Thread splinter - what do you think are the best expansions?

(taking the idea out of the classic games thread)

The bad commentary about Freespace: Silent Threat made me recall Secret Missions 1 for Wing Commander and how good it was.

It was so much more inconceivably, unbelievably, exponentially more difficult than the original campaign, it blew my mind. Not only that, but there were some great missions, like the “Comet sweet patrol” with the Scimitar.

Just you and Paladin (thank god it wasn’t that fruitcake Knight), in Scimitars, against every single ship the Kilrathi had except transports, the starbases and the. Waypoint after waypoint, you encounter tougher ships, capital ships… all in the damn Scimitar.

Then there was the Gwenhyvar mission. I’m still blanking the memories out.

Independence War Deluxe Edition had a very good ‘Defiance’ add-on campaign that sticks out in my mind as one of the best.

  • Alan

Loopy Landscapes and Corkscrew Follies for RCT. They added new kinds of stands and rides and scenarios which is what that game is all about. Goddamn that is a great game.

Half Life: Opposing Force more of a sequel than an expansion but still.

Gold edition of Thief 1 (if you can call it an expansion). New missions kicked ass, I especially liked invading Ramirez’s mansion and the Mages Towers.

Blood 1: Plasma Pak and Blood 2: Nightmare expansions. More of this awesome horror-shooter series. Too bad Monolith abandoned it. </bitter>

Most of the Duke Nukem 3D expansions were a hoot. At the time, of course, an itneractive environment was still pretty novel so the more the better.

The B-Wing expansion for the original X-Wing. Best part of that whole friggin series and it was great from the beginning.

Command and Conquer: Covert Operations was pretty good.


Total Annihilation had probably the best expansions I can think of. Core Contingency added hovercraft and the uber-unit, the Krogoth. Battle Tactics wasn’t that great, but CC was amazing.

Gold edition of Thief 1 (if you can call it an expansion). New missions kicked ass, I especially liked invading Ramirez’s mansion and the Mages Towers.

Thief pedantic mode: Ramirez isn’t one of the extra missions, since I’m playing through Thief the Dark Project right now and I finished it up last night. However, The Mage’s Tower, along with The Thieve’s Guild and, I think, The Jew’s Den, is one of them. And, Christ, when is someone going to release a user patch to give me the Gold missions? It can’t be that hard.

My choices would probably be Half Life: Opposing Force (best idea for an expansion, too), Quake: Scource of Armagon, and Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal. Expansions usually only come around for strategy games these days, and I don’t play a lot of strategy titles.

I guess I’d say BG2: Throne of Bhaal. I had a few issues with the gameplay (it felt very linear, like you were being hand-held from one setpiece battle to another), but the battles were spectacular, and the conclusion was well done. You really felt as if you’d come a long way with these characters.

I also enjoyed AoE: Rise of Rome. I would like to say I enjoyed Starcraft Brood War but I haven’t actually tried it yet, even though I bought the Starcraft collection about 2 years ago. :wink:

Obligatory old-sk001 reference: Upper Reaches of Apshai!

I’ll second Throne of Bhaal, and add Brood War.

Half Life: Opposing Forces
Diablo 2 Expansion (I vaguely remember it being good)
Dark Age of Camelot: Shrouded Isles (cause they finally fixed the goddamn memory leak and I don’t have to relog every 2 hours)

Starcraft Brood War
Age of Empires II: Conquerors
Throne of Bhaal
Dark Age of Camelot Shrouded Isles
Command and Conquer: Red Alert - Annihilation
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

To my thinking, a great expansion isn’t simply More of the Same (most of them are), but makes material changes to the game that make it feel new and allow you to see it in a different light.

For that reason, Ritual’s Scourge of Armagon would be high on my list. (Maybe alone on my list.) It made Quake feel like a real place–not just a fantasy FPS with key “puzzles.” No one’s really come close since. (Opposing Force does in concept, but relinguishes its The Other Side theme early on and becomes More of Half-Life.)

What was the -first- add-on? :)


Both of the Quake expansions were excellent, but good call on Ritual’s expansion. It was so good, in fact, it ended up being better than their subsequent full retail game, Sin. IMO.

Throne of Bhaal
Red Alert 2 - Yuri’s Revenge

I’d throw in SMAC’s Alien Crossfire expansion. Playing as either of the alien races was totally different, the new techs made water cities viable, and the Pirates became a faction worth trying.

Plus playing as human with both alien races on a map made for a whole different game. My last game as the Drones I had to bide my time and be the Usurpers’ bitch for most of the game, until it became time for the smackdown.

Diablo II’s expansion, just for the higher resolution.
The X-Wing expansions added the B-Wing and lots of missions.
The TIE Fighter expansions added so many missions that I never finished them all. I got through the first one, and got the missile boat in the second one, but the missions were so insanely hard that I got distracted by other games.
MW2: Ghost Bear’s Legacy added the Kodiak and a real story. I’ll never forget finally getting through the battle to get the gene pool and hobbling towards it on my one good leg, praying that touching it would end the mission and not just bring out another cadre of bad guys. I also remember that if you never failed a mission you actually got a bonus mission, and I was going to go back and try to do it, but I got distracted by newer games.

These are the only expansions that I thought really added to the original game:

X-wing vs. TIE Fighter - Balance of Power
Independence War Defiance
Baldur’s Gate 2 - Throne of Bhaal
Diablo 2 - Lords of Destruction
StarCraft - Brood War

Other expansions that were decent:

  • WarCraft 2;
  • Wing Commander 1+2;
  • the Secret Weapons of the Luftwafe;
  • Morrowind: Tribunal;
  • Operation Flashpoint’s two expansions
  • Baldur’s Gate’s
  • Half Life Opposing Force (although too short)
  • AOE: Conquerers

I can’t think of any other expansions that I thought were even worthwhile.

What was the -first- add-on?

The earliest I am aware of are the Upper Reaches of Apshai and Curse of Ra, both expansions for Temple of Apshai. They were released around '81 or thereabouts, I believe.

Another vote for DAoC: Shrouded Isles. The new areas are even better then the original, new classes with completely new dynamics (Bonedancer, Animist, Necromancer), fun little newbie quests and even music that doesn’t get earraking after ten minutes…

Those were actual sequels, although they used the same engine, I thought. At least they were full retail price games, and you didn’t need the original product.

The first expansion I can think of was for Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, around 1989. Wing Commander had its first expansion in 1990. The first RPG expansion (unless Gordon’s recollection on Apshai is better than mine) was Forge of Virtue, for Ultima VII: The Black Gate.

At least they were full retail price games, and you didn’t need the original product.

Hmm, I could have sworn they were bona-fide x-packs that required the original game. I may be mistaken though…

…and I seem to be vindicated.

The picture from the box cover of Upper Reaches says:

Expansion Module for Temple of Apshai
Requires game program from Temple of Apshai

And from the back of the box of the C64 version of Curse of Ra (scans of which can be found at the Computer Game Museum, ) :

“Curse of Ra is an expansion module for Temple of Apshai. You must have Temple of Apshai to play.”

Sid Meier’s Alien Crossfire was a superb expansion. One of the best ever that changes a lot about the original game and basically removes the need to ever play the original SMAC again because it’s so good.