The word expansion is used a lot in gaming. Just about every piece of DLC that adds a little bit of content is called an expansion nowadays. Here is my opinion on what an expansion really is.
One word comes to mind when I think of the word expansion and that’s Awakening. Dragon Age Awakening gave us a brand new area to explore and filled it to the rim with new content, quest, and about 20 hours of gameplay. It’s one of the best expansions I’ve ever played and it complimented Dragon Age Origins well.
The only downside was the companions. They weren’t as lively, or awesome, as the original Origins companions.
Destiny has yet to get a real expansion in my opinion. Giving us one new quest and two strikes is not a expansion in my book. Bungie gave us back content that was already locked on the disc. They charged people for it and they brought it. I have yet to play Destiny since it first released. It only got worse as time went by and I’m glad I didn’t support the game.
Buying a new map pack for Call of Duty is not a expansion. I don’t care what developer likes to call it. You’re paying $10-$20 for a few new multiplayer maps and zombie mode. You’re paying for stuff that should have been included in the main game and people are obviously okay with that. When I think of the what an expansion is I realize how few of them they actually are these days.
I’ll name a few examples of games that are labeled as having expansions, but really don’t. The Witcher 3’s Hearts of Stone is not an expansion. Dragon Age Inquisition’s Jaws of Harkon, and Deep Road DLC’s are not expansions. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy any of them, I really did, but lets be fair here. In The Witcher 3’s “expansion” you’re just covering areas you’ve already been to on the same map. You’re just doing new quest that could have arguably been included in the base game.
The second DLC, Blood and Wine sounds like a real expansion and that’s the one I’m most excited for. I want to traverse new landscapes in The Witcher 3 not the same old stuff. The reason why I don’t consider Jaws of Harkon and expansion even though it added a new area for us to explore is because it was so short. It only took me three or four hours to complete it. It was fun, but ultimately disappointing when compared to the great DLCs that Dragon Age Origins had.
I know everyone’s opinion on what an expansion is will differ from mine. Some of my friends think that House of Wolves is an actual expansion because it added a few new levels in Destiny and they would defend that belief to death.
Borderlands, Skyrim, Dragon Age, and Bioshock Infinite all had great expansion packs that not only gave us new areas to explore, but they also added in new content and features that weren’t present in the main game and that’s what I think expansions should be. I don’t think expansions need to add 20+ hours of gameplay to be considered one. They just need to add something new to the game. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, Burial at Sea, and Dragonborn all added to their games. Burial at Sea was a really short DLC, but it added to the experience of Bioshock by giving us a brand new areas to explore, letting us play as a new character, and even added some stealth to the game.
Skyrim expansions were so good that fans actually got mad at Bethesda for announcing that there wouldn’t be anymore after Dragonborn. I still blame the PS3 for that :]. Fallout 3, and New Vegas had some fantastic expansions that really added to the game world. I can name different games all day long, but one thing I can’t do is name a game in recent memory that’s had a real expansion. I haven’t played Trespasser so I can’t give my opinion on that one yet.
If you think the latest content added to Destiny is considered a expansion I would recommend you play any of the games I just mentioned in this article and then compare the content to what Destiny gave us. You might end up changing your mind. You’ve might as well put $50 on Star Wars Battlefront’s ridiculous season pass if map packs are considered expansions. You’ll get a whole lot of them that way.
What do you think expansions are? Do you think they’re just map packs or do you think they’re supposed to add on the base game by giving us good content? I would also like for you to share your favorite expansion.