MMORPGs and their expansions

Recently, there’s been a lot of diversity regarding Lotro’s upcoming expansion “Rise of Isengard”. I’m not even going into the pricing “issue” now. But I’ve seen a lot of people argue about “there’s not enough content to call it an expansion” and the other side that says “all I want is in there, so there is enough content”.

I’m curious to hear more opinions and on more general terms (e.g. not necessarily bound to one single MMORPG). What do you want, as a minimum, in an expansion? I know MMORPGs differ, so opinions may also differ here… but still. Or back to Lotro: Are you happy with the upcoming expansion from what we know so far? What else would you want to have to make you happy/happier?

Or, to theorise further: Think about Guild Wars 2. What do you think will be in future expansions or how do you imagine your ‘dream expansion’ here? – Yes, I know, the game’s not even released yet. But we’re playing with our thoughts here anyway, so why not go even further? ;) Would you want extra levels in Guild Wars 2? Would you maybe have loved extra levels in Guild Wars already?

For me, I want more than “more of the same”. Yes, slapping extra levels on top together with new quests and new regions is nice (unless it is Guild Wars. Then please only new regions but no more levels – which is the way they went, fortunately ^^). So I’d put that as an absolute minimum for me. But then it’d be a minimal expansion and I’d only be minimally happy. ;) What I want to be happy and a satisfied customer, is something new and fresh. Something that wasn’t in the game before. For example, a new class, a new profession or a new feature (thinking about the heroes in Guild Wars that were added and can be customized while the NPCs cannot). In Lotro, I’m still dreaming about a) overhauls of existing things (housing redesign, for example), b) something new to play with (more hobbies than just fishing, new professions in general, a new class maybe) and c) “more of the same”: new regions with new quests. Maybe not necessarily on top with more levels. Going broader would be nice as well (for example, alternative regions to level and quest instead of Moria).

In GW2, I’m not sure about more levels. For that, I’d have to see the system first. I can imagine that introducing new playable races wouldn’t be too difficult (compared to Lotro where you have a predefined world that Tolkien created, so you can’t just invent new races), new classes like they’ve done in Guild Wars already or adding housing to the home instance. Plus new (old) regions like making Cantha accessible again.

6 thoughts on “MMORPGs and their expansions

  1. ArcherAvatar says:

    Keeping to just general terms here… I’m not a big fan of “vertical” expansions, so adding more levels to existing classes is the least important thing in an expansion as far as I’m concerned. I prefer “horizontal” expansions where significant NEW content is provided in some form or another.

    Although new classes, or new abilities for existing classes are nice if they are included in an expansion, what really sells me on an expansion is new territory. Realestate! Give me some new lands to explore, with some new and different styles of critters to encounter and I’m very happy.
    (It should be noted; I definitely fall on the explorer end of the bartles gamer scale so my answer is not exactly surprising.)

    I’ve seen quite a few examples of games actually fouling up the class balance or introducing other similar issues when they raise the level cap, or introduce new classes or abilities in an expansion. If the original classes were good enough to launch the game with then I feel you should stick with those, and likewise, I would prefer to be presented with new and interesting areas and scenarios to challenge my characters with, rather than immediately switching back into “leveling up” mode when and expansion comes out. If I want to “level up” again I’d prefer to just roll an alt character… now if you want to give me some new areas to explore with that alt, then great, but just having further to go (in terms of levels to reach cap) with nearly the same areas to do it with is a complete fail in my opinion.

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    • paeroka says:

      I am usually an altoholic (not so much in Lotro because I still haven’t warmed up with the way combat feels there), so I like levelling and having that “ding”-achievement of reaching another level. I’d be happy if it was level 20 all over like it is in Guild Wars. Even with no additional meaning at all. ;) But yes, I do expect new areas and new regions to explore on top of that and not just slapping “more of the same” in terms of regions and quests on it.

      I’m more the person who likes to craft stuff and build things and sell those things in the auction house and/or decorate her house with it. In other words: I’m the kind of player that’s usually not cared about much in MMOs anymore. ;) So having more professions to choose from or having more options to decorate my house would be great. I don’t really get why everything that’s often added is all about combat and fighting (raids, quests that require you to kill mobs,…).

      Judging from your response, I guess Guild Wars did some things right then. At least, I really loved how different the regions were in all three campaigns (and the addon although we get to see a few different regions there). :)

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    • bookahnerk says:

      Well said and I can’t do much but agree.

      I love the freedom to explore whatever region I want and when I feel capable to deal with the inhabiting creatures. Often when I think about a time without lots of boundaries mental images of my adventures in Ultima Online and its added landmasses come to my mind. As an example my cousin and I will never forget the day i was fascinated by a black horse aka nightmare and my ranting after dying and looking for a healer. Yes, they were powerful and I was by far not prepared for its attacks, including its spells.^^ It took some months but after that I was familiar with most of the new land, the abilities the inhabitants were able to use and such a beautifull nightmare was mine and carried me through many troubles. ;) All in all I have to say those were some awesome months of unpredictable evenings and exploration for an addon, compared to the ones I traveled the last decade in other games.

      What I’d love aside from the things you listed would be a new orientation towards using the massive amount of computing power the servers nowadays have to get away from themepark and scripting to a more living world with an adapting and changable environment and at least sometimes improvising and learning encounters. Ok, now I got carried away to a more general discussion about Games/MMOs theses days.

      For me there are only two reasons for character levels in general left. To let people notice their progression in a very simple way and feel good or powerful about that or used as a kind of gating to let players develop through a predefined path in events, story or chronology the developer had in mind.

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  2. Ursula Wolf (@AngerinaGW2) says:

    I loved to play at level cap in WoW during Classic and Burning Crusade: You ghad so much to explore so many dungeons and raids were coming in one by one. I loved it. Adding more content is in my opinion better than just adding more levels, so the “old” content will be lost since no one cares about it once you leveled higher.

    I’m hoping for something like hobbies in GW2, too, since I loved fishing in any game!

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    • paeroka says:

      That’s what I like about Lotro. They’ve started scaling some instances, so you can play them at the higher levels. Would have loved to see that with Scarlet Monastery or Wailing Caverns.

      There will be those activities/mini games in GW2. So hopefully, there’ll be something like fishing. Haven’t done much in Lotro but I absolutely loved fishing in WoW. Spent most of my time in the Barrens fishing up Deviate fish while listening to those ‘jungle sounds’ (that was back in classic where earning 50 silver per fish in the AH meant that I was rich fast! ;) ).

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    • ArcherAvatar says:

      I do fondly remember fishing in Stranglethorn Vale… I stopped playing after WotLK was released, and agree with you completely about CLassic and BC WoW… it was great fun exploring that world.

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