The Daily Grind: Which MMO content updates were better than expansions?

    
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Dig it.

Recently, RuneScape pumped out an update for the game called Archaeology. While it wasn’t, to my understanding, a full-fledged expansion, it was treated with a great deal of pomp and honor. Players went nuts for the game’s latest skill and enjoyed the full soundtrack that went along with it.

It made me think of the fact that, sometimes, a really good content update may be better than some expansions that MMORPGs produce. For me, I guess it’s all in how relevant and interesting the patch is. If it makes some strong quality-of-life improvements, adds a feature that I really enjoy, and gets me enthusiastic about playing through some new content, then yeah, I might rank it above some of the more lackluster expansion packs that come out.

What say you? Which MMO content updates were better than expansions in your eyes?

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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Hurbster

One Tamriel.

AmittaiD
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AmittaiD

I’m going to say WoW 4.3 is a standout. “Isn’t that the patch that gave us 74 years of Dragon Soul?” you may say, and, yes, it was. Patch 4.3 also gave us transmog, though, so I’m able to overlook some of its – and Cata as a whole’s- sins for it.

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Sorenthaz

For WoW probably the Isle of Quel’Danas and their WotLK patches. For RIFT, Ember Isle and most of the patches pre-Storm Legion transformed and improved the game significantly to the point where the pre-SL state of the game was called ‘Chocolate RIFT’.

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Anstalt

I’ve experienced a lot of really good free updates, particularly in the early years of LotRO.

But better than an expansion?

None have even come close to the scale of an expansion. Admittedly, I don’t play any modern MMOs and I’m given to understand that the distinction between free update, dlc and expansion has become rather blurred in recent years.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Ember Isle, for whatever faults it had, was often more fun for players than the base Mathosian continent of RIFT.

Since then, the patch zones (Dendrome, Planetouched Wilds, Vostigar Peaks) were arguably not as impressive as the expansions themselves, but you can’t say they didn’t try (Dendrome for quantity of varied content, PTW for size of zone, Vostigar was half done so forget about it).

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Ironwu

The content updates during WotLK pretty much outshines every expansion that came after WotLK. That stuff was just so good. Even the ‘grindy’ parts were good and focused mainly on community content that everyone worked towards completing together.

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Oleg Chebeneev

One raid outshines several zones, dungeons, raids and new features? Really?

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Ironwu

“One raid…” Seriously? May I suggest you that reference the Wowhead timeline for the WotLK content and story arc?

For instance, might want to consider what the server wide quest to unlock the Argent Tournament involved.

Or all the raids (yes, it was more than one) that were released after launch. And the dungeons. And . . . well you get the idea. :)

And yes, the content updates after WotLK launched were superior in every way to the rest of the expansions that came after, in my opinion. Quantity is not always better than quality.

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Bruno Brito

Man, i love 3.3, but Throne of Thunder is a huge contender too. They’re almost the same in quality. The Timeless Isle was also glorious, and i feel, on the same level of AT. AT had the issue that was the Argent dungeon, which was…eh.

The raid was ok. I didn’t like some of the bosses, but the faction champions were really fun.

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Ironwu

Yes, they really did some good work over the years; I spend a LOT of time on Timeless Isle. ;)

That being said, there is not one thing that I think was really strong in BFA.

I fear that will be the case in Shadowlands as well.

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Alt+F4

https://www.wowhead.com/item=134024/cursed-swabby-helmet#contained-in-object
so much salt for an ugly mount and another (unused) title…

historically WoWs content patches not simply elaborate on the x-pac frame, but evolve and experiment.
esp. the pre-prepatches r also Quality-of-Life patches, as Blizzneys sadism (not to mention user-friendlyness) tends to be smoothed (after eons of shitstorms) and deliver new “experimental features”, like infaction PvP on TI, Mythic dungeons (6.2), Corruption and Visions of Repetition (2,5h for a bonus socket. 2,5h.).

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Bruno Brito

I’ll probably play Shadowlands but for twinking. I’m more interested in the 50 and below experience than anything related to Shadowlands in itself ( not bothered to try and keep up with raiding and such ). And that’ll define my interest in the game.

So, most of whatever SL has in reserve, won’t be for me. Unless it’s housing. This game needs some sandboxy systems.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I though you were talking about one update (Ulduar), not all of them. Well, I dont consider WOTLK as best expansion, so yeah, Id argue..

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Utakata

YA RLY!

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Sorenthaz

Didn’t help that Cataclysm had its new zones all broken up across the remade EK/Kalimdor.

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Sleepy

Lotro generally does good expansions, but Forochel was amazing for a free update.

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Tobasco da Gama

Pelennor.

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Danny Smith

I think the Cata prepatch had more people playing than Cata or WoD or something in general. Achievements got expanded, classes all got some revamp for good or ill, archeology, pet battles, the ruby sanctum. It was a holdover patch to put most other post sunwell holdovers to shame.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I think that the CZ198 and Oricon updates in SWTOR were much more enjoyable than the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion (to which they were the following updates).