The Daily Grind: What components make up an attractive MMO expansion?

    
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The Daily Grind: What components make up an attractive MMO expansion?
When Star Trek Online announced its Deep Space Nine-themed Victory is Life expansion last week, Eliot and I were briefly talking about its potential appeal and whether or not we would be going back to this game that we have both frequented over the years. The verdict was a bit of a toss-up, but who knows? I love me some DS9 and keep finding my way back to STO despite having burned out on it numerous times in the past.

With all of the expansion announcements as of late, I’ve been thinking about that initial reaction we have to each of their feature lists. Past the flash and glamour of the trailer and PR hype is a laundry list of what’s going to be added to the game. And it’s here, I feel, that MMO players find themselves quickly evaluating whether or not this is attractive to them.

What components make up an attractive MMO expansion? Is it word of a new class or race? Some exciting feature you’ve never seen before? A trip to a region that you’ve been dying to see? Or something else?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Tithian

Is it free? AKA the STO model? Then I just want

  • a continuation of the story,
  • a few new instances/dungeons/whatever,
  • maybe a new game system sprinkled in.
  • But I’m not fussed, it’s just a ton of free content. Anything on top of that (new classes etc.) is just bonus.

    Am I paying for it? Then hold on to your socks, be cause if it doesn’t have:

  • New zones,
  • either a new class or new races,
  • tons of new story/solo content,
  • level cap increase (or the equivalent in horizontal progression games),
  • new systems,
  • class re-balancing,
  • ~8-10 new dungeons,
  • ~2-3 new raids,
  • tons of new gear,
  • new collectibles (pets/mounts/vanity stuff)
  • I will consider it a rip-off.

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    Fred Douglas

    New classes. Too few MMO expansions do this anymore. Experiencing the new PvE content and revisiting old content with a new class is my favorite part of expansions.

    Veldara
    Reader
    Veldara

    The pve content is what really gets me going, new playable areas to explore is what I look most forward to.

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    Toy Clown

    I’ve been around the MMO block more times than I can count over the past 18 years or so, and nothing gets me more excited for new expansions than out-right fluff does. I don’t mean some splashy outfit or mount that comes with an overpriced collector’s edition; I’m talking addition of wardrobe, housing or anything that gives me more hands on with storytelling myself. I like having the tools handed to me for that.

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    Utakata

    Pretty much everything said here…with the amendment for more PvE focused content and the addition of pigtail sliders. <3

    Reader
    Loopy

    Interesting stories. The older i get, the more i view video games as interactive adventures as opposed to time killers / competitive outlets. And adventures need intriguing stories to get players excited about spending time in the game.

    I am getting super tired of MMOs spewing generic fantasy stories with big bad evil monsters threatening destruction of (generic_world). In my opinion, ESO excels at story telling especially on an individual level, whereas games like WoW keep coming up with predictable narrative. More good storytelling please.

    Reader
    Does not check email

    Something old updated
    Something new
    Something that can explode

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    Anstalt

    I think I have three kinda basic things I look for in an expansion:

    1) Content – I need to know that the expansion will have enough content to keep me occupied for months. That means the content can’t just be 1-shot leveling content, that holds no interest to me. I need new dungeons, new raids, new pvp areas/arenas. Content that will be engaging over a long period of time. If the game uses vertical progression (as they all do…) this means the expansion must have more endgame content than the existing game, something they always fail to achieve.

    2) Class Progression – by the time an expansion hits, I will know my class inside out. An expansion should keep me in the same role, but somehow progress what I can do. It should be a learning opportunity, a chance to re-engage with my class from a mechanics point of view. This can be achieved through new skills, or expanding trait trees, or re-engineering the way stats work, or whatever else the devs think would work. However, if you’re adding new skills, it can’t just be skill bloat (i.e. adding to your rotation), the skills should have a valid purpose.

    3) New System(s) – this is where they get to build excitement with me. The first two are about taking the existing game and making it bigger and better, probably enough to keep me interested but not particularly exciting. A new system is about actually expanding what the game can do, adding more options for how I spend my time. It might be adding housing, or a music system, or something like skirmishes and mounted combat from lotro. It might be adding battlegrounds/arenas if the game didn’t have it already. I don’t even really care whether it’s successful or not, as (1) and (2) will provide me with enough to keep playing. But, I need to see that the developers are trying, that they genuinely want the game to expand and succeed. I want choices in how I play the game, I want options for different playstyles so that the community can continue to grow stronger.

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    Reht

    While new systems and quality of life improvements are great, new progressions/content is king for me – need a reason to keep playing; being stuck doing the same content for more than a year or so with nothing left to do is about the breaking point before i quit a game.

    Veldan
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    Patreon Donor
    Veldan

    Systems, rather than content. Content will be played through and people will be bored again. Systems (can) improve the whole game and can increase its longevity a lot.

    Reader
    Loopy

    Or potentially alter the game significantly, alienating loyal players. Systems changes are a double-edged sword.

    Veldan
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    Patreon Donor
    Veldan

    They don’t have to be changes in what’s there (though some iterations over time aren’t a bad thing), they can simply be additions