Are Downloadable Map Packs a Big Con?
Quite simply yes. While it does have its benefits – extending the life of a game and providing new material that perhaps wasn’t ready for original release date to name a few – it’s mainly a way for developers and publishers to earn extra money on top of the forty-odd pounds that have been spent by the consumer already. This article isn’t just a rant about downloadable content in general however, it is more about a recent experience I’ve had with Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Just to get it out in the open; I love Call of Duty. I love how easy it is to pick up and play yet how challenging it can be to be any good at. I love that if you only have twenty minutes you can nip online and play two games to pass the time. I also love playing Xbox LIVE with friends who love it for the same reasons. Now onto my situation.
In August, I decided that I would purchase one of the four extra map packs to give me some fresh new maps to enjoy and extend the life of the game before I plunge into the world of the next generation. With each map pack costing £11.49, I really only wanted one of the packs as I didn’t want to spend a further £45.96 (£34.99 for the season pass) on a game which already cost me £40. Onslaught, Devastation, Invasion and Nemesis were my options. Having spoken with a friend, he felt the Invasion maps were the best, so with that in mind I took the plunge and spent the £11.49 to download the content.
And here is where the problem arises with downloadable content for map packs. Since downloading the map pack on 8 August 2014, I have yet to play any of the new maps that have been downloaded; Departed, Pharaoh, Favela and Mutiny. For obvious reasons this has become extremely frustrating. It’s now 2 October 2014 and still I haven’t had the opportunity to play the new maps online. In fact, I haven’t even had the chance to select the map in the multiplayer playlists. Maybe it’s just the one game type though? No, I’ve tried almost all of them several times; Team Deathmatch, Blitz, Search + Destroy, Team Tactical, Domination, Drop Zone and Free-For-All.
At this point I tried to think what was possibly wrong, so I contacted Activision via their Twitter support feed (@ATVIAssist) to get their help. After going through their usual automated answers (clear cache etc) I wasn’t getting anywhere. In their last message to me it clicked “Keep in mind using only one DLC pack will limit the pool of matches”. While I understand that, I didn’t realise having only one map pack would limit these new maps to “NO-ONE”. Game after game, occasion after occasion I’m still in a pool of players who only have the original maps. Effectively I’ve just donated £11.49 to the Activision coffers, and effectively in order for me to enjoy these maps i’m going to have to shell out a further £11.49 to download another map pack and expand the pool of players who I can play with. To make it more frustrating there is a “no refund” policy. You can probably sense my frustration now.
I feel that Activision should have made it more clear when customers opt to purchase one of four map packs. The chances of that are slim though as unsuspecting customers like myself wouldn’t have bought one of the packs.
Has anyone else experienced a similar situation either with Call of Duty: Ghosts or any other game? Let us know in the comments below.