Massively OP's guide to upcoming MMORPG expansions
If there is one consistent inconsistency among MMORPG studios, it is that teams keep swinging back and forth on pursuing the expansion model. How many times have we seen an MMO go from releasing regular expansions to attempting a monthly or quarterly content update schedule... and then abandon that after a while for more expansions? It is almost as if teams keep discovering how exciting and wonderful (and even profitable) expansions can be for the first time.
Believe it or not, right now we are in the middle of a major expansion boom in the MMO genre. Already this year we have enjoyed several expansion drops, including Destiny: Rise of Iron, EVE Online: Citadel, Trove: Mantle of Power, Star Trek Online: Agents of Yesterday, and of course, World of Warcraft: Legion.
We have even more on the horizon: More than a dozen MMOs and online ARPGs have expansions in the works, with five coming out this November alone. To help you keep all of these expansion projects straight, we've compiled a list of them, what each contains, and a rough timeline of when players might get to enjoy them.
EverQuest II: Kunark Ascending (November 15th)
Over the span of two days, Daybreak will release a pair of expansions themed around Norrath's Kunark. The first to land is Kunark Ascending, which won't see a level cap increase but will contain a lot of other goodies, including four ascension classes, epic 2.0 weapons, new zones, plenty of additional quests, equippable gear for mercenaries, and a player wardrobe. Hopefully, the expansion will be better than its prelude event, which MJ reported to be somewhat of a flop.
EVE Online: Ascension (November 15th)
As our editor Bree put it, this expansion should more accurately be called EVE Online: Free Stuff. Ascension marks the official switch to EVE's new free-to-play model, giving fans a somewhat-restricted option to play the game. The expansion will also usher in a brand-new beginner tutorial experience, player-built industrial complexes, an EVE Online mobile app, and buffs to mining ships. Check out our coverage for more details!
EverQuest: Empires of Kunark (November 16th)
Daybreak's one-two EverQuest punch lands with the 23rd expansion to its long-running MMO. Empires of Kunark focuses on the tale of a clash between two factions and will keep the existing playerbase busy with seven new zones, a familiar keyring, eight raids, more alternative advancements, more skills, more gear, more... everything, really.
RIFT: Starfall Prophecy (November 16th)
Trion Worlds is returning to the buy-to-play model with its third RIFT expansion, offering a whole package deal for one lump sum. Players who buy into Starfall Prophecy will be able to level their characters to 70, check out new legendary skills, adventure through a continent with five zones, take the fight to the planes, engage in PvE fortress sieges, and more.
The Crew: Calling All Units (November 29th)
Players will have to decide whether they are on the side of law or rebellion when Calling All Units releases. The Crew's second expansion set includes a new game mode that pits cops against illegal street racers, a level cap increase to 60, a dozen additional missions, and plenty of new vehicles to test drive. As a bonus, players who buy this expansion will get the previous one, Wild Run, for free.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne (December 2nd)
The epic storyline that began in Knights of the Fallen Empire will continue with this new "season" of SWTOR tales. The expansion will feature a new type of group content called Uprisings, the Galactic Command endgame system, and five more levels for characters. BioWare is making a stronger push to convert free and preferred players into subscribers, locking the expansion chapters and endgame gearing as sub-only features. If players subscribe in November, they can secure a few bonus rewards including a head start period.
ArcheAge: Revelation (December 10th)
Trion might not be calling Revelation an expansion, per se, but when you look at what this patch is offering (and the fact that the studio has labeled this "ArcheAge 3.0"), it's hard to deny what it is. Revelation will add two new races (the Dwarves and Warborn), more zones, a new type of housing neighborhood, skill revamps, new endgame skills, and a round of new fresh start servers among other features.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (early summer 2017)
We have a ways to go until Stormblood arrives in FFXIV, but the enthusiasm and hype is very much real right now. Stormblood's narrative will focus on the Ala Mhigo region and the struggle for freedom from a people who have been oppressed for two decades. The expansion will add several new jobs, one of which is most certainly the Red Mage. Unfortunately for PlayStation 3 players, the expansion's launch will mark the end of support for that console. Check out everything we found out about Stormblood from the Fan Festival keynote.
Lord of the Rings Online: Untitled expansion (2017)
Four years after Helm's Deep, LOTRO will be returning to the expansion model with a trip into Mordor itself. Turbine has been heavily teasing this expansion all year, and with the recent Update 19 came a detailed map showing the features of this dreaded country. Possible features include a Shelob encounter, a new raid, Minas Morgul, and a "big" event leading into the expansion. The Mordor expansion will be released sometime after the game's 10th anniversary in April 2017. Read what we thought a Mordor expansion should look like.
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Untitled expansion (2017)
LOTRO isn't the only Turbine property that's getting the expansion treatment next year; the DDO team has mentioned a few times that a third pack is in the works. What's interesting about this is that the team said that it is trying to get an expansion going for the end of 2017, while a separate quote from the studio said that it is working on incorporating the Ravenloft campaign setting for the end of 2017. Can we put two and two together and infer a Ravenloft expansion? Maybe. Maybe not.
Guild Wars 2: Untitled expansion (TBA)
Pretty much the only thing we know for certain about the second Guild Wars 2 expansion is that ArenaNet is, in fact, working on a second Guild Wars 2 expansion. That won't stop us from speculating, of course, and a questionable image leak hinted toward the Crystal Desert as a destination in either the Living World or upcoming expansion.
Grim Dawn: Untitled expansion (TBA)
The apocalyptic-western-horror multiplayer ARPG Grim Dawn is charging forward with its first expansion. The team teased the x-pack back with a few images at the end of September, saying that the Aetherials (bad guys) are creating a fresh horror for players to fight.
RuneScape: Untitled expansion (TBA)
When it was talking about future content for RuneScape in September, Jagex announced that it would be returning to the expansion model for mega-patches. Previously, The Lost City of the Elves expansion was rolled out over three updates in 2014, and this past summer the game was treated to a Polynesian-themed massive update. We have no details or hints as to what the next expansion will entail.
Diablo III: Possible expansion (TBA)
By the time you read this, BlizzCon news will most likely have confirmed or denied the rumors swirling about over a Diablo III expansion. Will Blizzard be trying to milk more money from this title, or has it closed the book on the third game in preparation of a fourth in the future? This is what inquiring minds want to know.