Leaderboard: What was World of Warcraft’s best era or expansion?

    
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With vanilla World of Warcraft on the brain so much lately, I thought it would be fun to take stock of just what people consider the best version of WoW — particularly our audience, which is likely to have played WoW over the years but isn’t necessarily made up of die-hard fans of the game at all, let alone partisans for a particular era. For this weekend’s Leaderboard, let’s put it to a vote: Which expansion or version was the best version of WoW?

What was the best expansion for WoW? (You can choose up to three options.)

  • Beta, kickin' it old-school (1%, 127 Votes)
  • Vanilla (15%, 2,829 Votes)
  • The Burning Crusade (22%, 4,142 Votes)
  • Wrath of the Lich King (34%, 6,492 Votes)
  • Cataclysm (4%, 742 Votes)
  • Mists of Pandaria (11%, 2,044 Votes)
  • Warlords of Draenor (1%, 267 Votes)
  • It'll be Legion for sure (5%, 849 Votes)
  • I've never played WoW and/or have no opinion (1%, 207 Votes)
  • Elf butts (6%, 1,144 Votes)

Total Voters: 11,355

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AndWhyNot
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AndWhyNot

I loved BC best, but everything pre-Cata was great.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

TheDonDude Ugh, Wrath and the novel they released absolutely fucked with Arthus’ character. Literally the worse part of the expansion.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Hounddog74 RicharddeLeonIII Gear score was definitely apart of TBC. You just needed a mod to see it.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

Estranged Ugh, oh yeah, forgot about that. Trying to level up as a prot kinda sucked, before multiple saved talent trees.

Datafiend
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Datafiend

Vanilla. That was a magical time for me. It was my first MMO and joy I experienced in the first few months of launch has never been matched in any other MMO.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

DrowNoble schmidtcapela mourasaint wjowski RicharddeLeonIII borghive arktourosx
It reached 12M subs earlier than that; in October 7, 2010, there was an official press release about it.
http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/press/pressreleases.html?id=2847881

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

schmidtcapela mourasaint wjowski RicharddeLeonIII borghive arktourosx WoW peaked at 12 million subs approx around Feb 2011.  That just at the beginning of Cataclysm cycle.
Rift released March 2011 and then the subscribing numbers starting declining.  This is probably partly due to Trion’s aggressive marketing for Rift “You’re not in Azeroth anymore” and WoW players dissatisfaction with Cataclysm.   WoW never really recovered as subs continued to decline, get a brief spike with Pandas and then went back to declining.  Repeat for Warlords.

theeknighthood
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theeknighthood

I really loved WotLK and I am pleased to see I am not alone

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

mourasaint schmidtcapela wjowski RicharddeLeonIII borghive arktourosx 
“””Uh, that’s a huge amount.”””

Not for a game that used to have more than double that yearly growth every single year before. WoW’s growth was clearly slowing down at the tail end of BC.

“””As they *always* do before an expac release. “””
The big bump in subscriptions traditionally happens just after the expansion pack is released. The one exception was Cataclysm, which didn’t have a bump but instead started bleeding subscriptions shortly after release. Every other expansion — including WoD, widely seen as the worst WoW expansion ever — had the number of subscribers jump up by at least 500K players just after launch.

“””The release dates are immaterial. It’s the last content patch of the expansion, thus is not the “mid-point” by any measure.”””
It is the mid-point chronologically. Which not only is the most meaningful way of looking at the data when correlating the event with graphics like the one you posted, but together with your argument that it was the last content patch of the expansion also indicates that the game had a year-long content drought afterward, a year during which subscriptions didn’t decrease but instead increased.

mourasaint
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mourasaint

schmidtcapela mourasaint wjowski RicharddeLeonIII borghive arktourosx

“Nope. The increase in the player base had already mostly tapered out during BC”

No, it hadn’t. 

“…with the second half of the expansion only increasing the subscription numbers by about 10%”

Uh, that’s a huge amount. 

“You can see it in the graph you posted. The data point in the middle of the WotLK data, aligned with the 2010 mark, is roughly a month after LFD was released. The subscription numbers increase between that and the release of Cataclysm.”

As they *always* do before an expac release.