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Video Game DLC (Downloadable content)

Updated on November 18, 2015

Introduction of DLC

DLC came around during the era of the release of the original Xbox, that is when such games as Splinter Cell, and Halo 2 began offering DLC of extra levels and other things for people connected to Xbox live. On top of that, Microsoft also charged for their Xbox Live service.

In modern day, DLC is a huge part of the gaming industry and gaming culture. DLC is used as a way for a game developing company to continue making money, which is a good thing. I'm sure most of you reading this HUB has a favorite company that develops some wonderful games that you'll always enjoy.

Unfortunately, while there's people who do it to keep making the stuff they love, there are others who are clouded with corporate greed and wish to exploit it as much as possible.

Allow me to explain more about this below.

Vampire lord of Dawn Guard


Some examples of DLC

There are many types of DLC, here are just a few that I see in many Triple AAA games, such as Halo, Gears of War, Uncharted, Mass effect, etc.

DLC Stories - These type of DLCs can be seen as different story lines for your game. You might play Mass Effect and have a mission to stop a terrorist group of Batarians from crashing an asteroid down onto a planet. Or Farcry 3's standalone Blood dragon.

These are the few DLCs I'm largely interested in, they are mostly sold around 10 USD, and my personal opinion is they can be worthwhile in owning, they can offer replay value, or give some interesting additions to a game, such as new weapons, or new characters that you'll meet.

Skins - These skins change the appearance of your character, they are most of the time purely cosmetic. Skins were previously a reward unlocked to you from completing a game, some games still follow this origin, but most companies have their art team do extra work and ask for money in return. Nothing exploited there.

Packs - These pack DLCs can include various items, they can include a pack of DLC for a type of sale. These can add different items and equipment for your game, for you to use and to extend the playability.

Season Pass - Purchase a pass while the game is out now and get instant free access for any of the future DLC coming to the game.

Expansions - These come in various shapes and sizes. They can be completely different from the game you own. There is also such things as standalone DLC, this won't require your ownership of the base game. It allows you to purchase and play at your leisure.

The Good

Now the section of some really good examples and practices of DLC that can enhance your gameplay, your game, and your opinion of it all.

Here are some examples of DLC I found worthy of my dollars.

Knife of Dunwall & Brigmore Witches - Two of the DLCs of Dishonored, both were 10$'s each. You follow the story of Daud, you'll find out his side of the events while Corvo Attano is out doing his. Brigmore Witches continues this with a new adversary for Daud, He'll do what the Outsider foresees and do what he can to right things from his own story.

This DLC is worth it, because it follows what Dishonored revolves around, choices of approach, decisions on target's fate and a game filled with potential for several playthroughs to get your undetected and not killing a soul achievements, or seeing the High Chaos ending to Daud's story.

Mount and Blade Warband's Napoleonic Wars - This form of DLC requires the base game's files due to it being an expansion. Its only 10 USD and offers a full multiplayer game. There are many troops and factions to choose from and it houses the majority of players from Warband's player base. You'll find endless hours with tactics and strategy this game offers for your team of cavalry, artillery units, and troopers with muskets and rifles.

Don't Starve Together - This is a standalone expansion that doesn't require the original game to already be owned. Don't Starve Together is Don't Starve but with added multiplayer and multiplayer themed items such as the Tell-Tale Heart. Any owner of a Don't Starve game will get Together for free.

Skyrim's Dawnguard - DLC that revolves around two new factions added in, The Dawnguard an ancient lineage of vampire hunters, and the Volkihar Vampire Clan, the most power group of vampires in Skyrim. This adds a new storylines to pursue for each faction, weapons and armor, creatures such as Gargoyles, a new companion, dragon shouts, and a plane of Oblivion called Soul Cairn. You'll also get a talent tree for the already existing Lycanthropy, and the added Vampire Lord.

Rising Storm - A standalone expansion for the popular Red Orchestra WWII war game. In Rising storm you'll venture into the pacific theatre of war, US Army and Marines work together to fight against the Imperial Navy & Army of Japan. You'll see a few places, such as the Hanoi River, Iwo Jima's rocky beaches, and Saipan. It also includes Red Orchestra 2 Heroes of Stalingrad's multiplayer portion. You'll battle in the crucial moments of the European threatre of war during Operation Barbarossa. Many of the maps are during winter and both factions don winter gear.

These are just a few of the type of DLCs I own, I feel they were easily worth the money, giving me many hours to spend playing each and every one of them. They suffered from balancing issues or glitches and bugs. But they've been patched and fixed up making them wonderful to own.

The Bad

Time to delve into some really bad practices that made me astounded, to see these issues exist.

Battlefield 3's Back to Karkand -This DLC I didn't enjoy much when I spent time playing Battlefield 3. I enjoyed the conquest mode for BF3, here they decided to make all of the points uncaptured, this interrupted the flow of the game, with both factions making a bee-line to the nearest cap point instead of having instant explosive and intense action that you'd get on a map with already controlled points.

Electronic Arts also showed they do not care to put in place a system that allows the players who do not have it to play on these maps in the player owned servers. This effectively began splitting the community and it increasingly got worse as they kept putting more map DLCs into BF3. I'm sure anyone who's a fan of console shooter games knows of this plight.

Payday 2 - A game that was well received once before. It is now a game filled with DLC, over 30 pieces of different DLC. All containing: Weapon packs, new heists, characters. It is truly an overwhelming game for newcomers who have just recently purchased the game in the past months. Overkill also hit another point of placing micro transactions in their game. Through the way of weapon skins, like Counter-Strike Global Offensive. Many long-time fans found this to be a problem, since the weapon skins affect the performance of the guns.

My thoughts, I had no issue with the packs of DLC. Since Overkill allowed non-owners to play the heists anyways. This effectively did not split the community, Triple A publishers/developers could take a lesson from Overkill in that aspect.

Skyrim's Dragonborn - I owned Skyrim the day it released 11/11/11 on my 360 and I even traded in Oblivion for it that I owned for years. I'm a huge fan of Bethesda. While Dragonborn is a good DLC, I had a major issue with it that I cannot forgive Bethesda for leaving in. A near game breaking bug. The main quest line features a quest where you need to use a shout to destroy these magical carved stones that are controlling a small group of people working on them. When I shouted at these stones, the people would leave, but the stone was not destroyed and I couldn't continue with the quest line. No amount of restarting saves, loading, fast traveling, and coming back had fixed this bug. So my progression of the main quest line grinded to a halt. It was nearly game breaking until I had the thought of uninstalling the DLC and re-installing it, which fixed it. There is a good chance that I can encounter it again on another character. This is a huge issue and lazy work for Bethesda to leave this in and even acknowledging this bug existed, nothing was done to fix it though. Thankfully PC players will find using a specific console command will fix this bug. This being said, Dragon Born is a great DLC for long-time Elderscroll fans. Just be aware, there is a near game breaking bug included in the DLC.

Destiny- A game that is Bungie's newest Sci-fi ARPG. (Action Roleplaying Game). Their newest product moving on from Halo. Bungie has made a game that has attracted thousands of players. Unfortunately, their handling of DLC is shameful. Play Station 4 owners will find they get all of their DLC upfront for the 20$ price. While Xbox One owners received only half of the DLC content for the same price, until a marked date had rolled around and it was unlocked for them completely. A practice that has the fans of the different consoles fighting one another, even defending this sort of practice. It is a strange phenomenon. Bungie has shown to be getting increasingly exploitative with their DLC. Something that their community has called them out on and flew into an uproar. Netting them more reasonably priced and directed future DLC (hopefully).

Don't Starve Together


Angryjoe talks about Destiny at 9:05

Practices of Bungie uncovered by Angryjoe

The Age of DLC

I hope this article has revealed to you, and put you up to watching out for shady business practices all-together. Whether Indie developers or Triple A developers. Anyone is capable of being greedy, or not acting in the right mind when it comes to earning their money. All I ask is that you keep your eyes open and be cautious when purchasing DLC/Expansions/ anything you're interested in from a game, that is being sold as an add on.

Thank you for reading!


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    • Conic11 profile image

      Adam Metcalf 2 years ago from United States

      yeah, DLC these days are pretty bad for a lot of Triple A games. Heck, now they even have micro transactions in single player games. I only hope this hub o' mine will at least bring some awareness to people

    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 2 years ago from Alberta

      Modern DLC practices are awful. There really should be more caution with DLC.