Expansion Fatigue

Wilhelm asks:

This is the problem with expansions; they eventually stretch an MMO out to in crazy directions and, unless you keep up and never take a break, it is easy to feel left behind or to ask when enough is enough?

This is a factor that keeps me from going back to MMOs. When you log in and see three expansions’ worth of change, do you say, “Oh boy, it’s like a whole new game to learn!” or “Oh crap, it’s like a whole new game to learn!” The game you played before is gone, you need to relearn at least half your character’s skills and all the mechanics, every piece of loot you ever acquired is now vendor trash, and the population center is 20+ levels thataway. Welcome back!

What MMO does well in welcoming back players who have been gone for more than a year?

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Expansion Fatigue”

  1. I agree that for returning players expansion sprawl is a problem. On the other hand, though, for invested players who don’t stop playing between expansions, so is content drought.

    Personally I miss EQ’s six-monthly cadence. I was happiest when I could look forward to a new expansion twice a year and that was the prospect that stopped (or at least slowed) my tendency to game-hop.

  2. I would say Guild Wars 2 is the most welcoming. No gear creep. You can skip an entire expansion and still play. Even the build i played for the last two years will still get you through the newest expansion maps.

    Of course to get the optimal equipment for all classes and builds you will need to play both expansions. But at least all of the content is open to you. Nothing is gated behind some gear grind.

  3. You forgot the worst of all. Your bags are full of crap and you don’t know what you can throw away and what you have to keep.

    I think GW2 did it really well. Your gear isn’t useless, your profession isn’t completely changed. They even migrated the old talents as much as possible to the new ones in HoT. Your old “rotation” still works. You might be able to slightly optimized your char with some new items but you’re good to go from logging in.

    Of course, the fact that they completely turned the game upside down made me leave again after the first hour of HoT.

  4. “You forgot the worst of all. Your bags are full of crap and you don’t know what you can throw away and what you have to keep.”

    Me, every time I try to come back to LOTRO. Or EQ2. Or GW2.

    My usual response is to roll up a new character so I can start learning from the beginning again because every game, even GW2, looks bizarro world strange when you’ve been away for a year. But then that usually runs me straight into why I left in the first place.

    In the end, I find it easiest to return to WoW, but only because of the extensive third party sites. I go to Icy Veins and read up how to play my ret pally and off I go.

  5. I stopped playing WoW 3 months before the first expansion because I heard the gear I had been raiding to get for the previous 6 months would all be replaced in first week. I did play a single month 3 months after the expansion came out and verified this.

    GW2 I did not buy the first expansion and continued to play for several months after it came out. Was still max level and could play all but the new areas. Eventually I tired of the content but decided the expansion did not offer enough new.

    LotRO I have a lifetime account and bought the expansions up until the free to play conversion. After a few months in FtP I stopped playing but logged in regularly to get free stuff and ended up buying all expansions with the free lifetime monthly turbine points. For 4 years every time I thought about actively playing I quickly was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I would have to learn (points in skill tree, points in weapons, points in skirmishs, etc.) Last year I did finally spend the time to figure stuff out and played for 3 months.

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