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The Pulse

You vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is Pulse?). For the first time since months before launch, Warhammer Online was ousted from the top 5 as Darkfall climbs on the strength of

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for last month:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Warhammer Online
  3. Age of Conan
  4. Lord of the Rings Online
  5. EverQuest 2 (UP 3)

Biggest Movers in the Top 20 for February :

  1. Star Trek Online (UP 21 to #11)
  2. Jumpgate Evolution (UP 11 to #13)
  3. Runes of Magic (down 5 to #12)

Loading... Daily

Loading... watches the watchmen, no worries.

Just in time for a recession, three free expansions (EVE Online's Apocrypha on March 10th, City of Heroes Issue 14: Architect in April, and WAR's Call to Arms through June) will soon hit the market or are already there, making it a good time to explore some of the best free expansions we've seen in the past. To be considered for this lofty list, note that the expansion has to be free at the outset, not free eventually like the EverQuest and EverQuest 2 expansions.

In chronological order, here are my picks for the five greatest free MMO expansions, updates, and patches of all time:

  • WoW Patch 1.5 (Battlegrounds Introduced) - While WoW was on its way to the mainstream whether or not it catered to the FPS lobby & instance crowd (a la Counterstrike or the Battlefield games), Warsong Gulch, Alterac Valley, and later with 1.7) Arathi Basin cemented WoW's appeal to nearly every type of gamer... well, except for the traditional MMO gamer.
  • EVE Online Cold War - Though Apocrypha (noisy link) will soon set the bar for EVE expansions, Cold War first introduced system sovereignty and Player-Owned Structures (PoSs) and, along with the player-driven economy, gave EVE a highly competitive and engrossing sandbox niche all its own where players and alliances quite literally make the news.
  • City of Heroes Issue 7 - City of Heroes and City of Villains have a long pedigree of excellent free expansions (fourteen in five years, in fact), in fact the only retail "expansion," City of Villains, was folded into the original product and subscription. Though Issue 4 added arenas long before WoW, Issue 9 added loot and auction houses, and Issue 13 had the nifty addition of the leveling pact, day jobs, and offline progression, Issue 7 added dynamic content with PvP zones that change depending on who's in charge, mayhem missions to make villains more "villainous," physics effects, and destructible objects. While Issue 7's feature set may not seem as pivotal as other free expansions on this list, it was Issue 7 that recaptured our attention from the two-sided MMO battle that was WoW and EQ2 at the time and solidified the City of... legacy that we'll see in games like DC Universe Online and Champions Online. With what we've seen in Issue 14, NCSoft may have the most impactful
  • Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn - Nothing warms my heart like an old game getting some love, which is exactly what MMO gaming's longest (continuously) running title got with Ultima Online's eigth expansion, the graphics revamp-heavy Kingdom Reborn. Though Ten Ton Hammer's review showed that Mythic didn't go quite as far as it could have, it's still nice to see that Mythic made an free and optional effort to breath new life into the vaunted ten year-old MMO.
  • WoW Patch 2.0 (Before the Storm - Arenas Added) - At the time, the honor system changes seemed like they'd have the biggest impact, but Arenas took PvP to a whole new competitive level in WoW. Who thought that WoW would join the live competition ranks alongside such Korean favorites as Starcraft, Lineage, and Lineage 2. Arenas not only introduced a new smaller-scale way to play the endgame, this feature likely played a huge role in making inroads for WoW in Asia, the world's largest games market.

That these expansions are fairly PvP-heavy just shows what's probably an obvious truth: PvP is a way of infinitely extending the endgame and adding new dimensions to PvP are a way to make existing subscribers happy. For newbie friendly features - new races, new classes, etc. - you gotta pay for another box.

Disagree? Have some picks of your own? Your picks welcome in the Loading... forum or feel free to email me.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread will return tomorrow.

5 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 134 in February! 270 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]






Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:

  1. City Heroes Isse 14 w/ NCSoft's Joe Morrissey
  2. EVE Online: The Mittani's Guide on 'How Not to Kill a Titan'
  3. City of Heroes Architect Edition: Hands-On Preview
  4. Darkfall: A Promise of Hope?
  5. Loading... Live #5 : Dev Chat with Star Trek Online's Craig Zinkievich
  6. WoW Comic - Goob & Begud - "Picking up the Slack"
  7. City of Heroes "Captain Dynamic" Video #1 - Awesome Button
  8. A Final Hurrah - 10 Things to Learn from Tabula Rasa
  9. City of Heroes Architect Edition Screenshots and FAQ
  10. The MMO Wish List - What Are the Extras Players Really Want?

Real World News

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our City of Villains Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.