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World of Warcraft: Expansions Ranked From Worst to Best (Including Classic)

WoW classes ranked

World of Warcraft has been out for 15 years. It has eight expansions, with the latest being Shadowlands. So which of the eight total World of Warcraft expansions is the best? Find out below.

9 – Battle for Azeroth

World of Warcraft expansions: Battle for Azeroth
Credit: WoWWiki

A lot of people think this expansion killed the game, especially players who jump into Azeroth as multiple characters. The mechanics of the expansion favor players that have a main character by requiring a long grind for artifact power to get a best in slot item. I had a hard time grinding that out on one character, let alone multiple. It was the first expansion to have separate zones for the Horde and Alliance (at first), but that also took away from the usual fun of random world PvP with some nerd gnome running around collecting herbs. Battle for Azeroth is by far the worst of the World of Warcraft expansions yet.

8 – Classic

World of Warcraft expansions: Classic/Vanilla
Credit: WoWWiki

Or ‘Vanilla’ as it was known before Classic was released. This version was slow, didn’t give you many details to follow when questing and was basically a walking simulator in between boring combat. The end game raids of Ahn Qiraj were enjoyable….once they nerfed AQ40 out of near impossible difficulty.

7 – Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft expansions: Warlords of Draenor
Credit: WoWWiki

Garrisons were a failed attempt at player housing. They also ruined the economy, because if you knew what you were doing then your garrison could earn you enough money to buy a third world country. Not to mention the huge gaps between content, and only three raids. One can get only so much entertainment from beating two German orcs over and over again, regardless of how funny their accents were. Also, it was essentially a gap filler to set up Legion.

6- The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft expansions: The Burning Crusade
Credit: WoWWiki

Burning Crusade brought our first foray into a new world…But that world was colored as if a three year old had picked the ‘paint bucket’ option and had chosen the brightest colors in the palette. Some content was fun, especially fighting over the three PvP arenas in Hellfire Peninsula, but other than that I don’t remember enjoying it too much.

5 – Mists of Pandaria 

World of Warcraft expansions: Mists of Pandaria
Credit: WoWWiki

I can appreciate bringing in more land and lore, but they ruined Garrosh! One of the best Warchiefs the Horde ever had, the only Warchief who was willing to do what needed to be done, and they had him turn legitimately evil. The end of the expac also cemented the fact that the Alliance was stronger than the Horde, which goes against the entire premise of the game in the first place. Pandas were meh. Oh, and pet battles are a thing I guess. 

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4 – Legion

World of Warcraft expansions: Legion
Credit: WoWWiki

Legion was the first expansion to introduce scaled leveling, which by itself earns it the number four rank. You could play the content you wanted when you wanted. It would be higher if the story wasn’t just ‘BuRnInG CrUsAdE!’ again, but to be fair, they are a universe spanning entity of pure evil and destruction…Well, were. Oops, spoilers. It also had enough content to keep people busy and it brought back Dalaran as the hub city, of which I will always be a fan. I love Dalaran’s music.

3 – Shadowlands

World of Warcraft expansions: Shadowlands
Credit: WoWWiki

Now, to be fair, I haven’t delved too deep into Shadowlands, but one thing alone puts it at number three. Level squish. It is by far the greatest and most profound quality of life improvement to ever be implemented in World of Warcraft. Yes, even above Gladiator-stance warriors. One could argue that the level squish was part of Battle for Azeroth, but why would I give that burning poop sack of an expansion more credit than it deserves? I’m convinced the squish was only released in Battle for Azeroth due to Covid-19 delaying the release of Shadowlands in the first place.

2- Cataclysm

World of Warcraft expansions: Cataclysm
Credit: WoWWiki

No other game could possibly entertain me with nothing but running around a digital world trying to get murdered by a dragon’s fire breath in order to get an achievement. It was also the first expansion in which I tried to get into raiding. ‘Tried’ being the operative word. Throw in Wildhammer dwarves, getting to kill said dwarves (Long live the Horde), and Tol Barad being a worthy successor to Wintergrasp, I’ll always love Cataclysm. Fight me.

1- Wrath of the Lich King

World of Warcraft expansions: Wrath of the Lich King
Credit: WoWWiki

What can I say about Wrath? Oh man…this expac was just…*chef’s kiss*. Wintergrasp, Naxxramas, Death Knights, Ulduar, ugh. This is my absolute favorite of the World of Warcraft expansions released so far. I can’t give this expac enough praise. Not only is the story of Arthas continued and ended, you have the tragedy of a father having to participate in the defeat of his undead son, and a cosmic horror god capable of turning you insane with whispers in your mind. It also brought in achievements.

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I personally know several people who started playing World of Warcraft once they knew it had achievements, because hunting them was reason enough for them to pay the subscription fee. My favorite music in World of Warcraft came from Wrath of the Lich King, the music of Grizzly Hills during the day. Memories.

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