I tried playing World of Warcraft from an old DVD I had. But it immediately starts downloading the expansion (I can see 8GB remaining at the bottom of the downloader) and won't let me play the game.

I do not want to download the expansion just want to play the original WoW.

Blizzard's website says I must have the latest patches to be able to play. Is this only true for Battle.Net's server or will I need to update to the latest expansion to be able to play? Also if I start playing the latest expansion (Cataclysm at the moment), will I be missing something that was found only in the original game?

5 Answers 5


You cannot play the original World of Warcraft as Cataclysm changed the map, starting areas, and other things significantly.

To clarify, this does not require you to buy any of the expansions, but it does require you to patch your game so that you're on the current version of the game. Even without buying the expansions there are many changes that will effect how you experience the game.

  • this does not mean you can not play without the exanpsions, as you can. you'll just need to download all the patches/updates as user4634 mentioned.
    – Xantec
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 14:12
  • @Xantec yes, but he was asking whether there was any way to play it as it was in the box.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 15:11
  • 1
    Hooray, all Classic account have now gotten a free upgrade to Burning Crusade ! Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 10:14
  • @Vincent Can you provide a link substantiating that, so I can update my answer?
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 10:53
  • See here, it's from an MVP, so very reliable indeed eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2624876504 CBA to look further :) Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 13:49

Of course you need to have the patches to play the game.

You only need to purchase the $5.00 box and pay a subscription to play the original races (no blood elves, space goats, worgen or goblins) and be level capped at 60, never see outlands, northrend, etc.

But yes, the many years old dvd is out of date. Cata or not, it needs updates to play.


I think the important thing to note here is the assumption that the update client is downloading an expansion pack of the game. The client is updating your software to the most current version to include all of the fixes, tweaks, and additions that have been dropped in over the years. UI changes, model changes, zones, etc...

All of this is to make sure that you are running the latest version, 4.0.3 (or whatever happens to be current at the time of updating), and to make sure that everyone is running on the same version no matter how many expansions they currently own.


Patching allows you to see new content. There are new Old World, new races and dk models, new item models etc. You're unable to play at outland and northrend without buying expansion anyway, as well as to play new races, but patch is required, because you need to see others' models and new quests, for example. Excuse my english if any.


I believe your best bet is to play on a private server that was made back then.

However, private servers vary greatly and have modifications that make it too easy or boring, such as (1) having any gear you want, (2) hitting for hundreds of thousands of damage, and (3) some private servers are not maintained properly, meaning they could be down for days or weeks before the creator fixes them.

  • Not to mention that playing on a server not run by Blizzard is against the World of Warcraft terms of service, which you must agree to before playing the game.
    – JamesGecko
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 23:19
  • 1
    Though if you don't ever play on their servers, you don't have to accept their license agreement.
    – mrr
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 5:23

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