Pre-Expansion Energy

Everybody knows that the time just after the release of a new expansion is one of the most exciting periods in an MMO's life cycle, but it's only during the last year or so that I've come to appreciate just how important the time just before the release of a new expansion is as well. I observed it from the outside with WoW's Battle for Azeroth, and now with Onslaught's announcement I see it in SWTOR.

Just knowing that new content is coming is enough to get a good percentage of lapsed players back into the game, even if its release is still some time away. I was utterly amazed the other day when my friends list suddenly lit up with the names of not just one, but two members of my old launch guild (which dissolved less than a year into the game).

For me personally the expansion announcement has done wonders for my motivation as well. It's not that I didn't have fun playing before, but I was just kind of cruising along lately by alternating between doing dailies and PvP. I guess none of what you could call my long-term character goals have been feeling very urgent after two and a half years without an expansion. It's all still going to be there tomorrow, right?

However... with an expansion coming up, you never know! I mean, realistically I don't expect it to change many of the things that I'm working on right now, but strictly speaking you never know - so better get on with it. There is a bit of a sense of urgency now (as far as you can apply that word five months in advance) and it's been helping me to get off my butt and get some things done.

There hasn't been much rhyme or reason to my goals just yet - my enthusiasm is more based on a general feeling of being re-energised than any sort of real plan. So I've done things like getting two more characters their Aratech Ice speeders (the one you get for completing all of the original set of master mode flashpoints), finishing off the Seeker Droid and Macrobinocular missions on one character, and finally starting them on a bunch of others.

Cue my guildie: "I think the last time I did this quest was in 2015..."

It also helps that after Ossus I'm really excited about the current story direction for the first time in years. While KotFE and KotET had their strengths, ultimately I did not enjoy being the Outlander and leader of the Alliance, and I think that put a bit of a damper on all my alt playing. Beyond the sense of boring repetition that you get while replaying the chapters, taking any alt into the 4.0 content and beyond felt a bit like a dead end to me, not somewhere I actively wanted to go.

Since Ossus, I'm actually excited by the thought of taking more alts through the new story for the first time. KotFE and KotET are still going to be a bit of a "hump" to get over in terms of story (since I don't want to just skip them and be saddled with default choices), but I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel now, which is a great feeling.


  1. I totally agree on the power of expansions to get people motivated. Every year I end up playing more EQ2 from September onwards because the pre-expansion events start up. For WoW I actually re-subbed just to play the Legion pre-events (and never played Legion itself).

    Yet another reason ArenaNet's resistance to proper expansions is so damaging to the game.

  2. Interesting. For me the expansion was reason #3 why I lost interest. (#1 and #2 being FFXIV and WoW, so well...)
    But as I wasn't raiding and just casually gearing up for a few months the vision of not being done again (when my goal was just roughly "get the mirror classes to max command level and get some gear" after "level all the classes to max level"). So yeah, weird goals, but I really loved the fact that I could indulge in my goal for a while and -unlike WoW- when I'm nearing completion... everything gets reset.

    But overall I think your standpoint is a lot more sensible, from a perpetual player standpoint. So I'm absolutely happy there's an expansion - for other people to enjoy. I'll see if I'm in the mood to play again when it hits, for now I'm happy in those other two MMOs.

    1. This is the first expansion for swtor in almost two years, no?! And you didn't get one mirror class to command rank 300? How often do you play? One hour a month?

    2. I can understand the dislike for resets, but your example does seem a bit funny, considering that SWTOR's gear reset is still five months away while in WoW it will probably come with the next patch in about a month? Or is it about the levels? (Not that five levels in SWTOR take much time...)

    3. @Shintar: As I said, weird goals :)
      Right now I'm absolutely not playing to gear up in WoW, that's why the comparison is valid (On your part) but off (in my book). I leveled tons of toons to max level in wow this expansion but didn't invest in gearing up besides one on Alliance and one on Horde, so the gear bump with the new raid tier doesn't concern me at all. Also it's not a total gear reset, only a slight depreciation.

      @Anonymous: I got 5 of them to 300 but I did not finish gearing up a single one to 248, then 258 gear came out and then I already stopped. Nobody has to understand or agree with my goals, but I found the idea of getting 4 sets of full 248 gear pleasing and I managed to get close enough, then Ossus came.

  3. I really need to set goals :(
    My old guild is dead, although there are a few stragglers. I'm probably going to shelf Anthem and return to SWTOR as my main game for sure.

  4. As far as skipping KotFE/KotET, I don't mind skipping on Republic characters as I get all the companions I wanted anyway. It's skipping on Imp characters that bugs me.

    Goals are an interesting topic that was brought up by a WoW streamer I sometimes watch not that long ago. His talk really got me thinking about the reasons I stop playing games, and that I need to set some goals in SWTOR lest I lose interest in the game (for probably the 5th time since release). To that end, I'm making it my goal to get my JK to command rank 300. He's only at 110 right now, but that's the highest character I have.

    1. Is that streamer Preach by chance? ;) I watch him too (or well, his YouTube videos anyway). I agree that creating goals for yourself is an important part of maintaining long-term interest in a game. Just cruising along only takes you so far after a while.

    2. Indeed it is Preach! I haven't even played WoW since probably January (and might not even go back at all), but I still enjoy his videos on occasion.

    3. Hehe, I haven't been subscribed to WoW in more than five years and I still enjoy watching some of his stuff. His thoughts on design issues can be quite insightful.

    4. Actually, I should have said January of 2018 since it was around the time they announced BfA. Somehow I lost an entire year... getting old I guess.

      Which brings up another goal for me: to be around when 6.0 actually goes live. I don't think I've been actively playing any MMO when an expansion dropped since Wrath of the Lich King.


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