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I played vanilla WoW some years ago. I have lost my account and my cd-key, so would have to "start from scratch" if I decide to pick it up again. I've been reading some about the new Cataclysm expansions and is kind of curious and thinking about trying it out.

There are several expansions now, and my question is: How are they all related? Would I have to get all of them to try out Cataclysm? If not, if I skipped out on them, what would I be missing? Can I just get a free 10-day pass to try out Cataclysm, or do the 10-day passes limit me to vanilla unless I own other expansions first? If I have only certain expansions will I still run into people who have other expansions, or would my number of expansions decide what realms I would be able to play on?

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If you did have a WoW account, you should be able to retrieve/reactivate it by contacting Blizzard support or billing. Although nowadays WoW and its earlier expansions are very cheap, so it may be worth re-buying for the free month(s) of gameplay time. –  Wikwocket Dec 23 '10 at 16:14
    
Problem is I got an email a while ago from Blizzard saying they would delete my account if I didn't log in within x days. And my serial key and game box is long gone. So don't think I will have much chance with Blizzard support :p –  Svish Dec 24 '10 at 10:46
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Actually Blizzard doesn't delete accounts, most likely the email you got was a fishing email, trying to get you to log in through a link in the email so some hacker could steal your account info. –  Delameko Dec 27 '10 at 15:50
    
@Delameka, Haha, that could actually be the case. But I still don't have my cd-key or my account name or password. So not sure how I would get it back in either case :p –  Svish Dec 28 '10 at 12:27

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This question gets a bit tricky to answer... Starting from scratch, if you buy just vanilla WoW, you can experience the original world as it has been destroyed by the Cataclysm expansion. You can level up to level 60, but cannot access professions, areas, races, or other such things from any of the other expansions.

In order to access Outland, jewelcrafting profession, and Draenei? / Blood Elf races and starting areas, and level 61-70, you will need vanilla WoW + the Burning Crusade expansion.

In order to access Northrend, Inscription profession, and Death Knight class, and level 71-80, you will need vanilla Wow, Burning Crusade expansion, and Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Oh, and a prior level 55+ character on your account to play as a Death Knight.

In order to access the misc Cataclysm level 80+ areas, Archeology secondary profession, Worgen / Goblin races, and level 81-85, you will need vanilla WoW, Burning Crusade expanion, Wrath of the Lich King expansion, and the Cataclysm expansion.

Those are the restrictions. You can play on whatever realm you want with whoever you wish. You just may not be able to reach all the areas they can.

You can trial every bit of it with the 10 day trial, though I don't quite know how they treat it when your time is up.

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So basically you have to take the expansions in order? –  bwarner Dec 23 '10 at 15:36
    
@bwarner Yes. There's a little label on each expansion's box saying they require the previous. –  Aeo Dec 23 '10 at 15:42
    
What being said, you only have to installed the Cataclysm disk if starting from scratch. Then you can do digital purchases via Blizzard's online store. Another note, the Cata 10-day trial would you to access and level up to one experience point shy of 81 if you currently had level 80. –  SgtOJ Dec 23 '10 at 16:52
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10 Day trial has been replaced by the starter edition and Burning Crusade is now part of the World of Warcraft product. –  OliverBM Aug 13 '11 at 12:12
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As per a recent patch, the expansion requirement to create particular races (ie: TBC for Draenei/Blood Elf, Cataclysm for Goblin/Worgen) has been removed, allowing anybody to create characters of any race. –  kalina Sep 19 '12 at 11:57

More updated version of the answer above

World of Warcraft

When you first get World of Warcraft it's completely free until your character reaches level 20 (There's also a gold limit in this period).

  • Then you can buy World of Warcraft, In that you gain the level 1 - 60 levelling experience and the level 1 - 60 dungeons and raids as well as the
  • Paladin, Warrior, Hunter, Druid, Mage, Warlock, Shaman, Rogue and Priest classes and the
  • Human, Dwarf, Night Elf and Gnome Alliance races and the
  • Orc, Troll, Forsaken and Tauren Horde races as well as access to the
  • Mining, Herbalism, Skinning, Alchemy, Enchanting, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leather working, and Tailoring primary professions and the
  • Cooking, Fishing and First Aid secondary professions

In addition to the original World of Warcraft product Blizzard has now given away the Burning Crusade expansion free with the original game so you also get access to the

  • New Draenei Alliance race plus the
  • New Blood Elf Horde race and the
  • New Outland 60 - 70 levelling experience plus
  • New dungeons and raids as well as
  • Flying mounts and
  • A new Primary Profession 'Jewelcrafting'

Wrath of the Lich King Expansion

In this expansion you gain access to the

  • New Death Knight class and the
  • New Northend 70 - 80 levelling experience plus
  • New dungeons and raids as well as
  • A new Primary Profession 'Inscription'

Cataclysm Expansion

In this expansion you gain access to the

  • New Worgen Alliance race plus the
  • New Goblin Horde race and the
  • New 80 - 85 levelling experience plus
  • New dungeons and raids as well as
  • A new Secondary Profession 'Archaeology'

Further Update 2014: Starter edition and Vanilla WOW now contains The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. The Mists of Pandaria and upcoming Warlords of Dreanor are still paid for separately. The starter edition is also limited to characters of level 20 or less. You can't level past that unless you buy vanilla (or "classic") WoW.

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Can I be declared the answerer? cause I think my answers more up to date and has been approved more. –  OliverBM Aug 12 '11 at 18:16
    
the answer was already accepted, the correct solution would have been to update the accepted answer with the correct information. –  kalina Jun 23 '12 at 19:31

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