How quickly we in the MMO world forget.
Monthly content updates aren’t something The Secret World invented, though I’m ecstatic that they’re planning to do them. Asheron’s Call at the very least used to have them, and we took them as part and parcel of our subscription deal. I’m not talking about bug fixes or minor balance changes, though those were there too, of course – I’m talking about something new every month or almost every month.
EQ, I recall, did things differently with its gazillion expansion packs and whatnot. I didn’t play that game long enough to see if there was any kind of content added on a non-paying basis, so maybe I’d be unfair to say that knowing SOE, I’d be surprised. And then came WoW.
The thing is, content updates don’t have to be these ginormous things that require you to BUY a whole set of new content. I can understand that large additions should be charged for and I’m okay with that; it takes time to design that stuff and I don’t begrudge paying for expansions if they’re worth it. But there’s a whole lot to be said for trickle-feed, smaller updates on a more regular basis – that also happen to be free.
It’s what made AC patch days fun as well as fickle (patch days always being what they are, in all times and in all games), reading the patch notes and waiting for the servers to come back up so we could run around experiencing the new stuff.
A number of games do something of the sort at the moment, but off the top of my head it seems to be mostly festival-type events. They get patched in, they last a few weeks, and then they’re gone – and they’re almost the same every single year (vide WoW’s multifarious achievement mills). There aren’t many games that just add a little bit of stuff on a regular basis: a few quests here, a new dungeon there, other nifty stuff.
Or when they do, we have to pay for it in cash shops (EQ2, I’m thinking about your new furniture and critters right here). But that’s a rant for another day; I have nothing per se against cash shops, except when the normally-available stuff is gross (EQ2 furniture!) and the only decent stuff costs real money on top of my monthly subscription.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to The Secret World’s monthly updates. Maybe patch day will be fun again.
(Last but not least, the clothing on TSW’s shop kicks ass. I haven’t spent any real money yet – well, not counting the cost of the game and the lifetime sub – but oh, I am tempted. I am very, very tempted. They need to put in gift certificates so I can ask for some for my birthday – not that my family would have the faintest clue what the hell I’m asking for. Money? For clothes? In a game??)