(For clarity’s sake, know that the Y axis here represents millions of Korean won.)
I thought it would be worthwhile to embed this so we could revisit the numbers too. Apart from the 2012 launch, which one could argue was the height of the MMORPG genre as well as an exceptionally hyped and huge release, there are a few other notable peaks: most specifically, the quarters around retail expansions Heart of Thorns (2015) and Path of Fire (2017). While Path of Fire didn’t sell quite as well as Heart of Thorns did, it maintained significantly higher revenue for the year immediately afterward and has only in the last three quarters started to trend toward the lower numbers seen in the two years after HOT.
The Reddit thread has some hyperbole from folks saying the game is clearly in maintenance mode. It is clearly not in maintenance mode, with another full season (saga) on the way and what is very obviously renewed studio interest in supporting it, now that the other games it was working on are canceled. But the question of an expansion keeps coming up repeatedly, both because players want it and because the devs have now said they won’t rule it out. There’s a sense that an expansion is something a high-end, top-five MMORPG should be getting on a regular basis – World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV get them every other year, for example, while Elder Scrolls Online puts up a chapter and three DLC between its every birthday. Expansions generate hype, money, and more than anything, confidence the game belongs in that top tier and has a strong future in front of it.
But when confronted with the raw numbers, some folks in the community are arguing that maybe an expansion isn’t in the game’s best interests. Sure, it’s usually a solid spike for a quarter or two and several more quarters of solid numbers afterward, but if it costs a whole lot to actually build, is it actually worth it? If something relatively inexpensive – like another season or two – can hold numbers steady riding on a cash shop, should ArenaNet keep reinvesting in pricey new expansions?
What do you think? Is an expansion actually in the game’s financial interests? Should Guild Wars 2 focus on another expansion in the future?