How Much is Too Much?

By Jonathan Barnes, 6 years ago
Has this ever happened to you?

“Oh god… MORE DLC?”

With the advent of downloadable content, developers are prolonging our gaming experience, allowing us to get more bang for our buck with our gaming investments. Obviously, this is great news for gamers on a budget, but at what point does the additional content become too much?

Example: I LOVED the game Fallout 3. When I say “loved”, I mean that it exceeded every expectation I had and provided me with hundreds of hours of fun. In my first play through, I went with “good” karma (as I usually do the first time through with RPGs) and put in well over a hundred hours. About half way through this play through, Operation Anchorage was released to my delight. My second character was “evil” and saw the release of The Pitt. This play through took about the same amount of time as my first. By the time my third play through (the “neutral” one) happened, Broken Steel had been released, allowing me to get up to level 30 with all of my characters. Part and parcel, I invested almost 400 HOURS into one game.

A few months later, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta were released… I still haven’t touched them.

As much as I loved the wasteland, I was burned out. I couldn’t do anymore. I couldn’t bring myself to start a new character just to play the DLC and my existing characters were so leveled up that the DLC wouldn’t provide any challenge. So, for all intents and purposes, I closed the chapter on Fallout 3.

Recently, the same thing occurred with Dragon Age: Origins. I’ve played through the game almost three times and have completely burned myself out on it… this was all BEFORE the Awakenings expansion.

Today, I started Borderlands and am wondering at what point I won’t be able to look at a skag anymore.

In the age of achievements and trophies, many of us play a game until we’ve harvested all of those precious achievement points, then move on. This is the reason I don’t play Civilization Revolution much anymore. As much as I love it, I have all of the achievements. There are other games, however, which demand so much time, so much effort, that it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet from your favorite restaurant, eventually you have to push yourself away from the table and grab the Pepto.

This isn’t exclusive to RPGs, either. Developers will release map packs to prolong the multiplayer experience of shooters. Fighting games receive new characters. Resident Evil 5 had a unique thing going with their DLC by showing a story that happened parallel to the events of the game featuring other characters. In short, it takes a VERY rare developer to create a game without a plan for post-launch DLC. It’s akin to leaving money on the table.

The old show business line is, “Leave them wanting more.” So the question comes down to this: How much is too much game? At what point do you feel like the game has satisfied you, but still left you wanting more?
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.