Something about Guild Wars 2 continues to not sink in even though I feel like it should. It’s got a nice little open world vibe. It’s combat is… well, it’s something I’ve gotten used to even if it’s not something I’m in love with. It has a big fluffy cat race. It has raids that I’d like to try and see someday. And it has a more relaxed, open, and cooperative sort of leveling playstyle. Yet I still can’t get into it.
Even knowing this, I still find myself becoming enthralled by the siren song of the End of Dragons expansion and I’m reminded that this is a trap I just can’t stop falling in to.
While Guild Wars 2 is absolutely a constant source of falling for expansion hype, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that other MMOs do the same thing. I pre-purchased the Endwalker expansion even though I was certain at the time that I was done playing Final Fantasy XIV (a certainty that, if my latest posts are any indicator, was clearly nowhere near actually certain). The incoming Legacy of the Sith update for Star Wars: The Old Republic actually has me eager to hop back into that game if only to try out the combat styles feature. I find myself pining to try out The Elder Scrolls Online because of its Blackwood update and its upcoming other DLC despite not having a character even close to endgame levels.
I suppose the cynical side would admit that it’s because the game industry’s marketing departments are working as intended — that FOMO push whenever something new is on the horizon — but I also just like being connected to that latent buzz (there’s that term again) that seems to come when expansions or major updates hit. Also, being a tourist of so many MMOs, MMORPGs, and multiplayer games, I tend to have titles slip my mind, and then word of a new expansion or major content addition hits and I’m reminded of the fun I had in a previously visited game.
I also think the rational side of me is disappointed in myself. “Not this shit again,” it says. “You maybe enjoyed being a Guardian but you’ve also got, like, two other expansions to get through, and one of them is often referred to as a terrible experience. Do you really want to go through that whole stupid system just to learn how to bounce on mushrooms or use a glider?”
Shut up, me, maybe I do. Because shinyyyyyy.
As much as I can respect the old guard, look back at the times I used to spend in games like Final Fantasy XI or the original City of Heroes, or fall into old favorites like FFXIV, I’m always going to be a fan of the new. The stuff that’s coming out in terms of new games and expansions for existing ones will always make me happy because there’s nothing wrong with trying new things out, even if those new things end up being not so great. Maybe I keep setting myself up for disappointment, wasting time, energy, brainpower, and money, but dammit it’s nice to see new things.
It’s also nice to see new things added to old games. The single best thing about the MMO and MMORPG genre is its ability to expand and grow, evolving from whatever it may have done wrong or may have been at launch into something greater. There’s always that potential for that expansion or that update or that content drop or that DLC to be the thing that rights the ship, brings a game into new territory, or turns a game’s fortunes around for the better.
…OK, so maybe that is the definition of FOMO, but in my mind I love watching this genre change so much that I like being there to see this sort of thing happen. Even if I’m let down, I look forward to this stuff over and over again, and I genuinely hope I don’t grow so jaded that I become grumpy or expect the absolute worst when some new expansion arrives.
So, yeah, maybe I am going to try to dive into Guild Wars 2 again. Because maybe this time it will be the expansion that makes me a player and locks things in. Maybe it will be a new world I can enjoy, with new experiences and new friends. That’s always worth the dice roll.