The siren call of MMO expansions

Is there anything as predictably alluring as an MMO expansion announcement? Especially for a game that you’ve played extensively in the past? Oh boy, it’s like a siren’s call that beckons, drawing you in even though you’ve been through this pattern time and time again.

I love it. I really do. Even if I don’t end up playing an MMO when its expansion releases, I get a jolt out of seeing it happen. There’s so much excitement around them — the thrill of new content and big features, the option of rolling up new classes or races, and the fun of seeing everyone talking about that game and coming back to it for a while at least.

This year is already shaping up to host several big expansions. We have ESO: Elsewyr and FFXIV: Shadowbringers for this summer, then LOTRO: Minas Morgul and SWTOR: Onslaught this fall, plus a DDO expansion, the typical EQ expansions, and probably a few more besides. The only game that should be pumping one out that isn’t is Guild Wars 2, and that is a shame, because it really could use the kick in the pants that an xpack would give it.

Looking ahead at the rest of 2019, these expansions are going to exert different levels of gravity upon my playing patterns. DDO is an anomaly in that I’ll have the expansion but will only get around to it when I get around to it. But the thought of rolling up a Necromancer in ESO has me giddy — especially if they can pull off a fun class to play for once — and it’s hard to ignore all of the exuberance around FFXIV. Very few MMOs are still in the “phenomenon” range, but this one is, and it’s natural to want to be a part of that.

Obviously, I’ll be playing LOTRO, but SWTOR is a huge question mark for me. I petered out somewhere in the middle of the Knights expansions and haven’t resumed that journey since, and I’m of a divided mind on whether or not Onslaught is offering enough to justify not only a return but also a subscription. There’s a lot that I like about SWTOR and plenty of content that I’ve never seen (which holds a lot of appeal), but it’s been less sticky over the past half-decade than it used to be and I’m not that keen to toss in another subscription right now. But this fall, depending on how the year is going and if I’ve been desperate or disappointed? That might change indeed.

2 thoughts on “The siren call of MMO expansions

  1. bhagpuss May 3, 2019 / 9:56 am

    Is ArenaNet the only developer in a position to produce full-scale expansions for its flagship game that specifically and deliberately resists doing so? Your list above suggests, correctly, that just about any MMO that can produce expansions pops them out as regularly as either they’re able to finish them or they think their audience will pay for them (or come back to play them if they’re free).

    GW2 is apparently doing ok financially using the slow drip-feed content method they’ve chosen, shored up by increasingly blatant cash shop promotions, but it’s very hard to believe they wouldn’t be doing better than that if they were committed to at least a solid bi-annual expansion schedule. I’ve finally reached the point where it’s going to take an expansion to get me back to playing regularly. A Living Story chapter might get a few days of interest – a good expansion gets months at least.

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