• March 30, 2023

With a runtime of more than 17 years, World of Warcraft is often referred to as an MMO grandfather. One reason for this is that the online role-playing game looked anything but fresh when it was released in the US in 2004. But a real MMO grandfather is actually the game that WoW finally outstripped: Everquest. Everquest was released in the USA in 1999, and more than a year later it was released for the European market. In other words: Everquest is five years older than WoW - and therefore also five years more opar.

28 (!!) expansions!

But the fact that Everquest is older than World of Warcraft is not the point. To be honest, five years really don't make much of a difference when you translate that into the number of expansions that have been released. Because in the five years that Everquest has more under its belt, a lot more expansions have been released for the MMO. 20 to be exact; on average, an EQ expansion is released every nine to ten months.

In 17 years of WoW (buy now ), Blizzard's online fantasy world brings it to eight expansions, and fans are already eagerly awaiting announcements about expansion number 9 to finally close the less-than-glorious Shadowlands chapter. On average, a WoW expansion is released every 27 months.

Meanwhile, in 23 years of Everquest, 28 expansions have been released, so let that roll off your tongue. The heroes of Norrath saw their character levels increase to level 120 in December 2021 with the Terror of Luclin expansion, learned new spells and abilities, discovered new raids, new quests, and new zones. Thus, it can by no means be said that each of the 28 EQ expansions would be "just" a slightly more extensive patch, although each of them mainly embraces the concept of the armor grind.

In the beginning, the developers of Everquest, then Sony Online Entertainment, even released two expansions per year. In 2000, for example, the packages Ruins of Kunark and Scars of Velious appeared, and these double expansions per year then came regularly from 2003 until 2007. Only after that, with Seeds of Destruction (2008), the developers of SOE settled down to an annual cycle, which is still maintained today. And so Terror of Luclin will be released on December 7, 2022. Congratulations! And the others like this?

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The dream of theme park and patch concept

Of course, Everquest cannot be compared to WoW or FFXIV in terms of game concept, the "competition" would rather be Everquest 2. Nevertheless, there is a theme park MMO that can roughly keep up with Everquest's release cycle, namely Neverwinter. The online role-playing game from Perfect World has also been expanded by a whopping 20 modules since its release in summer 2013. And there would certainly be even more if everything hadn't gone haywire in the first Corona Pandemic year of 2020.

Nevertheless, it can be said that the "expansions" or "modules" that are added to some MMOs several times a year probably don't contain quite as much content as a complete WoW expansion. On the other hand, the pace of patch releases seems to be much more reliable, not only for EQ or Neverwinter, but also for Final Fantasy 14 and, judging by the first months, also for New World. Behind many MMOs like WoW, some of which are not even remotely as popular, there seems to be a concept, a plan for the future.

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Let's hope that WoW can find something like this again. Because originally it was the wish of the WoW makers to publish expansions every year. But as we all know, we are very, very far away from that, aren't we? Nowadays, we're more surprised about when patches finally appear.

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