Our home is finally starting to function and look like a home (instead of a storage area for n+1 boxes) after our transatlantic move. We’ve been even able to play World of Warcraft a little in the midst of cleaning and organizing and bureaucracy and starting work again.
That got us reminiscing about the various expansions, specifically their new features we liked or loved at the time that have since become—begging your pardon for the pun—quite vanilla.
Below are some of my favorite changes, listed in expansion order.
(FYI: I just couldn’t remember and failed to find online the exact timing for some features, so I’ve given my best guess. If you know, please let me know in the comments!)
The Burning Crusade
-Ahh, the amazing, breathtaking sky over Hellfire Peninsula!
-Multiple flight points per zone—what is this awesome magic?
-Expanding the availability of paladins (one of my favorite classes).
Wrath of the Lich King
-In Northrend the environmental design definitely progressed from lumps of mashed potato. (Overall, though, they really didn’t know what to do with the icy zones, Icecrown and Storm Peaks.)
-Improved music, especially the Grizzly Hills intro music. That’s still one of my all-time favorite WoW themes.
-Changes to Orgrimmar and Stormwind. It took me time to get used to, but I wouldn’t go back.
-Flying in old world zones.
-Phasing, but only when it doesn’t mess up the rest of the gameplay.
Mists of Pandaria
-Pandaria is where the environment design turns truly good. By this I mean natural-looking shapes in the landscapes, undergrowth with variety (including height), mountains that look like actual mountains, etc. To be sure, Cataclysm tried very hard as well, but graphics just got so much better by MoP that it was more feasible to do better. (Trees still look clunky, though.)
-Area-of-effect looting. The shift-click looting did help, but, man, I NEVER want to go back to picking. Each. Individual. Loot. Item. One. At. A. Time—AOE loot helps so much.
-11th character slot per realm. Obviously it’s changed again since, but at the time it was big.
Warlords of Draenor
-The toons’ new and improved looks. I didn’t like losing some of my favorite female Dwarf faces, but overall the change was good.
-The little gold coin marker for vendor trash in your bags. Hated it first, grew to love it.
-No fighting over gathering nodes anymore, since more than one player can get the same one. (If it was WoD? Or was it Legion?)
-The new transmogging system that automatically saves all applicable reward looks into your wardrobe. Oh, and being able to hide certain gear slots in your mog.
-Trees look so. Much. Better!
Battle for Azeroth
-This is slightly esoteric, and definitely not a gameplay feature, but I love the penguin sledding world quests!
-Overall my favorite expansion, by the way.
–New customizations for the core races (skin, hair, jewellery).
-After opening Shadowlands with your first character, being able to choose whether you do the storyline or not on subsequent toons.
I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting a lot. Love to share your favorite tweaks to the game? Comments are open!
Images: screencaps from World of Warcraft.
Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.