Thursday, 22 March 2018

DLC for DLC | The Sims 4 Problem

image credit: electronic arts/maxis/the sims 4
Oh, EA. How you love to test me.

Expansion packs have always been a commodity with The Sims franchise, but in its fourth installment, EA and the Sims team are taking it way too far. The Sims 4 was released in 2014, and by 2017 has only had four expansion packs. In comparison, The Sims 2 and 3 both had at least nine to eleven expansions released within the four-year gap. Between those gaps were stuff packs; add-ons of items and clothing to the game that fit around a certain theme, that sometimes included some new gameplay options.

The Sims 4 has stuff packs and game packs. The difference being that game packs are geared towards enhancing gameplay with new items and a focus on new gameplay mechanics, whereas the stuff packs follow the same trend introduced in previous games. Both Sims 2 and 3 again had around nine or ten packs coinciding with the expansions, whereas as of March 13 with the release of My First Pet Stuff, The Sims 4 will have fourteen stuff packs and six game packs under its belt; all released within the span of four years. What.

It's frightening when you stack the expansions, stuff and game packs together for The Sims 4. If history is anything to go by, The Sims installments usually have a shelf life of five years. We're currently in year four for The Sims 4, and we’ve only just had 'pets' introduced in Cats & Dogs and My First Pet Stuff. It is absolutely insane how money-driven this generation of Sims is. A lot of the features added into the stuff and game packs could have easily been implemented into the expansions, but instead, it seems that EA wants to run everyone out of money by endless - and sometimes needless - stuff packs.

The recent controversy surrounding players having to purchase 'DLC for DLC' in regards to needing Cats & Dogs to play My First Pet Stuff is beyond stupid. Sure, you don't need to buy these packs or expansions, but through patches and other updates Sims Studio and Maxis have listened (giving toddlers and pools for free), so why continuously release stuff packs that can easily be included in expansion packs, which would actually make them worth the money? Why split things like Outdoor Retreat and Jungle Adventure into separate packs for nearly £20 when they could be easily combined like The Sims 2's Bon Voyage?

Gone were the days when I felt it necessary to need every pack and expansion to fully appreciate the gameplay; I still haven't bought Vampires, Jungle Adventure, Cool Kitchen Stuff, Spooky Stuff, Romantic Garden Stuff, Bowling Night Stuff or Fitness Stuff. And I'm not sure I will if they carry on like this.

We haven't even got university, seasons or supernatural expansions yet, and we're one year away from what could be The Sims 5's introduction. It's disheartening, to say the least. 

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