While I am looking forward to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the inclusion of an online pass seems highly suspect. Mostly because the game is not an online game, but a single player game. This online pass is the fully realized form of what we always feared DLC would become; content from the game that is excluded less for its merit and more so it can simply be sold later as DLC. In this case, the online pass grants access to seven additional quests for one of the games many factions. Both the game’s publisher EA and its developer 38 Studios have jumped in to clarify matters before things get even more out of hand.
On the Kingdoms of Amalur forums, 38 Studios’ Community Manager made a post explaining what was up with the online pass.
We wanted to post a quick clarification for something we’ve seen a few comments about. For what it’s worth, the House of Valor content was not in the finished game/disc at one point, then removed. It isn’t there and we’re locking you out of it. The House of Valor was created as stand-alone content, and was always intended to be the first DLC. Instead of holding onto it and charging for it later, we opted to give it to everyone who purchases the game new, for free, on launch day.
Similarly, EA contacted Joystiq to further inform them that the content was intended to be a gift to new purchasers, similar to how they gave the Strike at Karkand DLC free to people who purchased the initial run of Battlefield 3. I think a lot of the problems here could have been avoided by not calling this an online pass. Just call it a gift of later DLC to early adopters. People will still complain, but at least this way it wont have the stigma of the almost universally despised online-pass behind it.