The art of the expansion

Expansions are a fact of life for MMOs. We all know it, and while we might not necessarily like the fact that at least once a year we probably have to drop another chunk of change just to keep playing the game, we accept it as the price of progress. (And if you're a Guild Wars player, it's not like you also have a subscription to pay for on top of it.) Scott Jennings has taken his most recent regular column to talk about the ways expansions work -- both their benefits and the drawbacks they have. Because as he points out, more is usually better, but sometimes more just means more.

Ranging from the free large content patches used by games like Lineage II and Darkfall to more conventional expansions, and discussing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as one of the major points of deviation in the usual expansion model, the article talks about the benefits and drawbacks of the almost ubiquitous selling model for the genre. While it's not a revolutionary look, it's something that every MMO player -- and many designers -- could do well to look at. More understanding is never a bad thing, after all, and if we can avoid another Chains of Promathia we'll all be better off.