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Old 03-27-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
 
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Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 comes out today, and it has an interesting new DLC system that's a bit different from older games. Previous TW entries would come with a certain number of courses on the disc and some additional courses available for download at $7.50 a pop.

Now, you can access all courses (including DLC courses) for free with the promise that you can "buy rounds" on them using in-game currency. You get this in-game currency by playing the game a lot...or using your credit card. From GameRevolution's review:

Quote:
This year's system revolves around the acquisition of coins, which you can use to purchase packs of pins that give temporary bonus stats. The XP multiplier for created golfers, at 5 or more times the standard rate, is extremely desirable. The problem is that the lowest pack is worth 4,000 coins and a full 18-hole course that takes around a half an hour earns about 600 coins. Doing a little math, that means you need to spend an average of 3.5 hours just for one pack. Compared to the unlockable system in Hot Shots Golf, this feels stingy and yawn-inducingly monotonous.

Certainly, the boost packs borders on being optional, and you can get value out of completing the usual career mode and the new Tiger Legacy mode, where you must accomplish goals set through Tiger's life from his television appearance at age 2 through to his dream future of beating Jack Nicklaus' 18 career majors. (Playing as Tiny Tiger is a little unsettling, actually.) But a large part of the new design centers around getting coins, not just for packs, but for earning the privilege of playing on downloadable courses.

Unlike last year's title, you don't have to skip an event in career mode just because you don't have the DLC course; you can either change the course entirely or purchase rounds for the DLC course, with the carrot being that you can earn unlimited rounds on it by achieving Gold Mastery. The objectives for getting Gold Mastery isn't so much difficult—in fact, they are much more doable than before—as they are exorbitantly laborious. Earning Gold Mastery requires that you play through a course at least six times because one objective asks you to get 100 pars or better. So how many coins do you need to purchase six rounds of a DLC course? 24,000 coins. That's about 20 hours of work, and that's just 1 of 16 DLC courses. I'm winded just talking about.

That's where the microtransaction model comes into play. The game makes it very clear that there's an option for you to spend additional money on coins. There's even a $75 transaction at a 25% discount for 280,000 coins. (You wanna buy the game over?) Perhaps it's too bold to accuse the developers for deliberately making the coin acquisition slow so that these microtransactions look that much more instantly gratifying. But it wouldn't be so troubling if these coins where used only to purchase clothing or something aesthetic, as they can be used toward boosts that can be applied to online tournaments. It just feels like there's a junkie selling "steroid" coins around every corner.
From IGN's review:

Quote:
Coins earn players access to new courses, so playing Tiger Woods 13 as normal rewards players with extra content without having to spend real-world money. Even better, completing challenges unlocks courses permanently.

This is the pitch, anyway. The reality is that EA's new system is a disgusting, well-disguised sham that makes past DLC traps look like charity.
...

Rather than selling the audience iconic places like Banff Springs, it's made it more expensive than ever – and it's temporary.

Completing "Gold Mastery" tasks is the only way to open a course forever. The challenges are not only extremely difficult and time consuming -- sinking five Eagles, hitting the green in regulation 80 times, etc. -- but must be completed on each course players hope to own. Tiger 13 golfers need to pay dozens if their hours and/or dollars to spend additional time to possibly access a course indefinitely.
I'm curious what we all think about this system. On one hand, people who just want to buy the base game and don't care about spending any more money actually have a little more product for their $$ this year - the number of (completely) included courses is on par with previous versions, and this year they have the bonus of getting to unlock rounds on courses they previously would have never had access to. If they get that little taste of new courses and decide they want (no, they NEED) more - well, that's their fault.

On the other hand, for people that do want to spend money to access more courses, it's not quite clear what the cost is. The first review above says you need to spend 24,000 coins on rounds at locked courses to be able to do all the challenges (at least - that estimate assumes you can get 100 pars in 108 holes of golf) to unlock it permanently. The review also says that at a 25% discount, it costs $75 for 280,000 coins, which means that at a normal price of $100 = 280k coins, 24k coins costs $8.57.

So, previous TW games: DLC course = $7.50, can play forever instantly once bought
TW13: DLC course = at least $8.57 or 20 hours of your time (or some mixture thereof), have to play 6+ rounds to be able to unlock permanently

So interestingly, along with trying to get more people on board the DLC train by giving everyone a taste of add-on courses, it seems EA is even ripping off their customers that were already willing to pay for this stuff.

Also, I made this spreadsheet showing the history of courses' appearances (as best as I could uncover them online, the last few years are the most reliable) in each recent TW game (excluding the Wii version, which for a few years came with more courses than the others since there was no DLC on Wii):



Seems like the standard every year is to add 3-5 new courses, include a bunch of older ones, release some new courses as DLC, and turn some courses that used to be included for free into DLC (RIP Spyglass).

Do we think this is "fair"? I mean obviously EA is free to do whatever they want and we don't have to buy the game if we don't like it, but are they doing right by their customers and providing a valuable service or just scheming to get their hands in our wallets?
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:11 PM   #2
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

EA slowly but surely turning the video game world into a hell hole. They also push this online pass BS.

Outside of FIFA and Mass Effect, these mugs aren't getting any more of my money. **** them.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

pass
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

EA gonna EA
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

Awesome spreadsheet, that's the info I've been looking for and couldn't find.

I did NOT race out today to find the game. Call me jaded, but yeah, I spend full money ($110 total perhaps?) on last year's version to get all the courses.

Such a rip-off for them to expect us to dish out cash every freakin year for the same gddm DLC we bought last year.

I think, from what I've been able to gather, that purchasing the DLC courses with in-game currency is going to be an incredible slow and agonizing grind.

I am waiting, as much as I want to always run out and buy the game the day it is released, I may just end up not buying it at all this year. I won't claim it's an easy decision... but yeah, I'm sick of being used and abused by EA like this.

I come from the days of Access Software and the great Links386 days (remember?)... where courses were free, created by the user community, and they were all stunningly beautifully rendered and wonderfully accurate. It was a labor of love by the golf fans with the CAD know-how to make these gems. Here's one example, Mike Jones, who made the most amazing fictional courses:

http://www.3dgolfdesign.com/creative.html

Links 2003 won't even run on my computer anymore. Microsoft bought the franchise from Access and basically threw it into the trash. Such is life I guess... and now we're stuck playing TigerWoods and dealing with EA Sports money-grubbing idiots, or we don't play at all.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

wow, did not even think about people who bought DLC last year. Forcing you to buy again, wow just BOHICA.

FWIW they are also doing this to a degree in ME3. You can buy packs in MP with coins won or with microsoft points.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:43 PM   #7
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

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Originally Posted by j4k3b View Post
EA gonna EA
this

disgusting but not surprising. EA are the zynga of triple a devs
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:27 AM   #8
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Thought about buying.

Not anymore.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

I for one think this game is a huge improvement over the previous year. I get enough hours of entertainment out of it I don't really mind the price, but it is unfortunate they are driving away a lot of customers.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

How do you like the new swing controls? I normally pick up this game on release day every year but I'm balking this time around. I'd like to hear more about the new controls first because reviews have been mixed so far.

Also, after dishing out for all of the courses last year, it's ridiculous that EA won't allow us to carry them over to 2013.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:23 PM   #11
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

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Originally Posted by Wires View Post
How do you like the new swing controls? I normally pick up this game on release day every year but I'm balking this time around. I'd like to hear more about the new controls first because reviews have been mixed so far.
This.

I tried out the three hole demo, and the new swing graphic is definitely pretty cool, it shows the full arc of the backswing/downswing with a curved line and your club follows it. Only played two "rounds" on the demo so I didn't really analyze it to death, but it is new and improved IMO, at least from a visual perspective. Would also love to hear feedback on this aspect.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:26 PM   #12
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

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Originally Posted by BadBoyBenny View Post
I for one think this game is a huge improvement over the previous year. I get enough hours of entertainment out of it I don't really mind the price, but it is unfortunate they are driving away a lot of customers.
I thought you were setting up some kind of punchline with that first sentence.
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:20 PM   #13
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

Has EA seen any drop in sales since they started this crap? I know I haven't purchased many of their games lately.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:14 PM   #14
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

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Originally Posted by ThaSaltCracka View Post
wow, did not even think about people who bought DLC last year. Forcing you to buy again, wow just BOHICA.
This was enough to keep me from purchasing this game. I bought the last one and then had to buy 50$ worth of courses on top of the 60$ game. I can't imagine paying for the same courses again. I'll wait for FIFA 13, i guess.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:07 PM   #15
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Re: Tiger Woods, DLC, and EA Grabbin' That Ca$h

If you are looking for a game that is more realistic or if you are someone who prefers to play on the hardest difficulties then I think you'll consider the new swing controls a big improvement.
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