Deep Dive
March 29, 2024

The Controversy Sparking a Shift in Gaming's Future

Let's understand the controversy that took the gaming world by storm


The world of gaming is a treasure trove of limitless creativity and innovation. Yet, it occasionally hits a snag, particularly when the visions of game developers clash with the expectations of their audience. A prime illustration of this conundrum is the launch of Dragon's Dogma 2 by CAPCOM, where the expectations built by the developers were built on a lie. Delving into this incident offers more than just criticism; it opens a window into the effects of post-launch content strategies on the gaming community and evolves our understanding of game transparency and digital ownership in the era of web3 games.

Navigating the Waters of Day-One DLC

CAPCOM's rollout strategy for Dragon's Dogma 2 ignited a firestorm of discontent that echoes beyond mere frustration with unexpected downloadable content (DLC) announced only after the official game release. This uproar taps into a deeper systemic issue afflicting the gaming industry: the growing rift between what gamers expect and what developers, bound by the world of financial giants in the gaming industry, deliver. The decision to include essential gameplay components as day-one DLC is symptomatic of a broader trend toward monetization at the expense of genuine gaming experiences. This approach is not always a bad idea per se but rather its in-game implementations are often the source of controversy. This approach often not only seeks profit but also neglects the core of gaming as a means of escape, discovery, and challenge, severely eroding the trust and bond carefully forged between game developers and their community.

The controversy at the heart of Dragon's Dogma 2 revolves around CAPCOM's surprising decision to launch a substantial DLC package on the game's release day. Although DLC has become a staple in the gaming world, CAPCOM's method seemed out of step, not because it offered DLC, but because this DLC, along with microtransactions, felt necessary for the full game experience to some and offered an easy mode to others. This package, which went beyond mere aesthetic additions that do not affect in-game balance, provided tools that appeared to sidestep gameplay mechanics seemingly designed to incentivize DLC purchases. This maneuver, perceived as a violation of the tacit agreement between players and developers, not only fueled outrage but also sparked a wider debate on the ethics of game design and monetization strategies.

The Breach of Trust

The sting of betrayal was particularly sharp for those who had pre-ordered Dragon's Dogma 2, placing their trust in CAPCOM. The gaming community, initially bonded by shared anticipation, found itself divided, pondering the thin line between supporting esteemed developers and inadvertently backing practices that prioritize profits over player satisfaction. This incident reignited the longstanding debate over the wisdom of pre-ordering games, prompting players and commentators to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of buying games before their release.

Adding insult to injury, CAPCOM's modifications to gameplay mechanics, seemingly designed to drive DLC sales, deepened the wound. Opening access to fundamental features like fast travel, which was heavily limited, or the ability to purchase options to change one’s entire in-game character that are absent from the base game—with one exception available later in the game—and a plethora of different items players can purchase to make the game easier reeked of deceit. Furthermore, the reduction of character slots from three to just one following the game's release, and the absence of an option to start a new game without deleting all saved data (resulting in a 24-hour ban from Denuvo), underscored a disconnect between the gaming experience promised and the one delivered.

Perhaps the most glaring issue was the disparity between the Dragon's Dogma 2 pre-release version shown to the press and numerous game reviewers, and the final version of the game that was released after game reviewers published content about the game. The early access versions featured elements and freedoms noticeably lacking or restricted in the released version, further questioning CAPCOM's transparency and the integrity of their pre-launch promotions. This, in turn, led to all the reviews being created about the game, which in truth was vastly different from the one that was released a couple of days after.

Crafting a United Digital Odyssey

The uproar surrounding Dragon's Dogma 2, while reflective of broader challenges within the gaming sector, also acts as a springboard for transformative change, prompting us to reconsider the potential of digital realms. At this pivotal moment, the pathway ahead is lit by the principles of web3 gaming, promising a future where games transcend the status of mere products to become collaborative experiences. Here, the voice of the community forms the foundation of creation, steering the direction of game development.

The gaming community's role evolves from passive involvement to active guardianship. Gamers are called upon to champion equitable practices, support developers who put the community first, and actively participate in the creation of game worlds with as much enthusiasm as they bring to exploring them. This is a rallying cry for gamers to become the architects of their adventures, leading the charge into a new era where the virtual worlds we navigate reflect our collective vision and determination.

This transformative journey invites us to reimagine not just how games are made and played, but also how they are perceived and valued by a society that is yet to witness what web3 gaming has to offer. As we navigate this terrain, the lessons gleaned from the release of Dragon's Dogma 2 and the broader discourse it has sparked serve as invaluable guideposts. They underscore the potential of web3 to revolutionize gaming, making it a more inclusive, equitable, and dynamic space.

Beacon of Hope

In the midst of these challenges, the emerging field of web3 gaming offers a beacon of hope. Rooted in blockchain technology, web3 gaming heralds a new era of digital ownership and innovative monetization paths that honor player agency and contribution, with the introduction of Pay-to-Win mechanisms becoming history with the new wave of games emerging. This shift suggests a future where games transcend their status as mere products to become ecosystems built on fairness, transparency, and community governance. As both developers and players delve into the possibilities presented by NFTs, decentralized assets, and player-driven economies, the lessons gleaned from Dragon's Dogma 2 and similar cases provide invaluable guidance. The perfect example of this is the introduction of NFT technology, which holds immense potential—potential that was seriously damaged by the NFT hype led by PFP collections in past years. What NFT offers is the ownership of one’s assets that are not being kept behind the closed doors of centralized entities, i.e., game producers or platforms.

Initiatives we at Elympics pursue and implement illustrate the dawn of a gaming ecosystem where the balance of power favors the community, ensuring that the virtual worlds we escape to are crafted by those who inhabit them, those who understand what players seek and need. This paradigm not only democratizes the gaming landscape but also enriches it, intertwining the essence of games with player-driven creativity, strategy, and direct feedback to help us craft even better environments and mechanisms. It envisions a gaming universe where the boundaries between developers and players blur, merging into a collaborative relationship that fosters both innovation and fulfillment.

This reimagined future beckons us to set sail toward a gaming paradigm where every player's voice is heard, and every developer's vision is shared, creating a harmonious digital odyssey that celebrates the unity and creativity of the global gaming community.

The future of gaming lies in the hands of players, and it’s high time to see their true power.


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