Massively OP's Best of 2016 Awards: Best MMORPG Expansion or Update of 2016

Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Best MMORPG Expansion or Update of 2016, which was awarded to Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns last year. Like last year, 2016 had many to choose from! Every update and expansion to an MMORPG was eligible, as long as it launched in this calendar year.

Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMORPG Expansion or Update of 2016 is...

WORLD OF WARCRAFT'S LEGION

expansion

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): World of Warcraft: Legion. I'm going to surprise a few people and say World of Warcraft: Legion, if for no other reason than the sheer number of veteran players it managed to pull back in. The overwhelming sentiment following Legion's release was that it had made the game fun again for a lot of people for the first time in years, and that certainly showed in the sales figures.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Elder Scrolls Online's One Tamriel literally makes the game what I wished it was when it launched: more like an Elder Scrolls game, and more like my favorite MMORPGs thanks to content scaling. It's getting closer to a sandbox patch by patch. My runner-up would be S3E1 of Guild Wars 2's living story season, which was a blast to play through.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): I went back and forth between WoW Legion and One Tamriel, but I ultimately figured that The Elder Scrolls Online got my nod for its improvement. While Legion is far from perfect, it's much closer to a return to form for Blizzard, and it's a pack that easily stands up with the better expansions in World of Warcraft's history. It's not a massive game-changer, but it's filled with little changes that do, ultimately, make for a much more pleasant experience than has come before.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): World of Warcraft: Legion. With gorgeous zones, a pretty enjoyable (and rewarding) world quest system, artifact weapons, and plenty to see and do, Legion proved worth the wait. Even better, it seems to have kicked off a string of World of Warcraft updates that are coming at a faster pace than we've seen in a long time. It's a good time to be a WoW player.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): Legion. I never wanted to play World of Warcraft. I have played it. Sporadically for about a month or so, but with Legion I actually played. And I’m almost ashamed to say that I enjoyed it. Ultimately, WoW isn’t for me, but I really did enjoy my time in Legion. I’m not ashamed to admit it, even if I do have to turn in my hipster beanie because of it.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I know that One Tamriel brought much more to Elder Scrolls Online than just the ability to group better and play with friends, but that is precisely why I would give this award to ESO. This one factor is the reason I always left ESO each time I tried to get into it even though things like the world and graphics were worth staying in for.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I’m going for Legion again here: Despite my initial thoughts upon expansion announcement being that Legion would make more of a squeaky pop than a big bang, I still have no evidence that player numbers are dropping off quickly or the expansion is dead in the water. On the contrary, I applaud Blizzard for creating a stellar piece of content that has done much to engage both veteran and new World of Warcraft players. Anecdotally, a surprisingly high number of my MMO-playing friends resubbed and bought the expansion to check out what’s new, and the general levels of investment in my friendship group are the highest they’ve been in years.

WoW Legion won our award for Best MMORPG Expansion or Update of 2016. What's your pick?

Reader poll: Which MMORPG had the best update or expansion of 2016?

  • World of Warcraft - Legion or patch (36%, 278 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online - One Tamriel or DLC (30%, 230 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic - KOTET (6%, 43 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 - Living Story Season 3 (5%, 37 Votes)
  • EVE Online - Citadel or Ascension (4%, 34 Votes)
  • ArcheAge - Revelation (1%, 9 Votes)
  • RIFT - Starfall Prophecy (2%, 16 Votes)
  • EverQuest II - Kunark Ascending (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Black Desert - Mediah, Valencia (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Path of Exile - Ascendancy or Atlas of Worlds (2%, 19 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online - Agents of Yesterday (3%, 22 Votes)
  • Neverwinter - Storm King's Thunder (0%, 1 Votes)
  • EverQuest - Empires of Kunark (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Trove - Mantle of Power (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Lineage II - Helios (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Destiny - Rise of Iron (1%, 7 Votes)
  • The Crew - Calling All Units (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Aion - Echoes of Eternity (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 34 Votes)
  • Something else (let us know in the comments!) (2%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 776

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Poll options include all updates and expansions nominated plus several other major entries from 2016.

MOP's 2016 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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79 comments
thenewzero
thenewzero

Even though I've stopped playing now, I think I'd still say Legion.  It really is a good expansion.  I think they have *drastically* improved their storytelling.  I was actually interested in the lore and what was going on while questing, which I've only felt one other time in WoW's history (certain parts of WotLK).  I think the zones are great, the dungeons/raids were fun, and I actually didn't mind the ability pruning.


I just hate the emphasis on RNG for gearing.  Some RNG is fine, but the current system is like RNG upon RNG upon RNG.  I miss badges. =\

SwobyJ
SwobyJ

All I can say for myself is that One Tamriel drew me in.

wanderv15
wanderv15

One Tamriel of course. It makes TESO the game it had to be since the very beginning.

cures
cures

Legion brought me to Wow .. so ...

NobleNerd
NobleNerd

Absolutely Legion! One Tamriel was not an expansion... it was barely a DLC! Legion is by far one of WoW's best expansion since Burning Crusade. The class distinction, Legendary gear, Artifact weapons, secret quests and all the mysteries slowly being released from many sources since launch has introduced a long missed features to the game. World Quests are a nice change to the daily questing system, but have become a bit homogenized after playing for a few months, but over all Legion easily takes the best expansion for 2016.

CloakingDonkey
CloakingDonkey

Easily One Tamriel.


While Legion is nowhere near as bad as WoD, it's still just another WoW expansion and the only thing that makes it stand out imo is that it followed a truly terrible expansion.


One Tamriel was at least in some ways unique and different.

Cambruin
Cambruin

For me the best period of WoW was Cataclysm. No on-rails questing, no rediculously limited class customization and actual class differentiation. From the looks of it, none of the aforementioned flaws intriduced by Cataclysm have been 'fixed'? So what gives? What makes this expansion so good that it beat a genre-defining change like ESO; One Tamriel?


It's an honest question btw. I would really like to understand why, for I would love to return to WoW, but I just don't see a reason. Most reviews are shallow and won't really cover the actual quest design and class customization, which are both very important to me.

Lawilc01
Lawilc01

@Cambruin I can say that Legion's quest design did not at all feel on rails to me, due to the level scaling. Besides the main story beats that you *need* to do at some point (due to needing them eventually for the achievement for flying,) there felt like there was a lot of freedom there.


If you do the zone ending dungeons, you can level in three zones and leave the other two for starting on an alt. (Kind of like how you could have zones left over in the past.)  


On my main, I've still run into a couple of mini hubs I missed the first time around.


I also adore Suramar as a story zone. 


As far as class customization, are you referring to the talent trees? I honestly feel like I have *more* choice there than I used to, because a lot of what was lost was boring talents like "3 percent increased X." Especially when the talent was for damage and I was trying to build a tree for a raiding holy priest.  (Felt like my main choice was "do I let them make me be the priest that runs Divine Spirit or not, to be honest.)  If that's not what you were referring to, though..I apologize.

Zariarn
Zariarn

ESO's One Tameriel easily

Dope_Danny
Dope_Danny

I can't believe people voted for the shitshow that is Rift.

Zariarn
Zariarn

@Dope_Danny   I know it's hard to believe but RIFT as a very active community.  Not everyone buys into the sentiment and hate you see on MOP.  I voted ESO because I have yet to buy Starfall Prophecy.

DPandaren
DPandaren

I agree with Legion. Even though it didn't stick to me as past expansions has. Much much better then the previous expansion, but there are things I can't be bothered with in it. Suramar being one of the major suspects. I loved doing the zone the first time, but having to be forced to do it again on every character is as painful as rolling another alt in Final Fantasy XIV. I love the resource system not being crazy like in the previous expansion, but it sucks because you don't get much unless you're focused playing that one or two characters. 

damican
damican

gona have to go with marvel heroes, any of their big content updates are awesome and the upcoming mass revamp will be amazingu

Armsman
Armsman

As a Star Trek (1966-69) series fan first and foremost; I have to say Star Trek Online's "Agents of Yesterday" update (IMO it WAS TOO SMALL to be called a full expansion) gets my vote. My only issue with it is that I wish they had put MORE TOS era related content and missions in the game with it.

melissaheather
melissaheather

Star Trek Online: Agents of yesterday revived my interest in the game.  It was the Star Trek game I think I really wanted all along.

wild_abyss
wild_abyss

I voted Legion. I like ESO well enough and One Tamriel made quite an impression on the community but I just don't like level scaling. I like going back to zones I've out-leveled for exploration/gathering activities without having to stop every few feet and fight.

Scarecrowe
Scarecrowe

@Primefire

LOL, that was awesome.  Actually, Rift *would* have gotten my vote but... I hit level 69 and was 2/10 of the way to 70 when I completed all story quests. All carnage quests were also done.  I had to run crafting quests, repeatable dailies, and grind zone events and instant adventures for a few days to cap levels.  It really feels like about half of an expansion. No raid and only a couple of dungeons.  Definitely a departure from Trion's past expansions for Rift.  I was having a lot of fun until 69.2 but once I hit that end I realized I couldn't recommend it to anyone until this has all been remedied. 

SwobyJ
SwobyJ

@Scarecrowe @Primefire I'm not even thinking of getting Starfall Prophecies now until its actually 'done' and, now, on discount. GG Trion.

jhuynh405
jhuynh405

The best update for me has definitely been RuneScape's new client rework (from java to C++) that improved its graphics (it changed its draw distance dramatically which has been the same for over 10+ years) and performance by an incredible amount. Better OS support on Mac & Linux was a big plus too.

Wyattearp1989
Wyattearp1989

Not much of a contest in terms of expansions. In my opinion Legion deserves to win. It's a really good expansion, with some flaws of course. I had to stop playing Legion, since I am trying to catch up on a backlog of single player games. Plus I wanted to play ESO again and I am still playing my main mmo, FFXIV. But still, I would vote for Legion as a good expansion. I sure as heck will not give it to Rift.


As far as patches, ESO wins for me. I love the DLC's and the One Tamriel update. OT alone brings my enjoyment up and I am having a great time. Can't wait for the housing update next year! Happy to see Zenimax Online Studios turn the game around.

Greaterdivinity
Greaterdivinity

One Tamriel for me. I really like how ESO has evolved over the years, and OT felt like a big step in delivering on a lot of the initial promises/potential that the games had for years.

Legion...just has way too much bad/lazy design in it and too much fanservice for the sake of pandering (to try to make up for the vomitshit dumpster that was WoD). I like some of what they've done, but I largely continue to disagree with the way the design has devolved for the game : /

ThunderJackson
ThunderJackson

Honestly nothing really stands out to me. I guess BnS and BDO are doing great with cadence as they rapidly close the gap between KR and NA also GW2 is making some good updates as of late.


I voted Archeage to be cheeky and was rather surprised some people voted that way and are serious. Their last update has been a running joke going on 18 days now. Servers can't stay open and when they do you have a small window before the whales and the alt/macro-bot army fills the queues. How anyone can still play the game is beyond me, but thankfully Trion's customer support was pretty good and refunded me the same day I put in a ticket.


One good thing about AA's update is it got me playing BDO again and so far it's been a great time killer between GW2 and FF14.

rottenrotny
rottenrotny

Definitely Legion for me. Big surprise right? I know.

It's not perfect, but I'm having fun and it's great to see friends online that I haven't seen since WotLK.


Haven't tried ESO since the Dark Brotherhood expac. I like the game but I'm not too into the forced level scaling.

Qarran
Qarran

Blade and Soul's Silverfrost Mountains expansion.  New level cap, new continent, new faction PvP in Soulstone Plains, new 6v6 arenas, new abilities, new crafting, and a great bit of story to boot.  And dropped 4 months after BnS NA/EU launch.  


Everything about that xpac still dominates the game right now too.  Impressive if you think about all the updates that have been implemented since May.



DPandaren
DPandaren

@Estranged I was hoping for more story stuff besides a couple of missions and nothing really else. 

Dope_Danny
Dope_Danny

@Estranged It was really fun but man did i want more Siva mutants, especially after the tease that is the wretched eye strike.

Plinious
Plinious

I say Legion, but The Elder Scrolls Online's Dark Brotherhood DLC has been a lot of fun.

Karl_Hungus
Karl_Hungus

One Tamriel would've been great if the game was built around it from the beginning instead of being shoehorned in, destroying any sense of logical continuity within the story lines.

karmamule
karmamule

@Karl_Hungus  If you're diligent you can still follow them in order as long as you're paying attention,  but I do want them to find a better way of delineating main-sequence zone quests from side quests, and also  indicate their sequential order so doing that becomes a no-brainer rather than requiring the player to figure it out.

Jack Pipsam
Jack Pipsam

In terms of expansions Legion (my vote), but One Tamriel was easily the best patch.

tobascodagama
tobascodagama

One Tamriel was a pretty good update. Certainly the most significant update this year, as far as transforming its game.


However, LOTRO's Pelennor Fields update not even making the short list for the vote is an absolute crime. LOTRO put all modern MMOs to shame by delivering a huge battle that actually felt like a BATTLE. They pulled out all the stops and gave us a full day of open warfare that spanned across story instances, an open battlefield zone on a scale nobody else has ever delivered, Epic Battles that let us man the walls to defend a massive siege, and an instance cluster that took us behind enemy lines to decapitate the leadership of the enemy forces, culminating in a boss-filled raid bigger than anything the game has delivered since Isengard. I mean, come on. COME ON.

tylercles
tylercles

I think I'd give the nod to Eternal Throne. It was a pretty small expansion as these things go, but I loved every minute of it. Whereas Legion has a lot going for it, but also still a lot of obnoxiously stupid decisions, and One Tamriel will probably be very good for the game in the long run but just doesn't have a lot of "sex appeal" to it.

Wakkander
Wakkander

@tylercles I ended up not going with kotet because kotet was such a small expansion. I liked what I played of it, but I finished the story in a matter of days and had no real inclination to continue on with the galactic command after.

Lawilc01
Lawilc01

@Wakkander @tylercles This right here is why I can't bring myself to reinstall the game. The story is pretty decent (watched it on YT,) but past that I'm like "so I'd play through the story and then do what?" (I played from 2011-2014.)

KidWithKnife
KidWithKnife

@Rokhaiil Damn right.  They're gearing up to build a wall around Endor and make the Ewoks pay for it!

Omedon
Omedon

I saw this headline and thought: "If they didn't pick legion, they need to find a new hobby!" 


And so does anyone else outright complaining about Legion on a scale of quality or content cadence.  There are a lot of reasons to just not like WoW, or even some of the decisions they made with Legion, and those are for the most part fair, but if Legion as an expansion is just not good enough for you to acknowledge its quality, find a new hobby or go into chryosleep, because the "early 21st century" doesn't and won't have the tech to meet your unreasonable needs.

Wakkander
Wakkander

@Omedon Acknowledging it doesn't by necessity mean declaring it the best expansion or update. It isn't a zero sum game where by declaring one, in this case voting for anything other than legion, declares legion unremarkable or unlikable.

Damonvile
Damonvile

@Wakkander @Omedon But this is the internet, the light is on or off. You either love it with all your being or hate it with everything you've got :)

CloakingDonkey
CloakingDonkey

@Omedon I certainly acknowledge that it's a generic, same old same old WoW expansion. But after the trash that was WoD, anything looks like gold ;)