DLC-Locking of Block shapes and functions - let's talk about that
Alright so. I personally want to start this off by mentioning that i'm profoundly pro-DLC the way Keen usually does it. Not DLC in general but Keen gives us inexpensive content packs that, usually, contain a good amount of content of varying degrees of quality. This is my opinion and i stand by it, which i know is a bit of an iffy one in the comunity. I want to mention this because i want Keen to realize this comes from someone who is on board with DLC and *still* finds a way to be concerned about it - this isn't blind "DLC BAD!" reactionism. This is me starting to get slightly worried.
Now what's little Rotal worried about.
Well, technically there's some other stuff i'd rather be talking about in terms of DLC block functionality but i will be limiting myself to the one big issues that is starting to crop up for me: DLC blocks not being decorative or alternative in nature.
What's that mean?
Personally i feel DLC should either add variety and alternatives of already existing blocks, or something that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise (like decorative blocks; plant pack when please) altogether. PR-wise and player base-wise it's not a good idea to divide players into DLC-haves and DLC-not haves; functionality should be the same (not counting decorative blocks for the obvious reason that they don't offer any advantage besides throwing them at people).
The people don't like Pay 2 Win. Or rather: Pay 2 Build.
The overwhelming majority of DLC blocks is perfectly in line with that; i'd actually argue that many blocks are underused and should be given *some* functionality. Like the Armory not letting you change your suit; "0/10 immersion ruined worst game ever."
But then there's... the iffy ones.
Sometimes we just get DLC blocks that don't have a *true* equivalent in the base game. This is, imo, perfectly fine for decorative blocks; for all the game design cares they might as well be kitty litter boxes, they're not DOING anything. But when a block has some form of actual function i get troubled.
Let me give you an example.
Decorative Pack #2. Amazing deal if you ask me, i know you didn't but bear with me i got a point here.
Half Stairs. Sound innocent enough don't they, they're just... stairs. We got stairs in basic SE, no? Well kinda, we got old windows and rampy stairs. What we do NOT have in basic SE is a 1-block stair that let's you use the rest of the block's space. For decorative purposes that might not be a big deal, nor for like pvp. But when you're building a smaller ship room becomes premium and the Half Stairs add significant wiggle room to that. Wiggle room that doesn't exist without this DLC.
The Transparent LCD is another example from the same pack. It's a window with script capabilities - argueably a worse offender because this *can* play into pvp. Again, locked behind DLC. Individually we got window blocks and we got LCD blocks - but the basic game doesn't have a combination of those.
Now if those two were the only ones i'd probably just call the Decorative Pack #2 an unfortunate outlier and move on, but worryingly this keeps happening:
Frostbite: placeable dead Engineers as blocks. At least give the basic game *one* dead Engineer to place. From the same pack: the Gate. I realize it's an inferior version of the Airtight Hangar Door but it's so unique looking i really don't think it belongs in a DLC. If anything it should be baseline and DLC should offer a *bigger* one.
Look, i could go over every DLC pack and give my opinion on every single block on this topic, boy howdy just because i enjoy Keen's way of DLC doesn't mean i don't have many an opinion on how they're implemented, but that'd implode the scope of a Feedback post and frankly i don't think anyone cares so let's get down to the meat and potatos.
Warfare #1 Passage Blocks.
It's commendable that basic SE is getting two new Passage Blocks at all but the DLC is getting three more blocks, two of which i consider rather vital to the Passage Block's aesthetics and system: the one with the light and the central one. (Also, can we has T-Secion and diagonal ones please?)
I'd actually argue that you can put the DLC-Passage Blocks into one of three different categories:
1.) Regular, Side and Entry are totally fine as they are (again, in *my* opinion). Regular and Side are "just" beautiful reskins of the ones Basic SE got, and Entry is more or less a glorified, always open Door. None of this adds to the way Passage Blocks are used. No advantage, just variation.
2.) Central gets a little iffy here. On the one hand it's barely more than a roof with some edges; not something that i consider super vital, but it smoothes out the system. I'd rather see a version of this for the basic Passage Blocks too.
3.) The lit one is where i, DLC-proponent and all, draw a line. Being able to light up a Passage Block like this (and by extention the entire system; that's a MASSIVE potential saving on blocks) is just too unique, too useful to lock it behind a paywall, even a small one. This is a thing on principle.
Now i don't say put the current DLC-Passage Blocks into the base game for free - but do take the new free design and add these variants for it. Give us *one* version of a useful block for Vanilla, then let us choose to buy additional variants. You're SO GOOD at this when it works but sometimes i just... i just shake my head, i'm sorry.
TL ; DR: Decorative Blocks are fine as-are, but the moment a block adds functionality make sure the base game has a version of it too. Give us DLC for variety, decoration and aestehtics (and by all means, give me more, i need a plant pack bad!), DON'T lock block shapes and block functions behind it.