Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: MMO Expansion of the Year


Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for best MMO update or expansion of the year.

Last year was a bit heavier on MMO updates and thin on expansions since that was the trend, so the award was expanded to include both, and it was won by Guild Wars 2’s April feature pack patch. This year, we had expansions and patches aplenty!

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. 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 MMO Update or Expansion of 2015 is…

Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns


Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns. While EVE Online has had some pretty great updates throughout 2015, none of them individually was as impressive or content-packed as Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns expansion. The elite specialisations with alternate weapon sets give each profession a new way to play, the Revenant has a completely new style of gameplay, the Heart of Maguuma is an amazing looking zone, and there’s finally a bit more of an actual endgame. The launch itself was very smooth, and the expansion reveals certainly got a lot of attention.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I was super torn on this one because I think Heavensward was a lovely classic MMO expansion (and in fact, before I saw the votes, I expected it to win this category). But ultimately, Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns takes my vote. It isn’t exactly everything I personally wanted out of a Guild Wars 2 expansion, but I can’t deny that it’s a spectacular addition to the game for those who enjoy endgame play.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. Remember when I said that this expansion was nearly perfect? Yeah, I stand by that. What more can be said?

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): WildStar: Reloaded. Despite its very rough launch, the actual update was awesome, with a new (and fair) business model, wonderful quality-of-life improvements, and a ton of excitement from new and existing players. Also SWTOR: Knights of the Fallen Empire. BioWare took a gamble with a new type of expansion and it really worked. KotFE had a stellar story — to be continued! — and shook up the established world, creating something much more exciting with improved systems to boot.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): Being as objective as I can, I believe that SWTOR: Knights of the Fallen Empire set out to reinvigorate the game’s playerbase and brought many people back to the game to see the new story. Then it delivered. It’s possible that people who were looking for new, brilliant endgame are disappointed. But we all know that endgame is bad, right? For the vast majority of MMO gamers, this expansion hit the sweetspot of what they were looking for: new epic story content and a reinvigorated small group content. There are negatives, but I believe those have been addressed in other columns already. If there is a need for a second choice, I would go with Heavensward. I am not a Final Fantasy fan at all, but I do recognize when a game does something right. And Heavensward delivered on everything it promised and more. It’s not often that I hear of an expansion over-delivering, but that is the case with this expansion.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): Gotta go with Heavensward on this one. Three new jobs, one of which is one of the most unique classes I’ve played in a recent MMO, plus new zones, dungeons, raids, etc., all wrapped in a gripping storyline? Yes please.

Tina Lauro (@purpletinabeans): HoT, HoT, HoT! I couldn’t possibly choose another expansion. It’s reinvigorated by friends and added so much more to the endgame. As with any expansion, the feedback isn’t all glowing, but most people agree that the launch was very smooth and that the team worked amazingly well on the product.

Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns won our award for Best Update or Expansion of 2015. What’s your pick?

What was the best MMO patch or expansion of 2015?

  • Guild Wars 2 - Heart of Thorns (33%, 477 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV - Heavensward (20%, 284 Votes)
  • SWTOR - Knights of the Fallen Empire (14%, 201 Votes)
  • WildStar - Reloaded (3%, 38 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online - Tamriel Unlimited or DLC (17%, 241 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft - Adventure Continues, Fury of Hellfire (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Neverwinter - Underdark (0%, 4 Votes)
  • ArcheAge - Heroes Awaken (0%, 1 Votes)
  • RIFT - Into the Wilds (1%, 13 Votes)
  • TERA - Knockout Update (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Elite: Dangerous - CQC or Horizons (1%, 20 Votes)
  • EverQuest II - Terrors of Thalumbra (1%, 8 Votes)
  • EVE Online - Proteus through Frostline (1%, 15 Votes)
  • Trove - Rise of the Shadow Tower (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Marvel Heroes - Avengers Age of Ultron (1%, 8 Votes)
  • The Secret World - Issue 11 & 12 (2%, 22 Votes)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online - Update 25-28 (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Defiance - Alcatraz (0%, 1 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online - Episode 13-19 (0%, 4 Votes)
  • RuneScape - DarkScape (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Ultima Online - Time of Legends (0%, 5 Votes)
  • EverQuest - The Broken Mirror (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Cabal II - Ruins of the Gods (0%, 0 Votes)
  • The Crew - Wild Run (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Aion -Typhoon Abyss update (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Age of Wushu/Wulin - Awakening (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Dark Age of Camelot - Otherworlds (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Villagers & Heroes - Reborn (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Darkfall - Economy Expansion (0%, 1 Votes)
  • LOTRO - Update 17 Minas Tirith (2%, 30 Votes)
  • Path of Exile - Awakening (2%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,451

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Poll options include all games nominated plus a number of other MMO updates and expansions.


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For what I’ve been playing? KOTFE. For what I really like seeing? Heavensward. Honorable mentions? TSW finishing of Tokyo, RIFT’s Planetouched Wilds. To be clear, this is personal perception and there may be, or likely is better content out there.

I don’t, or barely, count a F2P transition like Wildstar, though I admit it did add to the game.


Quincha bondoboblives disUserNameTake He asked what I’d like to see more of.  There are not very many new armor skins, and as I said in the post above, I have gotten most of them already.


GW2 – Barely un update, a glorified DLC with a full price tag barely belivable. Nothing particulary new or exiting, no deep core changes neither, 1 class, 1 extra weapon set for all old classes, thats about it. Oh, it took 3 years to arrive too… So… Idk how this is even considereded an expansion at this point. Or much worse, how it even won, but well, gamers these days…
FFXIV HW – A full expansion, textbook 101 how to do MMORPGs expansions for dummies edition. Sadly at the end of the journey, amazing dx11 upgrade, storyline and new level cap and classes, the expansion is little more than a re-skin of content, same 2.0 old formulas all over the place matched the start of a decline in the game that with the more recent patch, has reached free fall speed. 
Sad year for MMOs if these are the top choices xD

Esoteric Coyote
Esoteric Coyote

bondoboblives I’d assume because it’s the only expansion they purchased this year.  People vote for what they own and know.


I voted for Heart of Thorns because it’s fun, but honestly I think I’d lean toward STO New Dawn. Starting a new story in a game that’s been handling the same arc for almost six years couldn’t have been easy, but they’re keeping me interested for each monthly episode. Thr new Admiralty system is a pile of fun too (maybe just to me; I like numbers and making them line up) and has largely resolved the Delta Rising-era problem of spec point generation.
It’s great!


I voted Heavensward because it did so many little things in ways i wishes mmos still did. Setting aside the story, music, art direction and so on the fact that you pick up a new job by hearing some gossip and finding a corpse down a back alley rather than just leveling a class from 1 and going to some guild was a refreshing change of pace. Also helped that it was the first tank class i enjoyed but it felt like the rpg part of mmorpg lots of other games lost to just have this job in the city waiting to be found rather than some big sign telling you to join the que for a free soulstone. That and the job story 30-60 was surprisingly entertaining.

I still havent tried HoT, the mary sue wild ride of scarlet briar being the best at everything forever was enough to put me off the game and i never picked it up again, but so far my friends have just had nothing but complaints about it so id rather stick with what im already enjoying for now.


I personally feel FF14 Heavensward was the clear winner in my book.


Karl_Hungus Agreed!


disUserNameTake  /shrug – if the customers think something is not fun or overpriced or ugly or a grind, then it is –  regardless of what you or I or the developers think. Vox populi, vox Dei  Game developers have control over what product they want to sell; they really have no control over what people like.


Nyphur Modrain  Yep. bars for lines with 0 votes have their CSS style width as 1%; other bars gave an integer % as width, including 0%. .pollbar has a border of 1px, so with a small enough positive number of votes, the poor game is left with just two pixels of border and no creamy bar filling.