A Community Commentary on the paid DLC

Aidan Reichenberg shared this feedback 7 months ago

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,


Comments (3)


My views on the DLC [ 2000 hours ] [ workshop creator ]

- I think the way keen handled the DLC was very good . the value of even some of the scenarios alone is well worth the price infact the price in general has never been an issue . I have bought every DLC and have been very happy to support keen who have supported the game and community since 2014 with no sort of monetisation until now .

- I find this topic so hard to talk about because i can so clearly see where people hate it and love it and im effected by both sides because of what i play this game to do and thats the workshop .

- Rundown on what should be next for this system

- Personally i think 1 or 2 more updates with the DLC system should be as far as keen goes with this because its getting to the point where i can see why people would be pissed . 6 packs even while very cheap along with the games price is personally where i would draw the line even the home screen is getting a little cluttered and its getting harder to sell the game to freinds who want to play on the basis alot of the cool content you show wont even work for them .

The next step for keen should be to push out a final DLC update with say a weapons update featuring 1 or 2 new weapons to the game with a DLC reskinning the old ones . I feel doing more and more is just pushing the line a bit and its not down to quantity or price in the slightest its literally just down to how many should you really sell in a sandbox game .

Moving forward i would rather see paints and scenarios sold instead of blocks to allow for less issues in a survival scenario as before it was just like 3 or 4 blocks but now theres quite a few and it could alienate alot of the community .

I think what i suggested is likely the plan anyway based on what marak said on stream for SOTF where he explained the company is doing very well financially which is fantastic and it just solidifies us knowing the game will continue to be supported and fixed hopefully multiplayer optimisations . so really if keen slow down a bit on the DLC or softening its content we are in the green . Honestly i dont even see the situation now as an issue but i do hope for new players sake its slowed down which is coming from someone who buys the packs 30 seconds after they are live on steam .


Dont really know what to add as im still Pro-DLC but i am hoping keen will moderate it to some degree moving forward . As i said i never bother talking about the DLC as i dont see it as an overall issue yet . But i do voice my opinions when people slander keen about the DLC with just plain ignorance .

- Husker54 ( the battlestar guy .. )


"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 vanilla Store Block allows you to deposit/withdraw money just like the ATM does. I missed it the first time I experimented with the Economy update, but the Store Block has an ATM function as well. The ATM is just a block that only does deposit/withdraw functions.


Other than that, I think you made a very good, well thought-out post. I think the Sparks of the Future DLC is probably the best one so far. It seems to indicate that Keen, for the most part, is listening to our desires for what kind of DLC should and should not be made.