It’s a pretty common (and well supported) opinion that Warlords of Draenor is one of the worst WoW expansions ever. It got a lot of things wrong and frankly doesn’t hold up when compared to many of the other expansions that were released throughout the game’s history. Whether it came to PvE or PvP, the incentives to go out and actually play the game over the course of its near-two year lifespan were dismal and the pace at which the expansion’s content was released promoted a stagnant game.
However, if there’s any time when WoD excelled, it was during those first initial stages of the expansion, where an emphasis was placed on leveling and early gearing cycles. Particularly, those first few days, if not weeks, of the expansion revolved almost exclusively around the leveling process.
And while those zones haven’t gone anywhere – you can definitely still play through Draenor today if you’re leveling an alt – it’s tough to get the full experience that the game originally offered back in 2014. Speed and efficiency boosts to the leveling experience as a whole over the years have made it tough to get through all of Draenor on a single character. With only ten levels to work with (90-100), many players don’t have the chance to get through the continent’s six zones.
However, with the changes to leveling coming in Shadowlands, players will have 50 levels to complete everything that Draenor has to offer. And believe me, there’s a lot that the Draenor experience puts on the table. Each zone is incredibly dynamic and plays to its strengths. Whether it’s the charm and mystique of Shadowmoon Valley, the arid grit of Gorgrond, or the amazing combination of grandeur, brutality, and tragedy in Talador, it’s entirely fair to say that each zone from the expansion showcased a landscape in which story, characterization, environment, and gameplay can all thrive.
For me, that’s one of the things that I’m most excited for when it comes to Shadowlands. I’m beyond thrilled to reexperience the expansions that shaped the game in some of its earlier stages and level through the zones that made the game what it is today. We can sit here and critique Warlords of Draenor for so many different reasons, it’s tough to say that leveling is one of them.
As Shadowlands waits on the horizon, I can’t help but feel more and more excited to head back into old zones and experience what expansions had to offer. Sure, Warlords might have had a really solid leveling experience from top to bottom and it’s easy to think of that expansion as one where the content is most definitely worth revisiting, but it will also be nice to go back to places like Outland and Northrend and actually play through leveling content as it was originally meant to. Not having the looming pressure of outleveling your current zone will absolutely be a welcome addition to the leveling process once Shadowlands launches next year.
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment