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[Column] World of Warcraft: The Best WoW Versions

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,614MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In The List today, we take a look at the various iterations of World of Warcraft in light of next week's release of the latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria. We rank order them according to our preferences. See if you agree before leaving your thoughts in the comments.

With Mists of Pandaria coming next week, we thought it was a good idea to rank World of Warcraft’s expansions. There are a few things to remember when reading. As Blizzard treats their expansions as almost full game launches, we will be doing the same here. So WoW’s initial launch is part of the list. Again this is just opinion. However I do encourage everyone to post their favorite releases and expansions in the forums. With that here we go. 

Read more of Garrett Fuller's The List: The Best WoW Versions.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • ThaneThane berlinPosts: 2,232Member Uncommon
    actually wotlk is regarded as the worst WoW expension in general ^^

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

  • JRRNeiklotJRRNeiklot Decatur, ALPosts: 108Member

    Wow.   Just  wow.  Let me give you your opinion for you. 

    4 Cataclysm

    3 WotLK

    2 Original WoW (I hate the term vanilla)

    1 Burning Crusade

     

    BC was by far the best expansion.  Beautiful zones  Challenging dungeons, TEN levels and a ton of stuff to do besides grind dailies.  No lfd/lfr and no CRZ.  And a real talent system.  Anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head examined.  And there were two new classes - the paladin and shaman.  It's not opinion.  It's fact.  WoW has been declining ever since.   And MoP looks to continue in that direction.  It's sad, really.

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member
    Originally posted by JRRNeiklot

    Wow.   Just  wow.  Let me give you your opinion for you. 

    4 Cataclysm

    3 WotLK

    2 Original WoW (I hate the term vanilla)

    1 Burning Crusade

     

    BC was by far the best expansion.  Beautiful zones  Challenging dungeons, TEN levels and a ton of stuff to do besides grind dailies.  No lfd/lfr and no CRZ.  And a real talent system.  Anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head examined.  It's not opinion.  It's fact.  WoW has been declining ever since.   And MoP looks to continue in that direction.  It's sad, really.

    Though I largely agree with your list, you might want to rethink what you consider a fact.

    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • gravesworngravesworn charleston, WVPosts: 324Member
    The original wow was the only version I had fun in. The expansions really missed the mark for me. I could go on forever why, but lets just leave it at the fact its expansions lost its personality for favor of mass appeal.
  • BetaguyBetaguy Halifax, NSPosts: 2,590Member
    MoP is going to be the best for me, I am only coming back to do the battle pets.
     

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  • XithrylXithryl Plantation, FLPosts: 256Member

    I almost agree with this list 100%, I would list them in this order (1 most favorite 4 least favorite)

    1. Wrath of the Lich King
    2. Burning Crusade
    3. Cataclysm
    4. Original WoW
    For me, I played the most during WotLK I love the characters that were highlighted as well, and I enjoyed the sense of community the game had back in BC, I remember grouping with players for dailies, and dungeons fun times. Now with Cata I still enjoy the game, but I can't wait for the game to step into new light with Mists... Most of my friends left shortly after Cata launch and are all coming back for mists.
     
    The original WoW oddly enough I hated, I played for a bit and left, came back a little bit before BC and slowly got back into the game which rammped into overdrive with WotLK setteled a bit in Cata, and now with Mists on the horizon I am super excited.
  • XithrylXithryl Plantation, FLPosts: 256Member
    Originally posted by Betaguy
    MoP is going to be the best for me, I am only coming back to do the battle pets.
     

    haha friend of mine is creating a WoW account from scratch just for battle pets

  • JRRNeiklotJRRNeiklot Decatur, ALPosts: 108Member
    Originally posted by WhiteLantern
    Originally posted by JRRNeiklot

    Wow.   Just  wow.  Let me give you your opinion for you. 

    4 Cataclysm

    3 WotLK

    2 Original WoW (I hate the term vanilla)

    1 Burning Crusade

     

    BC was by far the best expansion.  Beautiful zones  Challenging dungeons, TEN levels and a ton of stuff to do besides grind dailies.  No lfd/lfr and no CRZ.  And a real talent system.  Anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head examined.  It's not opinion.  It's fact.  WoW has been declining ever since.   And MoP looks to continue in that direction.  It's sad, really.

    Though I largely agree with your list, you might want to rethink what you consider a fact.

     

    It is fact.  More levels, a better talent system, new classes, and a lack of idiotic lobby queue and console achievement features.  Convenience does not equal improvement.  What do Cata/LK bring?  Easy mode and lobby queues. 

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I'm going to have to agree that Wrath was the best overall, it had good everything, I think most people are only looking at raid content. If you asked best raid content, I'm going to have to go vanilla experience
  • TwiggLeTwiggLe Lakemore, OHPosts: 80Member
    Originally posted by JRRNeiklot

    Wow.   Just  wow.  Let me give you your opinion for you. 

    4 Cataclysm

    3 WotLK

    2 Original WoW (I hate the term vanilla)

    1 Burning Crusade

     

    BC was by far the best expansion.  Beautiful zones  Challenging dungeons, TEN levels and a ton of stuff to do besides grind dailies.  No lfd/lfr and no CRZ.  And a real talent system.  Anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head examined.  And there were two new classes - the paladin and shaman.  It's not opinion.  It's fact.  WoW has been declining ever since.   And MoP looks to continue in that direction.  It's sad, really.

     

    How was the Paladin and Shaman new in BC? They had both been in the game already... Unless you mean new as in the other faction could place them. Which I don't think that counts...

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  • Belly1974Belly1974 RedcarPosts: 20Member
    I liked all of them with the exception of Cata... For me it just didn't keep me as interested as the others... I liked the story in wotlk the most I think...
  • JakdstripperJakdstripper logan lake, BCPosts: 2,126Member Uncommon

    just....no.

    Wotlk was very crappy actually. The only thing that kept Wotlk from being the worst wow expansion was Cata.

    the only good thing was Wintergrasp and that wasn't THAT great.

     

    BC was by far my favourite expansion, as far as features, dispite the fact that i didn't really like the whole "on a floating rock island in space" theme.

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member
    Originally posted by JRRNeiklot
    Originally posted by WhiteLantern
    Originally posted by JRRNeiklot

    Wow.   Just  wow.  Let me give you your opinion for you. 

    4 Cataclysm

    3 WotLK

    2 Original WoW (I hate the term vanilla)

    1 Burning Crusade

     

    BC was by far the best expansion.  Beautiful zones  Challenging dungeons, TEN levels and a ton of stuff to do besides grind dailies.  No lfd/lfr and no CRZ.  And a real talent system.  Anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head examined.  It's not opinion.  It's fact.  WoW has been declining ever since.   And MoP looks to continue in that direction.  It's sad, really.

    Though I largely agree with your list, you might want to rethink what you consider a fact.

     

    It is fact.  More levels(same as Wrath), a better talent system(agreed, but opinion), new classes(already in game), and a lack of idiotic lobby queue and console achievement features(lack is fact, rest is opinion).  Convenience does not equal improvement(opinion).  What do Cata/LK bring?  Easy mode and lobby queues. 

     

    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon

    Best to worst

    1.) Burning Crusade

    2.) Vanilla

    3.) Wotlk

    4.) Cataclysm

     

    Going off in general most of the time in the expansion. BC was going a bit in the wrong direction in BC and Vanilla was a bit to painful in a tedious way for much of the begining. Wotlk actually seemed alright and possibly getting better until the curveball after ulduar. People seem to glorify Vanilla but it had plenty of issues. BC did wonders in fixing a lot of those and making it more fun and less tedious. It wasn't perfect but they seemed to take 3 steps forward and 1 step back with what they were doing... while the future expansions seemed to do the complete opposite and then some.

  • MMOGamer71MMOGamer71 Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,930Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JRRNeiklot

    Wow.   Just  wow.  Let me give you your opinion for you. 

    4 Cataclysm

    3 WotLK

    2 Original WoW (I hate the term vanilla)

    1 Burning Crusade

     

    BC was by far the best expansion.  Beautiful zones  Challenging dungeons, TEN levels and a ton of stuff to do besides grind dailies.  No lfd/lfr and no CRZ.  And a real talent system.  Anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head examined.  And there were two new classes - the paladin and shaman.  It's not opinion.  It's fact.  WoW has been declining ever since.   And MoP looks to continue in that direction.  It's sad, really.

    Have to agree with your list order.  I came into WoW with the WoW BC battlechest 3 years ago (?), enjoyed LK left for CATA and will see about Panda's.

     

    Something about running BC level 70 raids in level 70 groups with level 70 gear that is win.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Best pre EQ guys taking over vanilla (upto about a year before bc)

    In between original post the EQ guys. (start of the decline aq, nax etc..)

    Worst bc, confirmed it as a raid grinder

    Haven't played the others.
  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon

    4.  Cataclysm - nothing new brought to the game, just revamps.  Stopped playing one month after this, that's a record for me.

    3.  Wrath of the Lich King - Loved the zones and new class, hated the endgame grind and mentality of the community.  

    2.  Vanilla WoW - loved the early game, but it took forever to hit cap and then the stupid gear grind kicked in and changed the whole pace of the game I had grown to enjoy during the leveling process.

    1.  Burning Crusade - best expack for me because I felt drawn in and the endgame wasn't so hard to get into.  Finally got a chance to raid 10 man Kharazan, and had a blast doing it.  My favorite raid zone of all time.  

    Mists of Pandaria, hoping all the new game mechanics make this shine and not turn it into "another WoW expack" where I level to cap and then unsub due to the annoying gear grind or elitist, rush rush rush community.  The pet minigame looks like a great side persuit as well as account wide mounts and pets and achieves.  We'll see.

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  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    I did not like Cataclysm so that has to be my worst.   The ocean zone was dumb, it had no real point to doing it.  Changes made to the skill system were a big negative in my book.

    I skipped Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.  Neither peaked my interest.  

    IMO, Mist will head to the bottom of the list.  The destruction of the skill system by Blizzzard is my sole reason.  There is no more character differentiation anymore.   Why I will not purchase the expansion.

     

  • deniterdeniter LappeenrantaPosts: 805Member Uncommon

    1. Burning Crusade (pre-2.3)

    The biggest amount of non-watered down content for a casual player like myself. Did some raiding too and liked it a lot.

    2. Vanilla/Original

    End game was way too hc for my taste, but numerous alts kept me busy and i ran lots of  5-mans and 10-mans.

    3. Wotlk (pre-ToC)

    Nice theme and immersive zones. The hero class mechanism was badly thought and heroic dungeons were too easy. 'Vehicle' quests were introduced and i didn't like them at all.

    4. Cataclysm (or whatever)

    Played for a while in pre-launch patch doing the new quests and find them absolutely horrible. Also, the dungeon finder tool had changed the gameplay drastically to worse turning WoW to a lobby game instead of a living breathing World. Quit very soon after.

  • PivotelitePivotelite Hamilton, ONPosts: 2,167Member

    4) Cataclysm

    3) Lich King

    2) Vanilla WoW

    1) Burning Crusade.

     

    I see about 80% agree with me, good to know i'm not the only one who feels this way. I miss my group gatestones in BC. :(

     

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  • sui2ksui2k berlinPosts: 14Member

    without trolling ..

     

     

    the de -install window is the best version!

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member

    Been thinking about this all morning. For me, Cata is an obvious choice for #4. I didn't even play it until recently because it didn't hook me.

    Burning Crusade is my choice for #1 because I'd only been playing for a little over a year when it hit, so it added cool new stuff and filled me with a new sense of wonder. With a new land to explore, new races to play..........I just had fun back then.

    2 and 3 are where I waffle a bit. On the one hand, Vanilla was great, huge, fun and new. But on the other hand, revisiting Northred was, for me, a completion of a long journey that began back in WC3. The feeling I got stepping off the boat in Northrend and finally being able to take the fight to Arthas was really cool.

     

    Honestly, after Northrend, it's like sequelitis. All I wanted from WoW was to see WC3 finished. MoP looks cool and all, but I've seen the story end. Everything after Wrath just feels artificial to me.

    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I think I was just into the story a lot more with Wrath, the whole lich king deal and just the awesomeness of him, I didn't feel that in cata, and the king makes illidan look like a turd.
  • GrrlGrrl B-Town, CAPosts: 364Member

    1) Burning Crusade

    2) Cataclysm 

    3) Original WoW

    4) WOTLK 

     

    :)

  • HunterrorHunterror Reedsburg, WIPosts: 21Member Uncommon
    I cannot believe he ranked BC as last! It was far and away the best MMO experience ive had.  I played vanilla and WotLK, never made it to Cata and I certainly won't be back for MoP.  
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