2009 is now upon us and we here at MMORPG.com would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year. As is our custom here, we want to kick off the year by announcing the winners of the 2008 Reader's Choice Awards. In each entry, we will give you the choice of the fans, as well along with a little bit of "editor's choice" commentary.
Before we announce the results of the voting for Best New Expansion of 2008, we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking the time to vote. In the overall awards, more than 26,000 votes were cast.
In the voting for Best Expansion, 3627 votes were cast. The editorial nominees were: Empyrean Age (EVE Online), Mines of Moria (Lord of the Rings Online), Seeds of Destruction (EverQuest), The Shadow Odyssey (EverQuest II), Wrath of the Lich King (World of Warcraft)
Another impressive win for the Lord of the Rings team over at Turbine, with 48% of the vote, the winner of the Best new Expansion of 2008 was Turbine's Mines of Moria, the first expansion for their hit game, Lord of the Rings Online.
The voting broke down as such:
Empyrean Age (EVE Online)
Mines of Moria (Lord of the Rings Online)
Seeds of Destruction (EverQuest)
The Shadow Odyssey (EverQuest II)
Wrath of the Lich King (World of Warcraft)
(login to vote)
Turbine released Mines of Moria late in the year on November 18th. Response to the new expansion from the game's players was incredibly positive right out of the gate, with few (if any) glaring technical issues on launch day.
As the title suggests, The Mines of Moria allows players to fully experience the location of the same name made famous in the original books and subsequent movies. The new zone presented the team at Turbine with the opportunity to stretch their imaginations as they gave vision to things in the depths of the mines that Tolkien had referred to only in the most basic of ways. Along with the nameless horrors of the deeps, the team was able to bring the famous Balrog to life as well.
In terms of gameplay, the new expansion added two classes to the game in the form of the Rune-Keeper and the Warden, bringing a full-on casting class into the game for the first time. They have also made improvements to their Player vs. Monster Player system, added new monsters, continued the game's epic story, increased the level cap, and more!
Still, the one feature that stood out above all of the others was Moria's introduction of the Legendary Weapons system, allowing players to control and create special named weapons that would advance along with their characters.
Congratulations once again go out to the team at Turbine on another solid win in this year's voting. Looking over the list of nominees, I think there was a rather strong field, especially when you consider the fact that Turbine was up against Blizzard's mammoth Wrath of the Lich King which in and of itself was an incredibly solid release that had folks lining up at midnight on launch day to play. Throw in the fact that SOE and CCP both continued their string of exciting expansions for some of their most popular games, and it was a pretty solid year in terms of growing already released games.
I've had a couple of chances now to check out the expansion itself, and I've got to say that I was pretty impressed. They managed to make an underground location look interesting and diverse (not as easy a task as it sounds), introduce two excellent new classes, create a legendary weapons system that was actually pretty impressive and, of course, introduced the Balrog into the game.
I was especially impressed with the team's implementation of the Balrog, as there were any number of hazards that could have led to a big disappointment for me. The Balrog, being one of my all time favorite monsters, had to be handled delicately and Turbine handled it well.
Congratulations to Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online on this impressive win.