Massively OP’s 2018 Awards: Best MMO Update or Expansion of 2018

    
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Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2018 awards continue today with our award for Best MMO Update or Expansion of 2018, which was awarded to Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire last year. 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 the Best MMO Update or Expansion of 2018 is…

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EVE Online: Into the Abyss & Onslaught. The Into the Abyss expansion for EVE Online was definitely the MMO update I got most excited about this year. It added the first ever enforced solo PvE content to EVE with Abyssal Deadspace, a new type of effectively instanced PvE dungeon that players can launch into from anywhere in the game. Each dungeon consists of three pockets of Abyssal Deadspace populated by a randomised assortment of deadly enemies, and players have only 20 minutes to complete all three pockets before the pocket collapses and their ship implodes. I had some initial reservations about instanced gameplay in EVE, but the fact that Abyssal Deadspace is limited to tech 1, 2 and faction cruisers made it a really interesting challenge and the expansion had some incredible visuals. I dived right in and figured out some optimal ship setup and strategies that worked for all difficulty tiers of the new content, which seriously scratched my theorycrafting itch. The winter Onslaught expansion was more of an update to Into the Abyss than a full expansion, adding three-player co-op Abyssal Deadspace runs in frigates and a new optional 1v1 PvP arena inside the standard cruiser-sized Abyssal Deadspace pockets, both ideas I’d previously suggested would be cool. The pair of expansions have been the most fun I’ve had in EVE since living in wormholes many years ago, and the new Triglavian ships have been amazing for small gang and kiting PvP styles.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset. Unlike 2017, 2018 didn’t have a ton of options to choose from, and Battle for Azeroth has way too many problems. Summerset checks all the boxes for a traditional MMORPG expansion, and it’s freaking gorgeous to boot. Brendan has convinced me to switch my runner-up to EVE Online now too: He’s right, CCP really answered a lot of player prayers this year.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Summerset. Admittedly, I’m offering second-hand accounts here, but folks in my MMO gaming friend circle seem to be delighted to bits with The Elder Scrolls Online’s newest campaign. Any game that makes people I follow or consider friends happy gets a vote of confidence from me.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): The Elder Scrolls Online didn’t have the same sort of banner year as it did last year, but gosh, Summerset really was gorgeous and a really great breath of fresh air for the game. I’ve been really impressed by the game as a whole over the past year, and this just rammed it home.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): EverQuest II: Chaos Descending. It has received near-universal acclaim from my friends who played it, and so I’m going to give the nod to this one.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): Destiny 2: Forsaken. Sure, it was far from perfect, but it brought some desperately needed shake-ups to the game, introduced some great new content, and managed to rekindle my interest in a game that I thought I was pretty much done with. Runner-up: ESO Summerset.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I know some folks are going to argue about the MMO-ness of it, but I can’t help it: I give this award to Warframe’s Fortuna. This is an update/expansion that came after an already very ambitious expansion that opened the Warframe world by leaps and bounds — and leapt and bounded even further! Fortuna was bigger and added even more than Plains of Eidolon, which was itself a stunning achievement in 2017 and gave Warframe an even more massive open world area to adventure in and explore. Adventuring was improved here, new movement mechanics implemented, and whole new gameplay features introduced. This does better than many MMORPG expansions!

How does Massively OP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few days to discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset won our award for Best MMO Update or Expansion of 2018. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMO Update or Expansion of 2018?

  • ESO Summerset and DLC (50%, 421 Votes)
  • EVE Into the Abyss and Onslaught (2%, 16 Votes)
  • WoW Battle for Azeroth (5%, 40 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 Season 4 (5%, 42 Votes)
  • EQII Chaos Descending (2%, 15 Votes)
  • POE Betrayal (4%, 35 Votes)
  • Black Desert Drieghan (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online Victory is Life and Age of Discovery (2%, 14 Votes)
  • SWTOR Jedi Under Siege and Command Authority (1%, 11 Votes)
  • FFXIV's multiple patches (6%, 48 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous Beyond chunks (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online Legendary server (2%, 17 Votes)
  • RIFT Prime (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 Forsaken (3%, 23 Votes)
  • EverQuest The Burning Lands (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Skyforge Overgrowth (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Ultima Online Endless Journey (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Trove Heroes and Geode (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Star Citizen alpha (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar Release 59 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • DCUO Atlantis and other patches (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 1 QOL patches (1%, 10 Votes)
  • ArcheAge Relics of Hiram (0%, 3 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky Abyss and NEXT (4%, 31 Votes)
  • Age of Conan's progression servers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • TERA's Dark Reaches and multiple patches (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Warframe Fortuna and Mask of the Revenant (4%, 37 Votes)
  • Neverwinter Heart of Fire and Lost City of Omu (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul's Theater of Mystery and multiple patches (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Villagers and Heroes Wellspring and Wrath of the Black Thrush (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 31 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 757

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Poll options include all expansions and updates nominated plus a smattering of others that caught our eye!
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Ocho

Something else: Secret World Legend’s Dawn of the Morninglight was released in April of 2018. Now, I know April feels like a freaking lifetime ago, but it was still this year. It continued the main story, added an entire new zone (with multiple versions of the new zone depending on events and time of day). On top of that, they also added Dark Agartha just in November, which is a lot like EVE’s Abyssal Deadspace, championed by Brendan, an instanced randomized timed PvE dungeon. It was good stuff.

I also played Summerset (Sumurset? Summurset? Wonder why they keep changing the spelling :P) and also thought it was fantastic, so I respect the choice. Just disappointed that SWL’s content drops didn’t even make the reader lists.

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elenie

My votes:
– No Man’s Sky. After such a rocky start they have kept releasing a ton of free updates that have added in the promised multiplayer and then some. Looking forward to diving into Abyss once all the holiday events in other games die down :-)
– Path of Exile. GGG really have a knack for interesting expansions and the improved hideouts sound great (I’m so casual in PoE I don’t even have a hideout yet).
– ESO. This game didn’t charm me at launch, but like FFXIV they’ve turned it around and reliably put out a ton of content. I am not fond of some of their decisions (having to regrind the Psijic Order questline on every alt to see the improved gathering nodes gets tedious fast) but other than that I’m having a good time now. It also helps that ESO feels a bit more generous about giving everyone at least a few free pets and mounts regularly.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

Our team gathers together over the course of a few days to discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner.

I can’t help but notice (with admiration) how infrequently Justin subscribes to the consensus.

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Rottenrotny

I went with WoW: BFA. Kinda like what Oleg was hinting at, the quality of any WoW expansion pretty much blows everything else out of the water. The pure scale of content and quality of art and zone design puts everything else to shame. Even if you don’t like WoW it’s still undeniable.

With these kinds of polls it’s like people give everything that isn’t WoW a huge handicap so that they can be viewed on the same level, but let’s be honest here no other MMO dev can keep up with Blizzard.

I can see why people dig ESO Summerset. I played it for a couple weeks, but I just find ESO rather bland. I would, however, give Summerset 2nd place.

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agemyth 😩

I already forgot No Man’s Sky’s Next update was this year. I easily played more of that than any MMO this year.

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McGuffn

That’s a worthy vote.

I can’t in good conscience give it to eso because I hate its expansion and map release policy (mainly because its maps are pointless and boring) even more than other games. Plus it locked away its new skill line behind a horrible fetch quest. On the other hand, you can knock it out in a day, unlike past skill lines they added. Of course the skills are pretty bad so it’s pointless anyway.

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sophiskiai

Last year’s Plains of Eidolon expansion in Warframe was basically the dev team figuring out the whole “NPC social hub linked to open world mission instance” thing, proving they could do it, and ironing out most of the wrinkles. It looks gorgeous, and is still fun to play in over a year later, but after the first dozen hours or so the NPCs and environment do start to feel a bit flat.

This year they took what they’d learnt from doing the Plains and gave us Fortuna, and took a huge leap forward in terms of compelling NPCs, varied and interesting and even more gorgeous locations (those caves are stunning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAViywsX4Xw ), and new ways to move about them – the hoverboards are so much fun! Can’t wait to see where they go next :)

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rafael12104

I’m creating a new option. I’ve decided that Elf butts is to class specific. So, I’m going with Big Ass Sword or BAS for short.

So, I don’t view any xpac this year as worthy. Therefore I vote, Big Ass Sword.

Not too worry. I’ll see myself out.

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kvlt_vonnegut

Not the objectively “best” for sure but I had to throw my vote in for the wholly unexpected love ANet showed Guild Wars Classic. In a season where the studio didn’t get much else right a pair of old hands on their own time delivered a solid sequence of QoL and graphics updates. That goes a looong way to retaining goodwill, especially with how ambivalent I am about ANet’s leadership these days.

miol
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miol

Definitively Trove’s Geode, because its principle mechanics show at last, where MMOs can finally leave their old treaded paths and move as a genre forward!
It is more than an eye opener!

Why I Play: Trove’s Geode changed me from a visitor to a player

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Ironwu

I think Summerset is a great choice, and a great expansion. Some of the Psijic order skills have actually changed out a lot of end-game builds, and jewelry crafting has provided a path to Legendary rings and necklaces. Story lines are great. Zone flora and fauna are great. There really is not much to criticize about Summerset and a whole lot to like.

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Chris Walker

Agreed. I’m working my way through the gobs of content that ESO offers and am greatly enjoying Sumerset.

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Sana Tan

True, I’m still a bit disappointed about the zone. Is beautiful yes, but feels “generic”, you know typical elvish pretty woods. Or maybe I’m spoiled with Vvardenfell. Anyway, I hope next Chapter is weirder.