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MMOWTF: Expansions

Posted Nov 09, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMOWTF: Expansions

This week in his MMOWTF column, Staff Writer Dan Foriter tackles the subject of expansions to popular MMORPGs.

When it comes to releasing expansions to the original game there is little deviation from the standard “Pay us $39.99 for five more levels and a new race” offering. Throw in some more zones, PvE epic raids and a handful of new spells and you’ve got a package that no one could do without right? This week my baleful glare falls on the current system of expansions, their content, and their effects on the game as a whole. On with the show!

The whole idea of an expansion is centered around the evolution of the game along the path imagined by the developers. This general involves adding features and areas that were part of the original plan but were unable to be completed before release. To be clear, I don’t consider fixing broken features or incomplete game mechanics from previous incarnations to be new features. That sort of thing should be part of the normal patching process not thrown in as part of a paid add-on. The problems arise when the expansion becomes an end unto itself and not a means to move the game closer to the original vision. I’m not naive enough to think that money and subscription numbers aren’t prime motivations when it comes to expansion, but it would be nice to see a Dev team actually build on their existing game instead of piling random features and zones on top of each other like a stack of Tetris pieces on level 99. Props go out to EA/Mythic for pulling the plug on Trials of Atlantis code from test servers. It’s well past time to remove the legacy of the 3rd worst patch ever.

Read the whole column here.

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