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the Lonely Alter

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#31 The Casino Content Model

Posted by Tierless Monday July 15 2013 at 4:40PM
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So my CU brethren, what do we prefer? Less frequent large expansions every 6 months to a year (or longer), or more frequent content additions every month or 3?

In the old days I spent months obsessing about what gems massive expansions would bring, but in reflection it appears most of the time what they brought was too much of a “good thing”. They changed the game too much, too fast, and they sent it into a downward spiral, don’t believe me? TOA? NGE? Trammel? Must I go on? Change is something everyone says they want, right up until you give it to them...Then again it’s not entirely our fault, I mean, change is only good when it’s good change right? I can’t say any of those X-packs were considered good now or then (although they may have been considered a good idea at the time ;).

On the other hand we have the energizer bunny of the genre, GW2. A-net seemingly has a small army of code gnomes that work around the clock pumping out content for GW2 every 2 weeks! I assume they require little to no sleep and are rewarded with bread and water every time they finish new content...

A-net might not be able to out spend ya, but they will outrun ya. They are setting an incredible pace aren’t they? This approach is simply genius for a FTP. It’s better to keep FTP players in YOUR FPT game by continuously giving them new stuff to do rather than relying on the hope that they come back in 6 months to a year for a “big” expansion. I say “big” because I have to lol at what is considered “big” nowadays (really Blizz, 5 levels isn’t an Xpac, it’s an afternoon).

It’s smart, hard to compete with, and works in favor of their pay model. Keep players in, keep them paying, like a Vegas Casino (give em free drinks, keep em playin). Don’t EVER let them leave because if they do they might spend all their cash elsewhere and never come back to spend with you.

The quality of the content can be debated, but personally I like the idea of more frequent smaller updates much better than expansions that have the potential to ruin my game. Mess up a little update, no problem, fix it. Drop an X-pack like NGE and your game has been so bastardized that it’s forever altered. Undoable, unsaveable.

Speaking of SWG, like many things in the genre SWG might have invented the mini patch model (strictly by accident). SWG launched with so much missing and unfinished content that for the first few months or even years of the game the players got to look forward to the gradual expansion of the missing features as they were finished and patched in.

We got to start out with crafters having very basic items then over time the technology got better. Original movement was running, then came mounts, then speeders, then swoops, then multi seat swoops, then space travel! Every new patch shook up the game (mainly due to it being untested or unpolished). It was frustrating, but it was also exciting! If you left and came back you might miss something! It might take you weeks to figure out the new FOTM, to get the right gear, to do the right spec, to catch up with what you missed!

Giant X-packs cost a lot, they take forever (stagnate the game), and they seldom live up the the hype. They seem to either change the game too much too quickly and “break” it or they do too little and players rage about paying for 5 levels... Frequent updates keep the game feeling alive, keep us excited to play, cost less, take less time, and are rarely game breaking (and if they are you can easily undo them). The risk vs reward (aka boon vs bane ;) of big vs small content updates alone should drive devs to avoid massive Xpacks like the plague!

Who would ever want to deal with one of those big nasty things?

They scare me o.O

For the player I guess it all comes down to personal preference. Do you like having a small piece of chocolate every day, or an entire candy bar once a week? I like my MMOs like my chocolate, in a constantly refreshing drip of sugar addicted goodness that keeps me juiced into the MMO of my choice! writes:
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