Head Starts On Expansions?
A couple of days ago I received an email from SOE promoting the new Everquest 2 expansion, Sentinel’s Fate, which is due out in February. To be honest, I’m not that excited about the expansion because it’s just another top heavy add-on that increases the level cap and adds a bunch of new high-level content.
For some reason I’ve always been a bit against continual “vertical” expansion as I think it starts to water down the gaming experience. It doesn’t do anything to attract new players, only caters to the existing player base, makes it harder for new players to start out, and completely undermines all of the previous achievements everyone worked for. Yeah, I’m one of those guys who never bothered doing my epic weapon quest as I knew it would become obsolete in a few months (maybe I’m just a nihilist).
I’m also a firm believer in the whole life-cycle (levels 1 to cap) being equal parts of the gaming experience and I don’t think of the leveling process as just a means-to-a-raiding-end. This is of course why I’m so excited about the Cataclysm expansion and what Blizzard are doing in renewing their entire gaming content in a more “horizontal” expansion.
Yep, I possibly just coined the terms “vertical” and “horizontal” expansions. Feel free to use them or shake your head at my ignorance and inform me that they’ve been around for years.
Anyway, all of this is digressing from my original point behind this article.
The Sentinel’s Fate email not only beat it’s chest about all of the new features the expansion would add but also promoted all of the goodies you get when purchasing it. One of the bonuses obtained with purchasing the retail edition is a 7-day head start over the digital version.
Huh? Why on Earth are SOE making the retail version of the expansion essentially a mandatory purchase over the digitial one? It’s seems utterly bizarre to me as, aside from the fact that almost every gamer I know prefers to purchase and download games over the web rather than via the shops or post, I thought companies made more money from digitial versions as they didn’t have to pay publishing fees.
Either way, it caught me a little off-guard. I can already see this idea causing conflict as the bigwig guilds try to take down new raid content before others have even been able to buy the expansion. Top it all off with the fact that European players can’t even purchase the retail version (as of yet) and thus won’t even be eligible for the head start at all.
All just seems rather… odd… to me. Or am I just making a mountain out of an expansion molehill? Thoughts?