Shelf-Life of an MMORPG

“Remember when we used to talk about Three-Monthers? Ah, those were the days!” –Bhagpuss

That quote from Inventory Full made me chuckle, because I had recently been thinking that it took me precisely three weeks to play through the Stormblood expansion story. And that was going slow, recording everything, talking to everyone around the quest givers, and reading all of the unvoiced text out loud for the video. I could not possibly have done it any slower.

As I’m writing this post, it is Monday, the fourth weekiversary after I started the Stormblood Main Scenario Quest, and I feel like I’m rather close to being “done” with the expansion until the next patch. I have but to log in and run daily roulettes to slowly build up my gear levels, or else turn to leveling alternative jobs (which I have already started).

I’ve done all the available level 70 dungeons (there are only three right now, but I assume over the next two years, if past performance is any indicator, that number will grow closer to fifteen or twenty). I’ve bought all the ilevel 310 gear with Tomestones of Verity. I hit the 450 weekly cap of Tomestones of Creation in like two days, so I’ll be filling in my accessories with 330 gear over the coming weeks. Thanks to the FC, I’ve been through the Omega raids V1.0-V4.0 and got some drops for 320 gear. (The raids are so familiar to the general player population now, two weeks later, that the first time I did it on Saturday, we only had 4 FC members and 4 random PUG members, and we got through all four of them on the first try, no wipes.)

The only things I haven’t completed yet are the two Extreme trials and Omega Savage. (That I know of, at least.) I would enjoy doing those eventually, but I don’t feel any compelling need to do them. (I was in an FC group that attempted Lakshmi Extreme but we didn’t finish it. It’s just a matter of time though. I’ll probably do that this coming weekend.) I’m not the kind of player who has an overwhelming compulsion to get all of the best-in-slot gear. I just want good enough gear that I can see everything in the game that I want to see (it’s a bonus if the gear kind of matches and looks cool), and I’m pretty close to that. (My Bard item level is 306 right now, and I think the maximum gear is 330.)

So it seems like the target amount of new content produced in any MMORPG release is roughly one month of new experiences for casual players, followed by infinite months of repeated daily content grind. And if you’re a dedicated overachiever, far less than that. I remember seeing people in the FC capping out after a week or two, and that was after early release launch issues put everybody behind a couple of days.

The days of getting three solid months out of a new MMORPG release seems like a lifetime ago. As Bhagpuss documented, it’s a good thing there are so many MMORPGs now that we can bounce from one to the next to keep ourselves entertained year-round. (Unfortunately most aren’t up to the quality of a AAA game, which means you can measure their shelf-life in days, not weeks.)

3 thoughts on “Shelf-Life of an MMORPG”

  1. I did get a good three months from GW2’s Heart of Thorns expansion, but that included taking half a dozen characters through the steps necessary to get their expansion class weapons. Without the repeatable/grind elements it would have been less than half of that.

    A GW2 Living Story episode, which comprises the main structured content between expansions and which Anet drop on a 2-3 month schedule and not every 2-3 months at that, takes me, on average four hours to complete. Four hours!

    By contrast, when EQ and EQ2 used to release expansions every six months (sounds unbelievable now but they did it for many years) each would take me around 3-4 months just to see all the open world zones, do all the main quests and maybe see a few of the dungeons. That’s not even including the harder dungeons or any of the raids! Indeed, it was not uncommon for the next expansion to arrive before I’d “finished” the previous one.

    That might have been too much of a good thing but I think that for most MMOs we could reasonably expect annual expansions about twice the size of the ones we now get every 2-3 years. How we, as consumers, have let things slide to this degree mystifies me.

  2. Max gear currently is actually i340 — the Omega Savage stuff can get you tokens for that level, but I’m perfectly happy to just cap out the Creation tomes and buy i330 stuff. I still haven’t run any of Omega. The videos I watched just looked more annoying than anything. I’m sure I’d do just fine at them, but… I’m just not a raider anymore. I really don’t like any of the trials in FFXIV. Trials roulette may as well not exist as far as I’m concerned, much less the raid finder.

    On the other hand, I’ve got 7 jobs to 70 already…. i like to run dungeons and I like to level, so that’s where my focus is.

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