Home Gaming Friday Debate: Is it okay to say a game is good if it took a bunch of paid-for DLC to get it there?

Friday Debate: Is it okay to say a game is good if it took a bunch of paid-for DLC to get it there?

1 min read


Destiny 2 was an alright game when it launched. And then, once people had ploughed through all of its content, they realised it actually wasn’t. The end game was weak, the loot was middling and there was nothing to entice players to come back to the game. Over the course of a few bits of DLC and with the latest full expansion Forsaken, Destiny 2 is a significantly better game. I have a virtual office full of Destinerds who frankly won’t shut up about how much they’re enjoying it – throwing around frankly indecipherable terms that make my eyes gloss over.

The fact is though, that they’re enjoying the hell out of Destiny 2 again – going so far as to call it a good game. The thing is, it’s taken two minor DLCs and an expansion to make Destiny 2 something that can rightly be called “good.” It’s not too different from Destiny 1, where The Taken King elevated the game from middling to magnificent.

The question here is whether it’s okay to say a game is good if it took a bunch of paid-for DLC to get it there? I know that the Witcher 3 is the darling of videogamedom and it’s frankly unfair to compare it to anything, but that game was magnificent from the onset, with the DLC and expansions only making everything even better, which is the way it should be. Ubisoft’s largely doing its DLC that way too, with Assassin’s creed Origins a shining example of that. Great game, made better with optional extras. With Destiny, you need to buy those extras to make it a good game. On the one hand, it’s good that Bungie has continually worked to fix their mistakes and turn Destiny into a good game – but it’s an opportunity a developer without that sort of budget would never get.

Last Updated: September 28, 2018


  1. Daniel Hallinan

    September 28, 2018 at 11:22

    I’m going to speak about this from the perspective of my experience with Boardgames, and expansions that improve them.

    Essentially, no – one should make others aware that a product suffers from problems. Those problems can be fixed, but you are effectively buying two (or more) products to get a single functional one. Whether that investment is worth it depends on how well it was improved.

    So, rather than say “Game X is good now because they released great extra content”, one should say “Game X is a bit shitty, but if you also buy this extra content it makes the experience of playing Game X a lot better”.

    It may seem like a silly differentiation, but I’ve found it helps people decide on stuff with far better clarity, and they are far more aware of what they are investing in while aware of it.


  2. Caveshen Rajman

    September 28, 2018 at 11:27

    This was always my problem with games like these. They have these long-term plans with large marketing budgets and they’re vapid experiences, but they know they are that – they market on promises after all. All they need is to get you on board, and you’ll chase every follow-up experience because you need to justify your purchase. It’s like gaming’s equivalent of time-share.

    They try to make it look like a social game, trying to piggyback off MMOs and their popularity with folks who want something to do with friends, but there are better games for playing with friends. Gears of War 3 is a social game. Every kilobyte of that game oozes production value.

    I’ve caught so much flak for saying this over the years, but Destiny and other games that follow its business model (The Division, Anthem (soon), etc.) are the gaming industry’s most exploitative games, and fans fucking eat them up.


    • Pariah

      September 28, 2018 at 11:43

      “the gaming industry’s most exploitative games, and fans fucking eat them up”

      It’s more the other way around. Fans eat it up, and the publishers realised this, so they kept pushing it further and further. Fans kept eating, so why would the publishers stop? I wouldn’t. Yes, it’s scummy as fuck, but business is business. Welcome to Capitalism.


  3. Original Heretic

    September 28, 2018 at 11:30

    I started Destiny 2 recently.
    Considering what I have played, I have no desire to fork out any money for it.

    A game should be good from the get-go. If there are broken aspects or poor aspects, don’t go an charge people EVEN MORE MONEY for those fixes.

    A very good recent example of this is No Man’s Sky. They released so many free updates and now, from what I’ve read, it’s actually worthwhile playing.


  4. Neji

    September 28, 2018 at 11:35

    When you have to pay good moneh in order to get DLC which in turn takes the crappy game and converts it into an awesome game… then you’re just encouraging the publishing companies/studios to carry on with that type of business model.


  5. Craig "Crios" Boonzaier

    September 28, 2018 at 11:35

    Diablo 3 was not great at launch.
    But after Jay Wilson left as game director and Josh Mosqueira took over.
    We got Loot 2.0, then ROS xpac, several huge content patches and eventually some DLC in the form of the Necro.
    The game is in a much better state now than at launch.
    Yes, you can buy the base game, but I would recommend new players atleast get the xpac as well.


  6. Pariah

    September 28, 2018 at 11:37

    Yes. Yes it’s okay. Why? Because you can’t take a game in its first iteration and judge it on that if it’s done some changing, growing, and evolving, and turned into something great.

    Destiny 2 is obviously expensive with all the expansions, but only recently has WoW made earlier expansions free. Before, if you wanted to play, you had to pay for every single expansion. It was certainly annoying, but that was just the barrier to entry. Thereafter? Well, people (including me) have lost countless hours to it. And I don’t see Destiny 2 being any different. If it’s a game you can lose countless hours to, then just pony up the cash. It’s worth it IF the game is good.

    And just a side note – it’s still cheaper than other F2P lifestyle-type games with their cosmetics and lootboxes. While yes, you CAN argue that it’s free, the reality is people end up spending far more on those over time than something like Destiny 2. Just because the upfront cost is more, doesn’t mean the lifetime cost is. I’d take upfront over lifetime any day. It’s almost always cheaper.


  7. G8crasha

    September 28, 2018 at 12:09

    You should be getting what you pay for! Simple as that. I buy a specific game at full price because I expect that it will be a good game that is worthy of my limited time and hard-earned money. That’s the impression I garnered from the gaming media. Due to the fact that I am paying full price for the game means I have higher expectations for it than if I was purchasing the game when on a special. So a game should be good if I am willing to pay the full price, but if I made a conscience decision to buy it on a special, I am perfectly happy if it is an okay game, and DLC improves it.


  8. HvR

    September 28, 2018 at 12:11

    Although DLC/expansion could be used to save a dud launch, I can not help but feel it is still a polished turd with a chocolate sauce chaser. That shitty taste is still left in the original buyers/first adopters mouth; sort off fuck you to your most important client.

    I still prefer and support the original non-exploitative expansion game model.

    Deliver what you promised, patch small bugs and balancing issues for free ASAP and if your game is well received by your community plan and release a paid for expansion 6 to 12 months down the line.

    Firaxis with first Xcom remake and especially Harebrained Schemes with Battletech is perfect examples


  9. Kromas

    September 28, 2018 at 12:11

    No. Plain and simple. Destiny 2 is a great example of how things should not be done. Now I am not saying paid for DLC is bad. In fact some DLC is well worth it but I will judge the game based on it’s base rather than on it’s extras.

    Take WoW for instance. The game launched with amazing content and was really great. Every expansion added onto that greatness or detracted from it. No one says wow is shit they usually say Warlords is shit or cataclysm is great or vanilla was the best the game ever was. Also even free DLC can be a bot of a bother depending on how long it takes. For instance if No Man’s Sky released all the DLC within say 3-6 months after initial release they may have redeemed themselves instead they finally got the game in a playable and fun state years too late and their reputation is long since been damaged.

    Then you get early access games. Those things are terribad and only a select few people enjoy the game well after ea launch. Take DayZ for instance. it has been years but the engine is finally completely rebuilt from scratch and looks beautiful. Modding and private servers are finally in and vehicles and base building have been readded and working. I would like to think that loads of people would come back to have a look but I can’t honestly say that will happen. Sure there are thousands of people who are playing it again but it is way less than at launch.


  10. Magoo

    September 28, 2018 at 12:21

  11. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    September 28, 2018 at 14:37

    What’s so great about an online shooter? Go play paintball


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