Expansion packs in GameLit?

Original article:


Tl;dr: Adding in expansion packs to GameLits can bolster sales.

My reaction:

This could work, if only because it solves one problem that occurs in games all the time.  The first problem is currency inflation.  In any MMO, the amount of money being added to the economy is inflationary.  It’s why I often recommend the satire, (but still really awesome), Orconomics book.  It’s seriously awesome, go read it.  (Book 2 will sadly not be out until mid next year).

One of the things that only gets peripherally addressed (it is in another video) is that one solution is to simply keep changing currencies.  It’s not completely addressed, but the way this typically works is that a new currency gets introduced, and new items can only be bought with this new currency.  That doesn’t completely eliminate the old currency, but as newer and better items get released, it behooves players to start accumulating the newer currency and diminishes the value of the old one.

Right, so what’s the problem I’m talking about in many GameLit/LitRPG books that I read?  They all have unique abilities, items, and quests that can only be gained by a player once.  In several games, this means that there would be an ubermensch class of old players that would have all sorts of unique abilities and items that would dissuade new players from entering.

Some books obviously won’t have this problem.  James Hunter’s Viridian Online will never have new players entering into it, unless the outside World begins encapsulating themselves after the Calamity.

But several of the books have no World-ending event and have a system that would rely upon a steady stream of new players investing into the game.  Several other aspects don’t get addressed in this vein in many books.  I.e. PvP, if new players entered the game six months later, why would they keep playing if they are immediately griefed upon entering?  Travis Bagwell does address this in his second book of the Awaken Online series, via a government intervention that goes as well as most government interventions.

Plenty of ideas pop into mind:  Cities where players spawn could have escorts until a certain level, which gets deducted as a partial tax, (similar to the “cost sink” in the video).  PvP restrictions about attacking low level players.  Killing low level players earns a permanent mark on the player like “dishonorable”, (see Harmon Cooper’s Last Warrior of Unigaea).

So, how do we keep all the badass special abilities/items without alienating new players?  Expansion packs.  As expansion packs get released, new players could get exclusive access to them for a limited time period so the older players don’t immediately get all the best unique plots and items.  New currencies get introduced so that certain items are unobtainable without getting the expansion pack.

Think of a hardcore purist character who won’t use any of the new items, similar to the gnome/dwarf character in Lion’s Quest who will not use any item not gained from a fallen foe.

Then the main characters would meet up with new characters who have different skills, races, abilities, and items than what they are used to, forcing them to think on their feet.

The end goal here is not so much that expansion packs are the only way to solve this problem, but that thinking about the problem of why new players would want to join a game and how solutions to that problem can open up new avenues for writing.

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