Back when boxed games were king, it wouldn't have occurred to anyone to ponder the difference between an expansion and a patch. Duh, right? An expansion came in a box and cost money, whereas a patch was something a game developer delivered via download much later at no cost to the players.
But with the rise of the eternally changing MMO, free-to-play models, and digital distribution, the line between expansion and patch has become blurred. We joke that freemium games call their patches "expansions" just to get more coverage and attention. We're impressed when a big-budget MMO like RIFT
or Lord of the Rings Online
bothers to launch an old-school expansion. And games like EVE Online
compound the confusion by calling their reasonably large updates "expansions" while delivering them gratis.
So what does it take before you'd call a patch a true expansion? A fee? New lands? Quests? Races? A spot on a shelf in a brick-and-mortar store? Where do you draw the line?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!