I’ve mentioned Mordheim: City of the Damned here before, and I want to mention it again today because the game just received its latest piece of DLC, the Undead warband. From just two battles, I can say I already love the Undead, minus the camera shake when zombies move (god I hope that gets fixed asap). The art style is great, the units feel new in terms of gameplay style, and there is a real sense of separation from the very powerful leader (Vampire) and the lowest-tier throwaway zombies.
The best thing about a new warband in Mordheim is that not only do you have a new bunch of units to play as, you also get a new warband to face in combat, and because warbands can have different unit compositions, that’s a lot more variety to the game. It also means you get a slightly different experience on the current maps, as the undead as a whole don’t exactly follow the movement and strategy of other warbands (generally slower, and less of a range focus).
The DLC is also a good reminder of how much better gaming is today than in the past. In the past, prior to DLC, perhaps something like this gets released for free (assuming we are talking internet-era gaming, if we are talking older than that, once a game shipped that was usually it, period), or maybe this and other stuff is part of one large expansion that takes far longer to develop. Today developers can stick with a game for a long time after release and still get rewarded for it (DLC money), while the players continue to have a game they like get better and better.
It also allows for games to start small, see if there is an audience for it, and then grow if enough people support the project. Mordheim started in early access, with four warbands and far more limited features. It now has six warbands, is feature-rich, and going strong. Good stuff.
In case of Mordheim specifically, ‘the past’ would be Games Workshop releasing a couple of new box sets and a bunch of individual models for the tabletop version of the game. Not as a part of a new edition, and *certainly* not for free.
GW’s business model was all about ‘DLC money’ long before the internet.