Ranked: The Best and Worst WoW Expansions

World of Warcraft Has Six Exciting and Less-Than-Exciting Expansions to Date

Ranked: The Best and Worst WoW Expansions

World of Warcraft Has Six Exciting and Less-Than-Exciting Expansions to Date

As many World of Warcraft aficionados know, there have been six expansions released since the MMORPG online world has opened up in 2004. It took three years for the first expansion to make its debut and the most recent expansion has been out for nearly three months. So far we have The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, and our latest Legion.

If they had to be ranked in order from worst to best, I would have to say the order is:

6. Mists of Pandaria (2012)

5. Cataclysm (2010)

4. Warlords of Draenor (2014)

3. Wrath of the Lich King (2008)

2. WoW Legion (2016)

1. The Burning Crusade (2007)


6. Mists of Pandaria (2012)

Mists of Pandaria was released in September of 2012. What started out as a cool concept (and April Fool’s joke) ended up being nothing more than a silly disappointment for avid WoW players. There were some saving graces of the expansion, such as a raise in the level cap and new classes to assume. Despite the attempt at breathing a breath of fresh air into WoW, it fell. One could assume, for starters, that it was due to the silliness of animal impersonation.

A game in which you parade about as a civilization of pandas may as well be considered the long lost dark cousin of a Disney movie. Sales reflected this sentiment at a mediocre 2.7 million copies sold within the first first whereas other expansions had sold much more than that in their first 24 hours. I suppose people felt the need to skip out on this expansion because of its childish aura.

Otherwise, the so-so release of MoP can be attributed to its poor storyline, poor questing, and poor raids and dungeons according to fellow players. If you visit any MoP forum, you will find a recurring theme: boredom. Not to mention the minimal patches to fix issues before anymore expansions were released.

It is safe to say the Asian theme is a nice thought and appreciated, but ended up not living up to standards in gameplay or characters.

5. Cataclysm (2010)

As a fellow player of Cataclysm, I can say that the expansion was entertaining but definitely had its negative moments. Taking the title of third WoW expansion released, it brought about Worgens and Goblins, and for some - disappointment. There were neat themes and some intriguing new areas added, but also a lot of issues.

One noted downfall of Cataclysm is that some say it was almost painful to put all the players to the quest in one large, linear storyline. With everyone trying to accomplish the same goal, quests were overpopulated and drowned by excessive players. This brought about frustration, lag, and the dreaded server problems.

A lot of players deemed the writing unworthy for numerous reasons. Aside from the plentiful references of pop culture, players were disappointed in the storyline, the revamp of the Old World, and the ending. Overall, they just couldn’t get behind the idea of dragons and massive change.

4. Warlords of Draenor (2014) 

Despite its rocky release in November 2014, it was certainly a step up from its predecessor. Some people rave about the expansion but most note that content is less than desirable. They were displeased with what seems like a lot of the substance being cut out of gameplay. There wasn’t as much to do and it seemed shorter compared to previous expansions. Complaints surfaced of less raids and the constant need to find something to do upon completion.

More specifically, garrisons were among the most disappointing factor. People felt like the garrisons began consuming all and that it wasn’t achieving social levels needed to keep the game interesting. With all this said, players weren’t happy because they also had to splurge compared to other expansions, with this one being more expensive.

3. Wrath of the Lich King (2008)

Wrath of the Lich King is among one of the favorite expansions by WoW players. Raiding improved, visual design was more aesthetically pleasing, and difficulty was decreased. Players were very happy with the new looks of towns and dungeons. They could join their friends and social circles much easier by reverting to an easier style. There’s no fun when the raids and dungeons are too difficult to surpass. In this expansion, they were made shorter thus making the game more enjoyable.

Another big pointer is the fact that there were new areas and the graphics were crisp and beautiful - just the way they should be. Playing through these places almost made you want to be right there. Snow covered mountaintops and you trekked through them happily while completing quests. Among many, a favorite of the zone Ulduar was formed as it was a superb raid.

In general, WofLK added a ton of content which contributed to the overall improvement of the storyline. Players were happy, the developers were happy, and all was well with this release in November of 2008.

2. WoW Legion (2016)

As a hot topic these days, the newest WoW expansion has everyone talking. The launch yielded favorable results and is believed to give WoW back what it lost somewhere along the way. The gaming community is raving about this expansion as it just might herd original players back to the World of Warcraft. It matched up to the high sales of Cataclysm in 2010 so there are very high hopes for this expansion.

Blizzard gifted us with a plethora of new mounts that can be used in gameplay. Each one with unique features with some even being never before-seen breeds of certain creatures. Other pluses are the PvP setup and even artifact availabilities.

Those who prefer PvP adventures will not be disappointed in Legion. They drove a divider between PvP and PvE, but this time with a more balanced approach. With PvP being separated as an extra, it helps to dismiss unfair advantages so that your battlefield points will not interfere with your dungeon points.

Artifacts are also available to specific classes with fully unique capabilities. As opposed to prior expansions where the classes seem to all blend together, you will have the option to feel like you have your own and are separated from the rest.

1. The Burning Crusade (2007)

Finally, we get to the expansion that was an all-time favorite among players: The Burning Crusade. This was the first expansion ever released for the World of Warcraft enterprise. It went on to be the best seller for PC games across two continents and it sold fairly quickly upon release at that.

Being that it was the first major update since the game was first released three years prior, a lot of changes were made. New races were added, community was at an all-time high, and exciting aspects such as flying mounts were made available. Everyone was ecstatic to start travelling high in the sky.

This expansion took everything we loved from the initial release of World of Warcraft and put it into a shiny package. Everyone was happy because everyone worked and played together. Community was nice when you had people to back you up in guilds. And everyone was still very much excited about the new features. One could speculate it was perhaps the nostalgia of the good times, but even so, it was still hands down the best expansion to date.


You may also be interested in:

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Warlords of Draenor: 10 New Features That Improved World of Warcraft

The Story Behind World of Warcraft Legion


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mike25490 7 months 4 weeks ago

I definitely agree that Mists of Pandaria is the worst expansion and Burning Crusade is the best, but in between them it's hard to tell. I really enjoyed Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, but not so much Warlords of Draenor. I haven't yet played Legion, but I think Blizzard's idea to take the storyline back to the most popular expansion is a good idea, I have only heard good things about it. Good article!

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