Leaderboard: Are you onboard with the online gaming industry’s new take on sequels?

    
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Hold your breath and count to ten, fall apart, start again.

Overwatch 2 and Path of Exile 2 being announced in such close proximity, plus rumors of an Anthem reboot in the weeks and the re-announcement of Mortal Online 2, are starting to make for a trend – and I’m not entirely sure I’m happy about it.

MMO players are traditionally wary about sequels in our home genre. Sure, sometimes you see franchises like EverQuest and Final Fantasy where the original and sequel MMOs live in relative harmony. Then there are games like Guild Wars 2 and Defiance 2050, which all but crushed their predecessors. The caretaker’s care matters a lot here.

So the new school of sequels – these sequels that aren’t exactly a new game but also aren’t exactly just an expansion to the old game – might seem like a good way to keep parts of the old game (and your old time and money investment in them alive). That’s a good thing, right?

On the other hand, how convenient is it for these massive gaming companies that they get to effectively have their cake and eat it too? That they get to put out something kind of like an expansion but charge new-game money for it, while ensuring they retain far more of their original players and get all the hype of a big new game launch?

I don’t hate it, I suppose; I hate the cynicism of it. How about you? Are you onboard with the online gaming industry’s new take on sequels?

Are you onboard with the online gaming industry's new take on sequels?

  • I totally love it. (4%, 7 Votes)
  • I can see pros and cons, but the pros win out. (20%, 33 Votes)
  • I'm entirely on the fence. (10%, 17 Votes)
  • I can see pros and cons, but the cons win out. (18%, 29 Votes)
  • I super hate this. (14%, 23 Votes)
  • I actually don't care - just get us the games and content. (12%, 19 Votes)
  • I won't care until it actually starts affecting core MMORPGs. (5%, 9 Votes)
  • I have no idea what's going on. (6%, 10 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (4%, 6 Votes)
  • Elf butts / view tally without voting. (7%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 164

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Matt Comstock

My vote: I see pros and cons, but cons win out.

This vote is for what I’ve read Anthem developers have considered doing. Potentially, they will rework and fix the game, but require existing Anthem owners to buy the reworked and fixed game… If that happens, it is a gross error, and they will certainly not be seeing any money from me for it. They still need to deliver on what they promised in the original release, before they contemplate charging anything more.

Broader picture, I’m not against sequel mmos as long as the existing mmo is sufficiently aged and the existing platform cannot support what their plans are for new content and stories. Otherwise, they are better off with an expansion, as the sequel could split the playerbase, with some sticking to the old, others adventuring to the new, and ruining the massively aspect…

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elenie

Having been through this with TSW/SWL, I’m not a fan. In theory, making a “sequel” lets you start fresh and rework things while attracting new players – in practice it’s still very expensive/time consuming to make big changes.
So for SWL that meant a slightly but not fundamentally different experience while forcing everyone to start over and getting rid of some benefits for lifetime subscribers.
Not saying it can’t be done well (GGG, please set an example) but I prefer the expansion model overall.

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rosieposie

Isn’t this what the annual sports games have been doing for a long time while making tons and tons of money? It was just a matter of time because remember: the cancer always spreads.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

This was my thought exactly. “We put a 12 on the box”.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

I hate that they are titles that I couldn’t care less about. Asheron’s Call 3, Star Wars Galaxies 2, Horizons 2, Vanguard 2…if any of these were announced and were true iterations of their predecessors I’d be giddy as 20 year old self was when they were announced originally.

quark1020
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quark1020

Same here. Seems like all the games I’m not interested in, successful or not, get sequels while the ones I enjoy don’t.

I wonder what that says about our tastes.

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Hikari Kenzaki

When it comes down to it, it’s just cheesy marketing BS that got us into some of the problems we have with games today surrounding AlphaBetaEarlyAccessItDoesn’tMatterWhatYouCallItAnymore.

Rant about how we got here:
A software product has certain stages to it, yet we have allowed ourselves to be marketed products that are ‘earlier’ more and more. First, we had paid Betas and such, but that wasn’t ‘exclusive’ enough, so then it became Alphas and Early Access and the even more ludicrous Pre-Alpha.
Pre-Alpha software products shouldn’t be playable, by definition, they’re barely functional, if at all, but people sell them.
Gamers expect an Alpha to be mostly functional and ready to launch in a few months, but really, a software product in alpha state, by definition, is not feature-complete yet. But marketing has flipped this upside down by releasing feature-complete games that are riddled with bugs and calling them Alphas.
End Rant

So, this is another turning point. A software product is either patched or it has a new release. It is either expanded upon (expansion) or there is a new release (Sequel).

You would not call Office 2013: Service Pack 1 “Office 2014” because it’s not a new release. It’s an expansion. You don’t call the patch that came out last month Office 2019. It’s a patch to Office 2013.
Office 2016 and 2019/365 are sequels. They are new releases that aren’t necessarily compatible with 2013 and once you update to 2016 or 2019/365, you can’t really go back easily.

If an update is the original game plus some additional content (no matter how much additional content there maybe), then it has been expanded upon or patched. Expansion.
If you can go back and forth between original and new content with no effort by the user, it’s an Expansion.

An Expansion is an Expansion. A Sequel is a Sequel. Don’t let marketing convolute two easily defined and separate terms.

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Robert Mann

I can see pros and cons, the pros mostly win out… but perhaps the smartest thing a studio could do would be working the old into a new engine and an ability to maintain what was with what is new. That would likely mute a lot of the cons.

Engine upgrades on a live game are tough, converting everything to a new engine is still tough but slightly less… accident prone. I think a lot of studios worry that such a thing means no new content, and thus player drops. The problem there is one of how our MMOs are designed, but that’s another topic.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

PoE is it’s own thing. I want all the changes they are talking about for the whole game, especially in regards to how gems and gear is managed. And I’d love some new content to play through, since I’ve been playing the same game since beta.

With the player base already fractured between SP/MMO/FPS/MOBA, etc., it makes a lot of sense to me for gaming companies with popular games to want to improve their game and continue to make it competitive, while maintaining a cohesive player base.

In my opinion, a PoE 2, Anthem Reborn, or things of the like are much more preferable to “Live Service” games that give you the cored out husk of a game and feed the contents to you as MTX, as in Fallout 76.

To me, Live Service is the zombie we need to kill, not reboots.

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Arktouros

All of these games are Live Service. The idea of Live Services is that instead of just offering you a X hour game that has a start and finish point then you’re done that you keep perpetually playing online forever (preferably with a handy cash shop available). Path of Exile and all the other various games follow that model.

Fallout76 is, simply put, Bethesda’s experiment into an area they have no experience or expertise. They’re trying out what works, trying out things that might not work, and generally just testing the waters. What people say and what actually happens are so different they just need that kind of experience for themselves even if it’s bad/embarrassing/laughable. Eventually in a few generations of games (IE: a stand alone Elder Scrolls 76 like title or that new space game etc) they’ll probably be killing it.

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Arktouros

Something like Path of Exile 2 where I’ll have access to all the game’s original content as well as the future content and all the cosmetics I’ve unlocked and bought over the years is pretty damn cool. It doesn’t feel like I’m wasting a huge amount of time, effort and money such as on Guild Wars only to never go back after Guild Wars 2 is out and have to spend even more time, effort and money (albeit even Guild Wars had the Hall of Monuments).

Don’t see any issues here at all, beyond the lack of innovation and imagination but that ship appears to have long since departed the MMO space.

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rafael12104

The Beastie Boys. Twerkining before Twerkining was even cool.

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rafael12104

I too am reserving judgement until we see more of these sequels. But it is a great observation, Bree.

Personally, I’m more jaded in 2020 than I was in 2019. Heh. And with all the bullshit that happened last year, games launching before they were even close to ready, straight up lies from devs, Blizz blundering around the world stage etc. I’m not confident in these sequels as anything more than a money grab.

I’ll give PoE a pass because they have proven that that is not how they do business, but the rest? Heh.

IMO here is what is happening. Original games get released incomplete and buggy as shit. Devs cash in regardless because of early adopters and idiots like me. Then they release sequels that complete the game, fix some shit and maybe add things that should have been there at launch. And the devs cash in again charging full price for these sequels.

Don’t think this is what is happening? Anthem, Fallout 76, Atlas, etc. let’s go down the list and see who is cashing in. Yes, Atlas. It is nothing more than an Ark reskin. Even Overwatch 2 seems to be nothing more than what players were wanting Overwatch to be originally.