How Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer is Almost Ruined by DLC

I recently played Mass Effect 3 with some friends and live streamed it to the Co-op Heroes TwitchTV channel. The decision to play multiplayer on Mass Effect 3 stemmed from a Twitter conversation in which we all realized we did, in fact, enjoy the game’s multiplayer mode. All three of us have taken a hiatus from the game, and we thought it would be fun to jump in for a night of sci-fi co-op adventure. What happened, embarrassingly, was roughly 30 minutes of us downloading 3-4 various downloadable content just to be able to play together.

A Black Eye on a Good Experience

How Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer is Almost Ruined by DLC

This screen is even more exciting when watching it live via TwitchTV.

Where Mass Effect 3 multiplayer fails is the requirement that we are synced completely.

When the DLC is in complete alignment, Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is a great co-op experience in which you survive waves of enemies with various mini-missions and have a chance to reach extraction. In order to achieve a better adoption rate for the multiplayer experience, the results of the single player campaign’s final mission did hinge on galactic readiness which could be increased by successfully completing multiplayer missions.

Perhaps streaming this event live only amplifies the problem, but requiring the three of us to try downloading different DLC just to be able to connect is disturbing and a poor example on how to handle multiplayer DLC. Multplayer DLC comes in three common categories: maps, characters, and add-ons. Maps give us more areas to play, characters give us the chance to play as someone else, and the add-ons can range from weapons, armor, skins, and more.

In the short term, requiring us to be synced isn’t the worst idea, and it’s quite possible that’s why I originally missed it. After Mass Effect 3 launched, the multiplayer was unexpectedly popular and it could be assumed since nearly all of the multiplayer DLC was free, at least the big ones, we should be able to sync easily.

The problem is if you’ve taken any sort of break from the game and come back you may find it very difficult to connect with friends, and finding games with people you don’t know could be troublesome as the game would have to search for players with the exact same configuration as you.

Preferred DLC Experience

Where other franchises excel is simply disabling the DLC that members of the party don’t have. This method ensures players aren’t forced to go through the gauntlet of the marketplace just to be able to connect. Whenever the game’s job is to connect multiple players together, it is important the process is painless. This is where I think games find feast or famine.

In the world of multiplayer and cooperative play, this is where I’d like to see DLC to find a home. The idea of downloadable content suggests it is optional. Keeping it optional for multiplayer gaming is where DLC belongs.

Discuss: How should multiplayer DLC be handled?

About this Hero

is Co-Founder and Editor in Chief for Co-op Heroes. He owned his first console when he was 4 years old. Since his first introduction with video games, Brandon believed in sharing all of his gaming experiences with his friends and family.

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  • Ken Stark

    I have to agree, I’ve run into this issue a couple of times myself and it was pretty annoying having to wait an hour or so for a friend to download all the content. While I wanted to be able to play all that extra stuff, I would have been fine to just jump in with what we had and get to the gaming.

  • GiffTor

    I agree entirely. There are plenty of multiplayer games out there that don’t require you to have the same DLC as the other players and it’s a big oversight by BioWare, although to be fair to them, I believe its their first foray into MP. Still, with being a part of EA, they should have been able to get some pointers. It also strikes me as slightly incongruous that we could have different weapon and character packs and still play together yet it was the maps that held us up.

  • Jesse Jones

    At the risk of sounding trollish, this article itself seems a little trollish. Sure it is slightly inconvenient to have to have all of the dlc packs to sync up and play with your friends, but they are free. Bioware offered easily over a gigabyte of add on content to the multiplayer at no additional cost to the player, save the time to download it. I find it more inconvenient, and obstructive to my gaming experience when I’m booted from a lobby due to the fact that i haven’t bought the maps every one is playing on in games such as call of duty and battlefield. All that being said, i wouldn’t call free giant updates a fail at all.

    • atch21

      Jesse, thanks for the feedback. Admittedly, I can see your point; however, I don’t attack the free updates. I don’t attack the game in general. I actually love the multiplayer. It’s the practice of requiring synchronization of content – free or not – which is not user friendly. I also agree that being booted because you don’t have the same is also counterproductive, and I would argue it’s much of the same vein of requirement.

      • random dude

        Is there anyway to play with people without the dlc, without having to delete it?

      • random dude

        And if we can’t, how do we delete the dlc? Using ps3 btw

      • atch21

        There isn’t a way without deleting it. That’s the struggle. The DLC is free, which is great, but you get stuck not being able to play with people that might not have downloaded it for whatever reason.

  • Alex

    oh right the multiplayer expansions are free i had forgotten that and since i got a multiplayer update automatically i thought i had all i needed, couldent there be like a heads upp theres new free downloadable expansions if you go to the marketplace. not at all pissed of anymore.

  • MassEffect115

    It never lets me join matches, it started doing this after I installed DLCs