When World of Warcraft first launched in 2004, following the discharge of the extremely acclaimed Warcraft III – The Frozen Throne, it primarily introduced the MMORPG style into the mainstream highlight.
Positive, it wasn’t the first MMORPG, however in true Blizzard style, they took an current factor, repackaged it, and marketed it brilliantly.
And identical to that, the unique vanilla World of Warcraft grew to become a popular culture phenomenon and adjusted the course of the franchise, for higher or for worse.
Because of its big success, the sport has obtained a complete of eight expansions to this point, and the practice is unlikely to cease any time quickly.
Should you’re a die-hard WoW fan like us, right here’s a quick overview of all its expansions thus far!
The Burning Campaign
Launch Date: January 16, 2007
The first expansion was fairly influential on the sport as a complete, each from a mechanics and lore standpoint. It launched two new races, the Draenei and the Blood Elves, and it added their respective beginning zones to the world of Azeroth. However the bulk of the brand new content material lay not in Azeroth, however in Outland, a location beforehand visited in Warcraft III – The Frozen Throne.
Talking of which, The Burning Campaign is notable as a result of it marks the purpose when Blizzard determined to provide WoW extra weight with regards to the franchise’s canon storyline by involving established Warcraft III characters within the sport, most notably together with Illidan—a serious character from the acclaimed RTS—as an end-game raid boss.
When it comes to mechanics, maybe probably the most momentous addition was the flying mounts that would solely be utilized in Outland, whereas common floor mounts had been made cheaper and extra accessible to gamers. After all, this enlargement additionally marked the primary degree cap enhance because it jumped from 60 to 70, introducing new skills and increasing the expertise system.
Furthermore, the Paladin and Shaman courses had been not faction-exclusive to the Alliance and the Horde, respectively, as they had been in vanilla. And on high of that, the occupation of jewelcrafting was launched, and it allowed gamers so as to add extra stat boosts to their gear by socketing particular gems.
One other necessary addition was the resilience stat, which mitigated injury obtained from (and solely from) different gamers, designed to assist stability out PvP fight. Talking of PvP, this enlargement additionally added one model new battleground, and it launched Enviornment PvP for the primary time.
The Wrath of the Lich King
Launch Date: November 13, 2008
Persevering with the development of capitalizing on the success and recognition of Warcraft III, WoW’s second expansion revolved round Arthas, the extensively beloved anti-hero who was topped the brand new Lich King on the finish of The Frozen Throne.
Evidently, it added the continent of Northrend to Azeroth, which, very similar to Outland, was far more attention-grabbing and numerous than the easy snowy wasteland that we knew from the technique sport.
This enlargement added no new races, nevertheless it did introduce the very first ‘hero’ class within the type of the Demise Knight. They had been the primary class to begin at a better degree (55), had their very own instanced beginning zone in japanese Lordaeron, and even a easy class-specific occupation—Runeforging. Demise Knights might fill each tanking and DPS roles, though they had been extra widespread within the latter.
The extent cap was elevated by ten as soon as once more, leaping from 70 to 80. Other than the standard addition of latest skills, the refinement of the expertise system, the brand new zones, and dungeons, Wrath of the Lich King additionally added a substantial quantity of PvP content material, introducing two new battlegrounds and two new arenas, in addition to the primary devoted world PvP zone within the type of Wintergrasp.
Lastly, one other important addition was the brand new major occupation of Inscription, which allowed gamers to craft particular glyphs that might improve or in any other case alter sure skills after a glyph is ‘inscribed.’ This occupation additionally coated the creation of scrolls used to grant non permanent buffs, in addition to vellums, which might retailer enchantments for later use.
Launch Date: December 7, 2010
After which got here Cataclysm, which modified not solely the face of the in-game world of Azeroth however the face of the sport and its neighborhood as a complete. Having killed off the 2 most outstanding characters from Warcraft III, Blizzard turned to among the older Warcraft video games’ villains, and Deathwing was subsequent up for the chopping block.
Now, Cataclysm offered two new faction-specific races—Worgen and Goblins, full with their very own distinctive beginning zones in Azeroth. However the two new races had been hardly the largest change made on this enlargement, as almost each zone in Azeroth was closely altered, without end altering Azeroth’s acquainted landscapes. Just a few model new zones had been opened up, together with the PvP space of Tol Barad, in addition to two new battlegrounds.
Mechanics-wise, the extent cap was elevated as soon as once more, although solely by 5 ranges this time round, making 85 the brand new most degree. All the present courses had been redesigned and rebalanced, new race-class mixtures had been added, and the expertise system was utterly revamped.
The one occupation added in Cataclysm was the secondary occupation of Archaeology, which allowed gamers to seek out worthwhile artifacts. Quite a lot of the time, these things had been simply costly ‘vendor trash’, however gamers might additionally discover mounts, pets, vainness gadgets, and even highly effective gear.
Along with that, Cataclysm additionally added Reforging, which is the flexibility to tweak stat bonuses on the gear to make the merchandise extra helpful to the participant. Furthermore, guild leveling was launched, permitting gamers to achieve helpful additional perks as their guild leveled up. And eventually, flying was made attainable in Azeroth for the primary time.
Mists of Pandaria
Launch Date: September 25, 2012
Following Cataclysm, the fourth expansion was not very effectively obtained among the many wider fan base, primarily as a result of it was centered round a race that was initially launched as an April Fools joke. Exploring the brand new continent of Pandaria, the story focuses on the exploration of the paranormal island, in addition to the ever-present battle between the Alliance and the Horde.
The extent cap for this enlargement was elevated by 5 as soon as once more, making 90 the brand new ceiling. Most notably, Mists of Pandaria launched the Pandaren as the primary impartial race that would be part of both the Alliance or the Horde, based mostly solely on the participant’s personal private alternative.
This enlargement additionally marked the addition of the primary new class since WotLK, the Monk—a hybrid class that would fill the roles of tank, healer, or DPS, all of the whereas utilizing gentle armor, with fist weapons and staves as weapons of alternative.
MoP additionally revamped the expertise system as soon as once more, scrapping the outdated passive bonuses that up nearly all of the outdated expertise bushes and letting gamers select between three particular skills as soon as each 15 ranges.
This enlargement additionally launched Situations—small dungeons that had been designed to be overcome with three gamers, quite than the standard 5. On high of that, problem modes had been added to 5-man dungeons, and on the PvP entrance, three new battlegrounds had been launched.
One other new addition that left some gamers with blended emotions was the Pet Battle System—a turn-based fight minigame revolving round companion pets, extremely harking back to Pokemon.
Warlords of Draenor
Launch Date: November 13, 2014
Many will agree that tales are inclined to lose impression and that writers are inclined to lose legitimacy as soon as time journey begins getting used as a plot machine, particularly if there’s retconning of current lore concerned. And whereas Warlords of Draenor doesn’t precisely do these very issues, it attracts uncomfortably shut.
WoD takes us to an alternate timeline, again to the pivotal second that decided the destiny of the Orcish Horde again when their homeworld of Draenor was nonetheless complete. Right here, the plot focuses on the alternate method that historical past might have performed out had the orcs not made a covenant with the Mannoroth, albeit with Garrosh Hellscream because the wild card influencing it.
The fifth enlargement raised the extent cap by ten, making degree 100 the brand new most. The general focus was extra on streamlining mechanics than introducing new ones, so WoD eliminated some secondary stats and launched the Group Finder as a streamlined group-finding device for each PvP and PvE.
Battleground gameplay was refined as effectively, and each the stock and the hunt log had been made extra manageable than earlier than.
Two important alterations utilized to the sport with WoD had been Garrisons and graphics updates. Whereas the previous had been customizable fortresses the place gamers might develop and partake in numerous actions, the sport noticed a much-needed enchancment on the graphics entrance, that includes up to date character fashions and different minor graphics enhancements that nonetheless helped WoW maintain with the occasions.
Aside from that, WoD added a brand new instanced world PvP zone known as Ashran in addition to Skirmishes—informal Enviornment fight eventualities that might be out there even to low-level gamers and permit them to familiarize themselves with that type of PvP fight early on.
Launch Date: August 30, 2016
Bear in mind how the unique Gul’dan died within the Tomb of Sargeras? Nicely, following the occasions of Warlords of Draenor, alternate-reality Gul’dan is there to reopen it within the ‘most important’ actuality! And identical to that, we come again to the Burning Legion and Illidan as the focus of the plot, and the large dangerous, Sargeras, is thrown into the combination as effectively.
Legion introduces one more new assortment of zones to Azeroth, the Damaged Isles. It was beforehand visited within the Night time Elf marketing campaign in The Frozen Throne, with Dalaran now situated there as an alternative of in Northrend and functioning as the principle hub.
The extent cap was raised from 100 to 110, and the second-ever hero class was launched: the Demon Hunter. This new class was a hybrid that would deal with both DPS or tanking, however not like the Demise Knight, which was made out there for each race, solely Night time Elves and Blood Elves might grow to be Demon Hunters. Moreover, ‘Class Orders‘ had been launched, providing class-specific campaigns and rewards.
The enlargement additionally added the closely customizable artifact weapons that scaled with the participant’s degree and had been used as major weapons all through the occasions of Legion. The PvP system was streamlined as soon as once more, together with the elimination of PvP gear and a revamped honor system that now allowed gamers to acquire new skills utilizing honor factors as an alternative of buying gear, thus minimizing the importance of drugs in PvP fight.
Battle for Azeroth
Launch Date: August 14, 2018
The earlier two expansions positioned a heavy deal with PvP. Now, not solely does Battle for Azeroth deal with PvP mechanics, too, nevertheless it additionally makes it one thing of a central level story-wise. Specifically, the story of Battle for Azeroth doesn’t revolve round world-destroying supervillains. As a substitute, it focuses on the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde in a multi-chapter Struggle Marketing campaign storyline.
This enlargement introduces a complete of eight new races, 4 for every faction, though various them are extra akin to reskins of the present races than model new ones.
The Alliance first received the Lightforged Draenei and the Void Elves whereas the Horde received the Highmountain Tauren and the Nightborne, all of which had been added throughout Legion for many who pre-ordered the enlargement. In a while, the Darkish Iron Dwarves and Kul Tiran people had been added to the Alliance whereas the Magazine’har Orcs and Zandalari Trolls had been added to the Horde.
On high of that, this enlargement contributes two new landmasses to Azeroth within the type of the islands of Kul Tiras and Zandalar.
The extent cap in BFA was raised from 110 to 120. It noticed the addition of Warfronts to the sport—huge PvE eventualities impressed by the RTS parts of the basic Warcraft video games.
Moreover, two new Arenas had been added, and the gamers had been allowed to toggle PvP off whatever the realm kind, and the Honor system was refreshed as soon as once more. On the PvE entrance, Island Expeditions had been launched, although these 3-player eventualities additionally had a PvP mode.
Launch Date: October 27, 2020
The latest WoW enlargement is titled Shadowlands and it focuses on the Warcraft universe’s afterlife. That mentioned, as you may anticipate, it revisits among the franchise’s most recognizable characters. Nevertheless, it additionally options one of many greatest overhauls since Cataclysm.
Before everything, there’s the sport’s first “degree squish” that brings the utmost degree down from 120 again to the unique 60, downscaling the numbers and making the leveling expertise a lot shorter than it was within the older iterations of the sport.
Along with the standard addition of latest zones and dungeons, Shadowlands shakes up the expertise and sophistication methods but once more, however a serious focus on this enlargement is positioned on the Covenant system.
As they enterprise into Shadowlands content material and hit the extent cap, gamers need to align with one of many 4 Covenants: Necrolord, Venthyr, Kyrianor, or Night time Fae. Every of those has its personal campaigns and can grant gamers distinctive perks and talents that can have an effect on their playstyle.
Most notably, this consists of the system of Soulbinding, which provides a further layer of customization to the participant’s skills.
The Ultimate Phrase
We’ve now offered all the World of Warcraft expansions launched up to now. If Blizzard sticks to their traditional schedule, the following enlargement ought to drop in 2022, however that’s methods off but.
Clearly, as we speak’s WoW is much from the sport that many grew up with, and it’s unlikely that the chain of expansions and adjustments shall be ending any time quickly. Many are already scratching their heads, questioning the place else Blizzard might presumably take the sequence, however as traditional, we are able to solely wait and see.