A Community Commentary on the paid DLC
Hello fellow Engineers. With update "Sparks of the Future", the Space Engineers community is once again receiving a huge amount of free and DLC content. Let me preface this by saying that this update's DLC offers an insane value. The amount of content offered for the price of a cup of coffee is insane and I will be purchasing it myself shortly. However, members in the community have raised arguments both for and against the current model of DLC. I will be copying and pasting the most relevant ones below and offering my own commentary. Hopefully by the end, we can reach an answer to see if the current model of Free and DLC updates is the best for Space Engineers. (The comments below are from the trailer for the "Sparks of the Future" update on YouTube and were written by me and many other space engineers)
"This video gave me black mesa vibes. Good work Keen! Edit: Keen, also be careful tho. Those DLC blocks are getting uncomfortably close to function blocks instead of just decorative."
-The DLC are not close to functional blocks. They all have fully functional counterparts in the game. (Yes this is my original comment, and yes I am reversing my stance on this issue)
"They’re all deco blocks, nothing new block wise."
- A good counter to the original (my) argument. However, after reading this reply, the gears in my head began to spin a little. I began to ask myself why the DLC is so off putting despite being only decorative and so cheap. I came up with the following reply.
"SE is a sandbox game tho. Sandbox games have their foundation built on creativity. This makes deco blocks feel more like functional blocks because they are ways of expression in a build. This makes decorative stuff in Space Engineers different from decorative gun skins in CSGO. It's more like paying for the wood variants in Minecraft."
- I cut off parts of this (my) comment for brevity's sake. However, I fully stand by everything that was said here. In this response, I touched on a reason why paying for decorative objects in a sandbox game can be rather off putting. The following responses will either be solid criticisms of my qualms with the DLC model, or valuable supports to my argument.
"they're all cosmetic. You can claim they feel functional all you want. They arent."
"The thrusters are function blocks, but they're alternate function blocks with the same functions as the normal variants. As such it's still technically a cosmetic change."
- Both these quotes say basically the same thing. That the DLC blocks are fine because they aren't functional. I'll quickly note that I never said they were functional in my argument. I only said they "feel functional". My response goes as follows. Keen can make any block they want, functional or not, part of a DLC. In other words, there is no one stopping them from making a weapons update that we need to pay for. However, it is not in the best interest of the game to use "pay to win" mechanics. The question for cosmetic DLC is whether it is in the best interest of the game to be included. My answer would be no. Decoration is a core element of any sandbox. If all the "cool" looking items are behind a paywall, players that bought the game are going to be left with very little room for creativity. Imagine if Minecraft only provided you with the blocks needed to "beat the game" and nothing else. If all the variants of blocks needed to be paid for, it would be much less of a popular game.
"Wow arguments or being upset over what, $10 usd?"
Like I said in the intro, the price doesn't matter. It's the principle of the DLC that is bothersome. Also 3-10 USD per update adds up over time.
"Im just pissed to be ''forced'' to pay for a dlc that should have been in the base game in the first place. If you take space engineers with no dlc, it has nothing to properly decorate a ship. Its like paying for wood types in minecraft. It just sucks. The point is not that it is costy, the point is that its fucking annoying to pay every update to get the whole thing."
-this basically restates what I said in my comment (although in a more annoyed tone). However, I think it's worth including for it's different perspective.
"The DLCs are not splitting the community, all players can join each other and interact with the blocks regardless of DLC ownership."
- I respond to this in the quote below
"If you get ship made with DLC blocks from a friend or something, and it gets shot to bits, you can't repair it. I would classify that as splitting the community because there are literally ships being uploaded to the workshop that are unusable for practical survival builds."
-There were 21 replies to my original comment. However, I can only include so many. I'll quote one more that doesn't support the DLC.
"The ATM was a functional block you were not able to get without the DLC. Maybe the function is not as important as a gyroscope, but it still was a function only available to dlc players. Don't get me wrong I have all DLCs but as I am summing this up, I paid more for DLC than the base game by now which is just terrible."
The comments I chose above sum up the arguments for and against the paid DLCs of Space Engineers pretty well. I know that Keen needs to make money, but perhaps there are better ways that the DLCs every update. I'll let you decide that on your own. I understand that I'm not too well known on the forums, but I felt this was a post worth making. I would thoroughly enjoy to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you felt my points were worthwhile, please share this with your fellow engineers.
Have a great day,