One of the underrated aspects of being an MMO player is that our games get more updates and expansions than almost any other type of video game. So the longer a title runs, the more content — and value! — is injected into it. Is there any reason that we celebrate a really great update just as much as a brand-new game release?
And 2022 was certainly full of amazing patches, content updates, and expansions across the MMORPG field. February was a notable month with a slew of releases packed together, but the rest of the year fared well with dozens of releases spread out. So as we look back at the year that was, here are the 11 best expansions and updates that we were given.
Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons
This year practically started with a bang thanks to a packed February full of releases. On the top of that heap was Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons. Taking players to the long-awaited Cantha region, End of Dragons put a new spin on an Asian fantasy realm while also giving us skiffs, fishing, new elite specializations, siege turtles, and little personal bots. Oh, and there was some sort of storyline that bowled everyone over, too.
New World: Brimstone Sands update
One of the big stories this year was seeing New World pull out of its year-long nosedive to actually start gaining population and recognition. This culminated in a one-two punch of Brimstone Sands and a set of fresh start servers. The update revamped the lower levels, added a Greatsword weapon, and introduced the game’s first post-launch zone. As a result, New World started 2022 as a sad punchline and is leaving it with its head held high.
World of Warcraft Classic: Wrath of the Lich King
Ever since WoW Classic’s launch, players have looked forward to the arrival of the MMORPG’s high-water mark. Wrath Classic released this past summer, giving players all of the frosty Northrend, angsty Death Knights, and cranky Lich Kings that they could want. Now, the burning question on the Classic community’s mind: What’s next?
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight
It’s crazy to look back and realize that Dragonflight was announced, tested, and delivered all during the same calendar year. The latest WoW expansion has been well-received so far thanks to its back-to-fundamentals approach (specifically, the return of talent trees), the dragonriding system, the new Dracthyr hero class, and a more alt-friendly approach.
Lord of the Rings Online: Before the Shadow
While we were initially dubious when hearing of another LOTRO “mini-expansion,” Before the Shadow ended up being so significant that the “mini” moniker wasn’t needed at all. Adding two new low-level zones with an alternative epic storyline, making big quality-of-life improvements, and introducing the delving difficulty system for missions, this pack propped up a game already benefiting from the Amazon TV series.
Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle
At the start of 2022, Elder Scrolls Online players were informed of a year to be spent island-hopping with the Bretons. The crux of this expansion cycle was the release of High Isle earlier this past summer with a new storyline, two additional companions, and a collectable card game to while away the hours. It was one of the quieter expansion releases of the year, for sure, but it also kept dedicated players busy with new adventures.
Final Fantasy XIV: Update 6.2’s Buried Memory
FFXIV may not have had an expansion this year, but that fact didn’t mean that the MMORPG was without a hefty release or two. Easily the most excitement came from Update 6.2, which introduced island sanctuaries for players to customize and cultivate over time. It wasn’t exactly a substitute for real housing, but the community took to it strongly all the same.
Star Trek Online: Stormfall
My theory is that sooner or later, all MMOs must include some release with the word “fall” tucked in there. Also “rise of.” In any case, Star Trek Online got its turn this year with Stormfall. This plus-sized update added two new featured episodes, a remaster of the Starfleet tutorial, the Heart of the Storm event, and voice work from actors Mary Wiseman, Kate Mulgrew, and Chase Masterson.
Wizard101: Guilds and raids
Not only did Wizard101 open the doors of its Novus region this year, but the long-running family-friendly MMORPG added two genre staples that have been missing in the game since its inception: guilds and raids. Of course, this being Wizard101 and all, those two systems had their own unique spin and flavor, but there’s no doubt that it helped to bring the game’s loyal community together.
EverQuest: Night of Shadows and EverQuest II: Renewal of Ro
I’m going to cheat here and dole out a spot to two different expansions, but I trust I’ll be forgiven. After all, Daybreak often delivers a late-year one-two punch of EverQuest packs, and this year was no different. EverQuest got its 29th expansion with Night of Shadows and seven new zones, while EverQuest II welcomed Renewal of Ro and a return to the Isle of Ro for special adventures.
Lost Ark: Rage with the Machinist
It wasn’t just Lost Ark’s launch year; it was a huge patch year for the game, too. Standing out among the classes added after the spring release was the Machinist, the advanced profession that acted a whole lot like Iron Man with a techno-suit and advanced weapons.