MMO expansions

Kaylriene and Wilhelm and Bhagpuss wrote about expansions and I wanted to comment on the weekend and forgot. Then I typed a response to Bhagpuss and because it reached epic dimensions (for an answer) I decided to put it here instead.
Hm, I’ve long thought about this topic over the years and I don’t have a definitive opinion.
Back when I was playing WoW as my main (only one with real invested time) I was kinda looking forward to the expansions, but often already a bit wary because they would always change something for the worse. But ok, this could also happen in a major patch, or the new raid tier could be not as fun as the last one – I was hardly ever so fully progressed that I had seen and beaten all the content. I always had the goal to play all alts to max level, etc. (That’s an especially big one.)
But then I started playing other MMOs and I’m not really sure so much changed for me. Sure, I’m coming back to WoW only to check out the latest expansion (since 2014…) and haven’t stayed longer than 3 months since, but still. To me it always feels a little “moving the goal posts” and before I reach the goals I set for myself.. there’s a new expansion and the cycle begins. I am in no way teased by new shinies and I always hated the gear grind (apart from making the stuff I couldn’t do a little easier over time) – but just getting new stuff is zero motivation to me. I wanted to beat the bosses and gear was a means to an end. So in this regard I hated every new raid tier and especially every new expansion where it was: level, attune, farm reps, get gear, etc.pp.
Now I was *really* happy in SWTOR because I came later and could catch up with gear, but then with the latest patch you can get newer and better gear – this has killed every urge to log in recently (but ok, I’ve also wanted to play more WoW and FFXIV…) But yeah, those people having played SWTOR for years have really deserved some new stuff, so it’s ok, really. It just killed some major incentive for me to log in and catch up, that’s life – I did reach a lot of those goals in SWTOR I set myself. And without goals and achievements those games are quite a lot less fun for me.
Also I was always really happy when WoW was near the end of a patch cycle and I ran out of things to do, because then I had time to play other games for a month or three before the next expansion hits. Maybe I *am* a tad overenthusiastic about my main MMO – I don’t play it casually. I sink in every spare minute if there is stuff to do.
So… quite a bunch of words to go rambling in a totally wrong direction, given the three linked blog posts. Sure there are better and worse expansions, but my main problem is the cadence when they are hitting and if they are changing too much stuff. I wouldn’t be playing the game in the first place if it had a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed. Everything should always stay the same, get off my lawn, kids.
PS: Ranking of WoW expansions how I enjoyed them, for no particular reason: TBC > WotLK > MoP > Legion = Cata ~= BfA > WoD. Bit unsure yet where BfA stands.
Small update 2019-02-19: Telwyn also chimed in. Also a thing I totally missed talking about: “Vertical progression” expansions that are not moving the goal post (as I defined it), like in Guild Wars 2 or (apparently) EverQuest. I only experienced this in GW2 and I kinda liked it! I do love leveling, but it’s usually the first step in doing anything and a huge motivator, but sometimes not having to update the gear (that’s the step I hate the most) can be awesome. So I guess an expansion that does not increase the level cap once in a while can be a good idea.

4 thoughts on “MMO expansions”

  1. The way gear resets/extra levels makes doing older content easier is a huge plus for me. Every expansion comes with extra content that way, not just the new stuff but access to older stuff I hadn’t yet been able to finish – or maybe even see.
    The other extreme, being glad that you’ve gotten towards the end of the expansion cycle because it means you have a lot less to do in your MMO of choice, which in turn frees you up to go and play other MMOs is an odd one but you aren’t the first person to raise that as a benefit of long gaps between expansions. Personally, if I feel like playing another MMO I just go and play it (the only thing that stops me is if Mrs Bhagpuss is still playing the first one a lot) but I get that some people feel they can’t leave until they’re done. It hardly seems like a motivation for the developers to leave long gaps, though: presumably they would prefer people didn’t wander off to other games at all!

    1. Yeah, I’m kinda impartial to that. If devs decide they want to churn out expansions, that’s fine, I hold no grudge. But I had the most fun in those prolonged times where “I enjoy this expansion + I have a lot to do + it doesn’t end so quickly” was true 😛

  2. I rank them WotLK>MoP>TBC>Legion>the other three, though the top three are not a wide spread. That is more a ranking of how into each I was. And the bottom three aren’t all bad, but they just didn’t engage with me as much at the time, so I spent the least time playing them.

    1. I’ve long given up trying to review anything in an objective view. I liked Vanilla WoW and TBC made *everything* better. Realistically I think some of the later ones were better, but I had the most fun in the TBC and WotLK era.

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