Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: MMO Expansion of the Year


Welcome back to Massively Overpowered’s formal end-of-the-year awards!

Today’s award is for the MMO Expansion or Update of the Year, which was awarded to World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands 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 or Update of the Year for 2021 is…


Andy McAdams: Grudgingly, Endwalker. Again, this was due to lack of options. I have no doubt Endwalker is awesome – but can we get some competition at the top and other options here.

Ben Griggs: Elder Scrolls Online Blackwood. In a way, Blackwood is more of the same for ESO. Consistent storytelling and familiar gameplay. But ZeniMax also did a good job implementing companions and tweaking old mechanics (like Oblivion portals) to make them just different enough to be interesting to longtime players.

Brianna Royce: There’s nothing else that touches FFXIV Endwalker in 2021. Maybe if End of Dragons had launched, but it didn’t.

Carlo Lacsina: Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Endwalker has been the seminal expansion event of 2021. While there’s been a ton of really awesome updates, including the many updates to Black Desert Online, nothing comes close to the level of hype this expansion has generated. With more people logging into the game than ever and the story arc finally coming to a close, this expansion is both a huge success financially, a solid MMO that pretty much everyone can enjoy, and a great way to usher in a new era for FFXIV. Depending on how the Square will treat the storyline moving forward, this expansion can hopefully solve the problem of having such a long storyline acting as a barrier of entry for those who can’t stand the story.

Chris Neal: FFXIV Endwalker. It’s hard to ignore FFXIV’s momentum across our genre, and it’s being capped off with the finale of a story years in the making (that has actually had an honest sense of forethought instead of an advertised one). Kudos to the team.

Colin Henry: FFXIV Endwalker.

Eliot Lefebvre: Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker. It’s a bit of a shame insofar as this year’s field was such that Endwalker could have won just by not destroying your SSD when you launch it, but hey, I’ve been hype for this since it was first announced, and it’s a good expansion beyond that anyhow.

Justin Olivetti: LOTRO Fate of Gundabad. Lord of the Rings Online’s biggest expansion in a very long time added a huge swath of new content, the much-needed Legendary Item update, and the Brawler class. I will continue to champion LOTRO’s dev team for how great they are at making breathtaking zones and terrific stories, and it’s great to see the game get more of both.

Tyler Edwards: I voted for Elder Scrolls Online’s Blackwood on the basis of the companion feature. It hasn’t been developed as much as I would like, but it seems like a pretty positive addition all in all. I imagine Endwalker will please FFXIV fans, but it doesn’t feel right to vote for it since it’s launching so late in the year.

FFXIV Endwalker 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 2021?

  • Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker (73%, 928 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online Blackwood (8%, 107 Votes)
  • LOTRO Fate of Gundabad (5%, 64 Votes)
  • WoW Classic Burning Crusade (1%, 14 Votes)
  • WoW Retail Chains of Domination (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 Icebrood Saga (2%, 23 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous Odyssey (0%, 3 Votes)
  • New World Into the Void (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Albion Online Lands Awakened (1%, 8 Votes)
  • PSO2 New Genesis (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Black Desert Atoraxxion (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Blade & Soul UE4 Update (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Aion Classic (0%, 2 Votes)
  • EverQuest II Visions of Vetrovia (0%, 5 Votes)
  • EverQuest Terror of Luclin (0%, 5 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online Legion of Doom (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online House Reborn/United (0%, 3 Votes)
  • EVE Online's Quadrants (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Warframe The New War (2%, 20 Votes)
  • Neverwinter Sharandar/Jewel of the North (1%, 7 Votes)
  • PlanetSide 2 Integration (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Fallout 76 Fallout Worlds (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Skyforge's Switch Port (0%, 0 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky Frontiers (2%, 24 Votes)
  • Archeage Akasch Invasion (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments - this list is not exhaustive!) (1%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,185

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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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