When I use to play World of Warcraft, Catalcysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor had not been released. Each expansion had to be deliberetly purchased.

I am getting back into the game, but on a new account. I am aware that purchasing a new copy of World of Warcraft also gets me all the expansions, up to and including Mists of Pandaria.

My question is this: Would an old, unused expansion key count? If I upgrade my account with a key from Wrath of the Lich King, will it count as the full upgrade to Mists of Pandaria? If not, what would happen?

  • Here's my current understanding: If you own World of Warcraft (the base game), you automatically own TBC, Wrath, Cata, and Mists. Only Warlords of Draenor is sold separately. My guess is that the expansion key would not work, but that you would already own Mists.
    – two bugs
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 17:57
  • If I remember well, it is written on the expansions boxes something like "is only playable if you already own the base game". As @twobugs wrote, if you use your old account, it should have all the expansions except the last one.
    – Gilles V.
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 18:02
  • Old account isn't an option. Blizzard are pretty fail on the customer service side of things..
    – user106385
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 22:43

4 Answers 4


If your account is a trial account, then you can't even add an expansion to the account, so it is completely moot. You need to subscribe, which gives you a non-trial account which includes all expansions through MoP. The unused Wrath of the Lich King expansion is effectively worthless. That key alone will do nothing for a trial account (or a regular subscriber account for that matter, unless it's a special deluxe edition).

Don't underestimate the Blizzard support. They can do anything to your account. I had issues in the past with multiple Warcraft accounts on one login, and they were able to move characters around, including a "Recruit a friend" mount reward, disable old accounts, etc.

  • You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. Not only did the expansion explanation make it a lot more obvious to me that it would not work, but it made me try a little harder to get in contact with Blizzard. My old account is back in action :)
    – user106385
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 1:30
  • Glad to hear it got worked out, and welcome back to WoW. :)
    – Tim S.
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 5:57

A simple expansion key does not count as a paid copy of the game. As written here

all World of Warcraft subscribers will now automatically have access to all of the content and features of Mists of Pandaria, even if they never purchased the expansion, at no additional cost.

The key info is that you have to be a "subscriber" to get the free expansions. The page here have a definition of subscriber :

World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet game room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules.

So if you get back with your old account and pay to play, it should upgrade you to Mists of Pandaria for free.

  • 1
    I've read the same information you've posted. I'm asking if they consider expansion keys in this blanket, not if I need to buy the expansions, later. "as well as those who have purchased the game". Do they consider only the vanilla keys to count towards having the game, or the expansion keys as well, which have not been "quality controlled" (taken off the shelf), and likewise can cost the same price as the original game, anyway.
    – user106385
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 13:51

There are two kinds of old keys, the basic keys which just activate the game and collectors or deluxe editions (CEs) which come with extra goodies, such as pets, mounts, tabards, etc.

First things first: Using an old expansion key does not give you any game time or license. However, old CE keys still do serve a purpose...

  1. If you try to activate a basic key nothing will happen. The key is simply no longer valid.

  2. Activating a CE key apparently still does work.

    • You will still get the extra goodies that come with CEs.
    • You will not get any game license or game time.

Also there is absolutely no way of getting a compensation from Blizzard for having unused keys. Don't bother trying. Otherwise they'd make themselves or other players vulnerable to scam.

Source: WoW GM


As much as I would like to think that using an old code for a new account would work, I have a feeling that there may be some problems with doing that. I would say call blizzard and give them the code, if they are able to do anything they will check to see if it has been used. Since it hasn't, the database should say that its unused and blizzard SHOULD be able to activate you account using that code. If not I am sorry for getting you hopes up.

Good luck hope this helps!

  • @GillesV. I understand what you are saying but these expansion boxes are unable to be purchased and are now merged into the starting expansion box. If it is unused I still feel that blizzard can do something about it! But can and will are different and I am not sure how Blizzard will handle it.
    – Learning
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 18:10

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