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Misguided Expansions, or Throw In Everything But The Kitchen Sink
July 10th 2003, 21:52 CEST by BobJustBob

Recently, I've noticed a disturbing trend of expansions offering gameplay that is radically different from the main game. These don't seem to appeal to anyone; people who enjoyed the main game wouldn't want the gameplay changed, while I can't see anyone buying a game and an expansion because the expansion alters the gameplay. Here are a few examples:


The GameSpot review of the first Morrowind expansion states that
[w]hile the original game offered a fairly free-form world to explore, Tribunal provides a more-focused, story-driven experience, which may disappoint players looking for more open-ended exploration.
Regardless of what you all thought of Morrowind, I think you'll agree that the first game was hardly focused or story-driven.

The IGN preview for the upcoming SimCity 4 expansion says
Expect plenty of mission-based objectives in the expansion which lets you take direct control over vehicles in your city. This is really a whole new twist on SimCity, and adds an entirely new way to play the game with more action elements than ever before.
More action elements than ever before, huh? More than none? Words cannot express how uninterested I am in this feature. While there are other things in the expansion - new buildings, transportation types, and disasters - the vehicle control feature seems to be the main thrust of the expansion.

The GameSpot preview describes the second Civ 3 expansion this way:
Civilization III marked a major update for the series, introducing new mechanics like culture, great leaders, and tradable resources, but the massive scale of the game remained the same. That's just what the upcoming expansion pack, Civilization III: Conquests, will change
While I have to admit to being intrigued by the descriptions of the scenarios, there's no way I'll buy this expansion. It just doesn't sound like Civilization.


So, what do you all think? Do these expansions help attract new players to the games, or do they merely alienate those who liked the original game? Is this what expansions should be trying to do, instead of offering 'more of the same'? Does anyone really want action elements added to SimCity? Discuss.
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Home » Topic: Misguided Expansions, or Throw In Everything But The Kitchen Sink

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#1 by Gunp01nt
2003-07-10 21:56:43
supersimon33@hotmail.com
I think these expansions are mostly being used to correct issues with the main product. and they're the product of the lesson that TFC and CS taught us: extended gameplay. if you give people a 6-hour singleplayer experience and a multiplayer component with several maps, sooner or later people will have seen it all and they'll move on.

"What kind of hopelessly superficial society do we live in where a guy can't have a little explosive diarrhea in public without losing the love of his life?"
#2 by Gunp01nt
2003-07-10 22:01:46
supersimon33@hotmail.com
EOD.

"What kind of hopelessly superficial society do we live in where a guy can't have a little explosive diarrhea in public without losing the love of his life?"
#3 by Xero
2003-07-10 22:06:58
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
I'm trying decide if I really want to pay for the upcoming Planetside expansion, I figure if they use it to finally deploy naval units it'll definately be worth $30.

First off, you don't know what the fuck I be motherfuckin' knowin'.
#4 by Battle-Dwarf
2003-07-10 22:19:55
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
Maybe the main problem is the marketing term  'expansion'.

B D

Jibs, Jives and Jokes...
#5 by Battle-Dwarf
2003-07-10 22:21:12
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
I mean,  I really see what you guys mean by  the phrase 'all games are pong'.

B D

Jibs, Jives and Jokes...
#6 by Marcin
2003-07-10 22:22:09
marcin@wickedtoast.com www.damodred.net
upcoming Planetside expansion

You know something I don't? An actual expansion (that you pay for) anytime within the next 6 months would cause more harm than good...

Back on topic, what about expansions there are nothing but 'more of the same'? There's a good number of those too...but in the case of those that vary greatly from the original, I think it's a way to hook people that couldn't be hooked before. The people who liked the original might be interested enough to get the expansion, and you might also get some new blood in. I mean, you've already done one thing, right? Maybe another angle will get those that weren't caught the first time, and revitalize those who got and played the original.

I just realized something. I've never actually bought an expansion...how odd. I played a few (Tribunal is one for example; got it for review), and I always feel like they're not worth the price. I might get a "Gold" version of a game that already includes one, but overall I think all expansions are a waste of cash. Especially when the starting price seems to be climbing towards the $35 region, blecch.

The Toast. It is Wicked.
#7 by Squeaky
2003-07-10 22:22:37
No mention of Contract J.A.C.K?

It's a really wierd 'expansion' for NOLF 2. It's got none of the gadgets or stealth (or Cate), and heavy on big guns. Rather than picking locks, you blow the door open with c4.

The expansion is a prequel to NOLF 2. And the best part is, you don't need to have NOLF or NOLF 2 installed (or even own it).

Great masturbating monkey gods, it's like watching the kettle rape the pot. -- Bailey
DVDs
#8 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-07-10 22:24:53
so how is that an expansion? isn't that just a new game?

It's a Steve Buscemi vibe.
#9 by Bailey
2003-07-10 22:26:03
Xero

What the hell is the point of naval units in Planetside? There are few bases near the ocean, and at best, a few ponds scattered about inland.

And now, back to the business of loathing.
#10 by Battle-Dwarf
2003-07-10 22:26:31
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
Hm.

Wicked Toast...   nice looking site.  Nice and simple navigation...  Bright and clean looking...






B D

Jibs, Jives and Jokes...
#11 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-07-10 22:29:42
I think expansions that change the gameplay do so to try and fix what people complained about. That way they get the market of those fans who will buy the expansion regardless just cause it's got their favourite game's name on it, and they can possibly snag some of that market that bought the game but wasn't terribly happy with it, and may think the expansion will fix some of the issues they had with the original. As well as spark new interest in the game all together. The only expansions I've ever bought were to blizzard games, and I think I've bought every blizzard game going all the way back to Warcraft 2 and all their respective expansions... yes even the Diablo 1 expansion (ick!).

It's a Steve Buscemi vibe.
#12 by Squeaky
2003-07-10 22:32:30
#8 TheTrunkDr.
so how is that an expansion? isn't that just a new game?

Because it's only got about 4-5 hours of gameplay.

Great masturbating monkey gods, it's like watching the kettle rape the pot. -- Bailey
DVDs
#13 by Battle-Dwarf
2003-07-10 22:32:59
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
I think expansions that change the gameplay do so to try and fix what people complained about.




Yep yep...

Jibs, Jives and Jokes...
#14 by Xero
2003-07-10 22:34:45
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
#6 Marcin
You know something I don't?


Its being discussed on the Planetside boards and was confirmed by one of the Devs there.

First off, you don't know what the fuck I be motherfuckin' knowin'.
#15 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-07-10 22:34:48
Because it's only got about 4-5 hours of gameplay.

that would just make it a short game though, and hopefully cheap.

It's a Steve Buscemi vibe.
#16 by Matt Perkins
2003-07-10 22:35:40
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Squeaky

And you think they'll be selling this 'expansion' at expansion prices?  I doubt it.




As for the rest...  Did Sim City 4 have great sales?  Maybe they are trying to bring more people in the original didn't have that great of sales.

For me, expansion packs should be like Blizzard's.  More of the same with added features and tweaks.

"There are two things I've observed about Warhammer during my trips to the comic shop. A) The players send off strong pheremonal signals to mark their territory and warn off rival M:TG alpha males....." - Bailey
#17 by Matt Perkins
2003-07-10 22:39:59
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
nm, I'm crack about contrack jack (see, it rhymes).

"There are two things I've observed about Warhammer during my trips to the comic shop. A) The players send off strong pheremonal signals to mark their territory and warn off rival M:TG alpha males....." - Bailey
#18 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-07-10 22:40:31
erictcheng@hotmail.com
A good number of today's expansion packs are really expansion packs anymore. Monolith's recently announced Contract JACK is an "expansion pack" to No One Lives Forever 2 (it takes place between the two NOLF games) but is standalone and has a new and different protagonist (a Bruce Campbell lookalike named John Jack and Cate Archer only makes a brief cameo).

Even the Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II expansion pack, Mysteries of the Sith, was standalone and featured a different protagonist, Mara Jade.

Personally I don't mind pay less than full game prices for standalone expansion packs with new and different content and gameplay. It keeps me occupied and interested until the next full game in the series comes out.

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#19 by CheesyPoof
2003-07-10 22:43:43
Expansions should be more like Opposing Force and less like Blue Shift.

What I expect from an expansion is more of the same gameplay, but with the stupid removed.  Bioware got creating with their BG expansions calling them an add-in and an add-on at the same time.

You have to give some consideration to the game though.  How else are you going to expand Civ3 if not more scenarios?  More units?  Boring, it has enough.  Same with sim city, an expasion for that has to do something outside the core gameplay.
#20 by Greg
2003-07-10 22:43:46
The Diablo 1 expansion was thankfully (or maybe unthankfully) not developed by Blizzard.

My favorite expansions have been the ones that furthered the storyline of the game (or just gameplay in games with little to no story) through adding new areas/maps/items/vehicles/weapons in a somewhat natural progression. I don't have much of an opinion on the expansions that radically alter the existing game, because other than the examples BobJustBob gave in his topic, I can't think of any.

We are OK in a misguided, sadist way.
We are OK in a disabled veteran's way.
We are OK.
#21 by Creole Ned
2003-07-10 22:48:48
The SimCity 4 expansion sounds pretty slight and I think BtB is correct in that they are offering something that wouldn't really appeal to the target market for the game. Given the relative lack of success of SC4, it's not surprising that EA might be more aggressive in trying to bring in new players.  The Interweb hoi polloi have dubbed EA Expansion Arts with its drive to put out multiple add-ons for every title they ship.

Too often I think the problem isn't radical new gameplay but rather too much MOTS. Both MoH's and BF1942's add-ons had too little to entice me to shell out for them. On the other hand, I had a blast with the expansions to the Age of Empires games because they added so much new stuff to the mix while also tweaking the gameplay to improve it (many of the improvements were rolled back into the original games, too).

A perfect example of a worthy expansion to me was Mysteries of the Sith. It offered a new single player story that was nearly equal to the original Jedi Knight in terms of length, it added some cool new weapons, monsters and NPC's, improved the tech a bit and delivered the whole thing in a timely manner (before interest in JK had dimmed), at a reasonable price.

Then there was Road to Rome which contained...six new maps. Wow.

I think the majority of expansions hew pretty close to the original game. The bigger question is whether they are worth the money or not.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
"i'm just pump gas." - Leslie Nassar
#22 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-07-10 22:50:05
The Diablo 1 expansion was thankfully (or maybe unthankfully) not developed by Blizzard.

true, it was developed by Sierra, but was an expansion to a Blizzard game, and probably the reason Blizzard does it's own expansions now.

It's a Steve Buscemi vibe.
#23 by Shadarr
2003-07-10 22:51:40
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I would rather have a new game that calls itself an expansion than a glorified expansion calling itself (and priced as) a new game.  Are you listening Chris Sawyer?
#24 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-07-10 22:57:48
I would rather have a new game that calls itself an expansion than a glorified expansion calling itself (and priced as) a new game.  Are you listening Chris Sawyer?

Agreed, I just don't get how or why any stand alone product can or would call itself an expansion? Marketing I guess... but wouldn't it be better marketing to call it a full game for cheap? calling it an expansion is confusing, I'd think I'd need the whole game and wouldn't consider buying it if I didn't have the original.

It's a Steve Buscemi vibe.
#25 by Squeaky
2003-07-10 23:26:39
The logic behind calling contract jack an expansion is that it's a really short game. And I guess they wanted to broaden the NOLF ip. Other than that, they should call it a really cheap game.

Great masturbating monkey gods, it's like watching the kettle rape the pot. -- Bailey
DVDs
#26 by LPMiller
2003-07-10 23:33:19
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
or they could just called it future warez.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#27 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-07-10 23:35:49
erictcheng@hotmail.com
true, it was developed by Sierra, but was an expansion to a Blizzard game, and probably the reason Blizzard does it's own expansions now.


Blizzard North did the Diablo II expansion Lord of Destruction.

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#28 by Squeaky
2003-07-10 23:39:18
Blizzard North made all the Diablo games.

Great masturbating monkey gods, it's like watching the kettle rape the pot. -- Bailey
DVDs
#29 by Greg
2003-07-10 23:42:08
#27 Eric T. Cheng

true, it was developed by Sierra, but was an expansion to a Blizzard game, and probably the reason Blizzard does it's own expansions now.


Blizzard North did the Diablo II expansion Lord of Destruction.

Thank you Captain Obvious. What part of Diablo 1 did you miss in the original post? Did you really read TrunkDr's quote?

Don't claim sarkiness, we know you aren't that creative.

We are OK in a misguided, sadist way.
We are OK in a disabled veteran's way.
We are OK.
#30 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-07-10 23:48:01
erictcheng@hotmail.com
Thank you Captain Obvious. What part of Diablo 1 did you miss in the original post? Did you really read TrunkDr's quote?

Don't claim sarkiness, we know you aren't that creative.


I misread TrunkDr.'s post. I thought he wrote Blizzard did not do any of their own expansions any more.

That and I'm drunk.

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#31 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-07-10 23:48:32
erictcheng@hotmail.com
erk

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#32 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-07-10 23:49:21
erictcheng@hotmail.com
Ah, fuck it. I'm going to go watch Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle now.

Lucy... *drool*

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#33 by Ashiran
2003-07-10 23:58:54
Fap fap fap?

"Your beam weapons are just a thinly-veiled analogy for giant throbbing plasma cocks violating new orifices in enemy ships." - Bailey
#34 by Marcin
2003-07-11 00:00:44
marcin@wickedtoast.com www.damodred.net
Its being discussed on the Planetside boards and was confirmed by one of the Devs there.

Odd, I religiously read the Dev Tracker but missed it. There was talk of an expansion, but they still haven't committed to whether the expansion will simply be all they've added since launch, and free for current subscribers, or just plain expansion as in "you can only get it through $$".

If so, that is unfortunate. So many people are already annoyed about the bugs & downtime & harassment & you-name-it, they're-whining-about-it, that adding this in on top of the $50 they already paid and $13/month they're paying...I don't know. I like new content as much as the next guy (although note again that I have not actually bought any expansions), but...this is beginning to smack of pure greed and disregard for the customer. I'm actually in the process of rethinking my subscription...

Kinda like "release it quick before they catch on" sort of thing.

I didn't realize Contract J.A.C.K. was so short; I was under the impression it was just a different game set in the same world. And talk about a paradigm shift too - the stealth is totally gone, and in its place we have brute force. I know what I'm not playing. :/

Set to retail around the normal price for an expansion (we're expecting $30), the expansion should offer as much gameplay as many "full" games.

... uh huh ...

Bailey
What the hell is the point of naval units in Planetside? There are few bases near the ocean, and at best, a few ponds scattered about inland.

I'm guessing it will contain a new 'continent' which will be mostly water with water/coastal bases. I doubt it will actually interact with the rest of the population - in fact, it couldn't, since anyone who hasn't bought the expansion wouldn't be able to use/see those vehicles anyway...

Battle-Dwarf
Wicked Toast...   nice looking site.

Thanks. Finally it's a look/feel I'm fairly happy with. Oh, and no tables - I like that the most.

The Toast. It is Wicked.
#35 by Xero
2003-07-11 00:12:59
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
#34 Marcin
I'm actually in the process of rethinking my subscription...



So am I but only because its Summer and I don't have time to play much right now or the desire to, when I do. It would be great if MMORPGs offered seasonal packages. : )

First off, you don't know what the fuck I be motherfuckin' knowin'.
#36 by BobJustBob
2003-07-11 00:28:41
There are two types of expansions that I would consider 'perfect'. One would be the type that offers up more of the same, but increased in difficulty (for example, the expansions to Syndicate or Magic Carpet). Of course, these only appeal to people who have finished the original game. The other would be the type that offers up something slightly different. Not an expansion that completely ignores the appeal of the original game, but one that offers new features that mesh well with the original. For example, the Sims expansions.

Voices tell me I'm the shit.
<Whisp> BJB is a troll. <Whisp> Troll I say!
#37 by Shadarr
2003-07-11 00:37:43
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
My all-time favourite expansion was Alien Crossfire, which was basically just a better version of Alpha Centaur.
#38 by Qmanol
2003-07-11 02:39:22
Speaking of which, I've been looking for that expansion for quite a while now. EB doesn't stock it anymore, my local game rental place only has the original, not the expansion, and there's a single copy selling on Ebay for easily more than it was new once you factor in postage and handling to Australia.

Anyone have any ideas?

So, first, let's kill all the marketing people.

Who's with me?
#39 by Squeaky
2003-07-11 02:40:33
amazon? gogamer?

Great masturbating monkey gods, it's like watching the kettle rape the pot. -- Bailey
DVDs
#40 by CheesyPoof
2003-07-11 03:07:16
E-Donkey?
#41 by Shadarr
2003-07-11 03:30:57
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I'd go the piracy route myself, if you can't find it in a store.  I ended up buying the "Planetary Pack" which includes the original AC as well as Alien Crossfire because I couldn't find the expansion anywhere.  I got it used for ~$50 CDN.

The original cost me $10.  Looked at in a certain light, it was practically shareware.
#42 by "Anonymous"
2003-07-11 04:03:43
I got it off emule
#43 by Squeaky
2003-07-11 04:45:52
thank you anon!

Great masturbating monkey gods, it's like watching the kettle rape the pot. -- Bailey
DVDs
#44 by Ryslin
2003-07-11 05:11:40
(waves piece of paper)
I never could get into Alpha C.

Does the expansion pack make it fun?

SC4-
There is quite alot of anger that some of the things they "where" going to release in SC4 are now comming out in an expansion. I think I will wait for user reviews.

"Do you happen to work for the redundant department of redundancy?" -Squeaky 2003-03-03 07:58:40
#45 by Qmanol
2003-07-11 05:12:16
Hmm, looks like I might have to go begging those of the broadband endowed whom I know. Thanks for the help.

So, first, let's kill all the marketing people.

Who's with me?
#46 by m0nty
2003-07-11 05:42:11
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I liked Alpha Centauri and Alien Crossfire. Unfortunately my copy of the former got stolen when my car was broken into - don't ask how it got into the glove box. I do have the expansion disk though.

Hmmm, methinks a deal might be possible here if I wasn't in Australia.
#47 by CheesyPoof
2003-07-11 06:39:34
M0nty, are you being thick or just coy?
#48 by m0nty
2003-07-11 06:43:17
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Oh, it's Qmanol! I'd forgotten there were other Aussies on this board. Yay!
#49 by m0nty
2003-07-11 06:44:29
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Qmanol, come to #planetcrap if you're serious about wanting Alien Crossfire.
#50 by BobJustBob
2003-07-11 07:01:21
Wait, I want Alien Crossfire too! You owe me m0nty, because I've voted for all of your topics. And I listened to you on voice chat that time when you were drunk.

Voices tell me I'm the shit.
<Whisp> BJB is a troll. <Whisp> Troll I say!
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