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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why do games offer expansions? Are they necessary?

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  Bladestrom

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/04/11
Posts: 2734

3/15/13 4:03:11 PM#41
Agreed ^^ best expansions do this

rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW (9500 hrs on main mage)> oblivion > LOTR (480 Hunter) > Rift (230 hours mage) > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(850 elementalist)

Now playing GW2/vanilla wow

  Purutzil

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 2663

The Critical Hit Pretzel!

3/15/13 4:11:19 PM#42

Expansions are nessisary in terms of a developer getting profits off their content. That being said, a lot of expansions are far from being real 'expansions' as much as larger content patches. Adding 1 zone that gives a few more things to do is NOT an expansion. A good example of a good expansion would be looking at Rift which added a massive new area and a lot of extra content to the game to expand greatly on it. This really shows what a good expansion is. WoW (despite having terrible design choices in their latest expansions) has good sized expansions that do push out the value in terms of providing content that is meaningful and warrenting a price tag on the amount of content added.

 

Expansions to me add a lot of content and in ways can be used as a means to push a 'modified' system of play into the game given its mechanics might be changing in a large way, providing a good way to bridge in those changes while not forcing players to suddenly change the way they might 'gear up' so to speak in a scale that all their gear becomes 'wrong'.

 

So basically I view it combining the elements of a big amount of extra content while also changing up the way the game plays that would otherwise be disruptive to current game elements, thus often raising the level cap and 'trivializing' old content. Mind you, I'm not tooo huge on the latter part of that but in many cases it tends to be the easiest way to change how things work without massive revamps and possibly angering old players.

  Nifa

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 327

You can get more with a kind word & a 2x4 than you can with just a kind word

3/16/13 12:53:25 AM#43
Originally posted by Talinguard
Originally posted by birdycephon
Originally posted by Talinguard
Originally posted by birdycephon
Its a known fact that sequels usually do better than the original.

The first and most obvious question is:

Better in what sense?

 

My second question is:

What authority has established this fact?

 

Not that I agree or disagree....

Were the StarWars sequels better then the originals?  Anyone with a brain would probably say no, but they made more money, so I guess it depends on how you define success...

 

 

 

Of course money, its always about money. 

 That seems a silly way to look at it....

 

Here are the top 10 grossing films of all time, ajusted for inflation (I use film as MMORPG stats are hard to come by

   

1 Gone with the Wind  -$3,301,400,000 1939

2 Avatar  -$2,782,300,000 2009

3 Star Wars - $2,710,800,000 1977

4 Titanic - $2,413,800,000T 1997

5 The Sound of Music -$2,269,800,000 1965

6 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - $2,216,800,000 1982

7 The Ten Commandments - $2,098,600,000 1956

8 Doctor Zhivago - $1,988,600,000 1965

9 Jaws - $1,945,100,000 1975

10 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - $1,746,100,000 1937

 

While these are some good, some even great film, are these your 10 favorite?  Do you think these represent the best films ever made?

 

Here is a list of the 10 ten highest rated movies on IMDB-

 

 

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

12 Angry Men (1957)

The Dark Knight (2008)

Schindler's List (1993)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Fight Club (1999)

 

Strange....Not a single duplicate....

 

I'm not saying that finatial succes isn't important, after all, finatial failure means no game, but the best games are those that can balence great content with a great profit model.

 

Draw your on conclusions....

 

To be perfectly fair, of the films on the first list, Gone with the Wind was released in 1940 (and it is one of my favorite films, on my top ten list--which does not at all match the internet's top ten with the exception of Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy--which I coulnt as a single film), The Ten Commandments was released in 1956, Doctor Zhivago was released in 1965, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first shown in 1937/released in 1938 (Disney's first full-length feature release and the first full length cel animated film). All but two films on the second list were released in the past 40 years, most (exceptions being, of course, The Godfather films, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and 12 Angry Men) after the introduction of the internet.

Keep in mind, as well, that the 2003 version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was not filmed as a sequel. All three films were filmed as one continuous, single film over something like 18 months' time, then cut into 3 films in the editing room (thank God--who could sit through 14 hours in a theater?!), so it is not a true sequel.

And Talinguard, yes, Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as the best of the Star Wars films and it is, in fact, a sequel. ;)

Firebrand Art

"You are obviously confusing a mature rating with actual maturity." -Asherman

Maybe MMO is not your genre, go play Modern Warfare...or something you can be all twitchy...and rank up all night. This is seriously getting tired. -Ranyr

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

3/16/13 1:08:51 AM#44

"You should give me a high quality product endlesly, completely free of charge." -Customer

"Sure, why not?"  -Bankrupt/Indie Companies

"Um, that's not how this works..."  -Companies still in business

  Adamai

Novice Member

Joined: 4/06/10
Posts: 457

3/16/13 5:49:02 AM#45
ok dont take offence

noobs.. its a word used in game and now in real life to try identify the not so knowlegable on subject of the basic concepts. as for games and expabsions its really quut sinple.. they are rushed and not veey well thought out so a shoddy product ensues.. i know because all conpanies ive worked for in my life opperate in this exact same way.. its why there is such thngs as product recalls. its why wow was remade.. and its why games need patches and expansiibs... and its all because of greed.. developers have one thing in mind wheb they make a game!!! how much money they can get from their customers. thats how simple it is. games suck because developers are only interested in the money side of things.. its why all games look like wow, wow was a success a multi billion dollar investment that was sold well.. ofcourse developers want to copy that.. and thats the problem. GREED. if i ever had enough cash i would make a game for the players. not for money. it would be free too with no cash shop and players would love it so much. volunteers would run the game. non proffit organisation.


we will never see this.
  daltanious

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/19/08
Posts: 1567

3/16/13 6:10:22 AM#46
Originally posted by Talinguard

Keep in mind as you read this, I’m speaking of traditional pay-to-play MMORPG’s.  Also, keep in mind I’m not going 

.... more blah blah blah ....

  • deal with design issues....

Until more games develop innovative economies and endgames, virtually all games will follow this cycle, most ending in failure. 

Huh? You can not be serious. Your entire post is joke, right? For me it is impossible to understand in any other way. Maybe we should go even further your suggestions .... to have one single game in the world for all players with no expansions.

  Stromm

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/14/06
Posts: 250

3/16/13 6:37:43 AM#47
Originally posted by Talinguard

Keep in mind as you read this, I’m speaking of traditional pay-to-play MMORPG’s.  Also, keep in mind I’m not going to address the real world financial consequence, not to say these aspects aren’t  important, but for the sake of this post, I’d like to focus on how it affects the game from a player point-of-view.  This post is just my thoughts on the topic and curious if anyone wants to add anything or thinks my assesment is incorrect.

 

Adding items and content is done for several reasons.

  • Give players new places to grind
  • Distract players from poorly thought out end-games
  • Reinvigorate currency

 

Of all of those the last one is most important.  Think about it.  At the beginning of a game there are thousands of items that would offer your character improvement and you have very little currency to obtain these items.  Anything that can be done in game, is done more efficiently (read: easier) with more powerful items.  So items become a means to an end.

Six months or a year later give-or-take (in most games), if you're a "regular player", you have most of what you need/ want and you've managed to save a lot of items and money.....

Think about that....Let it sink in.  The more you play the more you money and items you have and the less you need what remains in the world, said another way, the overall demand for items falls, and supply of currency rises (the very definition of inflation).  Developers in turn are left with creating drains, which again, give value to in game currency.  This creates a very developer centric economy, insted of a player centric one.

 The point is not that every player acquires everything they want and don't need money anymore, the point is, that when you start out, on day one, if the sword is your weapon of choice, then there may be hundreds of swords that would offer you some improvement, but a year later, there may be just 2 or 3. 

Think about how that affects the game.....If you’re a PvE'er then there is less for you to accomplish.  Finding people to do the quests or grind the gear that you want becomes a lot more difficult.  PvP players, once they feel they have acquired the gear they need/ want look to combat with other players, but few have the stamina to kill players endlessly, day after day with little feeling of actually accomplishing anything other than acquiring "points" (which are little more than another form of currency used to buy stuff).  Games like Warhammer Online offered a fresh perspective, but trading the same keep back and forth 10 times a day, also gets lame. 

At the end of the day, creating new content is about:

  • -Adding new items and scenery, which ironically just dilutes the player population over a wider area....
  • Adding new more powerful items.  Which just puts people back to the grind, distracting them from a lack of end game.
  • Reinvigorates the games currency as each player will have a whole new menu of items to pick from and sell in player markets making items not only a means-to-an-end, but ends unto themselves.

In the end, expansions, in most games (Eve being an exception because of how its economy works) are just ways to deal with design issues....

Until more games develop innovative economies and endgames, virtually all games will follow this cycle, most ending in failure. 

Your assessment is incorrect, I could not disagree more.

Game currency is the least significant reason to produce an expansion. In the case of earlier games like Everquest it was actually a complete non-issue and even current games like WoW it is of no conseqence.

Your first and second points, new content and new items, are the primary motivations behind expansions.

Populations do not get diluted, they migrate to the new areas/content. In some cases this is a problem, leaving barren empty areas of obsolete content/itemisation, requiring band-aid solutions like accelerated XP, Cross Realm Zones, level downscaling, or out and out replacement with new more integrated content.

The item chase/grind is fundamental to these games, whether it be crafted gear, mob dropped, quest rewards or token based.

"... innovative economies and endgames ..."? Hehe classic. Please enlighten me, how does your economic theory address the issues relating to content consumption? You're not allowed to say new content, by definition that would be an expansion.

 

  Zeus.CM

Novice Member

Joined: 6/13/10
Posts: 1790

www.croatian-maniacs.com

3/16/13 6:46:21 AM#48

The question is why they don't add content little by little instead of making one large update and charge for it? Because, they need to make profit and charge players for their work. The problem is, players don't want to pay for small updates (that's actually P2P) but they would rather pay one huge update - expansion (that's B2P). Top quality MMO such as Gw2 for example will offer both free small updates and huge expansion every year or two for a box price. People, would argue that P2P is better because those small updates would have greater expectations than in B2P game because you pay for them each month through monthly fees.

The other point presented by the original poster is that if the end game is good enough why make expansions? Because, no mather how fun and awesome game is, it can become stale and boring after a long period of time. Players will demand new things, thats what mmos are all about. Evolving world. Otherwise, most mmos would die after a year or two without any updates.

Edit: I'll also add that there is a reason why any mmo population spikes up after an update.

  Talinguard

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 666

Player accomplishment is relative to the chance of meaningful consequences in the event you fail.

 
OP  3/16/13 3:49:04 PM#49
And Talinguard, yes, Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as the best of the Star Wars films and it is, in fact, a sequel. ;)

I think the movie thing has been beaten to death, but I would agree, sometimes sequels are best and there are few examples better then SW:ESB.

Good call.

Presentation for new MMORPG economics concept http://www.slideshare.net/talin/mmo-economics-concept-v-10

  Sephiroso

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/01/05
Posts: 1056

3/16/13 3:57:58 PM#50
Originally posted by Zeus.CM

The question is why they don't add content little by little instead of making one large update and charge for it? Because, they need to make profit and charge players for their work. The problem is, players don't want to pay for small updates (that's actually P2P) but they would rather pay one huge update - expansion (that's B2P). Top quality MMO such as Gw2 for example will offer both free small updates and huge expansion every year or two for a box price. People, would argue that P2P is better because those small updates would have greater expectations than in B2P game because you pay for them each month through monthly fees.

The other point presented by the original poster is that if the end game is good enough why make expansions? Because, no mather how fun and awesome game is, it can become stale and boring after a long period of time. Players will demand new things, thats what mmos are all about. Evolving world. Otherwise, most mmos would die after a year or two without any updates.

Edit: I'll also add that there is a reason why any mmo population spikes up after an update.

Thing is, they do. Having to restrain myself from pointing out something very common and simple that a child can see and understand it but i'll try.

 

Let's go with WoW just cause its the easiest example. This is the general cycle of WoW patches. Expansion comes out, new dungeons, new zones, new levels, new quests, etc. And 1-2 new raids, generally with some kind of raid lockout progression format to them. Little while down the line while you're still busy trying to gear up to tackle the raids(unless you're the best of the best) they release a content patch, NOT a new expansion, but a smaller content patch releasing more raids and dungeons and stuff for you to do, not a full on gigantic content patch but just new stuff to hold you over and maybe release another raid. Then comes the end of the expansion cycle where the end game tier raids for the expansion are released, and maybe even more content outside of raiding is released and then the wait for next expansion sets in.

 

So as you can see, games do add content little by little, while ALSO releasing those big major content expansions. It's the only logical thing for any mmo developer to do if they want to retain any semblance of an audience. The fact that this thread has reached 5 pages is stupid. The question proposed in the thread title is stupid. Tired of all the stupid people on this forum.


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  laokoko

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1845

3/16/13 4:05:12 PM#51

Quite simply the asnwer is money.

Company want to keep player interested by offereing newer conent so they don't quit.  Not only that, company get money from selling expansion too.

  Talinguard

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 666

Player accomplishment is relative to the chance of meaningful consequences in the event you fail.

 
OP  3/16/13 4:10:55 PM#52
Originally posted by Sephiroso

 Tired of all the stupid people on this forum.

Thank god we have you to point that out for us....

Presentation for new MMORPG economics concept http://www.slideshare.net/talin/mmo-economics-concept-v-10

  Talinguard

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 666

Player accomplishment is relative to the chance of meaningful consequences in the event you fail.

 
OP  3/16/13 5:10:19 PM#53
Originally posted by Stromm

Your assessment is incorrect, I could not disagree more.

Game currency is the least significant reason to produce an expansion. In the case of earlier games like Everquest it was actually a complete non-issue and even current games like WoW it is of no conseqence.

 

I think were in different chapters of the same book.  You, and quite a few other people here, partake in MMORPG economies and assume you understand how they work, if you think the economy is the least significant reason, then you don't know much about MMORPG economics.

I'm not suggesting that the in game economy is the only reason that companies expand their games, but I would say that at a level that most people are unaware of, it is extremely important.  Of corse, that statment is in direct proportion to how big a part of the game the player economy is.  In a games like WoW, the player economy has been made almost entirely insignificant as many of the items cannot be purchased with the default currency (like gold and its derivitives). 

 

The value of any currency, real world or game world is in some relation to the quanity of money and the value of goods in the economy that can be bought with it.

 

Real world economies are much, much different as there is an almost limitless number of things to buy the the reasons for buying ar a lot more varied.

 

In an MMORPG, Items are generally acuired for two reasons, they provide some utility in the game world that makes your charachter more efficient (meaning capable of doing something more difficult with the same amount of effort).  The other reason is for show.  Sometimes it's a combination of both.

 

Some items in most games can be purchased with money, thus if the demand for items falls, because players, over time, acquire most of the items they need, then the in-game currency loses value (as there is less things that players want to buy).  Why does the currency lose value.  Think about it, if as a player, the amount of items that I can purchase that are better then what I alerady have declines, but the amount of money I have stays the same or rises, then the result is that my perception is that my currency has less value, meaning that if an item comes along that I need, I will be willing to spend more to acquire it.  If this happens to a large enough portion of the population, we call it inflation, or hyper inflation, depending on the severity

Introducing new items, either through content patches or expansions, reinvigorates the currency.  This is because the amount of goods, relative to the amount of currency rises.  In other words I have more to buy so I will be willing to spend less on each.

 

My mistake, and something I didn't think about when I wrote the OP, is that many theme park games use expansions to continue stoylines, and in this case, it makes perfect sense, but in games with storylines, some of what I've suggested still takes place, but at at a level that most players are unaware of.

"... innovative economies and endgames ..."? Hehe classic. Please enlighten me, how does your economic theory address the issues relating to content consumption? You're not allowed to say new content, by definition that would be an expansion. 

New content is not an expansion in the sense that we have all come to know it.

 

Let me apoligize up front for how incredibly pompous this is going to come accross....

My solutions are pretty hard to grasp, and even if you you could grasp them, you'd have to be deeply interested in the subject if I were going to take the time to explain it to you or for me to pretend that you'd be genuinly interested.

 

I'll proof this later, wrote it in kind of a hurry....

Presentation for new MMORPG economics concept http://www.slideshare.net/talin/mmo-economics-concept-v-10

  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6352

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

3/16/13 5:30:49 PM#54

I can sum it up real simple.

Game developement is real bad and misleading.You NEVER get better as a player,yo unever really become more experienced,as a matter of fact,games tend to make you look less skilled.It is for the msot part just math equations,higher levels just insert bigger numbers,it stil ladds up tothe same thing.

Expansions have been really cheap content or carry gimmicks to get people to buy them.They take 4-5 years to make a complete game with engine and sell it for 60 bucks,then take 1 year or less and just make a few maps and trextures and sell the xpac for 30.They make a ton of money from those cheaply made xpacs.

They just have to make items with higher numbers and players are fooled.

I feel xpacs are sort of nice if offering new races and classes with new abilities and animations.Other than that ,most content shoudl be in the form of free updates.Sickening to think they discredit your 15 bucks a month but are willing to sel lyou the xpac for 30,they make way more money on the 15 a month.They can make xpansions at very low cost,so that extra 30 is liek getting 45 bucks a player for that month,it is like robbery.

If you had 1 million players at 45 bucks,do the math,it is a lot of money.Imagine Wow now at say even 10 million,that is 450 million in circualtion.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Napolianboo#p/u/15/rCYLLQCNc1w
Samoan Diamond

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