Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs

Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs
This question was posed to me recently by a few different readers and stream viewers: Are The Secret World's DLCs a good value? As I pondered the question, I decided that instead of answering each query personally, it would be a good topic to explore here in Chaos Theory. Besides, the answer is definitely not a short one! (It can't even fit in a single column!)

So why can't I just fire off a simple yes or no to this question? The biggest problem is trying to provide an objective answer to a very subjective situation. While the meaning of value itself is clearly defined, said definition emphasizes that the judgment is individual to whoever is involved. How each player defines value is very personal, so I can't really answer for anyone except myself. What I can do, however, is provide as much of the objective information that I can so you can make your own subjective judgment on the value. Are TSW's issues and sidestories packs worth it? Let's look at the value from various viewpoints and you decide!

I think the biggest thing folks want to know is whether or not there is enough bang in these DLCs for the buck. This is a fair question, since money still doesn't grow on trees (dangnabbit) and consumers want to be mindful of their purchases. Buyer's remorse is definitely a real thing, and having limited funds allocated to gaming makes you careful where each dollar goes. The tricky part is that how folks individually measure "bang" will completely alter the answer.

On top of that, the answer can also be different depending on whether you are looking at the DLCs individually or as a whole. So we'll explore each additional pack individually as well as collectively. Since Issues #2 through 4 are included in the base game when you buy it, they won't be included in this breakdown. Issue #5, however, will be included since it was free only to those who purchased and registered the game before it went free-to-play in December 2012.

Next week we'll measure the bang in a few different ways, but for this week, let's look at the physical cost of the DLCs.

Before we can talk about value, we need to establish what the prices are. Perhaps not quite ironically, the prices themselves aren't even cut-and-dried. That's because those who have a current membership are granted 10% off the purchase price of all DLCs, and those who have the lifetime Grandmaster membership receive a 20% discount. Additionally, the DLCs can be purchased with the bonus points that members and grandmasters accumulate each month. In effect, both of those groups can buy the DLCs without spending any additional cash over and above what has already been paid, either initially (as in the case with the one-time payment for the Grandmaster pack) or over the course of any subscribed months.

If you buy the packs using purchased Funcom Points, then you have to take into account how many points you get per dollar spent. No matter which amount you purchase (the smallest being 600 for $5.00), it equates to 120 points per $1.00. So the following chart lists the price both in Funcom/Bonus points and in cold hard cash. Keep in mind that Grandmasters never have to pay in cash unless they drain their bonus point account and can't wait another month to have it refilled.

  • Issue #5
    - Non-members: 750 / $6.25
    - Members: 675 / $5.63
    - Grandmasters: 600 / $5.00 (Free for all accounts registered before F2P)
  • Issues #6 through 9 (sold separately)
    - Non-members: 1200 / $10.00
    - Members: 1080 / $9.00
    - Grandmasters: 960 / $8.00
  • Issue #9 Collectors Edition
    - Non-members: 3000 / $25.00
    - Members: 1600 / $13.33
    - Grandmasters: 1440 / $12.00
  • Sidestories: Further Analysis; Love & Loathing
    - Non-members: 960 / $8.00
    - Members: 864 / $7.20
    - Grandmasters: 768 / $6.40
If you do not buy Issue #8, you can actually buy the individual scenarios separately (but few think that is a good deal!).
  • Scenario packs: Castle Dracula; Franklin Mansion
    - Non-members: 720 / $6.00
    - Members: 648 / $5.40
    - Grandmasters: 576 / $4.80
  • Hotel Wahid After Midnight
    - Non-members: 360 / $3.00
    - Members: 324 / $2.70
    - Grandmasters: 288 / $2.40
In the money respect, I can tell you that the DLCs have been a great value to me. As a grandmaster since launch, I know my $100.00 purchase evens out to just over $4.00 as month with all the extra content included for free. Additionally, with my GM purchase, I also have plenty more bonus points left over to buy various cosmetic clothing items, boosts, and other items from the store (not to mention the monthly membership gift item). Ironically, anyone buying the game now at the full $30.00 price and adding all the DLCs would be spending $92.25.

For a player who has never subscribed, the cost of getting the whole kit and caboodle is $62.25, basically the price of a just-released single player game, four months of a game subscription, or twice the price of the original game. Someone who subscribes the month s/he wants to purchase all the DLCs would pay $56.03 total. That number would not all be cash out of pocket, either, as the month's sub adds $10.00 worth of bonus points (1200) to the mix. On the other hand, folks who sub for six months (for $90) will also amass enough bonus points to get all the DLCs and have some left over for other goodies.

For those who just want to pay the least amount, buying everything during a single subbed month would be the best. However, someone who prefers to have a set amount budgeted every month would probably prefer the membership option. In the latter case it is important to remember that bonus points do expire after six months, but players can elect to have DLCs bought automatically when they are released, thereby ensuring that they points don't expire and get lost before new content can be purchased.

Are the DLCs worth the money? If cash is the only deciding factor, then you can probably formulate your answer from the information provided here. However, for many the value lies also in other aspects. Next time we'll measure the bang in a few different ways by exploring: amount of content, type of content, quality of content, necessity of content, and enjoyment factor of content.

Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ on Thursdays as she infiltrates The Secret World to bring you the latest word on the streets of Gaia in Chaos Theory. Heard some juicy whispers or have a few leads you want followed? Send them to mj@massively.com and she'll jump on the case!
This article was originally published on Massively.