During New World’s Q&A video last week, Amazon devs explained their rationale for revamping First Light instead of adding another new zone in the Rise of Angry Earth expansion. As they put it, their metrics showed that players just didn’t play in First Light, so it was severely underutilized, and yet it was located in what ought to have been a prime location in the game. The idea was essentially to make use of the existing space for the new zone content rather than just tack on a new zone elsewhere and further spread out the player population. This solution solved two problems.
Some players have complained bitterly about that, though, suggesting a do-over zone doesn’t count as a new zone and that a proper expansion ought to literally expand the map. What do you think – should MMORPG expansions always include new zones? Are there good examples in the MMO genre where an expansion hasn’t included new spaces?