Posted in General

When an MMO patch — or expansion — isn’t for you

Patch Day or Expansion Day in an MMO can be one of those events that instantly makes a particular month more exciting. New content! New features! New realms to explore, classes to play, stuff to check out!

And while usually those days are thrilling, sometimes they’re… not. You know the ones of which I speak: the patches or expansions that simply don’t have much — if anything — for you personally. It’s a PvP patch, and you hate PvP. It’s a balance pass, but not for your class. It’s a whole beefy expansion, but it’s not really up your alley, so to speak.

Hashtag #firstworldgamingproblems and all that, but it’s not a fun feeling, is it? Because not only are you let down by the offerings, but now you’ve got a long wait until the next content release. If it’s a big enough bummer, it might drum you out of the game for the time being.

A good example of this in my life is World of Warcraft’s Dragonflight expansion. As with all expansion announcements, I was sitting there practically daring Blizzard to win me back. Instead, it’s as if the company did all sorts of detailed investigation into my likes and dislikes and came up with a feature roster that is dull as dirt to me. Dragon stories? Dragon people? A class that can only be played by dragons? Flying dragons? Dragony dragon dragons?

Apart from that dragon overdose, the only real attractive elements here are the typically beautiful zones and the return of talent trees. But neither of those are must-experience, thrill-a-minute additions in my book. And so I look at this and go, “What a waste! A whole expansion, and it’s not for me.”

I think that when we feel this way, we do understand that there’s a level of ego-centrism happening. Game development doesn’t have to revolve around just you or just me. I get that. But it’s also valid to have a reaction to a patch or expansion that repels rather than attracts you. Devs should be angling to please as much of its audience as possible, because it doesn’t help the long-term prospects of a game if you’re only appealing to 10% of players with a patch while leaving 90% out in the cold. “Spreading the love” is the phrase I like to use.

But even with that in mind, devs can’t please all of us all the time, and I get that. It’s regrettable when that disappointing patch day arrives, but hey, there will (probably) be another.

3 thoughts on “When an MMO patch — or expansion — isn’t for you

  1. Pretty sure dragons appeal to a lot more than 10% of a typical mmorpg audience. Ditto Elves, which of course you also loathe. Companies don’t keep stuffing their games with those things because most players hate them. Personally, I could use fewer of both too, but I’m not generally contributing much, if anything to the coffers so my opinion doesn’t count for much.

  2. I love dragons, so I’m hyped for the expansion, but I get it. Of all the WoW xpacs, I was least hyped for Legion and it ended up being awesome for me, so ya never know. On the flip side, I was quite hyped for Cataclysm back in the day and, well, it’s probably my least favorite expansion to date.

    I’m also happy that WoW is taking a break from the dour side. There seems to be a flavor of hope in their early stuff which gives me, er, hope it will be a brighter expansion (both literally–may we never see a Maw-like end game zone again!–and figuratively).

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