclusive.
It could be that the game being feature complete without DLCs attracts more players, and so even though the amount of players who actually buy DLCs is relatively small, it's a small share of a big pie, so a lot of people nonetheless.
It could be that the more hardcore fans, the ones who come to the forums and read DDs, like that they aren't locking basic mechanics behind DLCs and have a lot of good will to simply go and buy them.
Among others.
In the end, this strategy has been quite successful for HoI4 in terms of sales.
 
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Twoflower

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I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't have been better to
- either go with paid expansions (i.e. have no free patches that contain new features); as Paradox actually did for EU3
- or, instead of developing EU4 for almost seven years now, stop development after a few bugfixing patches and sell new content as EU5/EU6/EU7

Both would have been objectively "greedier" policies, but
1. There would be no criticism of worthless DLCs (that does not take into account the stuff that has been included in free patches)
2. Game development could have been more consistent, because there would be no need to take into account all the possible combinations of base game + DLC
3. Features that have become DLC-locked could have been included as organic parts of the game and interact with each other
4. There would be no need to make up "DLC-worthy" features, i.e. game mechanics that seem powerful and/or shiny enough to sell DLC, but are actually unimportant enough to not have to be part of the base game. Stuff like expulsion of minorities, innovativeness, hegemonies or the Russian click-to-win-buttons probably wouldn't exist if there was no DLC policy.
 
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grommile

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1. There would be no criticism of worthless DLCs (that does not take into account the stuff that has been included in free patches)
Instead, there would be criticism of the fact that you have to pay money to keep receiving bug fixes.
 
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RAID186

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There's a lack of comment on the subscription feature we now have, which is quite reasonably priced.
 
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Instead, there would be criticism of the fact that you have to pay money to keep receiving bug fixes.
When I said "no free patches that contain new features" I meant that patches wouldn't include new features. There of course should be bugfixing patches. I (perhaps naively) assume that it might actually be easier to make the base game more or less bug free if you refrain from adding anything new.
 
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ZechsMerquise73

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There's a lack of comment on the subscription feature we now have, which is quite reasonably priced.
I googled it and checked the website and store page. I searched for it on the forums, and as far as I can tell it hasn't been so much as mentioned in two months. As far as I can tell the subscription model isn't released yet and the price point hasn't been announced. Is that right?

I'd probably rather wait for the next PDX humble bundle to roll around. I could have gotten almost every DLC I don't have for $17 but I didn't get a notification from HB. Base store price it's $30 for just Conquest of Paradise and El Dorado together. I don't understand why they're willing to give newer games away practically for nothing, but won't budge on the Steam page prices for a 7-year-old DLC with mostly negative reviews (CoP).

Correct me if I am wrong, but would not that make the folks who bought it one by one really really angry?
Mixing all the paid patches minor DLCs together at a less greedy price would be nice, however.
I see this argument a lot. But would it be reasonable to complain when the game goes on sale? Did you complain when they made estates a base game feature? Will you complain when EU5 comes out and the game comes stocked with colonial nations, the ability to make custom vassals, and so on? You'll probably be very glad you don't have to buy the same features over again. When you pay for a game when it comes out, you aren't paying to secure that price point for the future generations, you are paying that price because that's what you were willing to pay at that moment. Games devalue after they get older, and new and better things come along . In Paradox DLC they get better at making them as time goes on: There's a big discrepancy in value between, say, Mare Nostrum and Rule Britannia.
 
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