Friends, as most of you know Wooden Potatoes recently released a great video outlining some reasons on why we need an expansion. He raised a lot of good points and said things that are on a lot of people's minds. I'm even willing to bet these same thoughts are on ArenaNet's minds.
I wanted to offer a different train of thought with you, though. Some of my own viewpoints on why I don't think an expansion strategy is necessairly healthy for the game as it is currently being handled. I feel that we've become accustomed with things and we have lost focus on exactly how much we've gotten. Mainly I also think it's healthy for the community to share and offer healthy debate on subjects like these than some volatile discussions we've gotten accustomed to seeing some places.
Let's dig right in, then, and tackle some common arguments.
"I don't know what is going on in the Living Story!"
Does anybody have any general idea what the heck is going on, entirely, with new expansions in various MMOs? All the side content, all the subplots, all the things NOT SAID in the game but linked in official cannon? Even main plots can get confusing.
At least with Living World there is a smaller amount to digest in a reliable period.
The story of Arthas and the Death Knights are one massive pain in the butt to get over. Espeically at the end of "The Wrath of the Lich King". Figuring out all of what was going on there took some major research.
The Living World so far?
Look up the Consortium, Scarlet Briar, Ellen Kiel and Super Adventure Box. That's pretty much covering all of the major content, except for holiday events.
"Do I want to go back into GW2 for this new patch, after I've been gone for some amount of time."
Well the same is said of expansions. You come back after a new expansion and you're stuck in the old zones, or you're completely behind gear wise. The barrier of a Living World, compared to a barrier of a whole new Expansion, is a lot less daunting than a Living World release.
"The Living Story has done the damage to itself due to it's earlier releases. People aren't interested anymore!"
I can semi-agree with this. I mean we all know how terrible performance-wise the initial Karka invasion was. I don't deny this. We can all agree, though, that the Living World releases have increased in quality since that initial release. They've increased how much comes with it and they have used it as a great tool.
Their arguments against new expansions in other MMOs. "Oh it's just gear grind, the original area even matter." Therei s also "Who cares about this new race/place?!" They even go so far as being so world changing that some argue it's not even the same game anymore.
Finally, with how they release it every two weeks, they are able to work WITH the community a lot better. They have shown this with the election and they have said that they plan to release content like that again.
"An expansion is more marketable and will get more players/interest!"
I agree wholeheartedly, but they seem to do a great job with it's occasional free week/end. Usually there is a summer lull in ALL MMOs, but GW2 never really felt that lull. This is due in part from it's constant Living World release and their free weekends.
They market with these free week/ends and use those as their major PR hubs for "top tier" gaming news sites. It's worked well so far, and we'll see how well it sticks after this week long free week. On top of that we have "mid-tier" websites covering the normal news. This core community is pretty strong, and even more new fan sites are popping up.
With how things are going right now it seems like a strong marketing ground, however I do realize if they put major resources behind a tenth free week/end it won't be as impactful as it has been. I acknowledge soemthing will need to change.
It's time for me to ask you a question, however.
"Why do we need an expansion so soon?"
Guys. This is the biggest thing that drives me absolutely nutters whenever I hear about this "WE NEED AN EXPANSION!" We DON'T need an expansion right now. We have so much house keeping that still needs done, we have so much still to find out in Tyria. There is just so much stuff still left in this original game that to add in a whole mess of things from a new continent, a new race or a new class that would just make everything else that much harder to deal with!
I want the original game to get hammered out first, I want them to continue exploring how to present these Living World releases, I want better interaction with Guild stuff, I want to see every class we have now get access to all the weapons (one hell of a dream, I know).
We don't need an expansion right now. We need to see ArenaNet keep pioneering this whole new method of presenting us an MMO and not fall into the same cycle that other MMOs get stuck with.
Heck. We have dragons to deal with still!