Category Archives: Expansion

The excitement of getting an expansion

MMO shelfIf you’re following Rift, you may have noticed that they’re handling their second expansion, Plane of Water, differently than they did the previous one or than what other MMO developers are usually doing: Instead of giving you everything at once, they are giving us the expansion piece by piece. The reason they stated is that they don’t want their players to wait until every last thing is done and release all features together, but instead, they want to give us the features when they’re ready. The first part was a new crafting profession, Dream Weaving, together with new dimensions. The profession mainly makes items for your dimensions and it can also craft the keys for the new dimensions. The second part was the PvP dimensions feature which got released with the last patch.

The next part will be the four new souls (something like “skill trees” for the non-Rift players) which we were told would arrive some time in May (but not late May!). I’m excited about that, because it means my warrior will get a healing soul and bookahnerk’s mage will get a tank soul. So, we can be an unconventional healer/tank duo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is really great to get those features as soon as they are done. I am slowly levelling up Dream Weaving and others are creating their first PvP dimensions. It gives us something to do and I have had those short moments of excitement when logging on after a patch knowing there will be something new in the game. But at the same time, I am not sure I really prefer it over the “traditional expansions”.

I still clearly and fondly remember my very first MMO expansion: World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. Bookahnerk, his cousin, a friend and I drove to a city nearby for a midnight sale that a shop was having. We went out for dinner first, then went to that store. They had us wait in front and at first, I felt a bit silly. World of Warcraft was my first MMO and here we were, in front of a store, at night in cold January 2007, waiting for them to open the doors, so we can buy an expansion and it would be very late until we got back home. The employees of the store actually walked along the line and handed out free hot beverages (coffee at 11pm – smart idea! :p).

While waiting there, we started talking with some people behind us. As is usual, we first checked who played which faction (For the Horde!), then we talked about which servers we played on, which classes were our mains and so on. At some point, I had a look behind us as I had not paid attention to the line and I was shocked: The line that hadn’t looked too long in the beginning had grown huge. I had not been able to see the end of it. All those people were there only for one expansion? After they opened the doors, I think it took us 20 minutes until we finally got to buy our expansions.

After that, we still had about a one hour drive back home. I installed the expansion, downloaded another patch and created my blood elf mage at which point I fell into bed. But to be honest, it had not been about playing in the night. It had been about going there, meeting other players, and doing something with friends. This is something that I miss with the digital expansions only. But while it is a nice memory, this post isn’t about digital or physical expansions. It’s about the lack of an “all at once” expansion (or, in ArenaNet’s case, developers considering not doing an expansion at all).

The next morning, I was ready to get into the expansion. Finally! I did not even know where to start: Blood elf starting area with my mage or should I rather take my main character to the expansion region? Or did I actually want to make a short trip to Alliance side and see what the Draenei were all about? Did I want to check out the new crafting profession? There were so many things I wanted to see and check out! I felt the magic again that I had last experienced when I had first set foot into World of Warcraft. The feeling that I always get when I explore a new MMO for the first time.

And this is the reason why I’m sad that we’re not having this with Rift (and maybe Guild Wars 2 as well). As nice as it is getting expansion content piece by piece and not having to wait, it also takes away this magic moment of feeling like the game is brand new again.

Lotro: Buy your housing chests before Helm’s Deep arrives!

lotro_packedUnfortunately, there aren’t many exciting news about housing changes on the horizon, if at all. The most important change at the moment is that the chests available in your personal house will get more expensive when the expansion hits in a few days on November 18. This only counts for housing chests that haven’t been bought yet!

Let me elaborate. At the moment, when you get a deluxe house, you can unlock two housing chests which can be used for storing items. The first costs 100 silver, the second one costs 500 silver. Each of those chests can hold up to 30 items which means that you get 60 slots for 600 silver.

When Helm’s Deep arrives on November 18, the chests will be changed to “storage slots”. If you already bought your chests, don’t worry, you will keep those 60 slots. If you haven’t bought them yet, you will have to pay 1 gold for the first 15 slots, 5 gold for the next 15 slots, 25 gold for 15 more and 125 gold for the last 15 slots to get to the current 60 slots. This means that instead of 600 silver, you will have to pay 156 gold!

Lotro Kinship HouseIf you were wondering whether to buy a house or not: Now is the time to go buy it! The good news is that they cleaned out the neighbourhoods and evicted inactive players a few weeks ago. There are lots of houses free now! I had abandoned my own one to move into a neighbourhood where bookahnerk has his tiny house, a friend has hers and bookahnerk’s and my private kinship (“Second Breakfast Club” – yeah, we made that kinship mainly because we wanted that name… and the kinship house) is right next to my new home. I was so happy when I saw that this perfect spot was available!

The good news about those changes is that with enough gold (and later, mithril coins) you can now get up to 120 storage slots in your house! It’ll cost you 156 gold (depends on whether you already have the first two chests or not) plus 400 mithril coins. You can buy 500 mithril coins for 4000 Turbine Points (that’d be 2 times 250 mithril coins for 2000 Turbine Points each which is the best value at 8 Turbine Points per mithril coin). Those numbers are all for deluxe houses. I’m not sure if the regular small houses will still keep their current chest limit of 30 slots.

Rift 3.0: Coming in bits and pieces?

Rift DroughtlandsI already wondered when we would hear more about the upcoming expansion for Rift. So far, we know that we will get the standard: increase of the level cap, new zone(s), new souls, among other things. All of which I am looking forward to. But I have not been able to find any time frame when that expansion should come out.

The warrior will get a healing soul. Then I (playing warrior as my main) would be capable of filling every role: tanking, melee damage, ranged damage, healing and support. No need for ever levelling another character…

Who am I kidding? ;) Of course, I want to switch between different playstyles. The warrior tank plays and feels very different to the cleric tank, for example. Same goes for the mage’s and the cleric’s healing. I’ve only experienced all of them at low levels, but I doubt the general feeling and playstyle is suddenly exactly the same at maximum level. ;)

But I digress. I just wanted to say that I want them to take my money now and give me the expansion – or just a date when they’ll release it! By the way, “the expansion” will actually be free but you’ll have to pay to unlock the new souls. I think that’s fair. If you’re not interested, don’t pay, but you’ll get everything else.

Rift_Level 41Trion Worlds released a “State of the Game” report today and I can’t help but think that it sounds a lot like ArenaNet’s philosophy with Guild Wars 2. They will apparently not release everything on one day but give us certain features over the course of the time it takes them to say “now the expansion is complete, you have received everything we have”. ArenaNet goes a bit further and says that they might never make an “expansion” at all and only give us new features, new zones, etc. once every few weeks. This could just be semantics then. Who knows… Either way, both say that they want to give us players new features piece by piece and not everything at once on the same day.

That’s not where the similarities end. Riftnation has a summary of the 2.5 content that’s coming out at the moment and it seems that they’ll give us more every week. It reminded me of ArenaNet’s biweekly releases that usually contain “living story” content. Unfortunately, my character in Rift is still too low level to experience any of the 2.5 content. She hit level 42 a few days ago and the new stuff is on Ember Isle which starts with level 50 or so.

Either way, I am excited and hope we’ll get see the first few new things soon!

Pandaren belong to WoW as much as orcs do!

As I’ve previously written here, I was sure that pandaren are a possibility in WoW because they are NOT forbidden in China.

So yesterday, Blizzard announced their next expansion Mists of Pandaria and that’s when the shit hit the fan… apparently. I’ve seen it, heard it, read it in so many places. How dare Blizzard turn an April Fool’s Day Joke into “reality” (in the game world, at least)? How dare they butcher their lore even further? And yes, while butchering of the lore has certainly happened, I don’t really see them doing it here.

Pandaren have been in Warcraft’s lore since Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (released 2003). Together with the nagas (a race nobody has complained about so far ^^), the pandaren made their entry. Granted, it was only one – the brewmaster. But he was there. And he brought beer! Why is there so much hatred for this poor little soul now?

A quick look at WoWWiki’s Pandaren page* led me to a link about the “Manual of Monsters”, “source book for Warcraft The Roleplaying Game” which was published in 2003. Said book already had pandaren in it and bits of their world and their culture have been known for years.

Now, dislike the addition of pandaren and their world as much as you like. Fair enough and all that. But get your facts straight! There’s no lore butchering because it is part of the Warcraft lore.

* An interesting read if you want to know what Pandaren are about – they’re originally from Kalimdor, by the way, as opposed to the orcs which stem from Draenor.

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.