Friday, December 19, 2014

TvR Tag Tournament, Round 1 - Are Season Passes Worth the Price?
Welcome to the first edition of TvR Tag Tournament! Tiger and Rabbit welcome a special guest as they challenge The Partner to pick a side. With season passes becoming the norm in the video game industry, this team of fluffy friends tries to answer the question, are season passes worth the price?


Rabbit: Mic oh test… mic oh test… one, two, three-

Tiger: What are you doing?

Rabbit: I’m making sure everything sounds good, this is the first time we’ve had a guest come on and I want to make sure things go well. Plus, this is the first time we’ve done this with Skype since we usually just sit in the same room and start talking.

Tiger: *sighs* Another Microsoft product.

Rabbit: Hey, it was either that or… is AOL even still around?

Tiger: Oh great, *throws up hands* way to date us, Rabbit.

Rabbit: Sorry, I’m just rambling, I’m nervous. This is so exciting, I can’t wait. What do you think he’ll be like? I mean I know we know him and all, but oh my gosh-

Tiger: *pulls Rabbit’s ears* Oooookay… enough of that. Calm down. Geez. He’s not even online yet and you’re freaking out. We’ve known The Partner for a long time now; he’s a cool bird so this will be fun.

Rabbit: But you know… ^in a whisper^ he’s so mysterious. I mean we had to contact him via a dead drop and no phone calls. He’s always so careful so he won’t be traced or have his identity revealed.

Tiger: Yeah, he does have this kind of mafia-ish vibe to him. Maybe you should ask him?

Rabbit: ^eyes go wide^ He’d probably strangle me with my ears if I did.

Tiger: *laughs* I don’t think he’d go that far… probably.

Rabbit: Probably?!

Eagle: Am I coming in okay?

Rabbit: Oh, there he is!

Tiger: Let’s get this show on the road and introduce our guest. Coming all the way from who knows where, please give a warm welcome to Eagle, The Partner!

Rabbit: ^cheers^

Tiger: *claps*

Eagle: Season's greetings to you two.

Rabbit: Oh my gosh, don't you just love the holidays? It's so festive and cozy, I love it.

Eagle: You seem more… peppy than usual, Rabbit.

Rabbit: It's all the hot coco!

Tiger: That's spiked with a mountain of marshmallows.

Rabbit: I like marshmallows.

Eagle: Seems they make you the opposite of mallow.

Tiger: They turn her into a crazy-eyed sugar monster, that's what they do.

Rabbit: Hey! ^crosses arms^ Anyway, you should be peppy for the holidays!

Tiger: I wish people weren't so festive and I wish they'd stop ringing those damned bells all the time.

Eagle: They can be festive all they want, so long as it's not at my front door.

Tiger: Yes, I find carolers very creepy and stalker-ish, and mostly tone-deaf.

Rabbit: You two aren't being very festive at all. Where's your holiday cheer?

Tiger: I'm saving mine for a real holiday like "sleep in until noon" day.

Eagle: <looks side to side> I'd tell you, but… you know…

Rabbit: ^gasps^

Tiger: He's joking Rabbit, at least I think he is…

Eagle: <small laugh> Don't worry. We've been acquainted long enough. You're safe, <pauses> for now…

Rabbit: ^sniffles^

Tiger: *pats Rabbit on head* Our fine feathered friend wouldn't be that cruel.

Eagle: Not during the holidays.

Rabbit: Yes, everyone has holiday spirit even our mysterious guest! Except for Tiger, ^whispers to Eagle^ she's been grumpy lately.

Tiger: I heard that.

Rabbit: Well it's true.

Tiger: It's because I've had to pay a ton of extra money for all these games that have been coming out!

Rabbit: Why?

Tiger: These stupid season passes, that’s why! Freaking season passes.

Eagle: The joys of gaming advancements.

Tiger: Yeah, we didn't have this problem in the days of the PlayStation 2.

Rabbit: Is it really a problem? As I understand it, season passes are just DLC bundles that have discounted prices compared to buying each piece of DLC separately?

Eagle: That's true. But more games are getting them and they are being announced before the games even come out.

Tiger: The price has started to go up too. Most passes were around $19.99 but I've seen a few $29.99 passes come out lately. And what about the content, is that content really worth it?

Rabbit: Well I remember buying the season passes for the Telltale games, which bundled all the episodes at a discounted price. That wasn't too bad but I could see it becoming an issue for games that have their passes announced before the game's released. Makes you wonder if they couldn't have just included it in the main game instead of selling it piece by piece.

Tiger: Sono toori!

Eagle: Those are a little different. Those season passes are the complete game when it comes to Telltale Games' games.

Rabbit: Very true but the games don't force you to buy the season passes, all that content is in addition to the main game. So if you really like the game, you can get more content or skip it if the main game wasn't that great.
Tiger: Look at Far Cry 4; it’s requiring the season pass for a specific multiplayer mode. I hate when they do that. If they have this mode then why don't they just put it in the game for everyone to play? By keeping this one mode behind a paywall, that mode won't ever get played.

Eagle: Sorry Rabbit, but I've got to agree with Tiger on this one.

Tiger: If they don't hold back different modes, they tend to sell a season pass and leave out a bunch of DLC content like The Last of Us. I bought that season pass assuming I'd get all of their multiplayer item offerings only to find that I still had to pay upwards of $8.99 per DLC bundle because the items weren't included in the season pass.

Eagle: Look at Borderlands 2, they had a season pass and still had several other DLC additions not included in it.

Tiger: Yes, it's frustrating when they leave content out because you feel like you've purchased a season pass for nothing. Like the Killzone: Shadow Fall pass, I'm still not sure what I got in the pass and what they just gave out free to everyone.

Rabbit: There are some cool things publishers have done with season passes like the Assassin's Creed: Unity one where they offered that 2D side-scrolling game with the Asian chick in it.

Tiger: That was cool but I'd rather have that left out of the pass and pay $19.99 instead of $29.99 and getting a game I won't ever play.

Eagle: I've never fancied Assassin's Creed myself. That download game however caught my eye.

Rabbit: I thought it was interesting to include that in the season pass. There are a few games I actually wish had the season pass just due to the discounts I would have got from buying them bundled versus separately. Like Ridge Racer.

Tiger: Rock Band.

Rabbit: Don't even start in on Rock Band; you wasted so much money on DLC for that game.

Tiger: *shrugs* It was fun at the time.

Eagle: <laughs> Glad I never got caught in that sinkhole.

Tiger: If you want to talk sinkholes, ask Rabbit what she's spent on Skylanders.

Rabbit: Hey! That's off topic.

Eagle: I've some idea. <whispers to Tiger> I even smuggled some over to her.

Tiger: Such an enabler you are, Eagle.

Rabbit: Now if Skylanders had a season pass, I would totally get that but for the most part I don't buy the passes. I think the last season pass I picked up was for Darksiders II and I never did get around to playing that game.

Tiger: I have purchased quite a few from the really terrible like the Killzone one to ones that offered a lot of value, like the one for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Overall though, I feel that they are just trying to make more money where they can. I mean most of this content should be in the game already, especially when they announce the passes before launch date. Adding another $30 to a $60 game purchase is just an insane amount of money to ask for when a lot of that extra content aren't even expansions. Look at Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor's leaderboard challenge mode for example, which totally should have been built into the game.

Eagle: The only season pass I can remember buying was the Killzone season pass.

Tiger: That is a terrible season pass. So many skins and spotlight moves aren't even included in that!
Rabbit: Okay, so I think it's time for us to get down to business and answer the question, are season passes worth the price? Why don't you go first, Tiger?

Tiger: Okay, I'll fire away on this one. I definitely say that they aren't worth the price, not anymore at least. With the rising prices of the passes and the decreasing amount of content, especially quality content, that they aren't worth getting anymore. Heck, like I said before, most of this content should be included in the game already. A season pass no longer feels like a discounted bundle but a rip off of "hey, we made all this stuff for the game that you just bought, but we're going to charge you another $30 for it!" What say you, Rabbit?

Rabbit: I think season passes are worth it if you're a good gamer, do your research, and not just buy them blindly like someone I know. ^points at Tiger^ They are not something that has to be purchased and most of the time, you know that the content isn't going to be anything meaningful or affect the main game. The only exception was the DLC for The Last of Us and that wasn't limited to the season pass so anyone could have easily picked it up outside of the pass. I think if you really love a game and want all the content you can get, the amount you save with the season pass is worth it. If you weren’t fond of the game, no harm done because you don’t have to spend the extra money to get content that’s not meaningful to the game. Plus, so many of the passes nowadays announce what’s inside so you know what you’re buying into. Don’t like what you see, you can save your money and buy something else instead, like a pet dinosaur! Okay Eagle, you have the last word on the matter.

Eagle: Most of the times I find the value offered by season passes to be lacking. You know, the old man in me has been against DLC from the start. Mostly for the reason Tiger said previously, these season passes feel like they are taking content from the games for extra money. However, The Evil Within is a game with a season pass offering that might just be calling me name. With that, the content is completely separate from the main game, letting you play as different characters for a spell.

Rabbit: Hopefully that season pass will sell well and encourage other developers and publishers to put quality content into their passes over fluff.

Tiger: Thanks everyone for reading our first entry of TvR Tag Tournament and a special thanks to Eagle for taking the time out of his busy schedule to join us.

Eagle: Never too busy for you two, some of my favorite furry friends.

Rabbit: Aww! You’re our favorite feathered friend!

Tiger: That's it for us; see you all in two weeks-

Rabbit: Hold it right there! ^throws up hands^ You're forgetting something.

Tiger: And what's that?

Rabbit: This!

Are Season Passes Worth the Price?

Tiger      vs      Eagle      vs      Rabbit

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