For a long while DLC was not that fun to cover. However, it’s starting to become more substantial more often as the minor DLCs like cosmetics just become regular and normal. More than that, I think developers like to spend some more time on their creations, fleshing out mechanics, introducing new ones, or giving us more story in the worlds they’ve created. This year was great on all of those accounts.
Here’s the list of nominees (and here’s a list of all nominees for all categories):
- Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel (Dark Souls III Game Page)
- Fallout 4: Nuka-World (Fallout 4 Game Page)
- Tom Clancy’s The Division – Survival (The Divsion Game Page)
- The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (Witcher 3 Game Page)
- World of Warcraft: Legion (World of Warcraft Game Page)
Without further delay, here’s what you, the readers, chose and our list of winners for the Best Expansion/DLC Award for the best piece of additional content to an existing game.
Reader’s Choice – The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (Our Review)
This was the most landslide victory in all of the voting, with Blood and Wine taking away 72% of the vote. There’s no surprise why, either, as it is probably one of the single greatest expansions released for any game. It includes enough content and story to put many other AAA games to shame. No surprise here in why our readers enjoyed Blood and Wine so much. Well, it’s also an expansion to one of the best games ever made, too, which took our Pick of the Year last year.
Third Place – World of Warcraft: Legion (Our Review)
By Andrew Otton
Warlords of Draenor put World of Warcraft in a tricky spot. It was, by nearly all accounts aside from the quality of the raids, a pretty poor expansion. Blizzard needed something to bounce back with and do so in a big way. And they definitely did with Legion.
Legion is probably the best expansion World of Warcraft has ever seen. So much content was added across nearly every facet of gameplay. There are lots of dungeons and the keystone system, plenty to do in raiding, changes to PvP, a whole lot of story-driven content, long and interesting quest lines, and more. Not everything was a perfect change or even great, but there was so much new and so much that did it well, it’s really hard to complain. There may be a lot of things some people didn’t like, but there was just so much content that I can almost guarantee those same people found some part of this expansion they really liked.
Legion brought back fan favorite Illidan too and is now in the process of killing off one of the final remnants of Warlords in Gul’dan as well. This is all the more exciting as the writing quality has improved from the large arcs to the simple questline. Before WoW just had a plot it lumbered down with tools it called Thrall, Deathwing, etc; now it has a story and characters. Legion has made it a lot easier to be invested in what’s going on in the game than ever before.
WoW still has some problems and quirks that should be ironed out, as they’ve stuck to some of the same models of gameplay they’ve had from the beginning, but Legion definitely brings some hope for the future.
Second Place – Fallout 4: Nuka-World
By Robert Grosso
Nuka-World just makes sense for Fallout 4. It is the perfect blend of the ridiculous and the serious. It could have easily been a throw-away DLC, like the three workshop packs that made up the bulk of the content offered by Bethesda for the post-apocalyptic RPG. After all, Cold Harbor was the biggest piece of content offered for Fallout 4, is it possible it could even be topped?
Bethesda did top it, and did so in true Fallout fashion. Part of the appeal of the franchise is the mix between farcical and macabre. The idealism of the 1950s post-atomic America intertwined with the reality of its eventual destruction makes for a strong world setting that Fallout continues to employ, regardless of any missteps it suffers. Nuka-World easily blends these ideas together—a corporate theme park based around the plentiful beverage of a bygone age, dilapidated by gangs of raiders and crazed fans alike.
Nuka-World added a lot of new content to Fallout 4, outside of the standard weapons, quests, and items of course. What it also did was remind us why Fallout 4, and the Fallout series, are so successful: it is unapologetic in how ridiculous it becomes. It is the perfect swan song to Fallout 4, encompassing some of the best and most entertaining content for the title, and easily one of the best expansions to a game this year.
Winner – The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (Our Review)
By Andrew Otton
Why does this have to mark the end of CD Projekt RED’s time with Geralt? Sure, we have Gwent coming, but I really, really want to look forward to more Geralt in my life. More witcher-y goodness, more good characters, more great areas to explore … but Blood and Wine marks the end. And I can’t think of a better final journey to experience with Geralt.
Blood and Wine is so great because it did everything that has made the Witcher series great in the best way possible. The moral quandaries are there, the grayness of the choices, the great quest design, the awesome writing in its characters and more, and it even offers the best combat experience of anything in any Witcher game too. The mechanics are largely the same, but the monsters you fight and bosses you encounter are a lot more interesting.
CDPR made the brilliant decision of setting Blood and Wine in Toussaint, an area of the world very different than what there was in Wild Hunt. Where the original mostly dealt with war ravaged villages and places marked by great loss, Toussaint is more or less the exact opposite. Everything is pristine, most people are carefree, and everyone lives in extravagance. They of course have their own list of problems, which Geralt gets right into almost immediately.
Not only is the new area amazing to explore, the story within it is great as well. Wild Hunt suffered in that the villain was sort of this amorphous being that we as players had no real connection to; a pretty generic evil bad guy we’ve all seen before, which was it’s biggest flaw. Blood and Wine‘s story is very character driven and you have to find time trying to figure out who the villain was, if there was one.
The best thing about Blood and Wine is just how much there is to do. This wasn’t simply a long questline to follow along with, no. It’s an entirely new place to explore, a ton of side quests, new monsters to fight, and a heck of a lot more. It’s rare to come across single player expansions that add just so much, but you could easily sink nearly 20 hours into Blood and Wine and have stuff still left over.
So, Blood and Wine has a lot of content that is more Witcher 3. I don’t think there’s a question why it came away with this award.
What did we miss? What did we get wrong? What did we get right?