MassivelyOP’s 2023 Awards: MMO Expansion of the Year

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

Today’s award is for the MMO Expansion of the Year, which was awarded to Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons 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 2023 is…

GUILD WARS 2’S SECRETS OF THE OBSCURE

Andrew Ross: Orna’s 3.6 update. This is the one that brought both the Traveler’s Guild and Circle of Anguish guild and paved the way for other “guilds” (like the Fishermen’s Guild). I feel like I’ve taken the game slightly more seriously since that update, and while it’s not all good (certain parts of the Traveler’s Guild’s “pokemon” experience still rubs me the wrong way), it’s enough that I’ve been able to recommend the game more than I already had been, even to POGO players. We got more reasons to walk, more reasons to min-max, and I don’t know if it was intentional, but the Memory Hunts that move you around the real world feel like their radius spawns became shorter and therefore safer. If only the team was working with a known IP or fancy graphics, I’m sure it’d be more popular!

Andy McAdams: Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure. It was a pretty light year for expansions, going back to our trend award. But I like what they are doing, and all reports have said the content is really solid, if a little bit lighter than previous expansions.

Brianna Royce: Guild Wars 2 Secrets of the Obscure’s major problem was that it wasn’t End of Dragons. Nothing can top End of Dragons. But I still had a fantastic time in the first chunk of SOTO. I seriously loved the zones, and that’s why I still play GW2. Whether the seasonal model proves a success, that remains to be seen. Y’all, if you haven’t toured the museum, and you’re a lore person, you’re missing out.

Carlo Lacsina: Black Desert Online: Land of the Morning Light. I did coverage on this, and even though I don’t play as much as I used to, it certainly brought me back for a bit. The extra bit of attention to some PvE action and an alternative way to progress through the game is a good addition. Breaking from tradition, progression comes in the form of killing giant bosses rather than mobs. It’s a nice change of pace — and that’s what Morning Light is. It provides a different experience.

Chris Neal: GW2 Secrets of the Obscure. I might have been told in no uncertain terms by Path of Fire that I’m not allowed to play Guild Wars 2, but by all accounts Secrets of the Obscure did a lot more right than it did wrong. I defer to those who are able to play this game and weren’t run out of town, though.

Colin Henry: ESO Necrom, GW2 Secrets of the Obscure. This was a tough category this year! Overall, I felt like there were a lot of choices, but none of them really stand out strongly. I enjoyed The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom, with its excellent new class and a story that stands out from Tamriel’s parade of apocalyptic big bad evil guys, but, after finishing the initial story, I haven’t been back all year, which is unusual for me. I will give a somewhat unenthusiastic nomination to Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure. The initial expansion surpassed my expectations, with some interesting characters in its story, and the promises of some good things next year, like new weapons for each class and legendary armor you can unlock through open world PvE rather than raids. But, with less content and no new elite specs to mess with, its shine wore off faster than previous expansions. And its first quarterly update was pretty lackluster. It is just good enough to warrant my nomination, but I’m really hoping it does better next year.

Eliot Lefebvre: Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure. Darn it, GW2, if you had waited until next year my predictions would have been more right! But after I spent a while criticizing you for not getting expansions out faster, you got one out faster even if it’s a bit lighter on features. I have to give props for that. Maybe it wouldn’t cut it in another year, but… 2023 is weird, yo.

Justin Olivetti: New World: Rise of Angry Earth and LOTRO: Corsairs of Umbar. Both of these late-2023 entries pushed their respective games in exciting new directions and adding fun class options. Rise of Angry Earth’s decision to repurpose a zone for story and change was a gutsy one, and I loved that LOTRO is finally traveling far south to Umbar. As a plus, both expansions absolutely crushed it in the music department!

MJ Guthrie: I have to give best expansion to Warframe’s Duviri Paradox. It completely changed how folks can play the game, and opened the game up in a huge way to new players. It’s also really gorgeous and fun, but the fact that it opened the game up in a new MMO way just takes the cake. And did I mention flying mounts? Heck-freaking-yah!

Tyler Edwards: I’ll cast my vote for New World’s Rise of the Angry Earth, even though I had my disappointments with it. It doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of good candidates for the award this year.

Guild Wars 2 Secrets of the Obscure 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 2023?

  • Guild Wars 2 Secrets of the Obscure (38%, 467 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online Necrom (9%, 112 Votes)
  • New World Rise of the Angry Earth (8%, 95 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online Corsairs of Umbar (7%, 83 Votes)
  • Black Desert Land of the Morning Light (3%, 41 Votes)
  • Warframe Duviri Paradox (3%, 37 Votes)
  • WoW Classic Hardcore and Season of Discovery (12%, 143 Votes)
  • EVE Online Viridian and Havoc (2%, 22 Votes)
  • Albion Online Wild Blood (0%, 4 Votes)
  • WoW Guardians of the Dream (5%, 64 Votes)
  • DDO Vecna Unleashed (1%, 11 Votes)
  • FFXIV Gods Revel, Lands Tremble (4%, 52 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 Lightfall (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Neverwinter Menzobarranzan (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Path of Exile Crucible (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Orna 3.6 update (0%, 4 Votes)
  • SWTOR Old Wounds and Chains of the Dark (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online Refractions (1%, 7 Votes)
  • EverQuest II Ballads of Zimara (1%, 9 Votes)
  • EverQuest Laurion's Song (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Something else - let us know in the comments! (1%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,054

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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 commentary from writers so that you can see our thought process. 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. Reader poll options include all MMOs nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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