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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands / Ubisoft


It's Always Good to Get Free Stuff...But at What Cost?

by Felipe Parada

Ubisoft announced its “Year 2” content plan for Ghost Recon Wildlands and its definitely not something that gamers are used to. The announcement marks a shift in the the paid-expansion release model we’ve seen thus far. Gone are the days where you pay for new levels and activities as a stand alone purchase or as part of a season pass. Now Ubisoft will update Wildlands with regular content updates, called, “Special Operations,” which add extra missions, items, modes, and maps. the best part of this announcement is that all the content will be free of charge, that's right, no more paid expansions. 

This trend has grown more popular in multiplayer games lately. I first experienced this new post release model playing Tom Clancy's The Division. Although it was still a bit of a downer not being able to play a raid with my friends because I didn't download one of the DLC Expansions but it seems that this problem will be remedied soon. According to Ubisoft, in the future anyone who purchases the game will be able to keep playing with their friends, and they can earn additional characters by spending in-game currency. Those who pay for season passes receive the new characters earlier than other players, along with discounts in the in-game shop, boosts in currency acquisition rates, and additional cosmetic items.


It sounds good on paper but can this actually work? It seems like a winning strategy, especially those games that are multiplayer-focused games like Rainbow Six Siege. It's definitely a strategy that will keep those games alive for longer. The Siege community has definitely embraced the new updated changes and as we speak Rainbow Six Siege has exceeded a player base of 25 million players. Not bad for a game that received a lukewarm reception at launch. 


Ubisoft is slowly starting to implement this new DLC tactic in its games. Assassin's Creed Origins added the combat-free “Discovery Tour” mode, as well as additional missions. You can see that Ubisoft is still preparing for lager, full-fledged expansions with smaller content updates in between. It seems like Ubisoft hasn't fully replaced paid content, not yet, but have they managed to get free content and paid DLC to co-exist peacefully?

It seems like it for now but we need to remember that even though Rainbow Six Siege is a good starting point, games like Assassin's Creed Origins and Ghost Recon Wildlands are mainly story driven experiences. Ghost Recon Wildlands is largely a cooperative shooter that relies mainly on side activities, encounters and story content to keep its players engaged. The Assassin's Creed Series is mainly a single player experience that also relies on side activities, encounters and story content. So how is Ubisoft going to address this kind of content going forward? A couple of missions and side activities might not be enough to keep players coming back months on end. 


I am very appreciative of the effort that Ubisoft is making to ensure a quality product. I even went back to playing Tom Clancy's The Division and with all the meaningful updates, it's actually good now. Although I would have appreciated more story driven content because games like this should be expanded upon with a lot of expansions. And I think that this is where Ubisoft needs to tread lightly because this new structure might not work for all types of games but it is definitely a step in the right direction. 


I'm sure nobody is complaining with the new content being added to Ghost Recon Wildlands. Getting more content without paying more money? Sign me up! It's certainly worked for Rainbow Six Siege but it's going to take time for the other game formats to take advantage of the new DLC structure. This new "live-service" model will need different blueprints in order to be successful. The main thing to take away from this is that Ubisoft has heard the communities concern. "We want more" and it looks like Ubisoft is willing to oblige us. 

What do you think included in the next update? Leave a comment below.

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