I think that if I polled veteran MMORPG players about expansions that bombed, they’d probably point to Star Wars Galaxies’ Trials of Obi-Wan and the NGE, which technically launched successively rather than concurrently, but the fact that they were so close was one of the reasons for the trainwreck of the expansion itself.
There are obviously other ways to harm an MMO expansion that don’t involve, you know, completely gutting your sandbox MMORPG and trying to turn it into a shabby WoW clone overnight. I’ve seen a lot of people already through Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons complaining about the endgame path to getting siege turtles, one of the expansion’s tentpole features. Apparently it’s a giant mess of casual players shoved into hardcore content, malicious trolling, and people failing dozens of times.
I’m in Echovald, nowhere near turtle-ready, so the uproar is affecting me… not at all. In fact, I’m assuming that ArenaNet will have it fixed by the time I get to it because even major content creators are speaking out about the damaging effect this particular piece of content is having on the community and on perception of the expansion. It certainly worries me, though, because everything I’ve played so far in EOD has been amazing.
Can you folks think of better examples of expansions that got run off their tracks by a single development or design mistake? What’s the quickest way to derail an MMO expansion?