Monday, August 10, 2015

On The Campaign Trail : EQ2

Izlain asked a very good question in a comment to yesterday's post:

"I thought EQ2 was done with expansions, and going the DLC route? ... Can you point me towards where you read about a new expansion?"

Okay, that's technically two questions but yes, it's absolutely true that, as reported by MassivelyOP, Daybreak Games did make a formal announcement that they would not be releasing an expansion for EQ2 in 2015. Here's a quote from Producer Holly "Windstalker" Longdale with MOP's gloss:

As we go forward, we are looking at a DLC-type mentality and philosophy.” Called campaigns, these DLCs will replace yearly expansions, and Longdale emphasized that they will add up to the same amount of content that would normally be put out in yearly expansion, but Daybreak is planning to “package it up in a variety of ways over the year.

That seemed vague enough but within a very short time various DBG devs were able to fog it up some more. Someone came up with the faux-cute contraction "Campansion", a cut-and-shunt of "Campaign" and "Expansion" and for a while that seemed to be in free use around DB Towers as evidenced here by Gninja and, even better, here by Kaitheel, who even takes the trouble to clarify the meaning as "(expansion/campaign)" in case we were in any doubt.

Over the last week I have twice seen sources from DBG refer to whatever it is that's coming later this year as "the expansion". I'd love to link to one of those but I can't remember precisely where it was that I spotted them or who was speaking. It might even have been in chat on Stormhold, where Windstalker has been on several times, answering questions and playing the role of Guide.

Without sourcing that's just anecdotal evidence and as such not worth much but the substantive issue remains: just what is the difference between a normal Digital Download "expansion" and a DLC "campaign" anyway? With no hard information on the actual size or content made known to us and with the people responsible not being at all clear or consistent in the language they choose to use about it, it's not surprising there's confusion.

Time is ticking on as it has that way of doing, though, and things will, no doubt, begin to come into focus soon enough. The campansion pre-event, Malicious Threat, is already up and running on the Test server:

"The mage house of Kelethin's House of Falling Stars and Neriak's Disciples of Innoruuk have both felt something disturbing a nearby location. They are looking for adventurers willing to investigate and help them uncover a threatening campaign being carried out. Players welcome in Neriak should speak with Virun D'Xyafin in Darklight Wood, while those that are welcome in Kelethin should speak with Miriel Tawnyglade in Greater Faydark".

There's that campaign word again in another context. Confused yet? I certainly am

Here's what we know or think we know:

  • There will be a content drop for EQ2 before the end of the year.
  • Players will have to pay for it.
  • Taken in conjunction with this summer's "Rum Cellar" DLC, which also had to be paid for, this "campaign" will bring total paid-for content for 2015 to "the same amount of content that would normally be put out in yearly expansion" .
  • The "campansion" will be "larger in comparison" than Rum Cellar. 
(source: MOP as above)

There you go. Clear as a glass of  Innothule swamp water. What I take it to mean is that we'll get an expansion this autumn but it will be smaller usual. Whether it's marketed as a "campaign" or a "campansion" or an expansionette makes no difference whatsoever. All that matters is what's in it and that's the part we haven't yet been told.

Throughout EQ2's long life we've been offered a range of purchasable additions to the game. In the early-years we had "Adventure Packs" - The Bloodline Chronicles, The Splitpaw Saga and The Fallen Dynasty. For many years we had annual expansions, first in boxes, later as Digital Downloads only. We even had an a la carte offer with Age of Discovery, which was advertised as an expansion but not received as such by a very vocal segment of the playerbase at the time.

In the end I don't believe it matters much what we call any of this stuff. They make content. We buy it. I've bought them all except for Rum Cellar and I'll get around to that eventually. I'm often a year or so in arrears when it comes to expansions for MMOs I play (which, as the recent row over Elite:Dangerous confirms, can often be the best way to go about things).

In the end all that counts is whether what we get is any good and whether it feels like good value for money. Get those two things right and you can call it anything you want.

Even *shudder* a "campansion". 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for clearing that up... sorta.

    I took DLC as a very small chunk of content, though I haven't played the Rum Cellar bit just yet so I'm not sure how small. Expansions typically come with one or two overland zones, dungeons, raids, HQs and Signature quests. I assumed we'd be getting more of the former and no more of the latter due to the original statement you quoted.

    Apparently I don't keep up on it as well as you do, as I missed any of the other discussion. Either way, I suppose we won't know for sure til they detail what will be included. Then we can decide what we want to call it.


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