Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: MMO Expansion of the Year


MassivelyOP’s end-of-the-year awards for 2020 continue today with our award for MMO Expansion of the Year, which was awarded to Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers last year. Every major update and expansion to an MMORPG was eligible for this award, 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!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the MMO Expansion of the Year for 2020 is…


Andy McAdams: I voted for Shadowlands here, but mostly because of lack of options. I really enjoy Shadowlands and I love the focus on doing more than raiding, but it was still a pretty safe expansion over all. Not bad by any stretch, but also not going to do as anything remotely seminal.

Brianna Royce: I can’t remember the last time I voted for a WoW expansion, but I just don’t think anything else stood as tall as Shadowlands in 2020. It just didn’t. This was not a great year for MMORPG expansions. Greymoor and Icebrood just haven’t lit the world on fire. Too many games are phoning it in, and I can’t even blame them because again… 2020 blows. Now, next year this award is going to be an actual choice. A hard choice. I can’t wait.

Carlo Lacsina: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. This is the first time I’m playing WoW and at the start of a new expansion. I’ve only had cursory experience with WoW and a very short stint in WoW Classic. But this, this, is a great expansion. I’ve gotten up to Maldraxxus, and I’m having such a fun time playing through this game. I’m finding myself getting lost in the world, it’s a gorgeous game too. I cannot believe this game came out in 2004. So many other games from that era aged so poorly, but this still looks amazing. I am getting so lost in the game too and the writing is some top tier stuff! I finally understand why WoW set the standard from this expansion. The way the story is told is perfect for an MMORPG. It’s got the right mix of chattiness and text, and while the questing isn’t anything special, the writing is what’s got me invested in grabbing all those thicc bear asses. And that endgame looks legit fun to me – I can’t wait to get there!

Chris Neal: World of Warcraft Shadowlands. I’m going second-hand experience here, but there are a number of folks who are deep in to WoW’s latest and they all seem generally pleased with how things have played out. Which doesn’t read an awful lot like a glowing recommendation nor a mind-blowing boat-rocker, I contend, but an expansion that’s enjoyed by a lot of people can’t be a bad thing, right?

Eliot Lefebvre: It surprised me a lot how Guild Wars 2 kept pushing forward with the Icebrood Saga, and at least from my vantage point it definitely seemed to be well-received, contrary to my own guesses about what felt like it was always a holding pattern of content. It wasn’t a traditional expansion that the game definitely needed, but I think there’s a lot to be proud of for what it managed with the space it actually had.

Justin Olivetti: WoW Shadowlands, ESO Greymoor, Fallout 76’s Wastelanders/One Wasteland. Blizzard took an extra month to get the polish down on this, and as a result, Shadowlands got a great launch that while not revolutionizing the title, provided great zones, deep endgame systems, and an amazingly enjoyable new leveling redesign. People are still being understandably cautious about this one, but at least it doesn’t look like a Battle for Azeroth trainwreck out of the gate!

Mia DeSanzo: No Man’s Sky Desolation — Not the most important update, but my personal favorite.

MJ Guthrie: I’m going to say it’s a tie: STO for the Klingon Civil War and ESO for Dark Heart of Skyrim. I really love the overarching long-term stories tied together throughout the year! In fact, I am appreciating more and more this spreading of the content out instead of balling it up in a single yearly expansion; content in one-time expansions get blown through in no time, then the rest of the year is just sitting and waiting for the next big new thing (which is often not even connected). Also, I can’t ignore that ESO’s Greymoor has brought me in to regularly playing again!

Tyler Edwards: I voted for WoW’s leveling revamp, not so much Shadowlands itself. By all reports Shadowlands has been well-received, but one gets the impression that its main virtue is simply that it’s not BFA. I think it’s the leveling changes that are a real step forward for the game; without a new race, class, or anything else likely to persist into the next expansion, Shadowlands is more like an unusually large content patch than a true expansion pack.

WoW Shadowlands took our award for MMO Expansion of the Year. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMO expansion or major update of 2020?

  • WoW Shadowlands (32%, 168 Votes)
  • ESO Greymoor and Dark Heart of Skyrim (13%, 67 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 Icebrood Saga (6%, 29 Votes)
  • STO House Divided (2%, 10 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky Desolation (4%, 23 Votes)
  • Fallout 76 Wastelanders (6%, 29 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go Go Beyond (0%, 2 Votes)
  • LOTRO Great Wedding (1%, 7 Votes)
  • BDO Odylitta (1%, 3 Votes)
  • FFXIV Reflections in Crystal (16%, 81 Votes)
  • PS2 Colossus (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Neverwinter Infernal Descent and Avernus (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Albion Queen and Road to Avalon (1%, 6 Votes)
  • TERA Crescent Sea (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Aion Return to Katalam (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Legends of Aria DLC (0%, 0 Votes)
  • EverQuest II Reign of Shadows (2%, 9 Votes)
  • DCUO Birds of Prey and Wonderverse (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Age of Conan Onslaught (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Trove Delves (1%, 3 Votes)
  • ArcheAge Garden of the Gods (1%, 5 Votes)
  • RuneScape Archaeology update (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Division 2 Warlords of New York (1%, 4 Votes)
  • EverQuest Claws of Veeshan (2%, 8 Votes)
  • DDO Fables of the Feywild (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Path of Exile Heist (1%, 7 Votes)
  • SWTOR Feast of Prosperity (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 Beyond Light (2%, 12 Votes)
  • EVE Online's 2020 Quadrants (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 430

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together to nominate and discuss candidates and hopefully 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.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all expansions and updates nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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