All World of Warcraft Expansions Ranked from Worst to Best

Nine expansions have been added to World of Warcraft. Which rank the best among them?
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World of Warcraft has received nine expansions so far, and there are already three more planned for 2024 and beyond. However, not all of them have been as good as the others. Here are all the WoW expansions, ranked from worst to best.

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All Expansions for World of Warcraft Ranked from Worst to Best

9. Battle for Azeroth

WoW BfA Atal Dazar Image
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Battle for Azeroth tried to follow up on the success of Legion, but in a lot of aspects, it fell flat. The storyline was mediocre, and there weren’t a lot of features that felt fresh or new.

Azerite gathering wasn’t as useful as the weapon buffs in Legion. Horde and Alliance had completely different islands to level on, so the overlap between them while leveling was also limited. While not a bad thing, the separation hindered World PvP, and Faction Assaults weren’t a great solution. The dungeons and raids had some interesting designs, but overall, they didn’t stand out compared to those we’ve had in other expansions. Unfortunately, BfA just didn’t bring any new features to the game to earn a higher ranking on this list.

8. Warlords of Draenor

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Warlords of Draenor’s best contribution to the game as a whole is likely the Timeless Isle. It was a place where you could go and gather unique items and even earn a mount. The boss spawns were on timers. And it was the first time in quite a while that the game felt alive because you’d see so many players participating in events on the isle and working together.

The garrisons were an interesting idea. However, they weren’t exactly the player housing that we’ve been waiting to see in WoW. As far as the story and dungeons go, Warlords falls into the same category as BfA. There are fun moments, but not enough to make it truly memorable.

7. Shadowlands

WoW Shadowlands Bastion official art
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We’re all aware Sylvanas being a villain, then not being a villain, wasn’t a high point of WoW‘s storytelling. I won’t even mention the Jailer. It often feels like Blizzard is unwilling to commit to plot points, leaving ways to walk back on previous decisions.

That said, Shadowlands had beautiful areas, and it was fun to choose a covenant for different items and abilities. However, I think a lot of NPCs from Azeroth were involved in the story of Shadowlands, but really didn’t need to be. It gets to the point where they feel overused and shoehorned into it just because players like them, and not because those characters actually have a role to play. So, we had beautiful areas and covenants, but once again, a lackluster story. Seeing Ysera again was nice, though.

6. Mists of Pandaria

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Mists of Pandaria is an expansion that’s rather controversial among WoW players. People either love it or hate it. Personally, I enjoyed the graphics and designs of the areas. Pandaria is beautiful, emanating a peaceful atmosphere in most zones.

It also brought us the Monk class, which is among my favorites, along with Pandarens, which are the first neutral race that you could join either faction with. However, I think this expansion was too removed from the content we’d seen before for people to enjoy. For some, it didn’t feel connected to the larger story of WoW. While I don’t think having a smaller scale of conflict by dealing with the Sha in Pandaria was bad, I understand how that can be unappealing for others.

5. Cataclysm

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Cataclysm was the first large overhaul we saw to WoW content, to the point that it completely changed entire zones and the levels at which you go there. We got a lot of updates to classes and the addition of the Archaeology profession.

I enjoyed the new zones a lot in Cataclysm and the feeling that it gives you that the world is really falling apart. Firelands was also a high point of this expansion. I think it was good overall, and it gave Blizzard a chance to update a ton of older content on Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, which was needed by this point in WoW’s lifespan.

4. Dragonflight

WoW Dragonflight Fire Owl Mount
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Now, we’ve arrived at the latest expansion. Dragonflight is fairly middle of the road. I didn’t feel like the story portion was very long. However, we got Dragonriding as a new mechanic, which has been a big hit, and Blizzard has overhauled the talent systems and professions. Of course, I must mention the new Evokers, a class with refreshing, experimental abilities that make the future of WoW gameplay exciting.

I think Dragonflight brought a lot of much-needed improvements to features that were becoming outdated, given how much content has been added since the last time those systems received changes. So far, it has been enjoyable, and it’s nice to see that the main conflict doesn’t require the Horde and Alliance to be on opposing sides while helping out the Dragon Aspects.

3. Burning Crusade

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Burning Crusade was the first expansion added to WoW, and I remember being so excited about it when I watched the trailers back in the day. It brought the first level cap increase, the first new area in the form of the Outlands, Blood Elves and Draenei, and we got raids like Karazhan and Black Temple, which were a ton of fun.

Now, it feels a bit dated, of course, but it set a precedent for following expansions and some of the content that players could expect. Whether the expansions lived up to that or not is another matter, but Burning Crusade was memorable with a solid storyline, helped by Illidan’s presence and the Burning Legion.

2. Legion

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Legion was the better version of Burning Crusade, essentially. We return to fighting the Burning Legion, but this time with Demon Hunter as a playable class. From the beginning, we get to choose (with limitations) where we start helping in the fight. Aside from a solid story and new class, we got World Quests, which I believe is one of the best new features that we’ve seen in a long time. Plus, it introduced Mythic+ dungeons, which have become a staple in endgame content.

Overall, Legion successfully kept the game from feeling too repetitive by giving you a variety of quests to do for rewards, which can help you get better gear, reagents, level alts, and reputation. It was easily one of the high points for WoW. Although, I do hope there are more high points to come.

1. Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Wrath of the Lich King Scourge
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The true pinnacle of WoW was Wrath of the Lich King. Arthas and the Scourge were familiar characters from the Warcraft games, and going to Northrend to take the fight to him felt like a truly epic adventure.

The quality of questlines in this expansion reaches an emotional height that hasn’t been replicated since. Take the Death Knight starting quests, for instance, and the Crusader’s Pinnacle quests, where you try everything you can to save a crusader who knows that death is coming and that he’ll turn into one of the Scourge. But perhaps the best moment that can’t be replicated or beat is the feeling of entering Icecrown Citadel with your raid, ready to take on the Lich King himself.

And that covers all World of Warcraft expansions ranked from worst to best. While I’d love to be proven wrong, I don’t think we’ll see another expansion that was as good as Wrath of the Lich King. But for more content, head to our WoW guides hub for pieces like what to gift somebody who loves WoW or the best classes for WoW Hardcore.

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Author
Melissa Sarnowski
Melissa Sarnowski turned her hobbies of gaming and writing into a job through freelancing with the help of an English degree. If she isn't playing games and writing guides for them, she's spending time with her family or her dog.