In the grand tradition of wishful thinking, this week's list is all about the current crops of games and the expansions that either are in the making or are desperately wanted by the community if not officially announced. In the ever popular practice of gaming prognostication, we've come up with a list of five expansions we'd love to see on some of today's current titles. We're never really happy as hobbyists. No sooner do we get one thing handed to us then we want the next. We are a culture of "We want it all and we want it now" if purely because we're so fond of the games we play that we never stop imagining the possibilities. I'm not damning this facet of our psyche, but rather fostering it. If we didn't clamor about what we want to see from companies, how would they know what to make for us? Of course, the argument could be made that no matter what they give us it wouldn't be enough but that's a topic for another day.
Let's get started shall we? Here's a list of five of our most wanted expansions. Feel free to add in your own in the comments below. That's what this thing is all about after all.
#7 LotRO: Rohan
We know it's coming. The developers have told us as much with the way the story is following in the footsteps of the Fellowship. Right now the players are traipsing about Mirkwood drawing the Eye of Sauron away from Frodo as he makes his way into Mordor, and all fingers are pointing at Rohan as the next stop in the tale. But what will that bring? Mounted combat? The Battle of Helm's Deep? A new Horse Whisperer class? Okay, maybe not that last one but you get the point. Rohan is one of the iconic places in Lord of the Rings and just as it was with Moria, the expansion that brings the Rohirrim out is bound to be popular.
#6 Anarchy Online's Graphical Update
Though a while back I was mistakenly under the belief that progress on this graphical update had been halted, the reality was that the development had merely changed to the Dreamworld engine. Anarchy Online is among a slew of older titles that could see a surge of new life with an updated engine. There may be a truckload of Science Fiction titles on the way, but none of them will have the content and preparation of many years of ongoing development that AO has under its belt. Let's face it; visuals do tend to mean something in terms of enjoyment. With the coming facelift and its existing free-to-play payment method, Anarchy Online could wind up on a lot of gamers' minds once more.
#5 Global Agenda: Sandstorm
One of the chief complaints out of a very few I had against Hi-Rez's Global Agenda is that it simply didn't feel massive enough for players not participating in the Conquest portion of the game. The studio is aiming to fix that in the coming weeks with the release of Open Zones and the 64-person PvP Warzone. Though the game's only been out for a handful of months the development staff has been making a name for itself as a studio that listens to its players. The Open Zones and Warzone that are forthcoming are a direct result of player input, and Hi-Rez is set to deliver the Sandstorm expansion in the very near future.
#4 EVE: Incarna
EVE has always evaded me as a game I can truly delve into. I love the concept, but every time I play it I just can't really "link" into the setting and make a home there. But that could all change with the Incarna expansion currently in (seemingly perpetual) development at CCP. There's little that we actually know about what multitude of changes the expansion will bring, but the main feature that we do know about is that player avatars will become a reality. Players will be able to walk around space stations, engage in the culture of the game, and CCP is touting it as a way to lower the learning curve for the game which may prove to help dullards like me actually latch onto the game. Whether the expansion three years in the making will actually make it out this year is anyone's guess, but it will be interesting to see what Incarna does for the warring corporations in EVE's universe.
#3 WoW: Cataclysm
This list wouldn't really be complete without mention of WoW's forthcoming game-altering expansion. WoW's chart-topping success is normally a formula that companies wouldn't want to mess with, but in a fairly uncharacteristic move Blizzard is doing just that. Perhaps sensing that players are tiring of the same old content the studio has decided to massively overhaul the old game world of Azeroth. Old zones become new, storylines throughout the kingdoms are forever changed, and even the murlocs are getting a facelift! I'm sure I'm not the only player who is genuinely looking forward to revisiting a lot of my old Azerothian haunts and finding out how they've changed. Something tells me that Blizzard is counting on just such a sentiment.
#2 WAR: Third Faction
Warhammer never quite lived up to its potential for a host of reasons, but like any good developer Mythic has been slowly chipping away at the design issues contained within the title and bringing the RvR experience more in line with what was originally intended. Still, any fan of the game will likely tell you that the real key for the game's revival is both simple in its solution and complex in its execution. WAR needs the magical third faction to make its RVR really shine. The reason Dark Age of Camelot worked so well was because of its competing three factions, and it's the key ingredient missing from WAR's RVR system as well. One can only hope that BioWare and Mythic bring this wish to fruition in the coming months, as it could be a real renaissance for the title if done properly.
#1 LotRO: The Forces of Mordor
Maybe it'll never happen. Maybe it never should. But there isn't a person out there reading this who can say in all honesty that they wouldn't want to play through the entirety of the LotRO campaign as an Orc or a Goblin in Sauron's army without lying through their teeth. I'm being a bit hyperbolic sure, but the fans of LotRO's Monster Play will likely tell you that if such an expansion were to come out their spines would melt with the pure unadulterated joygasm to come thereafter. Such an expansion would likely throw the game into a much more PvP-driven affair and that's simply not the game Turbine's making with LotRO these days. But what if they had the resources to go along with the ingenuity to make an entire 1-65 campaign for the Mordor faithful? It's an awfully big if, but I for one would line up around the block to get a chance at stabbing a few hobbits.