World of Warcraft - Returning Experience and Expansions Ranked

In preparation for the upcoming Shadowlands launch, Blizzard completely reworked World of Warcraft’s leveling experience by introducing a new starting area, drastically lowering the amount of experience required to hit the level cap, and introducing a system that lets you organically level through each of the game’s earlier expansions.

As such, we now get this PC Gamer article that focuses on how all the above changes make the game more welcoming to solo and returning players. And then, this one that ranks the game’s expansion according to their leveling experiences. And, having recently revisited WoW to level some alts, I, for the most part, agree with their assessment.

I could probably write an entire article talking about how Mists of Pandaria is Blizzard’s best story since WarCraft III and how it has the best atmosphere since the original Diablo. Instead, here are some quick thoughts from PC Gamer:

1. Mists of Pandaria

Estimated time to complete: 16 hours

Mists of Pandaria didn't get a fair shake when it came out because so many people were mad at all the chubby pandas and the ancient Chinese aesthetic, which was so different from everything else in WoW to that point. But, in hindsight, Pandaria is one of Warcraft's best continents: It's vibrant, teeming with fascinating bits of lore and story, and entirely unique.

Going back today isn't a nasty shock, either. Pandaria came out after Blizzard had made some big improvements to quest design, which means varied objectives and storytelling that don't require you to read reams of quest text. But you should, anyway, because Pandaria's lore is cool. The same can be said for its zones. It's hard to focus on just one—Valley of the Four Winds' sweeping vistas are just as majestic as Kun-Lai Summit's frosted peaks—but wherever you go it's easy to get swept up in the splendor of Pandaria's jungles and rice farms.

It'll take slightly longer to beat than some of the other expansions on this list, but Pandaria is worth it. It's one of the coolest WoW expansions and even if you're a veteran player, chances are it's been a long time since you last experienced its story anyway.