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Author Topic: Bethesda charge for mods?!?  (Read 2692 times)
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frost
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« on: April 06, 2006, 05:13:29 PM »

Oblivion plug-ins


I completely understand paying for an expansion pack, but Bethesda actually is charging people a few bucks to download mods/plug-ins, like one for horse armor.  Anybody else find this absurd?
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Mattc0m
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2006, 05:59:04 PM »

If I wanted horse armor, $2 doesn't seem a lot for professionally developed content. I just don't want horse armor.
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Big Jake
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2006, 10:59:34 PM »

Matt, you are missing the basic point, as a lot of people sadly do.

Additional content used to be something you didn't HAVE to charge for.  The extra units in Total Annihilation are a great example.  This concept, ie developing extra content to make fans happy (aka 'going the extra mile'), is called "Customer Service".  It's dead now.  Millions of consumers have banded together to tell corporations that they can piss down their leg all they want, and some target demographic will lick it up.

Also bearing on this conversation: 'professionally developed content' - as I mentioned over on OO, you seem to forget that the modders REPEATEDLY beat the living hell out of Bethesda's team in content.  Quick, which were the best heads/faces in Morrowind?  Not Bethesdas.

Here's my hope: Someone on the PC will start delibertely making their own mods to do exactly the sme thing as Bethesdas.  One good artist to make their own horse armor, for example.  Sadly, I'm just not good enough to be the guy to do this myself.  (Does anyone know, would Behtesda try and stop someone who started doing that?  Would they have legal recourse to file a 'cease and decist order'?)
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2006, 11:11:49 PM »

Your right, you don't HAVE to charge for it. Also, you don't HAVE to have Horse Armor. If I actually wanted Horse Armor, and I had $2, I'd pay up. $2 for content I am interested in is small change. However, I just don't feel like playing a game of dress up the pony, so I'll pass on this mod.

If they start developing some "Official" mods in the future that I find interested and add to the game, I'll probably buy them. But I might not, too. Who knows or cares? It's their right to sell additional content, but as far as I'm concerned they need to develop some better modifications in order to spike my interest. As far as I can tell, they add to the game, but don't actually change or improve anything.

Now, the day they start selling patches is a day I'll be very upset over. However, additional content is a different story, in my mind.
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Big Jake
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2006, 11:45:20 PM »

Right over your head.  You missed the point entirely.

I'll try again:

Corporations used to TRY to please the customer.  The mercenary attitude, 'take it or leave it' started some years ago.  Is it legal? Absolutely.  As a business, you can choose to take that approach.  Is it cultivating a healthy business market? Hell no! Yes, you get the extra $1 you choose to charge for the content...and when you go home at night, someone else charges you the same $1 for something they used to do for you as 'customer service'.  You didn't gain anything, and in the process, further increased our market's focus on 'getting the dollar' rather than 'provide product or service to win customers.'  Dehumanizing us, in other words.

  The capitalist free-market economy existed for a long time without having the Shark mentality we have now, because competition for the consumer prevented such stupid decisions. The consumers were much better treated for it.  Now, some consumers went ahead and took the $1 abuse from the first corporation that chose to do this, and then every other company HAD to follow or fall behind in the market.  Customer service died - it's symptoms can be seen in every tech support job being sent to India, or pay-by-call service support.
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gameoverman
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2006, 12:20:42 AM »

Here's my take:

A company can choose whatever approach they want "customer's always right" to "we are so cool you'll pay more for us", either way the market(ie customers) will decide which works and which doesn't.

I, being a customer, get to decide:  A)I expect content such as horse armor to be free gimme's from the company.  If it isn't free, I don't buy the game.   OR B)buy the game because I realize I don't have to buy the horse armor if I don't want to AND the company has released the tools to give me or anyone else the ability to mod the game into the wee hours of the night.

Jumpin' Jebus, people are acting like these extra tidbits from Bethesda are the only game in town.  I mean, if their attitude was truly a mercenary one, they wouldn't have made their game in such a way as to allow for the SHIATLOAD of mods that have already come out, would they?  How does that argument make sense?

If it's a 'slippery slope' thing, that people are afraid this will lead to having to pay for basic components of games, there's nothing to fear because if that happens DON'T BUY THE GAME.  If such games don't sell, then they will not continue to be made.

If the horse armor sells, then I expect Bethesda to continue cranking out for pay addons, why shouldn't they?  If their addons don't sell, they'll have a choice of not making any more of them, or making more and releasing them for free.  

Some people will be angry if they chose not to make anymore, crying out "if you valued your customers, you'd try to make us happy", but in my opinion they have already shown good faith to their customers by making such a mod friendly game to begin with.  I think a large chunk of their customers have shown bad faith by giving them such a hard time over this.
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Big Jake
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2006, 12:46:52 AM »

gameoverman, you make a point I wanted to address:

Quote
people are afraid this will lead to having to pay for basic components of games, there's nothing to fear because if that happens DON'T BUY THE GAME


Well, for one, it's already happened.  (Dungeon lords, regular and Gold edition)

Now, don't buy you say?  Good idea.  But the fact it's been tried (and people did buy DL) will ensure that other companies will try and do the same, which was part of my very poorly made point.  Once the consumer gives even the faintest glimmer of lowered expectations, the overly capitalistic corporations will jump all over it.  I am willing to put even money right now that Elder Scrolls Five will have content held back for paid downoad.  And the generation of gamers five years from now will say, "well, that's normal".  This is why it's so important NOW to make a stink about it, rather than wait until it's too late to tell corporations that we won't buy.  If you wait, you've lost because most people operate on the lemming/cattle-impulse.  The only way to stop the herd is before they start.
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2006, 12:55:39 AM »

I'm not paying for a completed game, or for an improved game, or for patched game. Your paying for additional content, not for patches or anything of the like.

For example, an expansion runs at about $20 in today's market. So far we've got three "Official Mods" - A horse armor and two mages-related quests, which new locations and NPCs (likely). That fills up three tenths of what could be considered a full expansion. Add 7 more mods with new locations, weapons, armor, NPCs, new voice acting, and new quests. I'd consider that a pretty decent expansion. Might not be anything great, who knows.

But, instead of going out and paying $20 for this example expansion, I get to pick the parts I want to pay for, and so therefore I'm getting the best bang for buck out of this so called pack of "mini expansions", or official mods.

What I'm trying to say, is additional content is beyong the call of pre-release support. Just because I think paying for additional content is fine doesn't mean I think that patches should still be worked on, and game issues addressed. But the key I'm really looking at is that it's additional - I don't need it at all to pay.
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2006, 01:14:22 AM »

P-A was talking about this, and I have to agree with their point.

I see nothing wrong with paying for additional, high-quality content, but if they are going to nickle-and-dime people for every single little thing they whip up, it seems absurd.

They are talking about extra places to go coming out soon.  Now, why didn't they just say
Purchase the "Tomb of Ubar-Badgai" and you also get mounts, new armor sets, and sock colors!!!?  
Then it would have been kind of a "value-added" thing.  This just seems... well... kinda cheap and petty.

I don't have the game, and probably never will, but it's a pretty interesting development as far as the game business is concerned.
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gameoverman
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2006, 04:52:36 AM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"
gameoverman, you make a point I wanted to address:

Quote
people are afraid this will lead to having to pay for basic components of games, there's nothing to fear because if that happens DON'T BUY THE GAME


Well, for one, it's already happened.  (Dungeon lords, regular and Gold edition)

Now, don't buy you say?  Good idea.  But the fact it's been tried (and people did buy DL)


There's the REAL point(imo).  If people do buy it, that proves there's a market for pay mods.  If there is a market, common business sense says you work it for profit.  Personally I thinks it's crazy to tell a company "Yeah, you COULD make money by selling that stuff, but ignore that fact.  Give it away for free."  Uh, yeah right, good luck with that.

I'm not saying companies wouldn't do it, to a certain extent Beth has done it by providing mod tools.  Other companies have done it in the past, and may still do it in the future.  I'm just saying it's unreasonable to always expect companies to do it.  It should be their choice, based on how they want to do business.   As it is the customer's choice as to whether to buy a game or not.

Quote from: "unbreakable"
They are talking about extra places to go coming out soon.  Now, why didn't they just say
Purchase the "Tomb of Ubar-Badgai" and you also get mounts, new armor sets, and sock colors!!!?  
Then it would have been kind of a "value-added" thing.  This just seems... well... kinda cheap and petty.


I think it's kind of neat to be able to pick and choose what stuff(if any) you want to buy, rather than have to pay full price for an expansion because you just wanted the horse armor.  I equate it to being able to buy songs for 99 cents online, rather than having to buy the album.

The other thing that occurs to me is that Beth is trying something new.  Who knows, maybe it will become more like the way you suggest over time, as opposed to the way it is now.   It's not written in stone that this is how it's going to be from now on, things could easily be changed.
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frost
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2006, 06:14:48 AM »

I understand the point that they are in it to make money, and I'm not trying to deny anyone that, but it just seems funny that the game hasn't even been out that long and already they have just released 3 or 4 mods.  Just makes you think they had them there all along but didn't put them in the game just to sell them later.  

I did not start this thread to sound like a crybaby, I just wanted to see how others felt.  I just disagree with something like charging a few bucks just to offer something like horse armor.  Something like that used to be released in patches.  I do appreciate the abundance of user mod abilities that bethesda released.
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2006, 07:04:39 AM »

It was confirmed that the horse armor content was already on the CD, the update you buy in Live and on that site really just unlocks it.

Also, this Horse armor stuff that they're touting as new was something they had already said was in the game in earlier interviews.

So that basically means they held it back just to release it online.  No thanks.

Now, the other mods they have on that site, the Wizards tower and the astrolab things they have, I might buy those since that's actually new content.

Overall, If I want new content I'll just buy the PC version and use mods.  As I know for sure that once the modeling tools come out someone will make a horse armor mod.  Heck, someone probably already has a horse armor mod out, but with no extra textures.  I know someone has already added saddlebags to horses.
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2006, 04:12:19 PM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"
Matt, you are missing the basic point, as a lot of people sadly do.

Additional content used to be something you didn't HAVE to charge for.  


Uhh no there have been exapansions since the beginning of gaming, this is just the same thing but in smaller doses. Yea on the PC they have to compete with free mods so I don't think they will do as well as on the 360, but lets also put things in perspective. Yea many games have allot of extra content from end users but to be blunt allot of that stuff is poorly done or just plain sucks allot of the times. There is good stuff released but not all of it. I can see people saying do I wade through all the end user stuff like you would have to do in Morrowind to find whats good, and works wel with all the other mods installed or just get what they know is done by the professional that actually made the game. I can see some people who just want to "play it safe" and will bet the Bethesda stuff mostly.
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2006, 04:15:26 PM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"
gameoverman, you make a point I wanted to address:

Quote
people are afraid this will lead to having to pay for basic components of games, there's nothing to fear because if that happens DON'T BUY THE GAME


Well, for one, it's already happened.  (Dungeon lords, regular and Gold edition)


Which shows this doesn't work. That game got totally panned acrss the board, and sold poorly. This Gold edition is a desperate attempt by the publisher to salvage the game by trying to fool some people into thinking it was popular by releasing this "Gold" edition.
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2006, 04:22:52 PM »

Note:  Pete Hines has already said that the pricing of the horse armor was due to their not being completely sure -what- to charge for it.  They have recognized that it might be a bit high, so they're offering the next addon (the mage thing) for less, specifically $1.89, or 150 points on the Xbox.  

Quote
We hope to have The Orrery available for purchase next week. This plugin will cost 150pts on Xbox, and $1.89 on the PC. The Horse Armor Pack has been very popular, and exceeded what we thought it would sell. Despite that, we’re still trying to find the right spot, so we’re putting a much larger plugin out for less than the last one and we'll see what happens. Your feedback as we move forward in this is invaluable. Tell us what you want to see, how much of it, and what it might be worth to you. No, don’t say you want it free, because these plugins take a surprising amount of time to create, polish, and test (much more then Morrowind's).
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Big Jake
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2006, 06:03:27 PM »

Quote
Yea many games have allot of extra content from end users


Did you miss my intital example of Total Annhilation?  Cavedog wasn't the 'end-user' there, they were the corporation that released a product into a very competitive market and thus as a value-added service released additional content.  Same thing for Relic who released the Insect add-on for Impossible Creatures.

Now, I read the Penny Arcade bit as well, as here is why I have a problem with the Expansion analogy:  most Expansions have a core theme (ie, >90% of them were a 'new campaign'), and what your are paying for is often a new segment of the game.  Until Diablo 2:LOD, Not many expansions I can think of involved added simultaneous content in to someone who was playing through the regular game.  The reason why this is important to me is then there is no benefit in short-changing the game in features in order to gaurantee you can bill a little extra for the expansion.  The micro-pricing encourages the company now to deliberately hold back material to attempt to extract more money from consumers.  Think of this as "why wasn't horse armor in the game orginally?" postulate.

[Turtle's post infuriates me, frankly, if they did in fact arbitrarily decide, 'how much can we get the suckers for?'. Why am I the only guy who actually remembers that comapnies didn't always try to deny their customers goods in the hope to gash them worse?  Why am I the only one who gets upset?]

So...why wasn't horse armor released with the game if it indeed is already on the cd?
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2006, 06:56:22 PM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"
Until Diablo 2:LOD, Not many expansions I can think of involved added simultaneous content in to someone who was playing through the regular game.


There was StarCraft: Brood Wars, which added units and you could upgrade your current game to the next versions.

You had the Speech Packs for Wing Commander 2 and Strike Commander.  It wasn't necessary, but it added to the experience.

The B-Wing add-on for X-Wing added training missions for the B-Wing.

I'd also argue that Oblivion can be used with the typical "expansion" model because of the game it is.  You don't play through the game with specific "levels" like most games.  Even Diablo had Acts where you had to complete specific missions before you could continue the storyline.  While there are specific quests for the main storyline, you don't have to play those to enjoy the openendedness (is that even a word?) of the game.  You don't have that with most other games.
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2006, 07:10:52 PM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"
So...why wasn't horse armor released with the game if it indeed is already on the cd?


To me that question implies that if the horse armor was done by a certain time(in time to be on the cd for example), that means it should be free.

I disagree.  I think if I were doing the game and I decided(for whatever reason) that I was going to sell the horse armor, it would be irrelevant when the horse armor was made.  In fact, the horse armor could have been the very FIRST thing made in the development of the game and I'd still charge for it.  One thing has nothing to do with the other.

The TA example is a good example of a different business strategy, but it's not like that was standard and only now is ending.  For every Cavedog there were plenty of companies who not only offered no free official support after releasing the game, but some that didn't even bother to patch their buggy games.

Also, competition was brought up, that's a good point.  Who is offering competition to Bethesda?  MMORPGs, that's who.  They are about the only ones offering equivalent eyecandy & roleplaying in huge open worlds right?  And guess what, you have to buy the game AND pay a monthly fee to play those.  In terms of what consumers have to choose from, I don't think there is a better deal than what Bethesda is offering now.
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2006, 07:14:35 PM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"
Quote
Yea many games have allot of extra content from end users


Did you miss my intital example of Total Annhilation?  Cavedog wasn't the 'end-user' there, they were the corporation that released a product into a very competitive market and thus as a value-added service released additional content.  Same thing for Relic who released the Insect add-on for Impossible Creatures.

Now, I read the Penny Arcade bit as well, as here is why I have a problem with the Expansion analogy:  most Expansions have a core theme (ie, >90% of them were a 'new campaign'), and what your are paying for is often a new segment of the game.  Until Diablo 2:LOD, Not many expansions I can think of involved added simultaneous content in to someone who was playing through the regular game.  The reason why this is important to me is then there is no benefit in short-changing the game in features in order to gaurantee you can bill a little extra for the expansion.  The micro-pricing encourages the company now to deliberately hold back material to attempt to extract more money from consumers.  Think of this as "why wasn't horse armor in the game orginally?" postulate.

[Turtle's post infuriates me, frankly, if they did in fact arbitrarily decide, 'how much can we get the suckers for?'. Why am I the only guy who actually remembers that comapnies didn't always try to deny their customers goods in the hope to gash them worse?  Why am I the only one who gets upset?]

So...why wasn't horse armor released with the game if it indeed is already on the cd?


So at what point can a developer say a game is done?  I mean come on... you could argue that every expansion pack released for a game was held back just so they could make an expansion.  Development time has to be finite.
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2006, 08:42:55 PM »

I really don't have a problem with developers charging a small amount for a small bit of extra content.  Making games is a difficult and expensive process and most developers see little of the revenue that a game generates.  If selling small mods for a little money in any way helps the developer build internal stability and/or helps put them into a position to continue making games, then I'm all for it.  As it stands, the amount of entertainment that most games provide for the amount that they cost is extremely high compared to other types of entertainment from attending sports games, reading novels, going to movies, or even paying cover charges to get into bars with live music.
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Big Jake
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« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2006, 11:54:28 PM »

Quote
you could argue that every expansion pack released for a game was held back just so they could make an expansion


NO, I explicitly stated why I felt expansion packs are different.  Most expansion packs used to be self-contained extensions (ie Doom Ep 4, which you couldn't possibly argue was 'held back' from Ep 1-3), and therefore there was nothing being 'omitted' in order to release them.  Horse Armor was specifically omitted in order to charge for it.  Maybe you don't feel that's a big difference, but I do.

(aside - Thanks Graham for the reminders on x-packs.  I *knew* D2:LOD wasn't the first, but I couldn't for the life of me recall what else vefore it did it.)

Gameoverman, I think you presented the best argument why I'm wrong.  You're absolutely correct that Oblivion isn't competing with Suikoden 5, Grandia 3, etc.  They are competing with Guild Wars, WoW, etc, and in that vein, they are infinetely better (more competetively) priced than their competitors. I hadn't thought of that issue.  

However, I couldn't disagree more than with your other thought:
Quote
I think if I were doing the game and I decided(for whatever reason) that I was going to sell the horse armor, it would be irrelevant when the horse armor was made. In fact, the horse armor could have been the very FIRST thing made in the development of the game and I'd still charge for it. One thing has nothing to do with the other.


And we're right back to my basic issue:  you are basing your decions not on the product you're making, but on what gets you money.  This is how most (if not all) businesses in our society run, and IMO, why the world is a festering shitpile.  The orginal mandate of corpotions in a free-market society is to provide the product/service first , and profit is derived as an end result of how well you did what your core focus was.  As someone who wants "Product A", I have already lost when the corporation making "Product A" starts making decisions using the rationale you have above.  

[ps- I am well aware that fighting the "profit-motive as cause" is a battle lost decades ago.  Doesn't change the fact that I lament people who don't ply their craft* for love of their craft rather than what ways they can suck money from their target demographic.

* Craft - in this, I mean specifically things of a creative or entertainment endeavor.  When creative (what we call "art") endeavor became big money, the human race died, imo.  Im a nutball, I know. biggrin  ]
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2006, 12:22:05 AM »

Well hell, if we are going to go down this road, why not just create an RPG where the items you buy in the store require REAL money to purchase?

Want Full Plate +4 at level one?  $1.97
Vorpal Sword of Agonizing Death?  $4.95
20-slot backpack?  $0.99

And how about spells?  You can buy your level 5 spells, but will have to pay $1 each for them.

I think I'm on to something here.
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2006, 12:23:43 AM »

Quote
Well hell, if we are going to go down this road, why not just create an RPG where the items you buy in the store require REAL money to purchase?

Want Full Plate +4 at level one? $1.97
Vorpal Sword of Agonizing Death? $4.95
20-slot backpack? $0.99

And how about spells? You can buy your level 5 spells, but will have to pay $1 each for them.

I think I'm on to something here.


Wasn't there an MMORPG that already did this?
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2006, 12:53:09 AM »

Quote from: "Big Jake"

Quote
I think if I were doing the game and I decided(for whatever reason) that I was going to sell the horse armor, it would be irrelevant when the horse armor was made. In fact, the horse armor could have been the very FIRST thing made in the development of the game and I'd still charge for it. One thing has nothing to do with the other.


And we're right back to my basic issue:  you are basing your decions not on the product you're making, but on what gets you money.


Well, what I was thinking of there is the pre-planning that goes into bringing a years in the making product to market.  At some point the decision was made to work with Microsoft(for 360 reasons) AND at some point the decision was made to try to sell addons.

So what I'm saying is if before work was finished on Oblivion, they already knew that A) they are going to sell addons and B) the horse armor would be an addon- why would they throw the horse armor in for free just because it was ready to go when the game shipped?  The decision on when and how the horse armor would be available had already been made separate from the game's actual development.

It may well turn out that the PC version of Oblivion was ready to go awhile back and the release was held up waiting for the 360 version.  Meanwhile they worked on addons, getting them ready so they could be released at the most flexible time, at Bethesda's convenience and benefit.  It could be that ALL the addons released in the next months were done before the game released.   Does waiting for the 360 version to be done obligate them to release all that stuff free with the game?  I think not, I think they are entitled to stick to their gameplan for the addons.  

After all, if they have made a bad decision they will be the ones to suffer financially for it.  Gamers won't suffer, by the looks of it Oblivion will have more mods available for it than most people will ever use.
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2006, 06:06:03 PM »

Fuck Bethesda and their micropayments.  I swear, this company gets progressively shittier with each press release they make.

I'M TALKING TO YOU, KATHODE
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2006, 08:59:23 PM »

Wow... now there's a callout if I ever saw one. :shock:

I'm on the fence with this; while I certainly think that the horse armor "mod" is a complete and utter rip-off given that there's virtually no content to it, I can understand some people finding it a value.  Not me.

The next two mods, depending on how the impressions are that I hear, might be worth it, but still: I'd rather wait and purchase a fully-fledged expansion rather than this.

And much like others have said, my chief concern is with companies gradually moving towards withholding content that should be in the game at release, just so they can nickel-and-dime us with additional charges and fees.

What's next?  Charging customers for patches?
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2006, 01:40:37 AM »

One thing which bothers me about this setup is how it's been said the horse armor was already on the disk, and you are just unlocking it.  Excuse me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like they are withholding content.

Hey, they made the game, and it really doesn't bother me since I'll never own the game, but that just seems kind of... not right, somehow.
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2006, 04:34:38 AM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
One thing which bothers me about this setup is how it's been said the horse armor was already on the disk, and you are just unlocking it.  Excuse me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like they are withholding content.

Now I don't get this. From what I've read, for the PC version, you're downloading a 4.1MB file. And the mod itself (the standard .esm file) is only 100k. So...the other 4MB is just the copy protection?
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2006, 05:10:52 AM »

Saw this in my thread on OO about this.

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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2006, 01:15:56 PM »

Quote from: "Daehawk"
Saw this in my thread on OO about this.

Yup. From my understanding, EBs and Gamestops got a stack of these coupons in about a week after the game's launch.

Rumor had it that the stores were supposed to give these out with preorders, NOT as an 'incentive' to wait a week to buy the game.
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2006, 04:49:16 PM »

Yep my EB has stacks of these by the register anyone can take if they'd like.  I grabbed one myself.  If i had known i'd have grabbed a ton for everyone.
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