Revive or Flatline?

Expansions are intended to reinvigorate games, but they are also what usually convinces me that I am done with an MMO.

When I am into a game, every new thing is exciting. Changes may or may not be good, but I am passionate about them. Revamping major systems is a learning opportunity, a whole new batch of Theory of Fun fun for a spade like me who is an Explorer of design and mechanics. Every set of patch notes is the seasonal menu at a fine restaurant, and an expansion is a smorgasbord of new content.

When I am not into a game, I can coast for a long time. Sometimes that is just downtime, waiting for something new to revive that spark after I have done all the things. Other times, it is a misguided sense of commitment and loyalty, not yet ready to admit that I am done. The current free to play trend lets one drag that out for a long time, logging in for a quick daily to keep a faint spark alive when a subscription fee could force an “is this worth it?” decision point.

An expansion forces that decision point on a grander scale. You need to buy something. Large mechanics are changing. The level cap is probably going up, and if not the population will still be moving to the new areas, so you must follow or be left behind.

And so I look at my emotional reaction. Do big changes inspire interest or dread? You have already made your decision, you just need to recognize it.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “Revive or Flatline?”

  1. My guild is now the diaspora: Marvel Heroes, Smash Bros, LoL, Smite, SWOTOR, GW1, etc. I’m going to focus on GW2 (since you tagged it) on my post.

    I really hope Heart of Thorns brings us all back together. Especially since HoT looks to have a lot of Guild focused content. I’m just sad the Expac pricing fiasco is over-shadowing the very cool stuff they showed and have expanded on since Tuesday. There’s an excellent interview with GT Reviews on youtube about Guild Halls, has some stuff they haven’t even talked about in the blogs yet:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsZfY8nAZzo

    My guildies went from automatic buys to now wondering if they’ll even bother with the expansion. I think ANET came out with the pricing too early. I’m probably going to buy HoT in the next week or so and hope they’ll follow suit. My brother is already in, a lot of the replay value for the original game came from playing together in Eye of the North dungeons (8-man teams), so I’m hoping they cover the high-level content and new Guild Group stuff soon, and it brings us all back together! The game is pretty boring when I’m solo in it. I miss those 1hr+ Frostmaw runs that we had so well memorized we spent the whole time chatting about all sorts of off-topic stuff. Good times.

  2. My guild and I managed to coast in GW2 for about a year. From the announcement of Ascended gear in November 2012, to the introduction of Ascended Armour in November 2013. (Or was it Weapons? Whatever required insane amounts of crafting grinding to make).

    So it is not just the outlay of cash that makes people reconsider. Large core changes to the game do as well, as they force to spend the alternate currency of time to assimilate the changes. Another recent example of this was the class revamp in LOTRO, many people left or took breaks instead of rebuilding, or even relearning, how to play their characters.

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