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Dear Videogame Industry: THIS is what DLC is supposed to mean!
on August 13, 2012
I'm sick of how "DLC" is gradually changing from "downloadable content" to "disc locked content." I'm sick of the lame excuses justifying how Day 1 DLC can legitimately exist without it being something removed or otherwise omitted from the original product ahead of time. The type of DLC I will support with money is brand new content created AFTER the original game is finished, similar to the expansion packs of yesteryear.
The Wolf Pack DLC for PAYDAY The Heist [Download] is precisely that type of DLC.
Two entirely new heists are added. That may not sound like much--"only two?" you may be thinking--but the original game shipped with six heists, with each heist being rather complicated and varied with each playthrough. So another way to think of it is "33% more levels." It could've been three new heists and thus 50% more levels, but the quite excellent and highly anticipated Left 4 Dead tie-in "No Mercy" heist was made available FREE of charge. In addition, an entirely new set of upgrades is included as part of the brand-new "Technician" path.
(Payday doesn't have "classes" so much as "perks"; as you gain levels you earn perks from the upgrade tree you have selected such that switching to another tree retains all perks acquired thus far.)
Progressing along the Technician path will enable access to four new weapons: one new Primary (AK assault rifle), one new Secondary (GL40 grenade launcher), one new Pistol (STRYK machine pistol), and a Sentry Gun that occupies your Deployable slot. The level cap has been increased to compensate for all the added perks Technician can give you (47 more if I count right).
Call of Duty sure as heck wouldn't give you 2 new maps and 4 new weapons for $10, to say nothing of the one new map for free. Another thing Payday does that most games don't is let all the players who don't own the DLC still be able to play the newly added maps. That's right: you only need to own the DLC if you want to host the new levels yourself. Otherwise, you can still join and play with everybody else. You just won't have access to the Technician perks.
As is the trademark for this game, the newly added heists aren't easy and require a lot of real-time coordination to succeed in (following extensive trial and error). "Undercover" adds a new mechanic of setting up barriers to provide additional cover. "Counterfeit" is set in my native Florida, and you can tell this game wasn't made by Americans because no houses in Florida have basements. The swiftness and severity of the police response to known criminals being robbed is pretty accurate though. :)
Overkill Software is not a huge company. It's probably only about 20 or 30 guys. They don't have money for multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. The success of Payday relies heavily on word-of-mouth, so the $10 I spent on the Wolf Pack is not only to support the continued release of *proper* DLC, it's to support the developers for their efforts. (Even though I do wish those efforts would eventually expand on the in-game explanations of how basic mechanics work.) If you already own the base game and are undecided on the Wolf Pack, or if Steam sales have made you hesitant to purchase things that aren't at least 75% off, consider that these are "the little guys" along with how much you're getting and what other companies would charge for the same thing.