Each Expansion of World of Warcraft brought a new thing to the game, and some were liked while others were not. Let’s take a look at what feature each expansion of WoW brought (and will bring) to the game.
The Burning Crusade
The Burning Crusade was the first expansion of WoW, which brought a lot of changes and new features to WoW. It was released on 16 January 2007. The most notable feature of The Burning Crusade are :
- 2 New Races: Blood elves and Draenei were two new races added in this expansion. Blood elf is now the most popular race among Horde races.
- Removal of Faction specific Classes: Burning Crusade also removed faction-specific classes. Paladins which only Alliance could play, and Shamans which only Horde could play. With the removal of this, Shamans received Blood Lust ability and paladins received Righteous Defense.
- Flying: Flying was first introduced in this expansion. You could fly in outland, starting from level 70.
- Jewelcrafing: Jewelcrafting profession was also introduced in The Burning Crusade.
Wrath of the Lich King
Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion of WoW, was released on 13 November 2008. This expansion brought radical changes to WoW, with a lot of new features and QoL changes. These are the most important feature of Wotlk :
- Achievement System: Achievement System was first introduced in Wrath of The Lichking, a system that is now part of every WoW player experience.
- Death knight: Death knights were added in this expansion, though it had a lot of tuning to be done, as they were a very OP class in PvP at launch.
- Dungeon Finder: The controversial Dungeon Finder was added back in Wrath of the Lich King. This feature was as loved as it was hated back then, and it’s probably still the same. This feature brought a big quality of life change to dungeons but was claimed to kill social interaction in the game.
- Dual Spec: Dual spec was not present before Wotlk and made a lot of people happy when it arrived. You had to pay gold to unlock the ability to dual spec, which means you could switch to a different set of talents.
- Barber Shop: It might come as surprise, but before Wrath, you had to stuck with the character you created and there was no way to customize it past character creation,
- Inscription: This was a new profession and the last primary profession that was added to World of Warcraft as of now.
- And many more! Features such as 10/25 man split, quest tracking in the map, and …
Cataclysm is the third expansion of WoW that changed a lot of existing things in WoW, such as talents and even classic zones! Cataclysm was released on December 7, 2010. The most notable features of Cataclysm are:
- Goblins And Worgens: Two new races added to Horde and Alliance respectively.
- Old World Revamp: Almost all of the old world maps got a revamp, and changed the way all players knew Azeroth before.
- World Flying: Starting from Cataclysm, and from level 60, you could fly in Classic zones of Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. Zones like Silvermoon and Exodar which were not a part of Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms remained unflyable, even to this date.
- Talents Revamp: This revamp was not as big as the Mists of Pandaria Revamp, but it also changed talent trees a lot. Reducing the total talents, allowing the player to select the main spec and…
- Guild Advancement: Guilds also got a change in Cataclysm. Guild Advancement System allowed guilds to level up and earn perks. Guilds could earn XP by their members doing Quest. The max level was 25 and the perk for level 25 was Mass Ressurection, a perk which was removed later.
- Reforge and Transmog: Cataclysm introduced the long-awaited Transmogrify System that allowed Players to change the appearance of an Item. This expansion was also the host to Reforge System that allowed you to remove some portion of a stats from an item, in a trade for another stat.
Mists of Pandaria
Mists of Pandaria is the fourth expansion of World of Warcraft which was released on September 15, 2012. This expansion had the lowest sale amount compared to Wotlk and TBC. This expansion might be one of the most controversial expansions of WoW, as many thought it didn’t fit into the lore of WoW. Let’s take a look at the most notable features of MoP:
- Pandaren Race: This was the first-ever neutral race added in World of Warcraft. Once you create a character with this race, you will level up to level 15 and then select the faction which you want to serve.
- Talent Revamp: This talent revamp removed the old Talent System as the players knew it and added a new Talent System. This new Talent System had 6 rows and 3 choices per row. The philosophy was that each talent point should have a large impact on your playstyle.
- Battle Pets: This system allowed non-combat pets to have some use other than their cosmetic use and cuteness (for some of them). This system is still available in WoW with not so much Change.
- Black Market: Black Market Auction House has the same system as normal AH, but with two major differences. The sellers are not Players, but they are NPCs. The items sold in them are not normal Items, they are rare items that are no longer acquirable or very hard to get.
- Other Features: Such as Player Farms that allowed you to plant materials, Area of Effect Looting which allowed you to loot all mobs in an area, Cross-realm Zones that allowed you to interact with players from other realms, and Flexible raid sizes.
Warlords of Draenor
Warlords of the Draenor launched on 13 November 2014. It is the fifth expansion of WoW. This expansion is generally considered the least liked expansion of WoW, as the subscriber’s number dropped as low as 5.5 million, the lowest in WoW history. Although it should be noted that WoW sold 3.3 million copies in the first 24 hours, more than Mists of Pandaria. Let’s see what features this expansion brought to WoW:
- Character Model Update: Warlords of Draenor upgraded Character models so they looked better and fresh. The upgrade was needed as the Character models were feeling a lot older than the world around them.
- Garrison: World of Warcraft’s first attempt at Player Housing. With Garrisons, you could build and upgrade buildings, have soldiers and workers working for you and customize your garrison.
- Group Finder: It can somehow be called a Dungeon Finder upgrade. Group Finder is still in the game and can help you find people for the activity you are trying to do, whether its completing dungeons or just doing a quest.
- Character Boost: Character Boosts were first introduced at WoD, which allowed you to instantly level up a character to level 90.
- Revamp to Raid Structure: Starting from WoD, Raid difficulties were changed and they remained the same until now. It was split into Raid Finder, Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulty with all of them using Flexible size except for Mythic which used the 20-man fixed system.
- Other Features like removal of hit, expertise, dodge, parry and adding new Tertiary stats like Cleave, Leech, Multistrike and Bonus Armor. Toys also got their own special tab which helped backpack storage problems, and the addition of Reagent bank to help it.
Legion is the sixth expansion pack of WoW. It was released on August 30, 2016. Legion sold 3.3 million copies in the first 24 hours, matching Cataclysm record. Legion was acclaimed by Players and reviews. Not only Legion changed existing features, but it also added some on top of them, and they are part of each expansion after it.
- Demon Hunter: Demon Hunter is a first (or second) special class of WoW, as they only have two specs (Tank and DPS). The other one being druid, which has 4 specs.
- Artifact Weapons: Artifact Weapons were special weapons that had a special ability. You also could upgrade them and level them up to earn perks. With each Artifact level, you could select a new perk. These weapons created a new foundation for WoW expansion, as every expansion after Legion until now has something like Artifact Weapon.
- Class Order Halls: One of the most liked features of Legion, Class Order Halls was a place that all Players with the same class could gather. Not only that, but there was a special campaign for each class to improve the Artifact or just customize it.
- Honor System 3.0v: A revamp of the Honor system which was called Honor System version 3 by Blizzard. This system, which exists today without any major changes, allows you to level up your Honor level and earn special badges around your character level and get some rewards.
- Other Features such as improved transmogrification system, like adding a special tab for the appearances you have collected, a major change to professions to give the recipes a rank system and their own questline.
Battle for Azeroth
BfA launched on 14 August 2018, the first-ever expansion to launch the same time for all regions. Battle for Azeroth broke all the previously held records of past expansion. It sold 3.4 million copies in the first day, Making it the fastest-selling expansion of WoW. Expansion’s features:
- Allied Races: Allied races were long requested and guessed by fans and they were finally introduced in this expansion. They offer more customization to the existing Races as they were either completely different from the race or just some variation of them. The example can be Vulpera which does not fit into any race.
- Island Expedition: Islands allows 3 players to travel to unknown lands. You can explore them while fighting with enemies to earn special rewards. The Islands are ever-changing, and the players you will encounter are either very good AIs or normal Players.
- Warfronts: Warfront is a 20-player PvE scenario which is basically meant to be a PvP experience. In this scenario, you will work with your teammates to build, create and conquer the enemy base. Inspired by Warcraft.
- A lot of other features such as the continuation of Legion artifact, with Heart of Azeroth, Revamp of Honor talents, Communities, removal of First Aid(!) and Mount equipments.
That’s it for all of the expansion’s features of WoW, we will have to see what Shadowlands has to offer once it’s out. You can also read the preview of Shadowlands features, such as Covenants, Level squish (if it can be considered a feature), to know what to expect.