MMOs That Badly Need Expansions
I’m a big believer in expansions for MMOs. Whilst free patch content is always nice and more than welcome, I accept that it has its limitations and that we can’t expect to get bundles of new stuff – new classes, races, game mechanics, locations and level cap increase – for frees (well, not unless you play EVE anyway). Perhaps most importantly though, expansions also help re-ignite MMOs, gaining positive attention and drawing in new players, helping them grow. There’s a reason why games like Everquest and Everquest 2 have survived for so long and kept me personally interested for years. I also wholeheartedly think that it the continuous and reliable release of solid expansions that stopped EQ2 from slipping off the face of the planet. But that’s another blog post.
World of Warcraft
Over seven years old and with only three expansions under its belt, Mists of Pandaria can’t come soon enough, in my opinion. Sure, most of us hate the idea of playable Pandas but I’ll take that over playable nothing any day of the week. Why the most popular and successful MMO on the planet can’t release more regular content (and no, I don’t include new PvP armour set to be earned by grinding honour in the same old battlegrounds, over and over again, new content) and expansions, I’ll never know. By the time Everquest was the same age as WoW, it had 12 expansions under its belt… and that’s with a vastly smaller income. Begs the question what exactly is Blizzard spending all its money on?
Perhaps a little unfair to include RIFT in this round-up as the amount of content Trion has been pumping out since release has been incredible so lets call this more of my own impatient desire rather than anything else. I’d love to see a RIFT expansion, the sooner the better, especially one that expanded their meager race selection and low level starting areas. Likewise, some new souls would be a lot of fun and perfectly in keeping with the game world and design.
If anything signals the imminent death of Warhammer Online it has to be the fact that there hasn’t even been a single murmur ofn aexpansion since its release three and half years ago. And, to be perfectly honest, with the upcoming release of the butchered Wrath of the Ancients standalone game, I doubt we’ll ever see one. Shame really ’cause I think an expansion could’ve really helped WAR out of its slow, spiralling death.
Age of Conan
I must admit, I have a real soft spot for Age of Conan and whilst the Rise of the Godslayer expansion was a lot of fun, it wasn’t enough. AoC had such a great foundation and oozed such wonderful character that I can’t but think if Funcom had managed to follow up with a yearly supply of expansions, we’d be looking at a whole different game now – certainly one that’s a lot more popular.
Star Trek: Online
If there’s anything that would get me to try out STO again it would an expansion involving the Dominion. And a galactic time-warp back to the TNG/DS9 era.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Ah, Vanguard. Remember Vanguard? The game that you think came out in 2001 but actually only came out in 2007? Three years after WoW? It had so much promise but dramatically failed to deliver, effectively sealing the fate of any new grandiose, ambitious, free-form fantasy MMOs forever more. A classic example of shutting down and putting a game on life-support, I always wished SOE would’ve pumped some more cash into the game and continued to push it. Even now an expansion would give me cause to try it out again.
So there you have my thoughts on MMOs that could really do with expansion right about now and, funnily enough, they form a large chunk of the games that are out at the moment. Isn’t that kinda weird? I never understood why so many MMOs, particularly those in the past three or fours years, developed the tendency to cut back and turtle when their player base droped rather than keep pushing through with good content updates and expansion releases. Solid content and the resulting PR and returning player revenue makes it seem like a no brainer to me. It’s a strategy that’s worked wonders for EVE. Perhaps now it’s just too easy to give up, switch to free-to-play and force expensive novelty items down our throats instead?
Maybe I should’ve entitled this article “where did all of the expansions go?”.