Remembering The Worst DLC of All Time

DLC is a contentious issue in the gaming community. Understandably so. You mean to tell me you expect me to buy an unfinished game for $60 and then pay an extra $20 for the final product? And though some studios manage to pull it off, we’d like to take a moment to remember the most catastrophic of failures, the worst DLC of all time.

Just over ten years ago, the almighty, infallible Bethesda defined bad DLC when they charged two dollars and fifty cents for horse armor.

DLC was still uncharted territory in 2006 when Elder Scrolls Oblivion was all the rage and players and publishers alike were still figuring out what worked and what didn’t. Then came Oblivion‘s Horse Armor DLC, blazing a trail of badness game studios would strive to top for years to come.

Players could spend $2.50 worth of Xbox Live points to deliver decorative armor for their mount to an NPC in virtual Tamriel. The first set was free, subsequent sets cost 500 in-game gold.

Bethesda quickly discovered that people did not think $2.50 was a fair price for a cosmetic item that no one else but the player could enjoy. Were it an online game, it could have been easy to pass it off as a sign of prestige. But for an offline game like Oblivion, who cares?

Bethesda marketing and PR VP was on top of the situation, issuing a statement the day after Horse Armor’s release (via Engadget).

“We tried to find a spot for [the download] that fit with what other things were out there. A Theme costs 150 points. The Kameo thing was 200. We’re trying to find the right spot that fits… We’re not even a day into this right now. We’ve got a couple more [downloads] we’re working on finishing… We want to put some different things out there and find out what folks want and what they don’t want. These are optional things, not requirements, so if you don’t want to get them you don’t have to.”

The lesson Horse Armor provides is a simple one: some DLC is dumb and overpriced.

Three years after its release Bethesda celebrated April Fool’s Day with a special sale on Xbox 360 downloadable Oblivion content. Everything was half-off except for one thing. They bumped the price of Horse Armor to $5.00.

In our opinion, Oblivion‘s Horse Armor is the worst DLC of all time. What would you consider to be the worst downloadable content of all time?

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