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OK so with the release of Omega there has been some discussion on several blogs about the rising cost of DLC. For those not aware, Omega is the most expensive piece of DLC ever released for the Mass Effect Trilogy, barring the Cerberus Network or Online Pass included for free with new game copies. The debate isn't so much about the price, but whether Omega is worth the $15/£10 spend. I myself recently realised that, not counting equipment packs for multiplayer, I have spent just over £50 on DLC across the Trilogy, including Omega. This is more than I paid for my Collector's edition copy of Mass Effect 1.
To aid in this I have found a website called [How Long To Beat|http://howlongtobeat.com/index.php], and I will be using the average 'Completionist' times listed on there for each piece of content, and comparing the prices of the DLC with its relative completion time. Also for consistency I will be using the prices in Microsoft points (approximately £0.85/$1.37 for 100MS).
Firstly the three games themselves. Now I paid for the Collector's editions of each game and I'm sure people will agree that the games themselves are worth every penny. Granted sometimes the bonus features in the Collector's Editions have sometimes been underwhelming, but the games themselves make up for it. I paid just under £50($80) for Mass Effect, £60($96) for ME2, and £65($104) for ME3. Here's how How Long to Beat summaries what I paid for:
Mass Effect - 43h51m
Mass Effect 2 - 46h50m for the main game, plus 1h26m for Zaeed, 25m for Normandy Crash Site, and 1h50m for Firewalker, all included free with Cerberus Network. Total play time of 50h31m.
Mass Effect 3 - 42h44m for the main game, however From Ashes is included in the N7 Edition, giving me an extra 1h05m to make a total play time of 43h49m. I'm not including the Extended Cut as it repeats some content in the main game so is hard to judge (HLTB has it listed as 3h26m, which is about the length of the endgame, not just the new content.).
As you can clearly see Mass Effect 2 is the best value here by far, even before the extra content included with the Cerberus Network (3h41m for free!)
However the DLC is the touchy subject. Noone denies that the games themselves are good value, the debate here is digital content. It can be seen very easily that DLC prices have increased with each game, and obviously larger content packs cost more, but are we getting value for money?
Mass Effect DLC:
- Bring Down the Sky (80MS) - 1h10m
- Pinnacle Station (400MS) - 1h35m
Mass Effect 2 DLC:
- Cerberus Network (1200MS) - 3h41m
- Kasumi (560MS) - 1h30m
- Overlord (560MS) - 2h25m
- Lair of the Shadow Broker (800MS) - 2h51m
- Arrival (560MS) - 1h53m
Mass Effect 3 DLC:
- From Ashes (800MS) - 1h05m
- Leviathan (800MS) - 2h37m
- Omega (1200MS) - 2h39m
NB: Bring Down the Sky was originally offered free to PC,which may explain its low price. I have also seen it included for free with the Xbox Classics re-release of Mass Effect. Also as stated above Cerberus Network content is included free with new copies of the game, which may also explain its high price as a separate entity.
Now this is not a perfect judge of content, for example some of these DLCs bring unique features to the table that increase their appeal to certain players, and some people simply do not like certain content. For example Javik and Kasumi as squadmates, and the Shadow Broker's base hub and its features cannot be included here. These times are also averages of user-submitted times, and Leviathan and Omega for example had only 4 and 2 times in those respective averages. I myself found I spent at least an hour longer on Omega than on Leviathan.
It seems clear though that DLC will not go away and nor will it get cheaper. It seems that 800MS is now the standard price for a piece of ME3 content, with 1200MS being the price for the 'premium' content Omega. This is a marked increase from the 560MS/800MS price points that ME2 content had. Yet based on the evidence we are getting more bang for our buck, with Omega and Leviathan being almost as large as Shadow Broker, if not larger depending on your play style. This is nice to see, and proves that we are not simply being charged more money for the same size content as before.
I don't expect this blog to end the debate. I don't even expect it to calm it. Instead I have merely laid out the evidence that yes DLC is getting more expensive, but we are getting more content than we were. But at the end of the day its up to your personal preference. As I said I have spent about £250 on Mass Effect games and DLC, including multiplayer consumables. A significant amount of money to be sure but to me it was worth every penny. Not everyone will agree with that and that's fine, but I myself am looking forward to the next few hours of content that Bioware release, and will gladly pay more forit provided they continue to deliver the high-quality and decent length content expected of them.