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Nickel and dimed by BioWare

Not every DLC pack for Fallout 3 and Borderlands was stellar. Fallout 3's packs were all solid with some being better than others. Borderlands mis-stepped with Mad Moxie, but the others were good. (Note: I have not played the last pack because it corrupted my character. However, it was critically well-received.) Anyway, those packs were each content rich and added to the existing story. BioWare is taking a different approach with DLC for their most recent releases. This DLC is typically very small and fits into the story already in place rather than adding content to the end. It may seem to you these are two equally valid approaches. I am here to tell you that you are wrong.

The amount of content in these packs is not entirely unreasonable... in a vacuum. Unfortunately, the DLC space, while young, is not brand new. This puts Mass Effect's paltry DLC efforts into the same marketplace as those of Fallout 3 and Borderlands. I'm sure Mass Effect 2's DLC is fantastic just as was the rest of that game, but, for most of us gamers, it is difficult to ignore the value we are getting for our dollar. Fallout 3's shortest DLC addons were about five hours long at $10. Mass Effect 2's hour-long Kasumi loyalty mission costs gamers $7. The math is easy; you'll pay $2/hour for Fallout 3 DLC versus $7/hour for Mass Effect 2 DLC.

That fact is I really loved Mass Effect 2--perhaps even more than Fallout 3. I would have paid $7 for more of that even though it was criminally short if not for one fact. I, like many of my fellow Mass Effect 2 fanatics, had already completed the campaign by the time of the addon's release. The addon, unlike Fallout 3 addons, inserted content into the middle of the game. For the completionists in the audience, this is not a problem. They will gladly fire up a new campaign and play it just to get to the DLC. I'm more of a tourist; I typically go through the game, experience what it has to offer, and reflect on the experience never to go back. I certainly don't want to replay a bunch of content just to get to the new stuff I have paid for. I relished the Fallout 3 content because it was all free-standing. It didn't depend on the player's position in the campaign. This makes it appeal to many more types of players, myself included.

Will BioWare learn and correct the errors of their ways? Most likely not. If this DLC sells reasonably well, they will have succeeded in selling a smaller chunk of content to players than what Bethesda and Gearbox have provided for their players at a nearly comparable price. This will provide them positive reinforcement and all the incentive they need to keep cranking out tiny packs and overcharging us for them. My only solace is in knowing they won't fool me into buying them.