The legendary World of Warcraft expansion. Released once every two or three years, these moments in the game's history are pinnacles of awesome. Sure, there are small patches in between, but they just can't compare to the full expansion. New content is released, old players return, and the game seems fresh and new all over again.
Recently, Lead Designer Greg Street, revealed in an interview to DigitialSpy that Blizzard is hoping to churn out an expansion a year, perhaps even starting by 2014. That's right folks, a brand spanking new expansion to look forward to once a year. Sounds great right? It sure does, at least in theory, but is it a really a bad idea in disguise?
Bringing Back the Masses
In the interview, Street reveals that one of the biggest draws that bring players back to the game is a new expansion. This is, of course, not a big shocker. Everyone loves new content and even players who have long given up on playing can still get the itch when they see a shiny new expansion. His reasoning is, that in order to bring back old players and attract new players, World of Warcraft expansions should be released at a quicker pace.
While this logic may seem sound, there is at least one giant hole in the theory. You see, new expansions can certainly attract new and old players to the game. However, it won't keep them there. When Warlords of Draenor, the newest WoW expansion is released, it more than likely will draw huge amounts of players back to the game. However, as the newness wears off, many of those that were quick to hop on the new expansion band wagon will quickly hop off again. Even if expansions come once every year, players will, inevitably, still jump ship in between one expansion and the next.
Quality not Quantity
Instead of pumping out expansions left and right to attract players, perhaps Blizzard should instead focus on quality instead of quantity. Sure, everyone loves a new expansion, but if they are pushing out one expansion after another, what kind of content can we really expect? Will it be like the last half of Diablo III, which clearly felt rushed when compared to the intricacies and epic feel of the first act? I believe so.
I would much rather see developers take the time they need to create something spectacular and get 1 expansion every few years, than push out mediocre expansions at a faster rate. I think most players will agree they want something that is well done rather than done quickly.
Free No More
Besides the chance of lesser quality
content, we also will be seeing less free content. Usually,
expansions come out every two to three years and we see a ton of
patches both big and small in between. These patches contain
dungeons, quests, gear, and more all for free. With expansions
rolling out faster than ever, these patches will become fewer and
Instead, it is likely we will have to wait for (and purchase) the new expansion to get any major content changes. Small things may still be rolled out in patches, but with expansions so close together, major free content patches could quickly become a thing of the past.
Even with fewer patches, the amount of content that will suddenly become available will be overwhelming. Forget trying to complete anything, there simply won't be time. I know many of us who enjoy ÂcompletingÂ content felt rushed in Mists of Pandaria, which has been out for almost two years. Can you imagine the feeling of trying to finish anything with a huge new expansion looming continuously on the horizon?
Not to mention the constant feeling of what is the point of trying to get it done? If one expansion negates another, why finish anything if all your hard work will just be undone in a year or less? One could argue that this is true now. That when one expansion is ushered in, we lose all that we have worked for. However, at least we have time to enjoy it. Time to sit at the top and gaze lovingly at all we have achieved. In a world where expansions are pushed out at assembly line speed, we won't even have that comfort to sustain us.
In this author's opinion, an expansion a year is a wolf in sheep's skin. It looks cute and cuddly and we really want to pet it, but it will end up biting us in the ass in the end. I feel that the bad outweighs the good in this scenario and I hope that we won't be seeing yearly expansions any time in the near future for World of Warcraft.
How do you feel about yearly expansions? Do you think they will be on par with expansions that took longer to create? What affect do you think yearly expansions will have on the game? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!