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Okay gamers, let's talk World of Warcraft (WoW). There have been many expansion packs since the debut of the original or “Vanilla” launch of the game. Burning Crusade (BC) was the first. After that came Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK), Cataclysm (Cata), Mists of Panderia (MoP), and now Warlords of Draenor (WoD). I started in the BC days. It was out maybe a month or so when I came into the WoW scene. I remember that is was soon after the launch of BC because people were still upset over the many grueling hours they played in order to get their epic raid gear, only to be replaced with pretty much any new item that dropped.
I remember the days when you had to travel everywhere on foot until level 40, where you could buy a mount and riding training. This assumes, of course, that you did not spend all your gold on weapons, armor, or buying your spells and profession skills. Once you had a mount, it made questing much easier. These were also the days when you had to travel to raids and most dungeons on foot. You also had to level every type of weapon individually for a better chance to hit things. Each class had certain quests that had to be done to get certain pets, abilities, or mounts. Those were such a pain, let me tell you. Especially when you had to run from one part of the world to the next, most of the time without a mount. This was also the expansion that at level 70 (the new level cap), let you buy flying training and flying mounts. Both of these were fairly expensive to get right as you hit 70. Most people had to do the daily quests in order to make the money they needed to get flying and up their professions to max level.
I think this was one of the more confusing expansions in terms of raid gear. Their were 2 main factions that you could get reputation with that sold raid items for certain tokens. Figuring out which was the best to get for your class was a trial and error thing at first. It was also a chore trying to figure out which items were better than the others. That was definitely my experience anyway.
I played into the WotLK expansion, getting to heroics and raids, but then circumstances made it where I could no longer play. Shortly thereafter, my account was also hacked, and that made it difficult to resume when I came back in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. I had to start with a new account and start all over. It wasn't long after I started back that they announced the release of the next expansion: Warlords of Draenor. I pre-ordered it and was given a free level 90 boost to go with it. I used this boost to gain access to some of the end game content available at the time. It was fun, if a bit redundant. The main raids were the Siege of Orgrimar wings. The only thing different about the raids were the difficulty levels. Siege of Orgrimar (SoO) Looking for Raid (LFR), Normal, and Heroic. There were 4 wings each with those difficulty ratings.
In BC days, each raid was something separate. First there was Karazhan (Kara), Magtheridon's Lair, Black Temple, Gruul's Lair, Serpentshrine Caverns, Hyjal Summit, Sunwell Plateau, and Tempest Keep. Each one was different, with different bosses, with different rewards, and each one was progressively harder. Everything in BC days was harder, and took much longer to achieve. Wrath of the Lich King took the level cap to level 80 and introduced a new class: the Deathknight. It also introduced us to new dungeons and raids. As in BC, WotLK gave us all different places to raid. Each was unique and each was harder than the next. The loot table was better and easier to understand.
I was not present for Cataclysm, so I cannot comment on it firsthand. There are mixed reviews for this expansion, just like they all have. I will say that visiting them as a level 90 was interesting. Many of them were still a challenge at level 90. Granted the level cap was only 5 levels lower for Cata, at 85, but the mechanics were definitely challenging. Mists of Panderia brought about the cookie cutter raids, where there are a few different places to go, or wings of a larger raid, and then different difficulty levels. The mechanics change somewhat depending on the difficulty, but same areas and same bosses. Even some of the loot was the same, except the stats. It was also one of the expansions that had the least amount of additional content.
Although Warlords of Draenor still has more of the same cookie cutter raid styles, it also introduces the “Garrison”. I think the garrison is a two edged sword. It makes it much easier to get ingredients for professions. It also cuts down on how much these ingredients are worth. People used to be able to farm mats to put on the Auction House (AH) in order to make gold to spend on other things. Don't get me wrong, I really like the garrisons. I'm just trying to see things from other people's point of view as well. All in all, I would have to say that WoD is one of the b est expansions in recent years. I'm not sure it is the best one, but I would put my vote on this one. What do you think though? Comments or questions? Please feel free to leave your response. I just ask that you try to keep it PG to PG-13. Thank you.
Daniel Johnson (Druidmorph, Sixthsith, Goblindk — on the Ysera server. GM of the guild SithNation)