The Daily Grind: Should new expansions include old expansions?

World of Warcraft

When Cataclysm launched, a friend of mine who hadn't played since the days of Vanilla World of Warcraft wanted to join in the fun, but when he saw the cost of catching up -- nearly full box prices for The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, on top of Cataclysm itself -- he balked and decided to stick with cheaper games. Blizzard's policy on charging for full expansions long after they were new always did seem weird to me, since I grew up on Ultima Online and EverQuest, whose earlier expansions usually came bundled for free along with the newest one. Why keep barriers to entry (or re-entry) unnecessarily high?

So I'm happy to see recent sales on WoW's earlier expansions and a free Cataclysm for returning players via the new scroll of resurrection deal, but I can't help but wonder whether it's too late. How many of you have skipped over a game because of the cost of "catching up"? Do you think new expansions should always include the previous ones gratis?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!