Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

The Think Tank: Have you ever quit an MMO over an update patch or expansion?

Shawn Schuster

One of the beauties of the MMO is that it's ever-changing. This means that the world expands, the community grows, and skills are always being re-balanced. Sometimes this comes in the form of a patch or update, and sometimes it comes in the form of a full-fledged expansion.

But when these changes affect the original game too much, it's inevitable that some players will not like what the devs see as improvements. In the case of the infamous Star Wars Galaxies NGE, players left in droves.

So I threw the question out to the Massively staff to see if anyone had been so turned off by a game update that he or she left for good. Read on to find out who left what and why Patrick might need to leave the country for a bit.

The Think Tank Have you ever quit an MMO over an update patch or expansion
This is a tough one because I have rarely ever really "quit" an MMO. I can think of so many games that I only play once in a while, say Darkfall for example, so I might take a break but not quit. I think I would quit if it became fundamentally different, but even with that I try and explore so many different parts of each game that I always have backup. I can understand a raider quitting if the raiding stopped being a developer priority, for example. Typically, though, as long as a game is open and I've played it, I will likely play it again.
The Think Tank Have you ever quit an MMO over an update patch or expansion
I've thought hard about this while not having any internet to play vidya games this week, and I just can't think of a single time I've quit specifically because of a patch or expansion. There have certainly been patches and expansions that have bugged the heck out of me or that seemed like "the beginning of the end" in hindsight (Age of Shadows, much more than NGE, if you're wondering, and Cataclysm was a little bit of a turnoff overall. And don't forget the Champs kitchen-sink patch.). But in every case, I'd already left or left much later for some other reason, usually general boredom or a new shiny somewhere else. Far more often, a new patch brings me back. If a game's in a state where it's jumping the shark patch-wise, I'm usually already elsewhere.
Yep! Well... kind of. Star Wars Galaxies was this big huge deal when it came out as one of the first majors MMO based on an existing IP. I was just a piglet when this game was in its hey-day, but I figured I would give it a shot anyway. I bought the game, and strangely enough, the servers were down. I would come back later to find that something called NGE had landed in SWG and the game was no longer what was advertised on my box. Apparently this patch or "enhancement" angered so many people that they left the game. So I, in turn, left the game as it had become empty. That is my sad tale.
Nope! I think the only thing an expansion has ever done was to bring me back into a game. I'm sorry that I don't have any emotional stories of being gutted, slapped in the face, or otherwise totally devastated by developer choices in an expansion or patch, but I just... I don't.
I've quit and returned and quit and returned to more MMOs than I can count. The only episode that I recall being because of a patch was SWG's NGE. And I was back two months later anyhow because in spite of all the changes, it still made the rest of the industry look silly and altogether unambitious.
I can't recall being in that situation. There have been times when an expansion underwhelmed and I got bored of it quickly, but it wasn't a "ugh, this is so terribad I have to flee!" type of situation.
I've never left a game specifically because of a patch or expansion, but I do have what I like to call "expansion malaise." It happens in every MMO I've ever played. I reach the level cap and acquire some gear I like, and then an expansion launches. The thought of leveling and re-acquiring my gear all over again makes me not want to play, so I quit the MMO. I usually come back a few months after the expansion's release and catch up with everyone else. Definitely not the most efficient way to experience new content, but it works for me.
I quit City of Heroes as a direct result of Issue 13, though it took a while after Issue 14 to actually unsub. Issue 13 ruined most of the things I enjoyed about the game, and my dissatisfaction with the way things were headed in a downward direction. While Issue 14 was mostly a good update, more little things were changed that made me mad. One month when money was tight, I decided I was done and unsubbed, never to return. Even to this day, I mock CoH for its terrible decisions, and honestly, I'm glad it's gone.
In an indirect way, I quit World of Warcraft because of Mists of Pandaria. I played World of Warcraft since launch with a group of friends and family. We leveled together, led a guild together, and raided four nights a week for many years. When MoP was announced, several members of our core group were turned off by the panda-themed expansion and quit WoW. So the rest of us were left to either pick up the pieces or move on, and with Guild Wars 2 on the way, I decided that my time in Azeroth was at an end. I have, however, been curious to see what Mists of Pandaria brought to the game, so perhaps one day I'll jump back in.
I tend to get overwhelmed by huge expansions in general. I suffer from slow-leveler syndrome and wince when I hear about some world-size-doubling, new-class-and-race-bringing, complete-skill-rebalancing expansion. I think that's one of the reasons I quit Lord of the Rings Online. My character is currently sitting in a dark corner of Moria, slowly rocking herself back and forth while humming a happy Shire tune.

What do you get when you throw the Massively writers' opinions together in one big pot to stew? You get The Think Tank, a column dedicated to ruminating on the MMO genre. We range from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to the carest of the carebears, so expect some disagreement! Join Senior Editor Shawn Schuster and the team for a new edition right here every other Thursday.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr