Bi-Yearly Reminder that EU4 DLC policy has been terrible

Bi-Yearly Reminder that EU4 DLC policy has been terrible

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EarlKonrad

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I musr be getting really old, because i remember a time where a game (any as in every single one) would not get ANY content update and patches were only bugfixes, like the name "patch" actually suggests. I honestly don't get the entitlement with which some people cry about the DLC policy when in truth they should be happy that they get yearly free content for a years old game with the OPTION to buy more.

Comparing that to the fabled horse armor or paid mods is not just unfair, it is an insult

We can argue about DLC pricings or presentation, sure but the truth is PDX gives the players not free flavour updates (poland/manchu etc) a lot of free features whenever a DLC comes out and rework older features.
It would even be fine if there was no free updates at all but only payed exrra content. Like basically any old game did. But we even get way more than that.
Yesterday I was reading the 1998 Computer World Magazine (I think I got the name right) and it opened with an editorial talking about the lose-lose that is (or at least was, at the time) releasing an expansion for a game instead of moving on to a new release. To summarize, he said that it may look like a good business decision to have the devs working on an expansion while the new and shiny engine is being developed as they otherwise wouldn't have anything else to do, and player generally want more stuff. However, stores hate expansions because the product that is being sold at 15 bucks is occupying the same space that could have been used by a 25 bucks new release game. So retailers don't like to sell smaller products that make them less money, which in turns means that the publishers have an incentive to increase the price of the expansions, but that makes players unhappy.

What about downloadable content? Well, it is 1998 and most of your player base either don't have net or have no way of reliably downloading stuff, and download sizes are a problem.

Ok. Repackage the game + expansion then. Well, that can lead to players being burnt by having to buy the same game twice just so they can have the expansion and the expansion and however many patches the game shipped.

I'm old enough to remember buying the game, then the expansion and then the golden version of a game. Hell, I own more different copies of AoE II then there are EU installments.

And here we are, 22 since that editorial was written, and counting, and both players and publishers are still trying to reach and agreement on what kind of Downloadable Content is good and which is the ideal price point for it. The only difference is that now the internet is widely, widely available.
 
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SolSys

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This isn't my first time discussing this, including with PDX staff, and so far I have never been led to believe they have given a serious thought about this.
It's not an easy sell to higher ups and share holders, definitely, but if PDX wants to put this topic to rest, all they can do is be transparent about it and disclose if they have indeed done a study on this case, or reveal sales numbers for old DLCs showing that they still sell very well.
Of course, PDX doesn't actually own us any transparency, but if they want trust on this issue, that's what they should offer.
So with all that said, I now ask you, what makes you think they have done this calculation? Is it because "it's their business", and so you trust them to uphold it?
Well then, that's up to you, but I'm not willing to give my trust without a counterpart, in this case, transparency.
PDX devs are very transparent and accessible, that's why I'm almost always willing to trust them fully, and think they are a role model in this industry, but the business side is another deal altogether, not even composed by the same people.
PDX does quarterly reports on Twitch and business podcasts from time to time. They may not be detailed as you are asking above (and they shouldn't be), but you can still gain some insights to your queries.
 
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PyroMegaManZ

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Yesterday I was reading the 1998 Computer World Magazine (I think I got the name right) and it opened with an editorial talking about the lose-lose that is (or at least was, at the time) releasing an expansion for a game instead of moving on to a new release. To summarize, he said that it may look like a good business decision to have the devs working on an expansion while the new and shiny engine is being developed as they otherwise wouldn't have anything else to do, and player generally want more stuff. However, stores hate expansions because the product that is being sold at 15 bucks is occupying the same space that could have been used by a 25 bucks new release game. So retailers don't like to sell smaller products that make them less money, which in turns means that the publishers have an incentive to increase the price of the expansions, but that makes players unhappy.

What about downloadable content? Well, it is 1998 and most of your player base either don't have net or have no way of reliably downloading stuff, and download sizes are a problem.

Ok. Repackage the game + expansion then. Well, that can lead to players being burnt by having to buy the same game twice just so they can have the expansion and the expansion and however many patches the game shipped.

I'm old enough to remember buying the game, then the expansion and then the golden version of a game. Hell, I own more different copies of AoE II then there are EU installments.

And here we are, 22 since that editorial was written, and counting, and both players and publishers are still trying to reach and agreement on what kind of Downloadable Content is good and which is the ideal price point for it. The only difference is that now the internet is widely, widely available.
Unfortunately the most smart business thing to do is to quickly work on a game over the course of a year then release it and never update it again while you start working on the next game to have released by the same time next year. If the game is unpopular at launch don't bother working on the sequel and design a new game instead, and if it is really popular than you don't even have to release a new game when you can just re-release it every year on a different console or with a graphics update. Following this method you maximise profit margins. EA, Bethesda, and Activision-Blizzard all follow this tried-and-true method for every single one of their products and they are by far the most successful of all game studios. If Paradox followed the same strategy HOI4, Stellaris and Imperator would have all been abandoned at launch, we would be up to EU7 (which would be a slightly tweaked remake of EU4 without the AE mechanic) by now, and Victoria 2 would have been removed from the Steam store. I don't believe there is any denying that the team at Paradox give much more back to the fans than they are required to by any ideals on profit margins, especially considering the scale of the monopoly they have on the Grand Strategy genre.
 
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XxNovaStarxX

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*cries in independence wars*
 
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ZechsMerquise73

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It's not an easy sell to higher ups and share holders
How about a $40 re-release for the first 7 DLC; call it Season 1 or something. Then don't put it on sale for another year or two. Hurray for Paradox investors, you've just got people to buy all the early DLC at once instead of just picking up Art of War when it's on sale. Then the store looks cleaner, you don't have to use a buyer's guide, you get these DLC at a decent discount. It doesn't skip over anything like the bundles that are currently available.
 
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MadDoctorScientist

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This seems contradictory. If it's wrong to add functional DLC, and it's milking your customers to add cosmetic DLC, what exactly is an appropriate DLC?

This is why I don't think Paradox (or any game company for that matter) can really appease everyone with their DLC policy. For Paradox, they've actually done a lot with this game over the years and have undeniably improved it. The same can't be said for a lot AAA titles who release countless DLC that do nothing but add pay-to-win features or God items or create cosmetic packs and then constantly push them on you.

The system can be improved, but let's just recognize what the system has done to improve this game to be as excellent as it is and that it really isn't comparable to Bethesda's disastrous Fallout 76 and the like.
It is less Fallout 76 and more of Skyrim, Skyrim S.E., Skyrim this or that or that other thing.
But yes, Paradox did improve this game a lot over the years, but charged more than it was fair for the content of said minor DLCs and what not.
 
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MadDoctorScientist

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I musr be getting really old, because i remember a time where a game (any as in every single one) would not get ANY content update and patches were only bugfixes, like the name "patch" actually suggests. I honestly don't get the entitlement with which some people cry about the DLC policy when in truth they should be happy that they get yearly free content for a years old game with the OPTION to buy more.

Comparing that to the fabled horse armor or paid mods is not just unfair, it is an insult

We can argue about DLC pricings or presentation, sure but the truth is PDX gives the players not free flavour updates (poland/manchu etc) a lot of free features whenever a DLC comes out and rework older features.
It would even be fine if there was no free updates at all but only payed exrra content. Like basically any old game did. But we even get way more than that.
I disagree. A insult is someone publicly calling entitled and ignorant, but sadly not enough so that you can actually report their passive-aggressive bacon.
And yes, as a 90s kid I remember those days, but in case you did not notice, these days are gone. So please hold the "back on my day..." argument.
And do you honestly mean to tell me that, for as much as Paradox improved the game, they have not charged for things that are less DLCs than they are patches? Honestly, "OPTION to buy more" implies you are not forced to buy this or that to gain access to basic features that belong in patches, not payed expansions. Expansions expand, patches fix and improve.
No disrespect intended old chap, but think before you type.
 
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MadDoctorScientist

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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.
Already answered in another reply.
But to answer the second part, yes. Unless the hypothetical E.U.V makes massive changes, I would very much complain they just tricked into buying the same thing again. And when I buy a game with four hundred DLCs and minor things, that is such a massive investment that I expect the game to be as entertaining in twenty years as Super Mario or the original Mortal Kombat still are today, regardless of how the franchise and technology advance since the glory days. This game is still avile and breathing, so I understand they releasing more payed material, I even understand their reluctance at lowering older prices way too much, but I just can not accept that they do not see that 1) after so much content was released it is a tad "pay to play" of them to keep certain key features tied so strongly to DLCs and 2) most important of all, several things we were charged for should have been offered for free or give a bigger return for their cost, which is where the added soundtrack, cosmetics and smaller yet numerous overpriced bits become a hindrance.

Did I answer all of your points?
 

PostTenebrasLux

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It is less Fallout 76 and more of Skyrim, Skyrim S.E., Skyrim this or that or that other thing.
But yes, Paradox did improve this game a lot over the years, but charged more than it was fair for the content of said minor DLCs and what not.
As a fan of Bethesda games, I've literally stopped buying them at this point because of how many different editions of Skyrim there have been and how they work together for DLC is downright confusing. The same really can't be said for Paradox's on the same level. There's no "special edition" of EU4 that has some DLC, but not others, but you can't go and get those DLC from the same store page, and the mods may or may not be compatible, etc. The DLC is the DLC and you can determine yourself whether you want to pay the price.

You can't just say the price isn't fair either. You don't have to buy the DLC. You only have to if you feel it is worth it to you. I certainly don't recommend everyone run out and buy every DLC as soon as they come out. Especially for immersion packs, I recommend waiting until there's a sale and you're interested in playing a relevant country. That said, the thing that I think really grates people is that the DLC can feel disconnected. A lot of them are a random mishmash of features that are only loosely associated with a theme. This is especially the case with immersion packs where there's usually one or two small items for every country to enjoy, but those features are nowhere near worth the price of the whole DLC. I feel like more focused DLC and a resolve not to add universal features to small immersion packs would go a long way to upping the perceived value of DLC.
 
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PostTenebrasLux

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I disagree. A insult is someone publicly calling entitled and ignorant, but sadly not enough so that you can actually report their passive-aggressive bacon.
And yes, as a 90s kid I remember those days, but in case you did not notice, these days are gone. So please hold the "back on my day..." argument.
And do you honestly mean to tell me that, for as much as Paradox improved the game, they have not charged for things that are less DLCs than they are patches? Honestly, "OPTION to buy more" implies you are not forced to buy this or that to gain access to basic features that belong in patches, not payed expansions. Expansions expand, patches fix and improve.
No disrespect intended old chap, but think before you type.
Let's take a common complaint about a previously locked DLC feature: Development. I understand why people complained about it: It's a major change to the balance of the game. However, it is undoubtedly, for precisely that reason, an expansion of the game. Development wasn't in the base game and didn't need to be. However, once it was there, you were really playing a different game without it. With major balance changes, there are only two really options:

1. Release it in the base as part of the new patch.
2. Make a 2.0 and release it as a full expansion. Players that do not buy it will only receive bugfix support from there on out.

One major problem is that when major features like that get added to a DLC, patches and balance changes have to account for it. However, if you don't have it, you're getting kneecapped by the new balance changes. Paradox has tried to resolve this by offering old patches to players, but this solution is extremely poor and only really works if you want to keep your save for a little while.
 
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MadDoctorScientist

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PostTenebrasLux, dear, your are arguing past my analogy. But anyhow, I stand my point. I really think we are been a bit cheated, if not exploited, by and through our loyalty to the game. And this thread is giving such migraines, golly.
 
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PostTenebrasLux

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PostTenebrasLux, dear, your are arguing past my analogy. But anyhow, I stand my point. I really think we are been a bit cheated, if not exploited, by and through our loyalty to the game. And this thread is giving such migraines, golly.
I don't think they are appropriate analogies when you actually look at the products being offered, despite the surface level appearance of similarity. My point is that Paradox offers more value with its DLCs (as a rule, there are exceptions) than other gamedevs with similar business models.
 
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MadDoctorScientist

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I don't think they are appropriate analogies when you actually look at the products being offered, despite the surface level appearance of similarity. My point is that Paradox offers more value with its DLCs (as a rule, there are exceptions) than other gamedevs with similar business models.
Which does not change the fact they are cheating us.
 
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csward53

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I liken Paradox's model to the of buying Anime/TV series here in the U.S. or The SIms/Warhammer: Total War DLC. Hell, even Civilization 6 has gone to a greedier model. There's a small, but rabid fan base that will support this game. For Paradox to justify making and supporting these games, the niche audience has to pay a premium. They know the content offered is well below average for the price. Whether or not it is worth it is subjective, but I can't see these games being made without this "recurrent user spending".

The downside of their model is none of these DLCs were designed to work well with each other and I don't think Paradox planned any of this. Feature bloat became a issue and that is why we are where we are. I just gave up and bought most of the DLC half off, which is still crazy expensive. However, I have 1500+ hours of playtime, so I can't say that I didn't get my money's worth. In fact, it was pretty cheap all said. I think they should've made EU5 years ago to avoid this problem. Look how may Tropico games there are for really no reason. Paradox being a small to medium sized company may not be ready to make EU5, but it's well past time to start fresh. They probably should of done that rather than spend the last year making a meaty DLC.
 
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Quickmelty

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I once compared CK2's dlc to "how am i going to be challenged now with new mechanics, new start dates, different geopolitical situations?" . the DLC was cheap, generally on sale most of the time and enabled me to unlock new mechanics that weren't present and were very beneficial to my proposed campaigns. I even challenged myself to a suemenusko russia, and was able to get it after having to pay for mechanics I was missing. While I did mind having to pay for the ability to even realize my dreams in ck2, I got most of the DLC on sale, under ten dollars in some cases and ten in most. I even paid for a few unit packs for nations I liked. The only dlc I paid full price for was Holy Fury in ck2, which added a ton of content and revamped an old system that had long needed a change. In short, I enjoyed purchasing some dlc because of what they let me do. I do not feel the same way for EU4. Every DLC has been a paying for mechanics purchase to even play the game, and certain nations are overtuned to the point of not even testing the content (super austria, 1470-1501 before the reformation revoked privlegia. I do not even need to mention how easily the reformation can be crushed with "force religion" onto vassals, and how easily the shadow kingdom was solved (and continues to be solved, considering how easy the ban wars are now as austria with how many free pus you get) . The addition of provinces and breakup of france was not a "new geopolitical situation" . It was just another crank of the screws onto my fingers any time I open this game as england. While you could always say "Just play austria or france then! why should I? OP nations are boring.

I do not enjoy having to pay for basegame mechanics at this point unless I'm able to be introduced to new things that should be seen as a challenge, not some different screws on your thumbs.

CK2 now has mostly integrated mainline features without the dlc, baring the lifestyle expansion that actually deserve payment considering the tier of overhaul that it does for the trait and personality system. All in all, the CK2 DLC system is better in regards of content, even though I see constant negatives posted on steam. While some do not deserve to be paid for, most, if all, do. Old gods, charlemagne, purple phoenix, holy fury, sons of abraham, and mystics and monks + sword of islam are the dlcs I'd recommend. That's over half the dlc for ck2, and most of it can be skipped (rajas of india and dlc like it come to mind, along with the chinese emperor dlc and aztec invasion) . EU4 does not feel the same way. Most major mechanics are the same with every DLC, and only estates got overhauled in the last. I believe paradox needs to focus on overhauling key systems now, instead of adding mission trees and new ways to play. Considering that EU4 is 7 years old at this point, things need to change. Most mission trees have been ignored barring a few changes with dlc to minor nations that ENABLE achievements. I don't feel like I'm paying for a new way to play the game. I feel like I'm paying just to play it.

Just my take.
 
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Gm_Kaiser

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I'm sure many have seen this video or it's been posted before, but it's still relevant.

 
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AngelRay

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My opinion is that Golden century was the worst dlc ever. It was bad at launche, some things were changed after with no compensation or rendered useless.
Spain is and was my most favorite country, and that dlc is nowhere close as Rule Brittania or even Third Rome, which, compared, are very good "flavor" dlc.

Emperor was fine... but does not work. My current game with Brandeburg? gone to Prussia? Crash To Desktop automatically at some point. Yeah, fun. ... My first game as Prussia for 4 years, because Emperor is so promising...

At least, my game with France in Emperor I could finish. (And my Mughal game, i could give up but just because of my loss of interest, not because of the game.)
 
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