Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If I want to begin to play World of Warcraft, do I need to buy every update released from the beginning?

share|improve this question
up vote 37 down vote accepted

TL;DR Version:
You can buy:

  • A subscription, giving access to everything up to and including Mists of Pandaria;
  • The newest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, which is sold seperately.

But use the Trial Version first!
First, I'd download the trial and make sure that you would enjoy the game. If you enjoy the trial and continue playing, read on...

What's included to all subscribers:

  • The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King (since 2012-09-19);
  • Cataclysm (since 2013-10-13);
  • Mists of Pandaria (since 2014-10-15).

Note that all Races are available to all players, even trial accounts.

These expansions will give you:

  • World of Warcraft (plus Burning Crusade): levels 1-70 content (Azeroth and Outland), flying in Outland, plus all other basic features rolled into the game since launch (revamped talents, guild levels, etc)
  • Wrath of the Lich King: levels 68-80 content (Northrend), hero class (Death Knight), flying in Northrend, new profession: Inscription
  • Cataclysm: levels 80-85 content (Azeroth), flying in Azeroth (note, you don't have to be 80+ to fly in Azeroth, only own the expansion), Archeology (new profession)
  • Mists of Pandaria: levels 85-90 content (Pandaria), new class (Monk).
  • Warlords of Draenor: levels 90-100 content (Draenor), Garrisons (new feature)
share|improve this answer
You seem to imply it, but to make it explicit, with the basic game you also enjoy an updated Azeroth--from the Cataclysm--and all the quests within. – Nick T Jan 11 '11 at 3:01
Are Inscription / Jewelcrafting still tied to expansion packs as well? – Raven Dreamer Jan 11 '11 at 3:40
There is a huge difference between trial and what many people actually do daily (raids, battlegrounds, arena, farm). – kusoksna Jan 11 '11 at 8:47
The trial would at least let a potential buyer know if they would enjoy the gamplay and visual styles of the game prior to purchasing. – Xantec Jan 11 '11 at 14:13
@Raven Yes, you need the Burning Crusade expansion to take Jewelcrafting and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to take Inscription. – ghoppe Jan 11 '11 at 15:46

You only need the core game to start playing. This gives you access to the 8 original races (No Draenei, Blood Elves, Worgen, or Goblins), and 9 original classes (No Death Knights), and a level cap of 60.

To reach level 70, you will need The Burning Crusade, level 80 requires Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm unlocks level 85. Each subsequent expansion requires that you have the prior ones. It is not possible to install Cataclysm without Wrath, or Wrath without Burning Crusade.

share|improve this answer
Hmm, that sucks if we lack so many races. Cataclysm has Worgen and Goblins, right? What do you recommend we get? The battle chest to start out? I suppose it would be a better deal. – GaiusSensei Apr 30 '11 at 12:05
The Battle Chest is probably the best value for money deal - last I checked, it was basically the same price as just buying Vanilla on it's own. Don't worry too much about the race options - it's really not as big a deal as you'd think. – LessPop_MoreFizz Apr 30 '11 at 12:12

If you're aiming for raids and top level content, I advise you to buy all the expansions from the beginning.

If you want to explore the world with your friends, you could play 2-6 months just in the basic game (World of Warcraft). There are interesting places and plenty of content, even for low level characters. I think there was a sale a while ago: World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King for 20 Euros, you could try to wait for another one.

share|improve this answer

I HIGHLY recommend getting the trial before committing to all the games. It's true that you won't be able to play a Worgen, Goblin, Blood Elf, or Draenai right off the bat, but it's better than shelling out the cash for all the games and realizing 2 days in that the game really isn't for you.

Even though WoW is extremely popular, it's an acquired taste. If you've never played it or don't know very much about it, you're better off getting the trial.

If you enjoy the trial, I recommend going to the store (or on Amazon) and purchasing the hard copy of World of Warcraft & World of Warcraft Burning Crusade. It comes in a bundle pack with both the games and I think it costs somewhere around $20. If you buy each separately, then it'll cost more. I don't think there are bundles with Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm.

It's also important to note that you can't play an expansion without the previous expansion. Here are the releases in order: World of Warcraft World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

share|improve this answer

As of Oct 2014, all expansions except for the latest one (Warlords of Draenor) are free with the purchase of the base-game.

You only need Warlords of Draenor to reach the very end-game content, after level-90. However, note that the purchase of Warlords of Draenor includes a powerup to boost a single character to level 90 instantly.


share|improve this answer

protected by Community Nov 18 '11 at 11:18

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.