World of Warcraft evolution guide
This evolution guide serves as an archive of anecdotes, trivia, and other interesting facts about the many game design shifts World of Warcraft had during the long years between its alpha stage and now. Some areas were cut before being released, game balance was completely overhauled several times, Cataclysm wiped the state clean on two continents.
The game itself started as a rescripted modification of the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos engine, and the project was already started in 1999, 3 years before the eventual release of Warcraft III itself. Before the game's release, RPG books such as Lands of Conflict had already mapped out and described part of the content that was to appear in World of Warcraft in the years after.
However, time has a tendency to warp memories and old websites can die down, and as such some of these facts can't be proven with references anymore, so take any "citation needed" statement with a grain of salt. Note that this list was compiled from the works of many users, and each of them should be thanked for their efforts. Still, the topic is immense, and more researches/updates on this article would be warmly welcomed.
- 1 Game mechanics
- 1.1 Combat
- 1.2 Inventory
- 1.3 Miscellaneous
- 1.4 Quests
- 1.5 Riding
- 1.6 Time and monetary investment
- 1.7 User interface
- 1.8 World content
- 2 Races
- 3 Classes
- 4 Professions
- 5 Items
- 6 Zones and storylines
- 6.1 Common (zones)
- 6.2 Common (dungeons and raids)
- 6.3 Original alpha/beta zones
- 6.4 Vanilla zones
- 6.5 The Burning Crusade zones
- 6.6 Wrath of the Lich King zones
- 6.7 Cataclysm zones
- 6.8 Mists of Pandaria zones
- 6.9 Warlords of Draenor zones
- 6.10 Legion zones
- 6.11 Battle for Azeroth zones
- 6.12 Shadowlands zones
- 7 Player vs. Player
- 8 Reputations
- 9 Realms and connecting
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Videos
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
While not necessarily harder, the combat system back then involved more number crunching than presently, with more secondary stats and less streamlined itemization.
- In vanilla, abilities originally had ranks. For example, you would have a ability with up to seven ranks, each being unlocked every ten or so levels. The next rank in the ability usually consumed more mana but was also more powerful. This led some people to downrank their abilities for various reasons, such as managing aggro or preserving their mana.
- More spells originally only worked on specific creature groups. back then only worked on Undead and Demons, for example.
- You also originally had to see a class trainer to buy your new class skills/spells. Since Mists of Pandaria they now automatically spawn in your spellbook as you level.
- Spellcasting could be slowed down by each close-combat strike through pushback, making fighting melee enemies without kiting them hard for spellcasters. The formula was changed in Wrath of the Lich King to ignore all hits after the second one for each spellcasting.
- The number of abilities has been steadily reduced over all the expansion packs. It wasn't rare for people before to have dozens of more spells in their skill bars.
- Prior to patch 6.0.2 there were several player disarm effects. Some were introduced back with Legion as Honor talents.
- Many abilities that were off the global cooldown were added to it in patch 8.0.1.
- You could not originally see the buffs placed on an enemy, only the debuffs placed by you or your friend. A mage could use to reveal these hidden buffs.
- All characters (adventurers, mobs, and bosses) had originally only 8 debuff slots and as such classes and items that added debuffs that were considered sub-par in effect were frowned upon. On the other hand, the slots limit made it so that the pet enabled you to remove debuffs placed by bosses, and this originally permitted to cheese C'Thun!
- Everyone used to have their own food for food buff. More generally, consumable buffs such as elixirs, oils, scrolls and sharpening stones used to be much more common due to the increased difficulty. There were also tons of zone-specific buffs that could be helpful.
- According to Mark Kern, player characters weren't originally supposed to turn into ghosts when they died. Instead, they would go to the Emerald Dream, where they could meet characters who had died in the lore and who would give quests that could only be completed in the Emerald Dream. Players could either find a spirit guide to bring them back to the real world or stay in the Dream and complete quests.
- In the alpha, graveyards were not supposed to exist like today. Considering that altar of kings and troll Altar of Storms assets are present in the game files, it is possible that dead adventurers were meant to resurrect at altars like in Warcraft III instead.
- At one point, Blizzard envisioned having "bind stones", which you would resurrect at on death. You could only bind yourself to one stone/place.
- At one point, Blizzard considered including some special creatures in the world who would be able to see and attack players in ghost form.
- It was originally intended that players would be afflicted with Resurrection Sickness after being resurrected by another player's spell or . Similarly, resurrecting at a Spirit Healer would cause the player to lose a certain amount of experience. The World of Warcraft game manual, printed before the actual release, corroborates this.
Altar of kings at Goldshire.
Health and mana
- Natural regeneration for health and mana was at that time much slower and most people had to bandage, eat and drink after killing a few mobs.
- It was originally impossible to eat and drink at the same time but this was changed in a patch after release.
- Mana regeneration itself was affected by the five second rule until Cataclysm, which prevented a character's mana from regenerating five seconds after casting a spell. Healers often took turns at main tank healing so some could regenerate mana outside the rule.
Magic and resistance
- In the very early days after release magic schools used to have a skill system similar to weapon skills. "Your skill in Fire has increased to 93", and so on. This was quickly removed.
- There is an holy resistance stat, but it has been unused over the years.
- At release and used to give negative resistance to the target you applied it to. Negative resistances also allowed negative resists. Instead of a chance of doing half damage, you had a chance of doing double damage, and those could crit as well!
- There were bosses that were completely immune to some schools of magic and poisons. Mages had to raid Molten Core with Frost spec, and rogues lost quite a bit of DPS on poison immune bosses.
- Before the spell power revamp for Wrath of the Lich King, some items had Spell Damage bonus on specific schools, for example, + Fire Spell Damage or Nature Spell Damage.
- Healing and Spell Damage were two separate stats. So leveling as a healing priest/paladin was a suicide.
- Many caster items had little or no bonus spell damage; Tier 1 and later sets would be revamped during patches to incorporate more.
- You had to farm resist gear or buy sets from armor producing professions early on to survive some vanilla raid encounters. Nature resistance was notably useful between Zul'Gurub, Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and the original Naxxramas, and of course fire resistance was really valuable in Molten Core.
- Spell penetration was a stat until Mists of Pandaria. It was most commonly considered a PvP stat, used to overcome the resistance provided by
- At release mobs usually had comparatively more health and did more damage than now; you could fight a couple of them but pulling a whole group often meant death. Dungeons and elite areas usually required crowd control in order for the adventurers not to be overwhelmed.
- Vanilla World of Warcraft was fond of adding elite level 60 mobs surrounded by bodyguards at the end of some quest chains, like the Twilight Prophet, Demetria and the Crimson Courier.
- Though they still do in vanilla zones, mobs had the tendency back then to flee when low on health. While the idea may sound more player-friendly than a mob fighting to the death entirely, the fact is that these fleeing mobs often aggroed new enemies toward the player while running, making closed areas like caves and buildings harder.
- Many elite areas previously existed until they got removed in patch 2.3.0. Andorhal, Hive'Regal, Tyr's Hand were among them, and after the patch, the mobs inside these areas lost their elite status. Other elite mobs in normal areas, such as Mor'Ladim and the Sons of Arugal, were eventually nerfed as well.
- Up until a later patch of The Burning Crusade, most mobs in front of dungeon entrances were actually elite as well. Getting inside a dungeon was already a task in itself.
- Previously, players had to learn specific weapon proficiencies at weapon masters all over the world and then had to train these skills against weaker mobs in order to level them and augment their hit rating. Expertise replaced it, before to be removed as well.
- Intellect increased the speed at which you gained weapon skills.
- One of the best ways to up your weapon skills was to grind the invincible mobs in the Blasted Lands, such as the Servants of Sevine.
- The were originally very valuable to Fury warriors because they raised weapon skills.
- Defense would need to be stacked by tanks to avoid critical hits by raid bosses.
During the early years of the game, inventory space was much more limited than now.
- During the alpha, there were four trinket slots.
- There were originally equipment slots for ammunition and thrown weapons, as well as slots for ranged weapons (bows, guns, wands).
- The durability and repair bills difference between plate gear and cloth was much bigger.
- Relics were introduced late in vanilla and later also removed.
- Since classes like hunters, rogues and warriors could equip both ranged and melee weapons, there were some unusual weapons that could be found, like guns made for tanking warriors which had a huge stamina bonus. Relics were actually created in order to fix this imbalance between classes.
- There were more combat statistics in the paper doll, such as armor penetration, parry rating, dodge rating, hit rating, spell power and expertise. When these statistics were removed from the game they were also removed from the items carrying them.
- Keys were given a unique keyring bag in patch 1.11.0. The keyring and most keys were removed with patch 4.2.0.
- Inventory space problems were extremely common in the early years of the game. Many items stacked by 5 instead of 20. Some professions already had their own bags in vanilla, but the concept was generalized to every profession in The Burning Crusade with toolboxes, mining bags and so on.
- Mounts and Pets had to be carried in the inventory until Wrath of the Lich King. While they became learn-able spells, they weren't shared by all characters on the account.
- The Collections tab was only introduced in Mists of Pandaria which included the previous mount and pet collections and also added toys which were still in carried in the inventory until them. The mounts, pets, and toys also became shared between characters in this new system.
- Up until Warlords of Draenor, quest items also had to be carried in the inventory. Currently, most quest items no longer take up space in the inventory and can be accessed through the Quest Log instead.
- The paper doll was updated in Legion to display much more streamlined information about a character's statistics.
- Patch 7.3.5 increases the size of the initial backpack by 4 if you have an Blizzard Authenticator and SMS Protect added to your account.
At release, many "quality of life" features were yet to be implemented.
- Achievements didn't exist until Wrath of the Lich King.
- The account-wide achievements were not introduced until Mists of Pandaria.
- During the beta, each major city had its own special auction house but due to technical reasons they weren't linked, instead of all of them being linked like today.
- For the release, Blizzard decided to consolidate them: the only Alliance auction house was now in Ironforge, the only Horde one was now in Orgrimmar, and the only neutral one was in Gadgetzan.
- In patch 1.9.0 Blizzard introduced the linked auction houses feature. All the capitals got back their auctioneers, but their item pools were still separated by factions. It wasn't until patch 6.0.2 that all of them were finally merged together.
- At release there were no guild banks, so most guilds used low-level characters to store everything the guild needed.
- There was no Reagent Bank either.
- Originally companions were items carried around in your bag. They were also deletable.
- The Pet Battle System was introduced only in Mists of Pandaria.
- were added in the Warlords of Draenor beta but removed. Another idea floating around for the expansion pack was to also have a "pet breeding" feature, kind of like in Pokémon.
- The dressing room was added in patch 1.7.0.
- Even though the problem was already noticeable in vanilla, the gear in The Burning Crusade was often so mismatched in design that it led to the rise of the infamous clownsuits. Because of this, the leveling gear in Wrath of the Lich King was made with closer thematic design and muted color scheme.
- Barbershops didn't exist until patch 3.0.2, and started out more limited than now: you couldn't change the face or skin color of your character.
- Transmogrification itself was added in patch 4.3.0. It was then only in patch 5.3.0 that you could use items that are in the bank or Void Storage for transmogrification.
- Up until patch 7.0.3 hiding your helmet and cloak was a game parameter, not a part of the transmogrification system. Patch 7.1.0 also introduced the ability to hide your Waist, Shirt and Tabard slots.
- The Wardrobe was only introduced in Legion as well.
- Green exclamation points showing a new flight master is nearby was only added in patch 2.3.0.
- Flight paths were originally not connected, so you needed to pick the next stop each time you landed.
- The flying mounts in mainland Quel'Thalas were giant bats instead of dragonhawks until patch 2.4.3.
- Between patch 4.1.0 and 5.2.0, most flight paths were learned automatically when a character became the appropriate level to use them, but it was removed to encourage exploration.
- You originally had to loot each mob manually instead of being able to loot all mobs at once in a radius like currently.
- Looting a chest or a boss originally did not bring up the loot roll box when in a group and people used to /roll manually for the rights to one, though this was later changed since it was possible to ninja loot items when other members of a party needed them more.
- Until loot rolling became restricted on class and specialization, it was very common for hunters to roll on everything because they were the class which could use the greatest variety of gear.
- The UI couldn't originally tell other players who was able to loot each mob, so this led to many "Loot the core hounds!"-like yells.
- Patch 3.3.0 introduced the option to roll to an item and receive the resulting materials, if an enchanter was present in the group.
- Personal loot didn't exist until Mists of Pandaria.
- Patch 8.0.1 made personal loot the default option for groups, removing all other loot systems (and with them the ability to roll to disenchant gear).
- At release, most cities had only one mailbox. Sending mail to alts wasn't instant, and there was also of course no .
- The ability to send Bind to Account items to alts on other realms was only introduced in patch 5.4.2.
- The breath timer was originally one minute instead of three. Quests that required you to go underwater didn't give you water-breathing buffs as well.
- Forsaken players originally had no breath meter, then they got one again but longer than other races, and eventually gave them back unlimited breath.
Quest design was less streamlined and cinematic than currently due to the lack of phasing and scenarios. The adventurers were originally treated more like anonymous mercenaries by NPCs, it was only in Wrath of the Lich King that they started to be recognized for their deeds. Cataclysm completely revamped the quests of the two original continents in order to bring them more in line with modern quest design.
- Blizzard's original intention was that quests would lead players to new areas and let them familiarize with their environment, and then players would have to grind on mobs rather than follow a true storyline, as there wasn't supposed to be as much quests as now.
- During early development, quest text instantly appeared when talking to quest givers. However, Blizzard received feedback from their internal testers that there wasn't enough story in the game, which turned out to be because testers would simply skip the quest description and go straight to the objectives. To encourage people to actually read the lore, the designers made quest text appear gradually by "typing" across the quest interface instead of having it all pop up at once. An option of switching to the instantaneous quest text was later implemented.
- Available quests were originally not marked on the minimap, as such, some quests remained largely hidden to many people.
- Quest objects originally did not sparkle and had no specific outlines. There was also no quest markers, and it was very difficult to find some things like Mankrik's Wife without using an addon or an external map.
- At release, all classes had class-specific quests which rewarded certain important abilities and items, some of them requiring the player to travel to multiple very distant zones:
- Druids had quests to gain their feral forms, most notorious being the quest.
- Rogues had quests related to their , and Poisons abilities.
- Shaman had quests to gain their totems, most notorious being the Call of Water quest.
- Warlocks had quests to gain each of their minions.
- Other quests gave weapons that gained a mythical status to players, like for warriors and for paladins.
- One particularly exotic quest was the , which if failed gave the debuff. This made everyone in the Horde hostile to you, and some people used it to raid their own faction leaders and kill them.
- There were originally no daily, weekly or world quests. However, there were originally much more group quests until Cataclysm removed most of them. Several of them were difficult escort quests. Before the mechanics of phasing and generic names were introduced, quests in which events (such as the aforementioned NPC escorts) had to happen often made the original NPCs temporarily disappear, and for example, you had to wait until another player had finished his escort quest to start your own.
Mounts were originally handled by players in a more "personal" way, mainly because they were rarer and harder to acquire. Players usually kept to one mount and for a long time.
- Originally, mounts were items carried around in your bag. They were also deletable.
- There were no mounts until level 40, and they were also much more expensive. The level 40 mount cost 100g, and the 60 one cost 1000g. This was later changed so that the training instead inherited the costs, and mounts became much cheaper. Back then, however, the prices were subject to faction discounts.
- Normal mounts and epic mounts were strictly separated. Normal mounts always had a +60% speed bonus, and epic mounts always had a +100% speed bonus. This was later changed so that any mount had the maximum speed bonus enabled by your Riding skill.
- Up until patch 3.0.8 several mounts were race-restricted, such as the mechanostriders which could only be ridden by dwarves and gnomes.
- Mounts used to have 3 second cast time prior to patch 3.2.0.
- Players were originally always dismounted when touching any water. This was later changed in The Burning Crusade to dismounting you when you got so far in the water you started swimming, but it was still problematic for gnomes, who were easily dismounted by the shallow waters of Zangarmarsh and the Swamp of Sorrows. Now mounts can simply swim.
- Back then almost everyone had a , especially since good trinkets were rare when leveling up.
- Flying mounts were introduced in The Burning Crusade with flying only enabled in Outland. As part of the revamping of old zones in Cataclysm, flying was enabled in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Blizzard intended to remove flying for new content starting with Warlords of Draenor, but this led to a huge outcry on the forums and flying was brought back through , which was implemented at the last minute. Legion followed up on that with , which was this time integrated in a more preventive way.
- was also originally required in order to ride cloud serpents. This skill was learned per-character, rather than account-wide, so characters who acquired a cloud serpent mount on another character still needed to reach exalted on their alt to use the mounts.
- The could be obtained only by killing Archimonde on Heroic or Mythic difficulty and loot the prior to the release of the Legion expansion. It was a big hint to the coming Emerald Nightmare storyline. Similarly, the could be obtained only by killing Argus the Unmaker on Heroic or Mythic difficulty and loot while Antorus, the Burning Throne was current. This served as a preview of the incoming focus on Azeroth's blood.
- Patch 7.3.5 eventually removed the need for any zone-specific flying licenses with its leveling overhaul, but the Pathfinder achievements are still required for their related continents.
Time and monetary investment
At release, it usually took much longer to do things compared to now. Leveling up was longer, reputation grinding was harder, money was sparser.
- Main article: Leveling#Evolution
- In very early layouts, it was shown that Blizzard originally counted on 70 being the level cap instead of 60.
- In beta patch 0.6 you could go into negative experience if you didn't rest. The different states were "Well Rested" (200% XP), "Rested" (150% XP), "Normal" (100% XP), "Tired" (100% XP), "Fatigued" (50% XP) and "Exhausted" (25% XP).
- Heirlooms didn't exist until Wrath of the Lich King, and leveling up required a higher amount of experience points than now.
- The Character Boost function was initially introduced in Warlords of Draenor, with the Assault on the Dark Portal scenario serving as an introduction for everyone including boosted characters.
- For Legion, the boost to 90 was removed and the two gunships Tempest's Roar and Sword of Dawn served as level 100 character boost tutorial areas prior to the common Battle for Broken Shore scenario.
- For Battle for Azeroth, the boost to 100 was removed and now 110 characters instead spawn in Dalaran with an artifact in hand and the Class Hall/Broken Shore/Argus unlocked. The Tempest's Roar and Sword of Dawn are still available however for class trials, which are at level 100.
- The zone scaling technology was already in place for the Broken Isles at the release of Legion, but it was only extended to the whole world of Warcraft with patch 7.3.5. Warchief's Command Boards and Hero's Call Boards were also updated, and Loremaster achievements were updated to require the completion of certain storylines instead of a fixed number of quests.
- World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will bring a new optional starting zone and a level squish (reducing the current max level from 120 to 60). The player will also be able to choose a single expansion to level all the way from level 10 to 50.
- At release money was much less abundant than now, and as such gold sinks were rather different. As an example, it was almost universally impossible to immediately buy a new mount when you reached the required level cap if you were playing alone.
- At release you could respec your character for a monetary fee, but each time you respecced, the fee would become bigger and bigger, until it became capped to a 50g limit in a patch.
- Dual speccing was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King to help with this problem, until Legion finally permitted players to freely switch between all their specializations.
World of Warcraft's user interface was designed to be simple and easy to understand, similar to Diablo II. While already customizable, at release the UI lacked several features that now seem essential:
- There were no additional skill bars, you had just the main skill bar and you had to flip pages. You had to use an addon to have more bars before Blizzard added it.
- There were no built-in Raid Frames, so the only way to see it was to use CTMod.
- Some raid additions such as /raidwarning, the ability to mark mobs and Threat Meters (wait for three Sunder Armor) were only available with specific add-ons, before Blizzard added them into the game themselves.
- Originally it was only possible to inspect someone's gear, not his abilities, and the range to do so was about 10 yards. When people in epic gear stood in a capital city, there would be dozens of people around inspecting him. Since it was impossible to tell, many healers were also healing in a DPS spec to avoid respec bills.
- All interactable NPCs, such as vendors, used to have flavor text in their dialogue window that you had to click through to get to their function. It even varied due to holidays. For NPCs with only one thing to say, this was hidden for convenience in Wrath of the Lich King, but the flavor text is still being added (an example being Tradesman Portanuus in alternate Nagrand) in the game. NPCs with at least two dialogue options still have their flavor text. You can see hidden flavor text by entering a script line in the chat panel.
- Up until Cataclysm, you could only use a single type of tracking (like ) at a time.
- Patch 4.2.0 introduced the Dungeon Journal, which was later revamped into the Adventure Guide in patch 6.2.0 to cover more than just dungeons.
- The What's New window was added with Warlords of Draenor.
- It was originally envisioned by Blizzard that you could learn the language of other races, though not easily.
- The in-game Calendar was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King.
- Real ID and cross-game chat using Battle.net was only introduced in patch 3.3.5. BattleTags were introduced in Patch 5.0.4 and the ability to appear offline in Battle.net was finally added in October 2017.
- Before Cataclysm, guild management was very bare-bone. No news feed, upcoming events, ability to search from the professions, etc. You also needed ten signatures to create a guild instead of five. The expansion pack also added guild advancement, which could reward many different guild perks as you leveled the guild up. Because of this, many smaller guilds had to disband, and alts were constantly bombarded with guild invites, so Warlords of Draenor removed guild advancement and trimmed down guild perks.
- There were originally no phasing, cross-realm dungeons/zones/battlegrounds, scenarios or sharding. If someone of the same server was in the same region as you, you were able to see him, and likewise, you could only see people of your servers running around. Because of this, worldwide content like bosses and events were more common, leading to massive instability and/or chaos in some cases.
- Blizzard started adding cross-server content with the battlegroups in patch 1.12.0. They were groups of realms whose players could face each other in Player vs. Player matches. Battlegroups were eventually phased out so players from any realms in the same continental zone could play with each other.
- They originally didn't have the debuff which makes you unable to resurrect if you die fighting them, so people could run back from the graveyard and continue fighting.
- World bosses were not all properly leashed and it was popular to kite Lord Kazzak to Stormwind City, where he wreaked havoc until he got killed or removed by a Game Master. Another example is how A'dal was updated to hit for over 100,000 damages because of people kiting fel reavers from Shadowmoon Valley and causing the naaru to die in the ensuing fight.
- Among the now-removed world bosses that would later reappear in the story are Eranikus, Azuregos, the original Dragons of Nightmare and Lord Kazzak.
- After being phased out of Blizzard's design philosophy in Wrath of the Lich King, world bosses returned in Mists of Pandaria.
- During vanilla, there were regular elemental invasions in several zones.
- Love is in the Air originally had a different version.
- The Darkmoon Faire was added in patch 1.6.0 and was heavily revamped in patch 4.3.0. Darkmoon Island was only added in that patch and prior to that the Faire could instead be found at one of three locations: outside Goldshire in Elwynn Forest, outside Thunder Bluff in Mulgore, and on the outskirts of Shattrath City in Terokkar Forest. Each time the Faire was about to open, you could see Darkmoon Carnies actually building it up.
- From the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj to the Legion Invasions, a number of one-time-only world events have occurred throughout the game's history.
- It seems in the Warlords of Draenor alpha Blizzard started implementing some sort of marathon event, through the South Race Official, Westfall Race Official and Elwynn Race Official.
- Some jokes were removed from the game for various reasons.
- Blizzard originally planned for many more playable races in the original World of Warcraft than they had time to do. According to Mark Kern, at one point the team had "like 20 possible races or something ridiculous like that", with many subsequently getting cut during development. Naga, demons and goblins were 3 of the 9 playable races originally planned, with demons planned to be shapeshifters. Gnomes and trolls were added later in development.
- The division of the playerbase into two factions didn't exist during initial development of the game, and was inspired by the faction split in Dark Age of Camelot.
- In vanilla many heroes who are now unique had generic models, like Sylvanas Windrunner who used a pale night elf model, Anduin Wrynn who had a plain child model, or Magni Bronzebeard and Tyrande Whisperwind who didn't had really distinguishing features. Some others had at least some small unique thing, like how Thrall had a unique blue-eyed face or Cairne Bloodhoof wielded a totem.
- Dance studios were originally announced content for Wrath of the Lich King. Introducing the Dance Battle System was a dance-related April Fools. Years later BlizzCon footage showed a "Dance Studio" listed among the available small buildings for garrisons, however, this was just a joke. The Auction House Dance Party, likely inspired by the Dance Studio idea, was eventually added in Patch 7.2.5.
- Before most of the playable races were finally updated in Warlords of Draenor, there were already some attempts at high-resolution models for some unique characters. Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall and Garrosh Hellscream notably went through three different models each.
- Even after the new player models were added, it was originally still possible to switch back to the old ones through a graphical option. Since Legion, however, even when the old models were activated, blood elves and night elves would still be the new models, because of the modifications required for the inclusion of demon hunters.
- In Legion Blizzard started adding unique combat animations to classes. Before the update, for example, all orcs would use the same melee animations, but now an orcish warrior and rogue each have some different animations. These animations are made by classes, meaning a night elf rogue will also use some of the same animations as the orc one. Patch 7.3.0 also added unique "ready" stances for casters, when before that casters went back to their "idle" stances after launching a spell.
- It is also in Legion that head tracking was added, meaning your character will try to look in the same direction as your current target.
- Before Mists of Pandaria, the art teams tried to maintain 'unique silhouettes' for each race to keep members of the opposing faction easily identifiable even under armor models. With the introduction of pandaren, however, this notion was abandoned.
- Many high elf and blood elf NPCs already existed at release, but they had different models, based on the ones night elves used instead.
- In the The Burning Crusade alpha, their language was called Sindassi instead of Thalassian.
- In the beta, the new blood elf models were still somewhat based on the night elf ones. Males were notably slimmer, and even today the Silvermoon City Guardians still use their model. Both male and females also had a different dance, based on the one in Pulp Fiction.
- At the release of the expansion pack blood elves had a racial ability called which drained a small amount of enemy's mana and "energized" the player. It could stack up to 3 times and when using it would restore mana depending on the number of stacks. In Wrath of the Lich King it was removed and Arcane Torrent was given a flat mana restore.
- Up until Cataclysm they couldn't be warriors, the only race which didn't have the possibility because at release they already had access to six classes.
- Patch 8.0.1 introduced the possibility to have golden eyes as a character option.
- Before Warcraft III really solidified, Chris Metzen envisioned demons as shapeshifters who used magical illusions and deceit, and this version of demons was initially planned to be a playable race in classic World of Warcraft alongside naga and goblins. According to Johnathan Staats, this was likely a relic from when the Burning Legion was planned to be a playable race in Warcraft III. However, as Warcraft III developed, the demons got a lot more brutish, and on the development side, having a shapeshifting race proved too expensive as it would effectively entail making a whole additional race with its own animation sets in addition to the base race. Thus, playable demons were cut from classic WoW.
- Since the wait for the draenei race announcement was so long, Blizzard joked about wisps being the new Alliance race. The draenei leaked a few days before being actually finally announced, and their strange appearance led to some people thinking that they were wisps which had somehow possessed eredar bodies.
- There exists unfinished assets for female Broken.
- In the original alpha, dwarves could already be mages (Dorfus Alphamage is a reference to that).
- In the alpha, several NPC models that didn't use the standard dwarf model were created. Some examples of these models are still used, like Yarley.
- At release, dwarves couldn't be warlocks, shaman or mages, possibilities only introduced in Cataclysm.
- The original models of forest trolls were originally just reskinned jungle trolls, but they were updated in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.
- The Forsaken almost didn't make the cut as a playable race in World of Warcraft due to the designers' animation workload and limited resources.
- The Forsaken racial mount was originally intended to be the Nightmare instead of the Skeletal horse. Even after release, Executor Zygand and Deathguard Lundmark rode felsteeds until their mount got updated.
- In the alpha they were simply known as "Undead" instead of "Forsaken".
- They were originally Undead instead of Humanoids, so they could be targeted by and other such spells, back when it only worked on Undead and Demons.
- Before the introduction of Gutterspeak in the beta, they were able to speak Common.
- In order to represent the political tensions within the Horde the Forsaken originally started neutral instead of friendly with the other races of the faction. The blood elves broke that rule because of their shared friendship, and the goblins and pandaren also later ignored it.
- Up until Cataclysm they couldn't be hunters.
- Gnomes were made playable late in the development of the vanilla alpha. This is why they didn't appear in the original cinematic and had their capital city lost to Sicco Thermaplugg.
- Their associated reputation was originally called "Gnomeregan Exiles".
- Up until Cataclysm they couldn't be priests, and up until Legion they couldn't be hunters.
- Goblins were initially envisioned to be a playable race for World of Warcraft but got cut along early.
- Many goblin NPCs already existed at release but they had different models. Both their male and female models could already be equipped with many different armors and weapons however.
- Their addition as the next Horde race was leaked by Hallow's End masks.
- In the alpha, many NPC models that didn't use the standard human model were created. Some examples of these models are used in Old Hillsbrad Foothills (Frances Lin), Farshire (Gerald Green) or by several pirates (Captain Grayson). Dame Jesepha can also be found in the Deeprun Tram.
- Up until Cataclysm they couldn't be hunters.
- Jungle trolls were made playable late in the development of the vanilla alpha. This is why they didn't appear in the original cinematic and had their capital city lost to Zalazane. In the alpha, they were also simply known as "trolls" instead of "jungle trolls".
- Jungle trolls couldn't originally become mage in the alpha, but this was changed in order to balance the number of available classes within the Horde.
- The female trolls were notorious for having been revamped between alpha and beta - they originally looked much more feral and were slouched like their male counterparts.
- Up until Cataclysm they couldn't be druids or warlocks.
- Naga were initially envisioned to be a playable race for World of Warcraft but got cut along early. According to Mark Kern, the naga were Chris Metzen's favorite race and the one he regretted cutting the most.
- The original ogre model looked chubbier and slightly more inane, but they were updated a few months after release. Since then, new ogre models were created or updated in several of the following expansion packs.
- They were announced as a joke race in 2004. The way Cho'gall is played in Heroes of the Storm is reminiscent of that joke.
- Up until Cataclysm, orcs couldn't be mages.
- There exists unfinished assets for female fel orcs.
- Patch 8.0.1 introduced the possibility to have a straight back for orcs.
- Blizzard have considered making drakonid a playable race, with Tom Chilton stating in 2009 that "We always looked at those and said, oh that would be a pretty cool player race - it would be cool to play as one of those guys. There's not a lot there as far as, where did they come from and what are they? But they are in the world and it wouldn't be completely inconceivable that a player would end up being able to play that, and we could continue to expand on the depth of that race and that sort of race."
- Before the introduction of the mastiff model in Cataclysm most dogs and hounds used hyena or even wolf models.
- Before the introduction of the new eel model in Cataclysm, they used the mana wyrm model instead.
- Before the Cataclysm revamp of Kalimdor, several silithid mobs used less-than-threatening models, like crabs or beetles, as was the case of the Silithid Protectors or Silithid Creepers.
- Before Battle for Azeroth, saurid were called "compies" and used small red raptor models instead.
- Originally the two The Burning Crusade races were supposed to be blood elf and pandaren. Blizzard eventually decided to scrap the idea because they thought it didn't really fit the concept of the expansion pack. This is why the The Burning Crusade announcement trailer only mentions blood elves and it took 6-7 months after BlizzCon to announce the draenei. See also History of pandaren in Warcraft.
- In the alpha, tauren didn't have a mount at all but had a ability instead. Saern Priderunner and Samantha Swifthoof could teach the ability.
- Up until patch 3.0.8, they were also only able to ride their kodo beasts, orcish wolf mounts and the Black War Raptor.
- They couldn't originally be priests or paladins until Cataclysm.
- The addition of the worgen as the next Alliance race was leaked by Hallow's End masks.
- Early concept art of the worgen showed them riding a giant boar-thing instead of having .
- Zandalari trolls first appeared as the Zandalar Tribe faction on Yojamba Isle. Then, they used jungle troll models with a special skin. Patch 5.2.0 added new, unique Zandalari troll models, but they were only used on Pandaria and they didn't have female variants nor could they equip armor.
- When Zandalari trolls became playable in Battle for Azeroth they were given a new model with a female variant. Some Zandalari from previous patches and expansion packs were also updated, such as Chronicler Bah'Kini.
- Class design and raid balance was rather different than today. Mostly only warriors could tank, priests were by far the best healers, druids were there to innervate the priests, shaman were used mostly as out of combat ressers, and paladins were usually busy rebuffing the raid with 5-minute blessings. Hybrid classes usually dealt about 50% less damage than pure classes, and their itemization was quite strange. Paladins/druids/shaman had all stats on their gear, and rogues, warriors and some other classes also sometimes had spirit on theirs because it used to increase procs per minute.
- Some classes didn't have any interrupt, or any crowd control, or any group buff, etc. In the same way, lots of classes, especially pure DPS, didn't have a single healing ability. Now almost every class has the same set of interrupt/CC/heal/group buff.
- Spellcasting classes used wands much more regularly in order to let their mana replenish during fights and to not over-aggro. Some talent trees had talents that improved wand damage. However, there was originally no auto-shooting for wands, and you had to click each time you wanted to hit.
- Talent trees existed.
- The training dummies existed in the game since release, but they were made usable (targetable) only in Wrath of the Lich King.
- Runemaster was a planned class that was scrapped early in vanilla World of Warcraft development. Runemasters were replaced by druids that weren't in the original list of classes to be added. While making Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard considered many ideas for the hero class, which they narrowed down to four front-runners: Death knight, Necromancer, Runemaster again, and Monk.
- While leveling on Draenor during Warlords of Draenor, players would unlock Draenor Perks every other level. In the test phases, you would unlock these perks every level, meaning the list of perks was even longer.
- During the alpha stages of Legion, all classes gained a teleport spell to their order hall, with 4 remaining to full release: , , and , and 8 being removed: , Call Eagle Spirit, , Naaru Lightshift, Extraction Point, , Ritual of Return and Skyjump.
- Patch 8.0.1 added back several castable buffs (such as or ) and dispels (, ) that had been removed over the years.
- The original concept for making a death knight was to have the player sacrifice a pre-existing high-level character in order to create the death knight. The cut quest is presumably a remnant of that old quest chain.
- Their rune system was originally intended to have a special frame but this never made it live.
- At release:
- One could only roll a death knight if they already had a level 55 character or higher on that realm.
- Death knights had access to three different presences that made them adaptable to different situations, regardless of their specialization: , and .
- They also had runes of different types: two blood, two frost, and two unholy. Depleted runes could become death runes under certain circumstances such as specific talents; death runes counted as any type of rune (blood, frost and unholy at the same time). For example, frost spells such as required frost runes.
- raised fallen allies as ghouls for a limited time and they gained new abilities.
- The design intent was that all three specs could be dedicated tank specs; tank talents were placed in the early tier of each tree. However, the higher stamina and self-healing of Blood made it a much stronger tank spec than the other two from a very early point.
- In Legion, the three presences were removed, as well as the rune types.
- A demon hunter was featured in Vanilla promotional art.
- The addition of Telarius Voidstrider as early as Cataclysm could've been an early hint at the coming of playable demon hunters, but shows that the story for them might have originally been intended to be different.
- Druids were intended to be able to shapeshift into storm crows as early as during the alpha. They were also apparently meant to transform into nightsabers, and rabbits as a scout form.
- Druids had to leave their feral forms for several actions: drink potions, use trinkets, talk to NPCs, etc. They also couldn't cast for a few seconds after leaving a form, there was a talent to allow that. They could also not change freely between forms but had to return to their humanoid form first.
- Many of their spells originally did not function indoors, such as and .
- Balance druids would get mana back by hitting enemies with melee attacks, based on their attack power. As such, it was an effective tactic to bring a feral staff such as (back when it increased attack power in cat, bear and moonkin form) during raids. Half a minute of meleeing would usually be enough to regen to full mana, allowing the druid's to be used on a healer.
- In The Burning Crusade, they had a long questline to acquire .
- was originally a permanent form up until Cataclysm.
- Up until Mists of Pandaria, the Travel Form transformed you into a cheetah instead of a stag.
- Up until Legion, was actually four different spells: Travel Form, , and .
- Before release
- Hunter's Survival talent tree was named "Outdoormanship" at some point. Marksmanship talent tree had a different name as well – "Ranged Combat".
- was originally a rogue/druid ability.
- Hunters were already using focus as their resource system, but it regenerated while standing still, and was very overpowered so they gave them mana instead.
- Several of their abilities depended on Spell Damage, like , and once a hunter even stacked Spell Damage gear for and soloed Azuregos.
- Survival was already the "melee" tree and had a Lacerate ability which dealt less than 100 damage at level 60.
- Pets originally functioned very differently than now:
- Hunters started without pets and gained their first one only after a low-level quest.
- Pets had to be leveled. If a level 60 hunter tamed a level 20 pet, the pet would remain level 20 instead of jumping to 55.
- Pets had an happiness and loyalty system before patch 3.0.2. If pets were not treated properly or dismissed too often, before the loyalty level had been raised, the pet might disobey orders or even run off. Feeding the right food to the pet was a good way to keep it happy and thus to gradually increase its loyalty level.
- Pets also had training points. The higher level your pet, the more it had. You had to tame a pet with a certain rank of a certain skill, let it fight until you learned the skill from the pet, then use skill points to teach that skill for another pet. You had to repeat this process for each rank of each pet ability. This system was replaced by the pet talents in Wrath of the Lich King, which itself was later cut and merged into specialization-specific pet abilities.
- Before hunter pets were normalized, all pets had different stats and attack speed. There was a rare cat mob in the Badlands called Broken Tooth which could be tamed by hunters. He was considered the ultimate hunter pet because he had a 1.0 attack speed (before buffs), which made him a true nightmare for casters.
- Hunter pets didn't scale with any stats of their masters at all.
- If you were riding a mount, your pet would be running alongside you, and when you entered combat its speed would drop to normal speed, often leaving it behind and making it despawn. When The Burning Crusade first came out, you'd get on a flying mount and your pet would follow you through whatever mobs were in the path until it died.
- Pets didn't automatically go behind a boss, leading to parry-haste, loss of DPS, or hunters whining at tanks over boss positioning.
- Stable masters could originally stable only three pets.
- When the timer of ended hunters really did die.
- Hunters couldn't lay traps in combat. It was changed in The Burning Crusade so you could do it, but with 2 second cast time.
- Hunters had a dead zone under which they could no longer shoot at enemies.
- Ranged weapons used ammunition, which had charges. Some ammunition items were more powerful than others. To help with inventory problems, quivers and ammo pouches also existed, and some of them were even able to increase ranged attack speed.
- When they started, hunters could wear leather armor but only gained access to mail armor after reaching level 40.
- Hunters had a ability which let them directly control their pet.
- Until The Burning Crusade, could only be acquired by looting a and was necessary to kill Magmadar.
- Had a long questline to acquire and .
- They originally didn't have their ranged weapons displayed on their back, only their melee weapons.
- There were originally much more Animal Aspects.
- Wielding gave you access to a second hunter pet, Hati. The let you customize its look.
- In the beta, mages had several of their abilities cut:
- Before mages could they had to manually and for everyone in the raid, five by five items at a time... was eventually created so they at least didn't have to conjure two different type of consumables, and later mages were also updated to create a whole stack of consumables at a time.
- Mage also had , , , and armor abilities (/, , ).
- You previously needed to visit a city and its portal trainer in order to learn the matching and spells.
- was originally only a sheep transformation, but other transformations were steadily added, such as and for pig and turtle transformations.
- At release, the paladin class was originally Alliance-only, being restricted to human and dwarves.
- Paladins originally had auras and seals.
- Paladins had about a dozen seals removed, namely , and others. They also had and in beta.
- Paladin spell worked a bit different. Each Seal had a different effect when unleashed, and casting Judgement also consumed the seal. For example, used to increase Holy damage taken, and (which was the most used seal) dealt Holy damage, and that damage was 3x higher if the target was stunned. In Cataclysm the Judgement spell was split into three different abilities instead: , and .
- Paladin blessings lasted 5 minutes. So by the time you buffed 40 raid members, the first ones you buffed would have 2-3 minutes left on their blessings. Paladins were essentially just rebuffing the raid all the time, so their length was extended and greater blessings were created.
- : Removed in patch 4.0.1, this originally gave the paladin the ability to give their own life in order to protect an ally with an impenetrable shield for 3 minutes. also originally lasted for 12 seconds, which gave them the possibility to "Bubble Hearth".
- When they started, paladins could wear mail armor but only gained access to plate armor after reaching level 40. For years the Protection and Retribution skills also scaled with spell power rather than Strength.
- Had a long questline to acquire . Since it was a spell instead of a normal mount, it used to cost mana to summon.
- Protection paladins had no taunt ability until the prepatch for The Burning Crusade, and would not gain a single target taunt until Wrath of the Lich King.
- Offensive abilities for Protection and Retribution paladins were based on spell damage instead of Strength until Wrath of the Lich King.
- During the early beta, priest's could be cast on other people like in Warcraft III. It was later changed to be a self-buff but even until patch 1.10.0 it kept an attack power bonus that was useless to priests.
- Rumors are that the Discipline tree was originally supposed to be a melee tree, similar to how the shaman Enhancement tree originally had tanking abilities. This may explain why there were several old-school monks and mace-wielding priests among the ranks of the Scarlet Crusade at the time.
- At release priests had racial spells, but some of them were turned into baseline priest spells and some others removed. Being a level 60 dwarf priest often meant instant raid spot because of , no matter what your gear was.
- Had a long questline to acquire and .
- During the early The Burning Crusade beta it seems priests were meant to be able to choose a Champion among their fellow players.
- They originally had in addition to .
- During the alpha, rogues were planned to be able to learn disguises. They all required linen or wool plus another item. The Stonesplinter trogg disguise required , the Dalaran wizard disguise required a , the South Seas pirate disguise required a , the Defias footpad disguise required a , the Dark Iron dwarf disguise required and the Syndicate disguise required a .
- At release elite capital city guards such as the Thief Catchers originally didn't exist and were only added to counter rogues. Orgrimmar and its rooftops were still an easy target, so the Troll Roof Stalkers were added in The Burning Crusade.
- The Outlaw specialization was previously named "Combat".
- Rogue energy used to regenerate 20 every 2 seconds.
- originally had levels and came with a movement speed penalty. Items like were even made to help.
- Rogues had to spend 5 points in the Subtlety tree, to make sure their would not break stealth (20/40/60/80/100%).
- and required . Lockpicking itself was a profession that had to be leveled up by opening locked chests and lockboxes. were made to help.
- Rogues also had a poison brewing profession along with the related ingredients. Poisons had stacks that were spent on attacking, and rogues had to refresh poisons on their weapons during boss fights.
- There was also a ability with a "Swirly Ball" animation that they loved to spam.
- During Legion, Outlaw rogues had a ability which convinced an appropriately-leveled humanoid NPC into fighting at their side for 5 minutes, giving the player control over them similar to a pet or minion.
- At release, the shaman class was originally Horde-only, being restricted to orcs, trolls, and tauren.
- Shaman had a talent in the Enhancement tree that allowed them to equip two-handed axes and maces, but each time they did a talent respec from Enhancement they lost all weapon skills for them.
- The Enhancement tree also had a couple of tanking talents/spells, although they were eventually nerfed and later patched out.
- Totems played differently than now. There were many more totems, many of which were eventually merged, and there was no adapted UI to handle them. They eventually got a Totem Bar but lost it after. Shaman also had to physically carry the totems themselves in their bags until special relic totems were created.
- When they started, shaman could wear leather armor but only gained access to mail armor after reaching level 40.
- Shaman had weapon enhancements such as , and .
- In the alpha and early beta, warlocks could wear leather armor. Since the original firestones also gave additional fire melee damages, this hints that warlocks may have originally been though of as a melee caster class.
- was originally intended to be a warlock spell during the alpha.
- Warlocks originally had access to more curses, such as and . They also had banes, which worked similarly.
- Soul shards were originally items that had to be farmed by draining the soul of experience or honor-giving mobs. As such, when casting in the Ruins of Lordaeron or Raven Hill in Duskwood, warlocks could reveal passive and invisible level 50ish mobs so that they could quickly farm shards without having to go in a high-level zone.
- Minions originally functioned differently than now:
- Warlocks started without imps, and gained them only after a low-level quest.
- Minions didn't scale with any stats of their masters at all.
- If you were riding a mount, your minion would be running alongside you, and when you entered combat its speed would drop to normal speed, often leaving it behind and making it despawn. When The Burning Crusade first came out, you'd get on a flying mount and your minion would follow you through whatever mobs were in the path until it died.
- Melee minions didn't automatically go behind a boss, leading to parry-haste, loss of DPS, or warlocks whining at tanks over boss positioning.
- Warlocks had to upgrade their minion skills by buying grimoires at special demon trainers.
- Soul shards were required to summon them.
- Succubus minions used to have fewer clothes, but they added more in patch 1.4.0.
- Infernal minions were originally summoned by , which consumed an and was gained after a quest or a rare book drop. The infernal was much tougher and had to be enslaved before killing everyone, and even after that, it was guaranteed to break the enslavement at some point and attack the group.
- Doomguard minions were originally summoned by , which required a whole party and killed one of the participants in the ritual, and was gained after a quest or a rare book drop. Like for internals, the doomguard was very strong and had to be enslaved quickly.
- could be improved through talents, and if you had three different warlocks with three different ranks, you could have up to three healthstones in your inventory. Before the spell was added in The Burning Crusade warlocks had to summon healthstones individually for each person.
- Firestones and spellstones were items that were used in offhand slots (and later in wand slot).
- The Felsteed mount was originally called the "Nightmare", and was intended to be the Forsaken racial mount in early alpha.
- Had a long questline to acquire a . Since it was a spell instead of a normal mount, it used to cost mana to summon.
- didn't create a Meeting Stone-like portal, it was used to summon individual players. Warlocks sometimes had to farm up to 30 soul shards to summon a whole raid.
- was originally able to kill you, and it was common for warlocks to kill themselves that way in case of a wipe rather than lose durability.
- Similar to the now-removed mage armors, warlocks had / and .
- Before the introduction of demon hunters in Legion and starting from Wrath of the Lich King, Demonology warlocks had a ability that transformed them. even gave them , which let them become tanks. Warlocks were the only non-tank class that could finish gold level tanking Proving Grounds because of it.
- Up until Legion all three spec used to have a different resource system with Soul Shards for Affliction, for Demonology and for Destruction.
- Up until Legion warlocks could also summon a wider variety of demons through the talent.
- In the beta, warriors had a talent called Combat Endurance which allowed a percentage of health regeneration to happen in combat and which was based on their spirit.
- At release warriors had access to three different stances depending on how they intended to fight: , and .
- When they started, warriors could wear mail armor but only gained access to plate armor after reaching level 40.
- In vanilla it was somewhat-accepted for Fury warriors to wear some mail and leather pieces in order to maximize their DPS.
- With the original iteration of , warriors were the only class that could push crushing blows off the combat table, making them the default raid tanks.
During the game's original development, the designers made a distinction between professions and "minigames" like Fishing. While professions were planned out early on, minigames had to be implemented using extra code, and as a result there were several planned minigames that didn't make the cut to the final game.
- In the alpha, tradeskills were directly linked to level – you couldn't buy one of the three levels in a tradeskill (which each unlocked how far your skill could advance in the tradeskill) without skill points, which were earned by leveling.
- Back in vanilla, a level 1 character could have maxed professions.
- You used to be able to fail at the gathering professions. For example, you could try to pick a high-level herb but after the cast finished you would "fail" and would have to try again. As such, it was necessary to level up your gathering professions before getting to the next zone.
- Some professions required ingredients that were way more exotic than now, for example which only dropped from a single type of mob in the world. Other examples are , , , and . Many recipes also required more crafting materials than today.
- Some ingredients also required long cooldowns to be created, for example, the leatherworking had a 70-hour cooldown. Crafting had both a cooldown AND summoned an Angered Nether-wraith mob!
- There were originally several more crafting specializations, for example you could be a dragonscale leatherworker, a hammersmith (which would grant you an upgradable forged weapon like ), a mooncloth tailor, and so on. These specializations were often associated with special quests and out of the way trainers. Alchemy specializations and Engineering specializations are still in place, however, they are not updated much anymore and it is easier to switch between them than before.
- Until The Burning Crusade the discovery mechanic didn't exist, you had to get all of your recipes at vendors, trainers or as drops, some of them being more or less rare: some recipes and patterns were limited to the Alliance or Horde, others could only be bought in limited quantities to out-of-the-way merchants, etc.
- Profession trainers originally greatly varied in skills. Trainers in low-level zones would generally only teach up to the Journeyman rank, and the highest-level trainers would sometimes hide in instances or secluded areas of high-level zones. When The Burning Crusade was released Master trainers only existed in Outland. Patch 2.3.0 made it so that all primary profession trainers outside of capitals were changed to train up to Artisan level in their respective professions. Patch 4.0.1 later made it so that many profession trainers in capitals now train professions up to Grand Master. This was accompanied by a shuffling around of who taught what at each level, and most crafting shops now had a single trainer surrounded by apprentices instead of having a Journeyman trainer, then an Expert, then an Artisan... The shuffling around wasn't always logical though, as was the case of Nogg who was retrograded to a <Apprentice Engineer> when he is the owner of the shop, or Rotgath Stonebeard who is now still an Apprentice despite having dedicated his whole life to blacksmithing.
- Starting with Wrath of the Lich King, gathering professions now gave buffs like , and . These buffs were later removed for balance reasons, but was kept. Some crafting professions also had unique bonuses during that time, like how leatherworkers could make Fur Linings.
- Before the Reagent Bank was added in Warlords of Draenor, many reagents only stacked to 5, 10 and 20. You also needed the required ingredients to actually be in your bag in order to craft something.
- In Battle for Azeroth professions are now split into expansion-themed categories, which means you won't have to grind to be able to work on Cataclysm content in order to use recipes from later one, for example. The four Classic stages of Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, and Artisan were merged. The next ranks were previously Master, Grand Master, Illustrious Grand Master, Zen Master, Draenor Master and Legion Master.
- Alchemists could create flasks and only at an Alchemy Lab. There were originally only two in the game, one in Scholomance and the second one in Blackwing Lair.
- A was originally required to craft items.
- In vanilla dark iron required to be at the Black Forge to be smelted and at the Black Anvil to be crafted, both of them being in Blackrock Depths. This is still required, however dark iron isn't used in common crafted items anymore.
- Up until Cataclysm there were two blacksmithing specializations: Armorsmith and Weaponsmith. You could further specialize as a Weaponsmith by becoming an Axesmith, Hammersmith or Swordsmith.
- The ability to smelt was originally acquired by mind-controlling Master Elemental Shaper Krixix and have him teach the blacksmith directly. He now just drops a .
- Before Warlords of Draenor they could use and as a profession perk.
- During the Warlords of Draenor beta, you were originally able to bring repaired to characters like Armsmaster Shiji in order to gain .
- You used to require and in order to create a Campfire.
- There existed an epic cooking recipe: . You needed a group to loot the mats from elite Chimaeroks.
- The following enchanting materials were never released: , , .
- You could originally disenchant level 60 gear at 1/300 skill on release, which led to many accounts being hacked, with the hackers learning Enchanting and disenchanting all the high-level gear of their victims.
- The only higher level Enchanting trainer was originally in Uldaman, and the dungeon had to be run in order to meet her.
- Disenchanting could originally only be done by an enchanter, instead of by the dungeon loot box as well.
- There was originally much more enchanting rods, like the . Now all that is required is a .
- As an enchanter you could originally enchant your rings until Warlords of Draenor, as exampled by .
- During the Warlords of Draenor beta you were originally able to bring repaired to characters in order to gain .
- Patch 7.3.5 overhauled enchanting by removing all the following reagents: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .
- and were originally required to craft several engineering items. Since engineers also usually had to carry mining and blacksmithing tools, the was added in order to clean up their inventory.
- At first the engineering items were much less nerfed and could freely be used for PvP.
- A was planned for The Burning Crusade, the expansion pack before the actual release of .
- Up until patch 3.1.0, you had to regularly renew your or in order to keep being able to buy the schematics of your engineering specialization.
- Patch 3.2.0 changed healing potions, allowing them to stack to 20 normally, where previously they only stacked to 5. As this removed the advantage the potion injectors had previously provided, potion injectors were modified to grant an additional 25% benefit when used by engineers.
- One of the perks of engineers was to be able to craft bullets back when ammunition still existed. , notably, could then be traded for at special NPCs.
- During the Warlords of Draenor beta you were originally able to craft bombs such as in order to gain .
- During the alpha there was a item to let First Aid users resurrect dead players.
- You had to buy the book in order to gain the level of expert.
- During the Warlords of Draenor beta you were originally able to bring to characters like Battlehealer Rui in order to gain .
- The profession was removed in Battle for Azeroth, with recipes transferred to Tailoring and Alchemy.
- Fishing wasn't originally slated for inclusion in World of Warcraft, as it wasn't considered a profession but rather a minigame. It was added to the game after Mark Kern requested it as a gift for his wife, who loved fishing both in real life and in Japanese RPG games. Kern approached Eric Dodds, who together with Sam Lantinga put together a working prototype after a couple of days. Kern showed the build to his wife, but she hated it since it was too passive and lacked the action component of JRPG-style fishing. Nevertheless, the WoW developers subsequently decided to include the activity in the final version of the game. (Kern's wife did later come around to liking the minigame.)
- Fishing poles were originally required to fish.
- You had to buy the book in order to gain the level of expert.
- The Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza had a few more intended rewards, such as the meant to be rewarded after turning in the .
- There was a Kalu'ak Fishing Derby until it was removed and its rewards were merged into the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza.
- Fishermen could summon two unique bosses in Vanilla and The Burning Crusade: Gahz'ranka and the Lurker Below.
- Herbalism was originally one of the only gathering professions to not require a special tool (for example, a ). When these special tools were converted into skill-boosting items, the item was added in order to keep the profession on the level.
- The was removed from the Warlords of Draenor beta.
- Removed in the Wrath of the Lich King beta, the subskill suggests that Inscription could once have been meant to be used on items marked as Encrypted to unlock them, similarly to how lockpicking works on locked items.
- You needed to stand near a Lexicon of Power to apply a glyph.
- Up until patch 5.0.4 they could make .
- Many, many glyphs were purged in patch 7.0.3. Most of them were gameplay-related glyphs, such as and , and those that were kept were generally cosmetic glyphs such as and .
- Jewelcrafters could originally create only at an Alchemy Lab. Since the profession was introduced in The Burning Crusade, at that point of time the task was already made easier because of the Alchemy Lab in Shattrath City.
- They also needed a for many of their best items, a requirement that was removed since even if a is still required.
- During vanilla several high-end bosses used to give rare leathers and scales when skinned, that were used for rare raid recipes. The only way to skin these bosses was to enchant your gloves with Enchant Gloves - Skinning and use or the , as level 63+ mobs required 315 skinning, while the cap was 300. One such example of a rare scale was the , which was needed to craft the , which was helpful to resist Nefarian's Shadow Flame.
- Up until Cataclysm there were three leatherworking specializations: Dragonscale, Elemental and Tribal.
- During the Warlords of Draenor beta you were originally able to bring and to characters like Oisin Cragshot in order to gain .
- In Legion, was originally supposed to be used, but all patterns that were meant for it use instead, and thus cannot be gathered from any mob nor crafted. It can only be found inside the . drops from the same source but is completely unused.
- In the alpha, only lasted for a minute, and could be upgraded to last for five minutes.
- The following mining materials were never released: Froststeel, Blacksteel, Azurite.
- Mining took more than one cast to pick up everything from a node, but still only gave one skill per node.
- Mining Picks were originally required to mine.
- Skinning Knives were originally required to skin.
- During the alpha this was a profession used for making campfires (in basic and bright varieties) and torches. These torches were used for scouting - the graphical engine was a bit different, and darker area such as Duskwood were really "dark". Torches were used to increase visibility in those darker areas. Many NPCs in Duskwood still hold torches in their hands.
- Jiming reuses an unused ID originally called World Survival Trainer <Survival Trainer>.
- Survival Skills were intended to use fewer of the aforementioned skill points than other professions.
- In the Wrath of the Lich King beta there were originally more flying carpets.
- A Mana Loom was originally required to craft a . Crafting required to be in Netherstorm and summoned an Angered Nether-wraith, required to be at the Azure Dragonshrine, required to be at a moonwell, required to be at the Altar of Shadows and required to be at the Altar of the Ebon Depths.
- Up until Cataclysm there were three tailoring specializations: Spellfire, Mooncloth and Shadoweave.
- In order to craft you were originally required to stand at the Silken Fields.
- During the Warlords of Draenor beta you were originally able to bring items such as or to Seamstress Coletta/Larael Dawnweaver in order to gain .
Other professions and minigames
- Brewing, Cartography and Foraging were planned at some point, leaving no information behind besides some datamined trainers and vendors. They were removed when the alpha ended.
- Aside from Fishing, another minigame that Mark Kern really wanted to include in World of Warcraft was an in-game trading card game. Cards were supposed to drop from mobs and be redeemable for physical cards so the game could be played in the real world as well. The game would be playable anywhere in the game world, but ranked play would only be accessible in inns, boats, and zeppelins, as a way of making those places feel more meaningful and encouraging players to gather in them. It's unknown to what extent this idea influenced the later World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and Hearthstone.
- During the beta there were shields and bucklers. Rogues and hunters could use bucklers, but they later removed them, and rogues/hunters couldn't equip shields anymore. There are still bucklers in game, but they are labeled as "shields".
- At vanilla there were many cloaks with exactly the same stats in the starting areas, which is because cloaks originally also had armor types (for example cloth/leather/mail/plate cloaks). Cloaks weren't also visible at all until beta.
- In vanilla, the usual equipment slot item progression meant that players would start finding shoulder items at 20, helmets at 30, and trinkets at 40. As such it wasn't uncommon for low-level players to be equipping common or even poor items in order to fill up these slots, until they would later finally find a matching uncommon item. Being fully-equipped in rare items at level 60 was already something that wasn't easy to achieve, and being fully equipped with epic items was something that would make other players look up to you.
- Epic mounts at release were just recolored normal mounts without armor. Blizzard removed them and replaced with armored mounts in patch 1.4.0. There is an achievement called for owning such a mount, but since they cost 1000 and were removed shortly after release, the achievement is extremely rare.
- Originally Bind to Account items such as Heirlooms didn't exist.
- Some spells required reagents to use. Examples of cut reagents are the , , , , , , and .
- Thrown weapons existed. They originally had limited charges, until they were changed so that throwing them actually reduced their durability (that way they could be repaired) instead of removing them forever.
- Until patch 3.0.2, clams did not stack. Until patch 3.0.8, they could not be opened while mounted.
- Chests were much more common as world objects, lootable items and as lockboxes. Dwarves even had a racial! This gave much more occasions to use skeleton keys, seaforium charges or simply to interact with rogues.
- Game Masters had their own items, which they used when back in the day they appeared to help you fix your problems, nowadays they don't appear anymore because they have improved tools.
- The default icon was the face of Samwise Didier. When a spell or an item didn't have a special icon, this picture appeared as its icon. Now his face has been replaced by a question mark icon.
- Originally, the geosets for worn items were far more primitive, and for years most armor looked painted-onto your character like spandex, with even plate armor being form-fitting. Wrath of the Lich King started introducing new geosets, notably for boots and belts, and things improved further and further with time.
- Most of the vanilla legendaries (Sulfuras, Thunderfury, Atiesh) had to be crafted after long and convoluted quests, except Andonisus, which was only a temporary weapon. Ashbringer was also originally supposed to be obtainable.
- Wrapping Paper: A common scam was to wrap up a worthless item and Cash on Delivery it to a player, hoping that they would accept and send back a large amount of gold for a poor quality item. Since patch 2.0.7 this is not possible anymore.
- Item enhancements could be applied through trading with fewer restrictions. Even if the recipient didn't pass requirements for the item such as level or profession, if the higher level "caster" did, twinks could have their gear enhanced by other people. Popular choices included and the Lesser Arcanums of Voracity.
- cooldown was originally 1 hour. On the other hand, you used to be able to enter an instance while partied with someone, leave the group, and then get booted to your Hearthstone location.
- was originally the only shirt item with stats. It was later changed to a chest item.
- Before Cataclysm, itemization of many areas and dungeons was rather poor, with Holy paladins often wearing cloth in order to boost their healing abilities. Cataclysm introduced specializations such as to discourage players from 'downgrading' and to encourage them to wear the armor of the highest armor class possible.
- Between Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor there was a system known as reforging that allowed the redistribution of unwanted statistics on a piece of gear.
- A stat squish happened at the release of Warlords of Draenor as numbers had become too big. Another one will happen at the beginning of Battle for Azeroth mainly focusing on the Item levels.
- Several in-game books such as , , and were added in the alpha of Legion in order to be used in the campaign quests, but were eventually never used. In order to increase Artifact Knowledge, several items like and were used instead, but even those were deprecated with patch 7.3.0.
- The was originally obtainable only after a Warlords of Draenor mission, but was made easier to obtain with in patch 7.3.5.
- The , a drop in the Siege of Orgrimmar, was an early hint at the coming of Warlords of Draenor. Similarly, the dropped from Supreme Lord Kazzak in Tanaan Jungle before Legion.
- Several fun items like the and originally affected everyone around them, being as such considered by some as disruptive. There was even another toy made up specifically to destroy the Toy Train Set. In patch 7.3.5, however, these items were edited to affect only those in your party or raid.
- Though only speculations, several weird NPCs in the Broken Isles may have originally been intended to be associated to hidden artifact appearances, such as The Grey One, the Jilted Former Lover and Ogdrul.
- Before Battle for Azeroth, the Legion artifact weapons had talents unique to each weapons. With the release of the expansion, the talents were removed and/or folded into their main spec.
Zones and storylines
- Boat and zeppelin rides were originally supposed to take between 20 and 30 minutes in order to give players more of a sense of world, similar to in EverQuest. Instead of having instantaneous transportation or loading screens, players would see the ship physically travel to its destination. To help players pass the time, the ship rides were supposed to have activities like random attacks (by harpies, pirates, etc.) and minigames such as gambling and the planned in-game card game. This is the reason for why ships and zeppelins have interior spaces.
- Before release, boats and zeppelins were very unstable and buggy, so they disabled them for a short time until they fixed it. Blizzard added NPCs called Captain Placeholder and Captain Noteo which teleported players for some money. Captain Placeholder has since made several comebacks.
- Boats and zeppelins originally had no crews or vendors, and even when they were added they had to be removed again due to instabilities.
- Up to Wrath of the Lich King, The Bravery traveled from Auberdine to Menethil Harbor instead of Stormwind City, making any travels between Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms annoying for Alliance players.
- At release, most zones had only one graveyard and one flight path.
- Class trainers and profession trainers were originally placed with lore in mind rather than practicality. For example, at release the only engineering trainer in the whole of Mulgore was originally a goblin called Twizwick Sprocketgrind, located in a mine at a very distant spot, unlikely to be found by any new player without help. Similarly, there were originally very few druid trainers in the Eastern Kingdoms and very few paladin trainers in Kalimdor.
- There were originally no guards at neutral cities, so most of them were slaughter fests.
- Before Cataclysm many zones had a different level range and had different storylines than now. Since flying was unimplemented, many unfinished areas were also off-limits and were protected by Guardians of Blizzard, but that didn't stop people exploring by doing "wall jumping".
- There still exists several inaccessible zones, such as Programmer Isle, Designer Island, and GM Island.
- The Blue Child was missing from patch 1.10.0 to 5.0.4.
- Weather effects were added in patch 1.10.0.
- Before, Blizzard took more care in keeping coherent the appearance of various NPCs throughout time. For example, when Rexxar moved to Outland, he was replaced by Rokaro, an entirely new character who assumed his previous role in order for Rexxar to be only at one place at a time. Similarly, despite its lore importance, the quest where Thrall first heard of the Mag'har was cut out entirely when he left Orgrimmar to become a shaman. Nowadays and for example, while Garrosh Hellscream isn't present in Orgrimmar anymore, most of the quests in which he appeared in the world are still accessible.
- The original plan for World of Warcraft was to have copypasted, public micro-dungeons instead of instanced dungeons.
- During the alpha, all instance portals used a Dark Portal model as a placeholder. There was one Dark Portal in underwater Azshara, which led some to assume that there was supposed to be an instance there later.
- The maximum party size for dungeons and raids originally varied greatly. Initially, there was no cap on the number of players that could enter an instance; 40-man raids could be formed for any dungeon in the game, though this was still no guarantee of success. Molten Core and Onyxia were 40-player raids. In patch 1.3.0, most dungeons were capped at 10 players while Blackrock Spire was capped at 15. Patch 1.5.0 later introduced the first 20-player raid, Zul'Gurub. Though all dungeons were designed for 5 players, endgame dungeons such as Scholomance and Stratholme were typically run with 10 players due to their high difficulty. Patch 1.10.0 finally capped all dungeons at 5 players, and Blackrock Spire at 10.
- Upper Blackrock Spire and Lower Blackrock Spire were originally a single instance, with the Upper section tuned for 10 players and the lower section tuned for 5. The instance portal was located in the Hall of Blackhand, and the door into Upper Blackrock Spire could only be opened with a key. As a result of containing areas tuned for two different group sizes, Lower Blackrock Spire was for a long time the only dungeon that could be run with a larger group than intended. Patch 4.0.3a retuned Upper Blackrock Spire for 5 players and capped the instance at 5 players. The two sections were eventually split into separate instances in Warlords of Draenor.
- Dungeon design was originally much different than now. Some dungeons were almost literal mazes, and many of them were revamped to have whole floors and sections removed. Crowd control was also a must back then.
- Some raid buffs such as paladin auras and shaman totems were initially the only group wide.
- Potions could be used multiple times in a single boss fight, and the cooldown wasn't shared, so you could use a potion, then an , then a quest item that gave you health, etc.
- There was originally nothing besides using the "Looking For Group" channel if you wanted to meet other adventurers to explore dungeons together. Meeting Stones were then added in patch 1.3.0, but they only let you look for other people who queued for an instance. Patch 1.5.0 added the possibility to join queues through innkeepers, and patch 2.0.1 added the Dungeon Finder and the possibility for meeting stones to summon other people.
- Right at release combat wasn't a zone-wide flag in raids, so a very common tactic was to have out of combat healers to resurrect people or have hunters using to drop out of combat and use on people.
- There were often optional bosses and rooms that required special items to be accessed, like the that summoned Kirtonos the Herald, or the that summoned Urok Doomhowl.
- Up until patch 1.9.0, raid lockouts depended on when you saved to the instance instead of resetting at a fixed server time.
- The number of items in armor sets varied. Tier 3 sets had nine pieces, including an epic ring.
- Killing some vanilla bosses led to NPCs giving powerful buffs to every player in a wide radius; for example, the Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer and the Warchief's Blessing. This is why high officers like Field Marshal Afrasiabi and Overlord Runthak hung around the entrances of their capitals. The Herald of Thrall could even buff people into the Barrens! More are listed at the signs of victories page.
- Late vanilla introduced a long questline to upgrade your Dungeon Set 1 into a Dungeon Set 2. Despite its awesome lore, the set was of questionable usefulness since many people were already raiding. Though the sets have been removed, replicas with no stats can be purchased at the Darkmoon Faire for transmogrification.
- Sets were originally a chore to farm because before Tier 3, armor tokens didn't exist and items often dropped when matching classes were not present for them.
- Before Wrath of the Lich King, attunement was necessary for many dungeons, and as such a keyring feature existed to transport all these keys. Some of these attunement quests were very extensive, and as such it was not uncommon for people who had the right keys (or the right skill) to want payment for being there.
- With the Cataclysm patch 4.3.0, all already-existing dungeons were revamped to include their dungeon quest givers inside the dungeons themselves in order to ease the level flow. Before this design shift, quests for many dungeons had to be taken all over the world. Sometimes, however, this broke the storytelling flow of some zones, as these dungeon quests were originally designed to be an integrant part of the storyline of their main areas. For example, in Hellfire Peninsula, was found in Hellfire Ramparts and was the first hint that the Fel Horde was working with the Illidari, culminating in the chilling discovery that they had a pit lord chained up in the fortress.
- There was originally no heroic, mythic, flex or scalable modes for dungeons and raids. Only one difficulty level to balance things around.
- Prior to the addition of Mythic mode, there was the Challenge Mode.
- Timewalking was added with patch 6.2.0, and more and more dungeons were added to it ever since.
- During Legion you could obtain an item from a dungeon-type mission, which in turn offered a dungeon quest. Examples are , and . They were removed and was made a legacy achievement before the release of Battle for Azeroth.
Original alpha/beta zones
- In early game design docs, they were intended to be a high-level zone north of Lordaeron.
- Main article: Emerald Dream (unreleased)
- The Emerald Dream was originally planned to be the place where player characters went upon death; see above.
- Files for the area have existed since before the vanilla release. Many of the assets were improved with new textures in Cataclysm.
- Several of these assets were used in the Emerald Dragonshrine and the Stormrage Barrow Dens, as well as the ending area of the Emerald Nightmare raid many years later.
- The first time adventurers actually entered the Emerald Dream was in , but it was just a phased Moonglade.
- In the original design docs for the game, way before even the alpha, Kezan and its capital Undermine were to be the main travel hub between the continents of Kalimdor, Northrend and the Eastern Kingdoms. Nazjatar also appeared on the same maps.
- Files of a winter version of Arathi Basin were introduced in Warlords of Draenor, only to be actually used in patch 7.2.0.
- In vanilla, Azshara had very little quests because Blizzard had designed it with a terrible layout, and they realized that too late. They thought most people would hate it so much, so they just didn't bother and left it for future expansions.
- The scrapped Azshara Crater battleground was originally intended to be there, at Forlorn Ridge. It was a big battleground, similar to Alterac Valley, with opposing night elf and orc bases facing each other among giant dragon statues.
- Hippogryphs in Azshara used to drop more money than any other mob in the game, so it was usually farmed by bots 24/7.
- While the wreck still exists, there were a few NPCs and quests related to the Horizon Scout.
- The Badlands were originally a landlocked area that was quite empty. Kargath, however, was the Horde base closest to Blackrock Mountain, and as such was used as a travel hub for raiders.
- Blizzard stated at BlizzCon 2010 that they planned on splitting Uldaman in two, with the first half ending in the Ironaya encounter, and the second half beginning at the back door where the Obsidian Sentinel is located. This plan never came to fruition.
- At release the Barrens were rather empty compared to other starting zones like Elwynn Forest and Dun Morogh, so Blizzard added new NPCs such as guards, children and civilians in patch 1.6.0 to populate the various pig farms and watch towers of the region. Erk is such an example.
- The elite Alliance Outrunners were originally patrolling the zone.
- During Cataclysm the Barrens were split into two different zones: Northern Barrens and Southern Barrens. The Wailing Caverns also lost their maze section.
- During Mists of Pandaria there was a war in the region: Battlefield: Barrens. The Kor'kron bases are still there in the Northern Barrens, populated by their original inhabitants, excepted that they are neutral to low-level Horde adventurers.
- Molten Core was originally going to be cut, as it did not appear that it would be ready in time for release. The developers managed to finish the instance in a single week to ensure that it would be playable at launch.
- The Molten Core raid entrance was originally in Blackrock Depths, with a shortcut that involved jumping out a window into a portal over a pool of lava. However, when instance servers were full, the 40 people jumping through the raid portal inevitably fell into the lava below while getting an "Instance servers are full, try again later" message, so Lothos Riftwaker's teleport was added instead.
- Before the release of Blackwing Lair, tier 2 sets dropped in Molten Core and had different graphics.
- The very first legendary item, , dropped once in Molten Core and was removed the same day from its loot tables.
- Some warlocks used to dismiss their pets once they got the Living Bomb debuff on Baron Geddon and resummoned them in crowded places such as the Ironforge auction house. The following explosion could kill tens of people at once.
- Behind Golemagg the Incinerator there was a furnace that dealt a lot of damage (around 3-4k per second) when you got close to it. Raiding guilds often used to trick new players, telling them they could see Ragnaros by looking into it.
- You originally had to extinguish runes of warding to summon Ragnaros. These runes were unique to each boss and denoted the first letter of the boss name. Upon extinguishing them they would light up inside the roof of the cavern Ragnaros is summoned into. Extinguishing the runes required a consumable sold by the Hydraxian Waterlords, and the reward for being revered with them was a permanent, non-consumable .
- In 2008, Blizzard announced a console game called World of Warcraft: The Molten Core as the April Fools joke.
- The Blackwing Lair raid entrance was originally in Upper Blackrock Spire.
- In the early layout, the area was known as the "Tainted Lands" and was part of a larger Black Morass zone.
- The area was updated several times during the history of World of Warcraft. Prior to The Burning Crusade the Dark Portal was closed down, protected by many elite demons, and the Tainted Scar occupied the area now known as the Tainted Forest. After the Dark Portal Opens event, the forces of Nethergarde Keep took the area around the Portal, which once opened led to Outland. Cataclysm turned Dreadmaul Hold into a Horde town and updated several other areas. Finally, Warlords of Draenor led to the Ironmarch destroying Nethergarde and Dreadmaul Hold, with the Dark Portal now leading to alternate Draenor.
- Very early in planning, Blackfathom Deeps was once planned to be in northern Darkshore. A building identical to Blackfathom Deeps' entrance can still be found in the Ruins of Mathystra.
- Shatterspear Vale was originally only a scenic easter egg that could be seen from the hippogryph when flying to or from Nighthaven in Moonglade.
- In the vanilla alpha Karazhan was originally planned to be a vanilla dungeon named "Medivh's Tower". It also had a different appearance.
- The then-unnamed crypt behind Karazhan has been here since the vanilla release but was only made partially accessible in Legion.
- When The Burning Crusade was originally announced, Karazhan was then intended to be released in a patch before the expansion pack as a prelude to the events that would lead to the opening of the Dark Portal. It was to have 10-players and 20-players raid elements.
- The The Burning Crusade Karazhan raid was supposed to have a flight path on the upper levels of the tower. There are actually gryphon roosts on one terrace, but they serve no purpose besides being a reference to the The Last Guardian novel.
- When you stand inside Karazhan you can see an abandoned village near the tower, but the village doesn't exist in Deadwind Pass. Since instance maps are usually made from older outdoor maps, it means that village existed at one point but was removed from the game's world.
- There was originally to be a questline to reveal the fate of Keanna through her facet.
- Up until patch 7.1.0, there was a quest chain to summon Nightbane in Karazhan.
- At release Rexxar originally roamed Desolace and Feralas, but he was replaced by Rokaro when the beastmaster left for Outland. Rexxar was often hard to find because of his roaming, so Rokaro was put in Shadowprey Village.
- Maraudon was added in patch 1.2.0 and was the first dungeon to be added in a content patch.
- Before Cataclysm the area was completely barren of plant life except for a bit of grass on the coasts.
- The area was originally home to the Gizelton Caravan, which was removed in patch 5.0.4.
- Just near Dun Morogh is Newman's Landing, which (anecdotally) was used as an area where Alliance characters were dropped upon creation before the intro video started. If you stood at a certain spot you could notice level 1 characters appearing for a brief instant before they disappeared.
- Ironforge was, in the alpha, by far the largest city in the game because it had two floors instead of one; the one that exists today is smaller than the original version. Old Ironforge was also already visible in-game as a basement that also included the Deeprun Tram.
- Instead of being the gnome starting zone like today, Gnomeregan was originally just the tram station of Ironforge, accessible through an elevator, but Blizzard turned it into an instance in the beta and separated it from the dwarven city. Since the dungeon was hardly accessible for Horde players a goblin called Scooty could build a transponder to teleport there.
- There was originally a funny quest in Gnomeregan called which involved collecting punch cards, each of them having a secret message in binary.
- From vanilla up until Cataclysm Ironforge Airfield was a popular spot for explorers despite being inaccessible.
- Before Cataclysm, a major event happened in Dun Morogh so the gnomes could retake Gnomeregan: Operation: Gnomeregan. This led to Gnomeregan becoming the new gnomish starting zone instead of Coldridge Valley.
- The Ring of Valor building has been in Orgrimmar since before release and was originally intended to be like the Gurubashi Arena, where you can fight players of your own faction.
- Back at release the Hall of Legends used to be an instanced building which only Rank 6 or up people could enter.
- When the Ring of Valor was finally implemented in Wrath of the Lich King, it was originally very buggy and Blizzard had to disable it for some time. It also was a bit different: there were flame walls which dealt fire damage, and you didn't start on an elevator but behind a wall instead.
- Before Cataclysm, a major event happened in Durotar so the trolls could retake the Echo Isles: Zalazane's Fall. This led to the Echo Isles becoming the new troll starting zone instead of the Valley of Trials.
- In Cataclysm Orgrimmar was completely overhauled, with many new metal buildings. Before that, almost every building in the capital was made of wood and stone.
- The events of the Darkspear Rebellion and the following Siege of Orgrimmar provoked many changes in the city. After the victory of the rebels, many Kor'kron NPCs were removed, and now Darkspear Guardians as well as Thunder Bluff Protectors patrol the streets alongside the grunts.
- The Orgrimmar Embassy was added in patch 7.3.5, replacing part of the Goblin Slums.
- At release, the zone was much emptier. Varian Wrynn was a prisoner of the naga in Alcaz Island, and it wasn't until patch 2.3.0 that the zone was revamped with more quests and quality of life features such as roads.
- Varian was removed from his prison in the same patch, but a big quest chain was added to investigate his original disappearance from Stormwind. The quest chain was updated in Wrath of the Lich King when Varian was added back to Stormwind Keep, but wasn't updated again in Legion despite Varian now being dead.
- Alcaz Island was later planned to be made into a scenario. Some doodads and buildings of the Twilight's Hammer were found there.
- The Dustwallow revamp was worked on since The Burning Crusade beta.
- In the alpha Naxxramas was originally a much smaller necropolis, intended to be accessible through the Slaughter Square raid portal at the end of Stratholme, similar to the Molten Core raid portal in Blackrock Depths. Carefully using a flying mount to approach Stratholme from the outside shows that an old version of that necropolis is still flying near Slaughter Square even thought it was never made visible from the instance itself.
- At release Tirion Fordring was only an old paladin living in a shack near Thondroril River. He was involved in a long chain leading to , a sad quest about his son Taelan.
- littered the area. When touched, they summoned one or two 60 elites Fallen Heroes with 9000 health, very deadly to leveling adventurers.
- Patch 1.10.0 introduced a 45-minute timer to Stratholme for the quest . Many players considered beating the timer to be a sort of "hard mode," though succeeding provided no benefit beyond completing the quest.
- Patch 1.11.0 introduced Naxxramas and a few other things, like a force of neutral scarlet crusaders at Light's Hope Chapel which desired to help against the Scourge Invasions and offered Naxxramas quests. More Argent Dawn soldiers were generally added to the zone in order to fight against the Scourge.
- This incarnation of Naxxramas was quite different from its later re-release. Notably, instead of Baron Rivendare there was Highlord Mograine, the original wielder of Ashbringer. Many of the death knight mobs also had a different look.
- A Winterspring-like area exists in the same instance map as Naxxramas, which is used to simulate the portals to Northrend in Kel'Thuzad's Chamber.
- In patch 1.12.0 the A Game of Towers world PvP objectives were added to the Eastern Plaguelands.
- Even after it moved to Northrend, Naxxramas was still physically present in the Eastern Plaguelands until Cataclysm. There was no way to enter it or see it because it was invisible. If you logged off your character in old Naxxramas before Wrath of the Lich King was released, you would appear in Eastern Plaguelands Naxxramas with portals to Northrend.
- During the Wrath of the Lich King beta, Acherus was bigger and more confusing, having more floors than now.
- The Scarlet Enclave originally didn't exist, and was only added to serve as the death knight class starting zone.
Beyond the Slaughter Square raid portal.
- Elwynn Forest, Stormwind City, Westfall and Duskwood were some of the first zones that Blizzard made back before 2001. Goldshire was then a lot bigger and it resembled a real village, but Blizzard realized that they couldn't make other starting zone hubs that big, and thus they removed a lot of buildings in Goldshire so that it would be even for all zones.
- In the alpha, the Vault in Stormwind City was planned to become a dungeon and was even given lore in the Warcraft RPG.
- It was originally envisioned by Blizzard that you could go to the Cathedral of Light and rent the area for player weddings.
- At release Stormwind City originally didn't have a harbor, and Stormwind Keep had a different design. Without the harbor, low-level night elf players had to run through Wetlands, Loch Modan, Dun Morogh and Ironforge to reach Stormwind for the first time.
- There was a blocked off portal close to Old Town which back then was supposed to be one day used for player housing.
- Defias Rioters sometimes tried to escape from the Stormwind Stockade.
- The Champions' Hall used to be an instanced building which only Rank 6 or up people could enter.
- In Elwynn Forest, Echo Ridge Mine was originally open for exploration and contained kobolds.
- Alliance players flying between Ironforge and Stormwind flew over a part of the Northshire River that was accessible from the Burning Steppes. This part of the river was special because it had a fishing pool with an unlimited amount of . While not exclusive to Alliance players, there were no indications by which to find the area as Horde player, as no flight paths went over this area for them.
- Stormwind was originally home to one of the most epic quest chains of the game, known as The Great Masquerade, which was a culmination of every plot lines humans fought for during their leveling experience. During that time Varian Wrynn was missing, and his son Anduin, still a young child, was advised by Regent Lord Bolvar Fordragon and Lady Katrana Prestor. But not everything was it seemed, and Marshal Windsor had to be broken out of his cell in order to reveal the truth...
- In the beta, Katrana Prestor was Daval Prestor II instead.
- From patch 1.4.1 to 1.5.0, Archbishop Benedictus was actually the leader of Stormwind, having staged a temporary coup against Bolvar. This was mostly for PvP purposes.
- Stormwind was originally home to a Park populated mainly by night elves, which was destroyed by Deathwing right before Cataclysm. Only the Old Barracks remained of the destroyed area, until Lion's Rest was built over the ruins in Legion.
- The Stormwind Embassy was added in patch 7.3.5, replacing part of the Stormwind City Outskirts.
- Dire Maul was added in patch 1.3.0 and was the second dungeon to be added in a content patch.
- There was originally a quest chain to gain that started in Dire Maul, started by the random drop.
- Speaking of random drops: Dire Maul also had librams, as well as book drops to gain a .
- Up until Cataclysm, there was the Isle of Dread west of Feralas.
- During the original beta, Garona was an NPC in Ravenholdt Manor.
- At release the Hillsbrad Foothills were two different zones: Hillsbrad Foothills and Alterac Mountains.
- Southshore and Tarren Mill were both very different-looking than now. Hallow's End originally involved a stink bombs battle between the two cities.
- Instead of the Dalaran Crater, the ruins of Dalaran were still there, being rebuilt under an opaque dome.
- Purgation Isle was populated only by purposeless elite ghosts.
- Helcular was originally a mob summoned after completing . He was originally very weak compared to the Southshore Guards, but when their elite status was removed in The Burning Crusade he became able to wreak havoc quite effectively.
- Back when it was released in patch 1.5.0, Alterac Valley was bigger and more complex than now:
- It had several now inaccessible areas such as Wildpaw Ridge and Winterax Hold, populated by Syndicate, gnoll and ice troll mobs. One of these trolls was named Korrak the Bloodrager and he was the objective of the quest that rewarded and .
- There were more Alliance and Horde troops, with many more officers similar to the Frostwolf Warmasters and the Stormpike Marshals, and NPCs were generally more powerful. Mine layers were laying out explosives on the battlefield. Although they still exist, the various summons such as Lokholar the Ice Lord and the Wing Commanders were also used more often because there was no reinforcements resource mechanic and as such the only way to finish the battleground was to kill the opposite general; the battles could rage on for days. You could even get to help by turning in enough components.
- You could loot grisly trophies on the bodies of your enemies, such as and . This system was later partially reinstated in Ashran.
- The low level rams and wolves in the battleground were added so that lower level players who joined the battle could kill them to level up as well as upgrade friendly troops with turn-in items.
- During the conception phase for the game, the area was originally meant to be called "Aerie Peaks".
- Prior to the addition of Thorium Point in patch 1.5.0, the Searing Gorge had no settlements at all. For Horde adventurers willing to go to Blackrock Mountain, they had to ride from Kargath, and dwarves had to go through Loch Modan, that is as long as they had collected the ...
- At release half of Silithus was missing on the map because Ahn'Qiraj was not implemented yet. This can still be seen on the map at the beginning of the original WoW cinematic.
- There were originally no quests or anything important at all there, and the zone was progressively updated with content through patch 1.3.0 to 1.8.0.
- The two Ahn'Qiraj raid instances were added in patch 1.9.0, but they couldn't be accessed yet. First, the whole realm had to participate in an event called "Gates of Ahn'Qiraj", which required tons of grinding and the killing of several world bosses.
- The Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest chain notably rewarded a legendary mount, the , as well as an epic cooking recipe: .
- The first "hard mode" to have ever been placed in a raid was in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, where you couldn't only make the encounter harder but also gain superior items in the Silithid Royalty encounter.
- In patch 1.12.0 the The Silithyst Must Flow world PvP objectives were added to the zone but were largely ignored by players, leading to it being nicknamed "sandlol".
- Up until Cataclysm there were quests to summon the members of the Abyssal Council at the various Wind stones of Silithus.
- Between patch 7.3.0 and patch 7.3.5, finishing Antorus would switch Silithus with a special destroyed version of the zone. Patch 7.3.5 made it so that you don't need to finish up the raid in order to see the new version of the zone, which was furthermore updated with Azerite nodes and Alliance/Horde outposts.
- There were level 25 elite mobs called Sons of Arugal, which had a much higher level than Forsaken players in the area, and were a real threat to them.
- Pyrewood Village was originally inhabited by the Moonrage pack of worgen. During the day they were human and friendly to Alliance adventurers, and during the night they were worgen and hostile to everyone.
- The Greymane Wall originally had a different model, and many Lordaeron refugees were blocked there. Among them, Wallace the Blind could sell his wares to both Horde and Alliance, presumably because of his blindness.
- In the alpha there were two big islands off the western coast of the Vale: Island of Doctor Lapidis and Gillijim's Isle. They were eventually removed, but even in the release build if you went far enough with a mount and water walking, you could reach the area where they were once and switch to the according zone channels.
- It was originally envisioned by Blizzard that you could go to the Gurubashi Arena, buy tickets and fight dragons, hydras and even titans there. Multiple teams could fight against a single monster or against each other, with even guild groups, spectators and bets being planned.
- During the alpha, Booty Bay was named Blackwater Cove and was designed differently. However, with the way boat transportation was going to work (with boats needing space for their travel arc), change was needed. Booty Bay was one of the first areas that got textured in-game and was used as a proving ground for many of WoW's frame rate issues.
- In the beta the statue at Janeiro's Point was originally that of a human, and there was a Statue of Liberty-like statue at Jaguero Isle.
- was originally much more extensive and grindy than it is today.
- In the same patch that introduced Zul'Gurub, Yojamba Isle was turned into a Zandalari quest hub.
- Shortly after Zul'Gurub was released, some hunters dismissed their pets once they got the Corrupted Blood debuff on Hakkar the Soulflayer and resummoned them in crowded places such as Stormwind City. This resulted in gigantic plagues, as the debuff was transmissible from NPCs to players even though it was originally intended to be limited to the raid area.
- In the raid there were originally two rare epic mounts, the and the . There were known for being the first time that Horde players could get a saber cat and that Alliance players could get a raptor.
- In Zul'Gurub you could also get unique Zandalar Tribe sets with very interesting lore about the trolls.
- The Burning Crusade was to introduce the Gurubashi Catacombs arena before scrapping the idea. It was geographically supposed to be situated under the Gurubashi Arena.
- Cataclysm split Stranglethorn Vale into two different zones: Northern Stranglethorn and Cape of Stranglethorn.
- Before The Burning Crusade, the draenei of the Harborage were actually Lost Ones instead of Broken.
- The Swamp of Sorrows had originally fewer villages and outposts. Before Cataclysm, the Alliance had notably no presence in the area and the Harborage was neutral, with only an Alliance Exodar emissary trying to talk to the Broken.
- The Temple of Atal'Hakkar had originally several more bosses and floors that were cut in Cataclysm. To summon the Avatar of Hakkar, players had to complete a long quest chain initiated by Yeh'kinya, a precursor to the Zul'Gurub quests.
- The quest started by slaying the Shade of Eranikus in the Temple of Atal'Hakkar was abruptly cut at , and was only finished with the questline for the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj world event.
- In the original World of Warcraft alpha, Zul'Farrak was supposed to be a non-instanced elite area, but the developers made it so big and good that they decided to make it an instance instead.
- Since Anachronos was involved in several questlines (some of them related to Ahn'Qiraj) despite the Caverns of Time being closed, he was originally standing outside of the Caverns. He could be attacked but he couldn't be killed.
- The Black Morass instance (without the mobs and bosses) was in the game files since 2004.
- Uldum was originally just a big gate in a mountain south of Tanaris, hinting that it was meant to be a titan facility like Uldaman instead of an outdoor region. The Stone Watcher of Norgannon there told he required the Plates of Uldum.
- Up until Cataclysm, there were two islands south of Tanaris.
- The island upon which the world tree Teldrassil was built was called "Kalidar" in early concept art and advertising. It seems that now the island has taken the same name as the tree and there is no distinction between the two anymore.
- Until the return of Malfurion Stormrage in Cataclysm, Fandral Staghelm was the regent of Darnassus in his absence, and was considered a racial boss in certain patches during Vanilla (like Archbishop Benedictus).
- Before the area was flooded there was a very unique area here, the Mirage Raceway. There were goblin and gnome pit stands, and drag cars that were racing against each other.
- Before release, all wings of the Scarlet Monastery were once a single instance, but they were split into four because it was too big. The wings were again changed in Mists of Pandaria, this time to two.
- Up until a first Cataclysm rework, the Monastery still was one instance, it was just that you couldn't get to the other sections from one another.
- At release, the Bulwark area was only a measly barricade, with plaguemist tinting the sky like in the nearby Plaguelands.
- Entering the Monastery with a triggered a special event.
- Undercity was originally meant to be a ruined human city, but the designers at Blizzard eventually decided to create an undead-themed toolkit and to use it instead. It was also originally called "Necropolis" in early concept maps for World of Warcraft. The quest mentions a Necropolis while talking about Undercity, which may be a remnant of the alpha stage considering the ID of the quest.
- The city originally had a second floor but it made things harder to navigate, so it was eventually left unused. The second floor can still be accessed with a flying mount, however.
- Similarly, the Ruins of Lordaeron area was originally mostly inaccessible before Cataclysm and served only as a reference to the Warcraft III campaigns.
- The Wrathgate questline in the Dragonblight originally had a Battle for the Undercity quest in its chain, but it got removed because of phasing issues. This quest featured the rebellion of Varimathras, which until then was the second of Sylvanas Windrunner. Following this quest, Varimathras and the abominations patrolling Undercity were removed and replaced with Kor'kron soldiers and Bragor Bloodfist. After the Siege of Orgrimmar, the undead Undercity Guardians made a comeback and the Kor'kron Overseers were removed.
- The area was originally full of references to Nintendo: Linken, Dadanga, Muigin, Larion.
- There was also no flight point in the region until patch 1.11.0.
- In the original World of Warcraft alpha, Scholomance was apparently supposed to be a non-instanced elite area, but the developers made it so big and good that they decided to make it an instance instead.
- Andorhal at release was originally an elite area shaped more like its Warcraft III incarnation, with walls and denser building placement.
- Before Cataclysm the area was more similar to the Eastern Plaguelands, with plaguemist tinting the area with a yellowish-gray color. The farms were all abandoned, Andorhal was only Scourge-held ruins and Hearthglen was a bastion of the Scarlet Crusade.
- Moonbrook was originally occupied by the Defias Brotherhood. It is noteworthy because of the infamous Defias Pillagers, which for a long time were statistically the standard mobs which were killing the most adventurers. The Defias Messenger was also roaming a huge part of the area, and when someone saw him it was common courtesy to warn other players who were looking for him.
- In the original concept for the Deadmines, Ironclad Cove was an open air area instead of a cavern. Blizzard finally went with an enclosed area and added an exit gate for the boat north of Yojamba Isle.
- The Dragonmaw Gates were originally part of the region instead of the Twilight Highlands. It was protected by Axtroz and other members of the red dragonflight.
- The Dragonmaw clan members were originally green orcs instead of grey orcs like now.
The Burning Crusade zones
- It was originally said that the various dimensional gateways in Outland would eventually be opened to explore other planets, and maybe find Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner. A similar idea was finally implemented a decade later, with the Invasion Points and patch 7.3.0.
- The initially planned setting for WoW's first expansion was not Outland, but rather the South Seas on Azeroth. However, due to server limitations, the developers were unable to add more zones to the existing Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor and instead decided to use Outland for the expansion, as it would be on a separate realm.
- The pre-release map indicated the area was to contain an area called Gronn'bor Shrine, presumably named after the gronn.
- There was once an area called Felstorm Point that was removed with patch 2.1.0 to clear a place for questing in the nearby Bash'ir Landing, Insidion's Perch, and Furywing's Perch.
- Among the Ogri'la dailies was an event called Shartuul's Transporter, available once you reach honored reputation. It was the test-bed for the vehicle mechanics that would later be much more common in Wrath of the Lich King, but it was sadly very buggy and Blizzard spent months fixing it until they eventually gave up.
- Even during vanilla, the future addition of Quel'Thalas was hinted by Adon, an high elf in the Eastern Plaguelands. In the Northern Lordaeron restricted area, there was also already a closed zone named after the country, populated only by an abandoned highborne port and tower. For a long time, people speculated that this area was the original landing site of the exiled high elves before they established the country.
- During the beta existed a quest showing that at least one Elfgate was to be implemented.
- At the release of the expansion pack there was originally an unused raid portal at the forest troll village of Tor'Watha in Eversong Woods.
- The Hall of Blood of Silvermoon originally housed M'uru, and the Blood Knights questline had you tap into his energies in order to grow in power. After Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider came back to Azeroth, M'uru was forcefully taken to Sunwell Plateau. The Arcane Guardians also had their quotes updated to reflect their allegiance to the Regent Lor'themar Theron.
- In Zul'Aman, Hex Lord Malacrass was originally to be Hexxlord Jin'zakk, an RPG character instead.
- Zul'Aman was home to a timed event, the rewards being superior loot and the . Many more NPCs could also be saved with the .
- Ghostlands was to have flying allowed. During the patch 4.1.0 PTR it gained several new subzones along the zone's borders but it was eventually scrapped. The subzones are still there.
- Hellfire Peninsula was originally supposed to be a high-level vanilla zone instead of being released in The Burning Crusade.
- This original Hellfire Peninsula resembled the The Frozen Throne version a lot more, with more mushrooms, etc. That area was even used in some promotional screenshots.
- Mages could originally through the Deadmines portal and glitch it, then cast off an unfinished tunnel, and reach a very early version of Hellfire Peninsula.
- Old concept arts show that a battleground was planned for Hellfire Peninsula at some point.
- There exists an Omenai reputation in the game files, which implies that they may be a reputation faction that was cut before release.
- existed in the heroic Shattered Halls instance but was removed. You had to save a group of NPCs from execution within a 50-minute timer.
- There are several cut quests and quest-lines that appeared only in the beta, such as the one starting with .
Vanilla Hellfire Peninsula promotional screenshot.
- Sun's Reach was captured by the forces of the Shattered Sun Offensive over a lengthy, one-time quest chain.
- On the original raid layout of Sunwell Plateau, there was supposed to be Scourge buildings and mobs during a part of the raid.
- Sunwell Plateau's original loading screen had a Wrath of the Lich King watermark, indicating that it might have at first been planned for the next expansion pack.
- Sunwell Plateau was the first raid to have locked gates which opened over a set period of time on all servers.
- Back when Thrall was still Warchief of the Horde, there were more quests related to the discovery of the Mag'har by the orcs of Azeroth, ending in , in which Thrall discovered his grandmother and Garrosh Hellscream became inspired by the story of his father.
- Before the actual patch that introduced the Black Temple raid, Teron Gorefiend didn't have his own unique model when he appeared in . He looked like an orc warlock wearing the Corruptor Raiment set. Similarly, the only time Illidan Stormrage appeared before this patch he had no model yet and talked through a fel crystal during .
- The Priests of Baa'ri were originally announced as a joke faction associated to the Black Temple. They would have notably sold holy resistance gear.
- There's two scrapped quest-chains in the Forest starting with / and .
- Griftah was briefly banned out of Shattrath due to his fraudulent activities. Jadaar and Asric were the two guards investigating him. Another example of small updates adding more and more to the story is the "feud" between Cro Threadstrong and Granny Smith.
- Until patch 2.4.0 and the beginning of the battle for Quel'Danas, there were no troops of the Shattered Sun Offensive in Shattrath. The troops in the city were majorly Aldor soldiers instead, to the point that the Scryers were angry at them and spiked their soup in order to ridicule them.
- There was originally a quest called in which a draenei arcane golem appeared, maybe an early vigilant. The quest was very bugged however and was eventually replaced by another.
- Inside the Underbog, there was a naga called Overseer Tidewrath. When you'd reach the top of the staircase and were able to see him, Ghaz'an would start climbing up the platforms to go and eat the Overseer. If you reached him in time and killed him yourself instead of Ghaz'an, you would be rewarded with nice loot.
Wrath of the Lich King zones
- A skiing feature was planned to be included.
- Undead naga were originally planned to appear.
- Anub'arak was to have a bigger role.
- It was going to be the first subterranean zone.
- "Buildings, temples -- a look and feel very similar to Naxxramas, since the nerubians are where the Scourge stole that architecture from".
- There would have been wall-climbing mounts.
- That plan was dropped and developers split the zone into two dungeon instances, Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom.
- The Argent Tournament event in Icecrown was originally supposed to be in Crystalsong Forest, but Blizzard decided to put it in Icecrown instead because of the lag caused by Dalaran. Barely used camps for the Silver Covenant and the Sunreavers are still there. In The Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the summary for the zone indicates that the two factions are fighting for control of the local Highborne ruins, though this plotline is never touched on in the game.
- Valgarde was the first town ever modeled for the game, years before the actual alpha back when World of Warcraft was on an edited Warcraft III engine. Lands of Mystery and early concept arts marked it as a viking-styled town built over Arthas Menethil's original landing site, but that design was scrapped for Wrath of the Lich King.
- The Argent Tournament was added in patch 3.1.0, though its construction was only fully finished in patch 3.2.0 for the opening of the Crusaders' Coliseum arena.
- Icecrown Citadel originally had a slightly different design and wasn't besieged by the Argent Crusade until patch 3.3.0.
- Pit of Saron was originally internally named the "Quarry of Tears".
- Icecrown Citadel was originally home to weekly raid quests that were later removed.
- While more speculation than anything, it seems the objective of the quest was intended to be the Scythe of Elune, but the story surrounding the Scythe was eventually fleshed out in the next expansion pack instead. This could be similar to the story of Ashbringer being hinted at in Vanilla but then completely retconned later.
- Before the patch that added the raid, Thorim used a frost vrykul model.
- Ulduar was the first raid with official hard modes for its bosses. It was done via in-game action and you had to do trigger specific things during an encounter instead of just doing it through a menu.
- Patch 7.3.5 removed the 10 and 25 man Ulduar options when adding Timewalking. Only the 25 man version of quests were kept, and as an example was removed while was kept. Both titles for defeating the two versions of Algalon are also now received at the same time.
- The area was supposed to have aerial combat, which was removed before release. Promotional screenshots about aerial combat can still be seen on the Wrath of the Lich King box.
- The main keep of Gundrak is never visited. The presence of a huge snake tail at the Tomb of the Ancients led to people speculating that it was meant to be part of another wing.
- There exists strings and assets hinting that the Elemental Unrest was originally designed to be more involved, with flooding and attacks in several cities, including Ironforge and Thunder Bluff. These two towns sees a lot of events in The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm (respectively two Dark Iron clan dwarves / Grimtotem tribe tauren attacks) but there is no hard evidence that these were originally to appear in-game.
- Instead of Sauranok the Mystic being a pawn of the Twilight's Hammer, it was originally Grand Magister Rommath that was supposed to be a member of the Twilight Council, but that was cut. Similarly, Archbishop Benedictus as the Twilight Father persona was supposed to be uncovered during the Alliance Twilight Highlands pre-quests.
- There also exists content indicating that Baine Bloodhoof was supposed to be more involved in the defense of Mulgore and the Northern Barrens against the human invasion. The Great Gate was also to be attacked during .
- During the patch 4.1.0 PTR, C'Thun was supposed to make a comeback in Silithus, with Cenarion Hold being attacked by giant tentacles and many of its defenders infected and transformed. However, the quests were clearly marked as placeholders and were never finished before being cut. Due to the various NPC and quest entries created, it seems Cenarion Scout Jalia, Commander Mar'alith, Rabine Saturna and Layo Starstrike would have been involved. Hive'Ashi would also have been under control of the Twilight's Hammer, with the twilight dragonflight and Cho'gall involved.
- The Fangs of the Father questline was initially planned to be a bit longer, with a quest sending you to Dalaran to kill a dragon named Fermion. There is no mention of Dalaran or Fermion during the questline and the black dragon doesn't exist.
- The island was added in patch 4.3.0.
- Below Dun Morogh and above Elwynn Forest there was an unclickable and completely empty area. Before Cataclysm was released, Blizzard intended this to be the area from where Deathwing would enter Azeroth from Deepholm, but shortly before the release they decided Deathwing would enter from the Maelstrom instead. Today this area is just filled with water. It is possible that the Scar of the Worldbreaker is a remnant of the Deathwing Scar area concept. Initially, Deathwing would emerge here and have made his way to Grim Batol, where he would bisect the mountain (currently seen from within the dungeon, but not externally).
- In the alpha, the worgen starting experience in Gilneas was slightly different. Duskhaven was originally a community called Grimmburg, which happened to have an inquisitor among its leaders. As a fledgling worgen adventurer you were to belong to the Wolfheart clan led by Balvus Wolfheart, who had a storyline mirroring that of Alpha Prime. The orcs were much more involved in the initial invasion, than the Forsaken.
- The Battle for Gilneas battleground was originally intended to be set in Gilneas City and revolve around attempting to conquer the highest number of districts, but after internal playtesting it was deemed "unsalvageable" and completely reworked in a fashion similar to Arathi Basin.
- During the beta, a Son of Goldrinn was watching over Lorna Crowley at the Crowley Orchard. could also drop from worgen in Gilneas City.
- In the early alpha, Hyjal was concepted to be "an ultra high-level raid zone", filled with demons and dragons battling each other. The challenge would have been to re-purify the Well of Eternity, with a "familiar skeleton chained to a rock" nearby.
- From vanilla up until Cataclysm this zone was one of the most popular for explorers despite being closed down. There was notably Archimonde's skeleton at Nordrassil, what looked like a dragon cave entrance similar to Onyxia's Lair and three humongous craters, presumably the remnants of the bases destroyed by the Legion during the last battle of the Third War.
- Darkwhisper Gorge was originally part of Winterspring and was full of elite demons who stayed there after their defeat during the Third War.
- There was also originally a raid portal in Darkwhisper Gorge, presumably intended to be used for the Battle for Mount Hyjal.
- Blizzard originally intended the Alliance to have a true introduction to the Twilight Highlands, similar to the one the Horde eventually got. Rear Admiral Hartley was involved, having been given strict orders by Varian Wrynn not to engage the Horde. He was to be among the fleet that Garrosh Hellscream ordered attacked by his Air Guard. While the Air guard was destroyed, they were to claim one ship. In an act of vengeance, Hartley was to order a retaliatory strike on the Horde naval fleet. The result of the naval skirmish would have mortally wounded the Rear Admiral and he was to order Lieutenant Fawkes to get the player to safety. This intro was eventually scrapped and replaced by another one.
- During the beta, Husk of Sor'getha was in the Twilight Highlands instead of the Crucible of Carnage.
- During the beta, skardyn could be found in Grim Batol instead of troggs.
- On release, the Alliance introduction to the zone was quite longer than what it is now. had you uncover a Twilight's Hammer plot alongside Anduin Wrynn, but when his father King Varian was removed in Legion, the quest chain was made shorter.
- The Twilight's Hammer cult was initially concepted to be present in Uldum, having three camps there. In the live version of the game, the cultists have no presence in the zone.
- There was supposed to be an Abyssal Maw raid for patch 4.1.0, which got cut along with the end of Neptulon's storyline due to a lack of time. A third Vashj'ir ancient was to appear here. Speculations are that Nar'jira was supposed to appear there as well.
- The end of Neptulon's storyline could have been related to the potent weapon that allows its owner to control the seas of Azeroth mentioned on the original Abyssal Maw official page.
- A lengthy quest-line from the 4.1.0 PTR which took place in the Steam Pools of Feralas was cut and could've potentially led to the aforementioned Abyssal Maw raid.
- Greg Street believed that even if it had launched, the instance would have turned out close to the Ruby Sanctum; a quick experience with reused content.
- The quests originally had a longer scripted event where a kraken was involved.
- The quests originally had a longer scripted event where submarines were involved.
Mists of Pandaria zones
- The pandaren were originally supposed to be split into clans.
- There were supposed to be quest lines starting with and that would happen before the discovery of Pandaria and the destruction of Theramore, dealing with Horde blockades on the seas, events concurrent with the Tides of War novel. Nazgrim and Grand Admiral Jes-Tereth would be among the quest givers. The aim of the quest lines was to recruit ship crews. It would probably be released as a "world event" before the Theramore scenario.
- Some parts of the green fire quest chain were originally supposed to happen in Xerrath, an area of the Twisting Nether that greatly resembled the future Dreadscar Rift. Warlocks in the quest chain also had to deliver the Eye of the Storm to Wrathion, a shard of the Ata'mal Crystal. The quest designer later explained his original intent for the chain.
- At release and in the subsequent patches there was originally a lengthy quest chain to gain a legendary cloak (see ), but it was removed at the start of the next expansion pack. The cloak was notably necessary to access Ordos' platform.
- High Overlord Saurfang was to feature in patch 5.4.0 as a quest-giver in Razor Hill in a warrior quest-line as evidenced by initial quests. The quest-line didn't make it on live servers.
- A Temple of Kotmogu scenario was planned to be made. A group of mogu called Zhun'ji would be there. A Black Ox Temple scenario was also planned.
- The island was added in patch 5.2.0 alongside the Isle of Giants. A placeholder still exists on the overworld of Pandaria but cannot be reached by normal means.
- There existed a Troves of the Thunder King scenario that was removed but eventually returned in Legion.
- The area around Paw'don Village was originally known as Wayward Landing, and had several different quests and NPCs. Similarly, the area around Honeydew Village was originally known as the Wreck of the Sky Shark.
- Strongarm Airstrip was originally a Horde area called Hellscream's Fist.
- The Operation: Shieldwall and Dominance Offensive forces were added in patch 5.1.0, and until then the NPCs only said that their respective fleets were still traveling to Pandaria.
- The island was added in patch 5.4.0.
- There exists files for an unused battleground called "Defense of the Alehouse". The layout - three lanes, two bases, etc. - was extremely reminiscent of a MOBA map. Each base housed a pandaren brewmaster that was to be killed in order to secure a victory. There were a few boss NPCs scattered around different parts of the map which gave buffs when killed: a sha monster, a tiger, a mogu and a sprite.
- There was also another cut battleground, "Heroes Through Time".
- The area was originally free of sha corruption. The Golden Pagoda housed members of the Golden Lotus, which gave their own daily quests. There was also more quests introducing the area: and .
- The two endings for the zone were originally a bit different. Tushui Pandaren had to fight Varian Wrynn in , and Huojin Pandaren had to fight several monsters for Garrosh Hellscream in . With the removal of both characters, the quests were also removed.
Warlords of Draenor zones
- Prior to April 2014, it was planned for players to be able to choose the location of their garrison with a number of possible zones, and the ability relocate their garrison if they changed their minds. This was eventually changed to the current system, with a fixed garrison location and several outposts all over Draenor.
- In the early maps of Warlords of Draenor, there were to be more islands: Farahlon, an unnamed ogre island and a large continent at the south. As of today, all three are removed from the map.
- The unnamed ogre island south of Nagrand might have been related to seafaring ogres claiming the south of the zone, but this plot point was removed during development.
- The large continent southwest of Draenor's main continent was described at BlizzCon 2013 as a "mysterious ogre continent" from which the Gorian Empire originated and where their main seat of power was still located, with their influence having spread to Draenor's main continent over time. High Centurion Tormmok still mentions having campaigned on two continents.
- The mentions the ogres taking orc slaves across the sea.
- Operation: Aardvark is an unreleased faction.
- Before settling on the current storyline, Blizzard tossed around several ideas for the expansion pack. One of them was to have Garrosh Hellscream form the Mongrel Horde, and another was to have him travel to Outland, restore it to its former glory of ancient times using an artifact of Nozdormu. He would revive the original warlords, instead of traveling to an alternate universe and meeting the characters there. This was a very early concept idea.
- Yrel was originally said to have a "dark secret" about her that only Velen knew. This hints that she was intended to have a longer storyline. There also existed strings hinting that main universe Yrel was originally in a relationship with Maraad and that she was killed during the genocide. At least on one occasion, she would refer to Velen as her uncle.
- Karazhan was originally planned to play a role in the event preceding the release of Warlords of Draenor, with a phased scenario taking place inside Karazhan. Players would have been sent to Karazhan to investigate its links to the destruction of the Dark Portal. However, this plan was scrapped before the expansion's beta.
- Possibly related, but during the Warlords of Draenor alpha stage, a mysterious figure using the same animation sets as male night elves but without the long ears appeared alongside Gul'dan during . It was speculated by many that the figure was meant to be Medivh, but it was eventually removed before the beta stage.
- Grommash Hellscream was originally to be the last boss of the expansion pack, but Blizzard feared that there would be an "orc fatigue" and put Archimonde as the last boss instead. There is even an unused legendary version of Gorehowl that was presumably intended to drop from Grommash.
- There was supposed be a group called "The Unchained Gladiators" that was cut. It consisted of Gaur Icehorn, Griswold Hanniston, Kuhl Sparkfury and Angus Stouthammer.
- During the alpha, Draenor was originally home to a nerubian-like race called the scorpar.
- Instead of the alternate Shadow Council, the Stormreaver clan was originally supposed to appear.
- Around the same stage, Lotharian Peacekeepers briefly appeared during the Shattrath City battle, hinting that the Sons of Lothar might have been intended to appear.
- During the beta, clicking a led to an easter egg about the Flowerpicker clan.
- Very late in the Warlords of Draenor beta, an Infinite drakonid known as the "Infinite Vanguard" was found outside the Caverns of Time. Meanwhile, a time rift like those the infinites have been known to use appeared above the sands of Tanaris between the Caverns of Time and the Gaping Chasm. Both of these were removed before the final version of the game.
- It is notable that in the novel War Crimes, Kairozdormu provided the Dragonmaw clan with infinite dragons to provide a distraction while he freed Garrosh and helped him escape to Draenor. In the actual game, however, all references to infinite dragons were removed, and while the Dragonmaw clan didn't appear at all on Draenor, they were still updated with a new skin with golden eyes, a color commonly associated with time magic.
- The dragon Chronalis notably appears in Zangarra (see Chronal Spire at Tanaan Jungle below), and Tick was to appear as a Timewalker as well.
- During the beta version of the Iron Horde Incursion, Okrilla and part of her forces were to betray the Horde for the Iron Horde.
- At release and in the subsequent patches there was originally a lengthy quest chain to gain a legendary ring (see /), but it was removed at the start of the next expansion pack.
- Warlord Zaela, Shokia and a group of Venture Company goblins were initially said to have traveled with Garrosh to the alternate Draenor.
- Although Iron Engineers do appear.
- Many more NPCs were datamined (either coming from Azeroth or as alternate-universe counterparts) but never made it into the expansion, such as Arechron, Mragesh, Nitrin the Learned, Brazen, Tick, Pao'ka Swiftmountain, Levixus, Mother Kashur, "Doc" Cogspin, Corki, Joren Ironstock, Sark Ragetotem, Hobart Grapplehammer or Nemuraan.
- Hansel Heavyhands was to appear in Draenor in search of his captured wife, Ellie.
- During the alpha Stormshield and Warspear were only intended to be PvP outposts instead of capital cities. The Ashran island itself was way smaller and had a Colossal skeleton.
- The zone was planned to appear in alternate Draenor until it was eventually merged with Gorgrond during the beta.
- It is known from lore that the Laughing Skull Orcs should have been dwelling here instead of Gorgrond.
- Concept arts for creatures called the Farah and the Fara exists, indicating that Farahlon was probably named after them.
- There was to be a mine area called Blightstone Quarry.
- The zone still appears on maps being depicted in-game, such as at the Lunarfall Shipyard, except its location is usually covered with an item like a hat or a spyglass. It can also be seen on a strategic map at Skysea Ridge.
- The area was originally known as "Frostwind Desert".
- Bladespire Citadel (previously known as Bladespire Fortress) was originally intended to be the Horde capital for this expansion pack.
- The region was originally more arid, with more Blackrock clan presence all over the area, including extensive Grimrail train tracks. When Farahlon was canceled during the beta, the assets for both areas were merged up into the current Gorgrond area. This is why there seem to be two incomplete storylines in the same region.
- The background and ideology of alternate Orgrim Doomhammer were to be explored further here, which is why in live the character betrays the Iron Horde without reasons. The ideology of Maraad and his reckless vengeance were also going to be explored further during the fight against the Blackrock clan.
- Broken Horn Village was presumably intended to have a use at some point.
- Helga Nesingwary, daughter of Hemet Nesingwary was to appear in Gorgrond. She would go insane and the players would help her regain the sanity.
- A qiraji prophet called The Thing in the Cave was meant to appear.
- The original concept for Nagrand had more main-universe locations such as Kil'sorrow as an ogre fortress and what would become future Garadar.
- In the beta, Kargath Bladefist was set to survive his encounter, with him kneeling in defeat before fleeing away with a hand gushing of red blood, his bladefist removed.
- Karabor was originally intended to be the Alliance capital for this expansion pack. Its theme song was finished and is barely heard in the game outside of the temple and very very few parts of Shadowmoon Valley.
- During the alpha, an Iron Horde port and a military base were in Shadowmoon, launching a full-scale assault on Karabor. In the overworld, Lusia Moonwhisper a SI:7 agent and the adventurer sent by Khadgar and Mathias Shaw would sabotage its reinforcements as part of . A bonus objective to kill the orcs would also occur here. The assault was to be ultimately repelled in a scenario called "Purge of Grommar". Vindicator Maraad would assist here and all the orcs including Orrok the Spearmaster and Commander Vorka would be killed.
- Among the removed alpha locations are Akama's Scar, Gar'mak Quarry, Grommar, the Iron March, and the Shadowmoon Overlook.
- Lunarfall's location has changed before live, during the alpha it was next to Karabor.
- During the beta there was a quest called , which dealt with the worgen succumbing to a feral state and needing a plant that existed in Outland but was too corrupted to cure them. This was changed to Fiona's quest chain about healing her friend. Tess Greymane was to be a character in the questline. She would be accompanied by the worgen guards Hemma Beringer and Kadus Arkadian.
- Karabor was to be besieged at the start of the leveling experience and was to be defended by Velen, Yrel, Commander Alyun, and Alliance heroes as well, such as Taylor, a worgen and a gnome character.
- Velen would comment on a young promising priest, Akama.
- It was initially planned to actually start the leveling experience in Karabor. The player would then continue to the west to an observatory. Taylor would assist Velen there.
- Pinchwhistle Point was originally called "Venture Cove" during the beta, indicating the Venture Company might have been intended to play a role there.
- Rivett Clutchpop was to appear in the area along with his niece Kimzee Clutchpop who was later renamed into Kimzee Pinchwhistle.
- Shattrath City was originally intended to be a raid area, maybe the "missing tier" between Blackrock Foundry and Hellfire Citadel. Since Hellfire Citadel was retooled to feature demons instead of the Iron Horde because the Foundry was already about them, the Shattrath raid could have been the "demon" raid that was originally intended to close the gap.
- Earlier concept arts indicated that there was supposed to be an area called the Chronal Spire which would have been located in this zone as the original gateway to Draenor, but ultimately this idea was replaced by the Iron Horde creating their own Dark Portal and connecting it with Azeroth's one. The spire's location was replaced by Zangarra even though some elements there remain.
- Tanaan Jungle was originally planned to appear at release instead of in a later patch. Pre-6.2.0 assets indicate that the zone was also originally intended to be released pristine instead of fel-corrupted.
- One idea for destroying the Dark Portal was originally to use a mana bomb, as seen in .
- There was a planned fungal whale world boss.
- The Twin Spire Ruins were meant to be lighthouses among the Zangar Sea.
- The Legion Invasions have cut content related to Mulgore and Wetlands invasions.
- The five zones of the Broken Isles were at first intended to be experienced in a clockwise pattern, starting with Azsuna and ending with Stormheim, but Blizzard's advances in level-scaling technology made it possible for each zone to be played in any order.
- An unused alpha dungeon map for Legion is rather intriguing: it is simply called "Legion Dungeon" and features fel-corrupted lands with eredar buildings, the ruins of a Dark Portal, an Altar of Storms and an Auchindoun-like structure. It may have been a prototype map for Argus using placeholder draenei assets.
- During the beta it was originally revealed during a shaman quest that Neptulon had mastered Ozumat, but this was removed before release.
- Zeros was originally intended to be a follower.
- Between the releases of the Kil'jaeden LFR wing and the Argus the Unmaker LFR wing, planet Argus itself was visible in the sky of Azeroth and Outland for every player. Before the releases of the LFR wings, this happened only for the people who completed the relevant raids.
- Several unused NPCs with the Cooking Tournament Judge titles were found in the database. It could be speculated that something similar to the Cooking scenario Noodle Time in Mists of Pandaria was planned for Legion. The NPCs were: Haris Pilton, Crixa Hotstove, Elling Trias, Liyana, Torg Slowflame, Nat Pagle, Took-Took, Sungshin Ironpaw, Tony Danbour, and Rallena Lushleaf.
- At some point, it was envisioned that you would meet the spirit of Illidan Stormrage at Masters Promontory, maybe during a demon hunter questline.
- It is possible that Argus was originally intended to be seen as a giant titanic body bound in Legion chains, the body itself being so massive that its surroundings would be an entire wing instead of a mere boss. The model can be found at 7du_argusraid_corewing01. As the model name for Kin'garoth is "Titan Builder", it seems he was intended to be working on Argus' titanic body.
- As stated by the developers, the Broken Isles regions were intended to be done clockwise, Azsuna was thus originally intended to be the starting zone. This is still nowadays evidenced by the fact that this the only zone that introduces the player to the Burning Legion - the main foe of the expansion - their first objective in Azsuna being to face them in Faronaar. It is also the first zone to mention the player's artifact directly and multiple times, when Archmage Khadgar asks the hero to "put that artifact of [theirs] to use" since they just retrieved it from an acquisition scenario, and when the yelling demon Mortiferous exclaims "That weapon will not save you. How can such a tiny thing prevail against the might of the Burning Legion?". Azsuna is also where the players are first introduced to the Illidari, the newest faction introduced in Legion, who have just escaped from the Vault of the Wardens, Azsuna being thus a direct sequel to the demon hunter introduction scenario. Azsuna accomplishes its goal of being an introductory zone by presenting the good variety of enemies that are to be encountered later in the Broken Isles: are thus encountered for the first time the naga, the nightborne, the withered, the enemy faction (Alliance or Horde), and the demons. It's also the reason why all profession quests start with sending the hero to Azsuna, even though one can choose to start questing elsewhere. Finally, players can find the letter announcing Sylvanas' soon arrival to the Broken Isles during Azsuna questing which proves that the events of Azsuna couldn't have happened before those of Stormheim, since there she has already landed and set a base of operations.
- The original concept for the Battle for the Broken Shore had a pristine elven Tomb, surrounded by a city now in ruins and populated by elven priest spirits. Tyrande Whisperwind was supposed to fight dreadlords and the scenario was 3 hours long. Concept art also showed Lor'themar Theron participating.
- Concept arts for the area also show that it was originally intended to be covered in dried coral, like in The Frozen Throne. Because there was next to no Burning Legion influence and the Shore looked just like Azsuna, Blizzard felt that it didn't communicate the Legion's threat strongly enough, so they decided to char the land and remove all signs of previous civilization there, making the Legion's influence extremely imposing.
- While already accessible, prior to patch 7.2.0 the area had no quests, no towns, and only a few loot-less world bosses. Prior to the patch the area also had the same geography as in the Battle for the Broken Shore scenario.
- There was a scraped Legionfall Mage Tower challenge for stealth classes in which Sicco Thermaplugg had allied with the Burning Legion, and the adventurer had to travel to Gnomeregan in order from stopping him to launch a missile to the Broken Shore.
- Maiev Shadowsong had gossip text planned for the aftermath of Kil'jaeden's death.
- The Sisters of the Moon encounter originally featured Naisha instead of Huntress Kasparian. This could have led to some special dialogues with Maiev.
- The Image of Aegwynn and Velen were originally to help purify the Maiden of Vigilance.
- The Knights of the Ebon Blade might have had a different original casting for the Four Horsemen.
- Skyhold and the Valarjar might have originally been intended to use many more ghosts of famous warriors instead of only using titan-forged members.
- The Violet Hold dungeon was originally described as featuring secrets never before uncovered, origins of the Kirin Tor and the world. The in-game dungeon offers nothing of the sort. However, the version of the Violet Hold displayed during features an underground cavern that can be reached through the breached floor of the Hold, breach that could potentially have been left from the original designs for the updated dungeon.
- When Argus appeared in the sky, scared citizens and doomsayers were added to Dalaran. Reinforced guard patrols and many animations were added all over town to react to the event, such as terrified citizens running around, draenei citizens rejoicing at the possibility of finally seeing their homeworld back, vendors being scared of looters, long lines at the banks for withdrawals, the city's clinic being overwhelmed by sick patients... These events were removed a few weeks after the release of patch 7.3.0.
- In the alpha, Spiritwalker Ebonhorn was actually Wrathion in disguise. The questline was different, as it involved helping Wrathion retrieve black dragon eggs in Neltharion's Vault that were frozen in time.
- During the beta, Baine Bloodhoof appeared before Mayla Highmountain along with Sunwalker Dezco and Roanauk Icemist to ask for help to battle the Burning Legion.
- In earlier test iterations of Highmountain, the drogbar didn't become villains until the player showed up to actually witness Dargrul's betrayal.
- With patch 7.3.5 Thunder Totem was updated to reflect the new post-Legion lore and the introduction of allied races.
- At release, Suramar City was not under attack yet, and the Nightfallen rebellion quests were only gradually unlocked with time.
- With patch 7.3.5 the uninstanced Nighthold was updated to reflect the new post-Legion lore and the introduction of allied races.
- Geographic assets for the area are in a folder called "araknashal," hinting that the zone may have been intended to be called Arauk-Nashal like the The Frozen Throne location.
- It was originally supposed to be a future zone to be introduced in a later patch, but Blizzard felt that yet another zone riddled with ancient night elven ruins and corals was boring. Thal'dranath was scrapped and its name was reused as the original lore name for the Broken Shore instead.
- The zone still appears on maps being depicted in-game.
Battle for Azeroth zones
- While previously each expansion pack was relatively self-contained, multiple features from Battle for Azeroth were actually added early in patch 7.3.5, and so as part of the Legion cycle. This includes the first four allied races, the Seething Shore battleground, the Azerite plotline in Silithus, and the new world level scaling. This storyline, which used to introduce Battle for Azeroth, originally had an epic send-off for the Legion artifacts in and , complete with the artifacts getting completely unstable after absorbing the power of the Sword of Sargeras.
- The champions were originally a bit different: Gazlowe was replaced by Hobart Grapplehammer, Rokhan was replaced by Shadow Hunter Ty'jin, and Princess Tess Greymane and Renzik "The Shiv" were removed without being replaced. Magister Umbric was also originally not a champion. Bodrick Grey was intended to be one.
- The Burning of Teldrassil event originally featured Shandris Feathermoon instead of Myara Sunsong.
- There was originally a questline starting with revolving around empowering the that got removed in patch 8.2.0.
- There was originally a questline starting with revolving around finding Wrathion that got removed in patch 8.3.0.
- The Auric's Angels team were previously named "Jaina's Angels".
- The Headhunters were originally depicted as including a forest troll member.
- Crestfall was seemingly going to be added in Battle for Azeroth as a subzone of the valley, but was later renamed "Storm's Watch" and eventually Stormwatch Peak.
- Early screenshots showed Brennadam covered in quillboar thorns instead of under Horde attack, and the Horde plot-line was a late rewrite of the zone.
- In early previews, the naga aimed to destroy the levee holding back the sea at Fort Daelin, in order to plunge the fertile valley (back) into the naga-infested depths. While the final battle with the Pride of Azshara takes place at the levee between the fort and Deadwash, this is not mentioned in game.
- An unnamed Southern Barrens warfront was experimented upon early during the expansion's development.
- Ardenweald was originally planned to be part of Bastion, thus splitting the zone between a light, heavenly side and a dark, celestial forest side. However, the developers eventually decided that the latter idea was unique and interesting enough to deserve its own separate zone.
- On release there was no PvP content at all. The Honor system (pre-2.0) was added only in patch 1.4.0 and the first battlegrounds in 1.5.0, but in the meantime, people often clashed between Southshore and Tarren Mill as well as between Crossroads and Astranaar. This was referred to as world PvP.
- The original Honor system was extremely grindy, relying on Honorable kills for getting up in ranks. There were also Dishonorable kills, which were gained by killing civilians. One way of getting honor was joining a PvP raid group with the goal of attacking an enemy city or settlement. This was however quite risky because if one person killed a civilian, all would get discredited.
- In the World of Warcraft game manual it is said that you were originally intended to be branded an outlaw if you accumulated enough dishonor, which would mean experience penalties, losing access to your own faction cities, and becoming hated by even your own kind so that every faction NPC would attack you on sight.
- There was apparently a rank of "City Protector" planned at some point.
- After the vanilla Honor system, The Burning Crusade introduced the Honor points (pre-4.0.1), Cataclysm the new and , and Legion yet another new Honor system. There were also several PvP-specific coins, such as and .
- Resilience didn't exist, so there was almost no difference between PvE and PvP gear. PvP item level was also added after some time.
- Flight masters didn't summon mobs to help so they were sometimes camped constantly.
- When arena fights were first introduced in The Burning Crusade, players had to sign a in order to participate in rated arena fights, and could do so only with those they were teamed with.
- Warlords of Draenor was supposed to introduce the Trial of the Gladiator.
- Up until Legion there was a 5vs5 arena bracket.
- Blizzard experimented with the idea of a Battle for Blackrock Mountain PvP Brawl.
- Battle for Azeroth saw the inclusion of the War Mode in order to replace the old style of world PvP.
- To join a battleground, you needed to be at the entrance portal of that battleground, because there were no battlemasters in capital cities. After the introduction of battlemasters, Blizzard stopped adding physical entrance portals to battlegrounds in the world. After long years of service, most battlemasters were finally removed in Warlords of Draenor.
- Battleground groups weren't formed automatically upon joining, so it was an "INV PLZ" spamfest during the first minutes. If you were not grouped you could help kill enemy players yet get no honor to kill from it.
- Before it was changed, hunters and warlocks would resurrect without their pets in battlegrounds, so they had to resummon them each time they died. There was also no buff that reduced the mana cost of your spells after you resurrected.
- In battlegrounds, the range of "participating" in kills was much larger. You could earn credit for kills made in the middle, while still in the spawn area.
- Battlegrounds originally did not award experience at all. When Blizzard introduced experience gain in the battleground, twinks complained.
- Marks of Honor were rewarded for participating in battlegrounds.
- At release you could mark yourself "At War" with several otherwise friendly factions, such as Stormwind.
- If you wanted a mount from another race, you had to turn in tons of at Cloth Quartermasters to get exalted. There was also no reputation spillover at all from quests.
- Theramore, Silvermoon Remnant, Wildhammer clan and Revantusk tribe were minor factions added in patch 1.5.0 and 1.6.0, but they were never fleshed out and were removed in the following patches. A faction called the Moro'gai was also implemented but abandoned before release.
- The Wildhammer clan reputation was re-introduced in Cataclysm.
- It was already possible to grind to exalted with the Wildhammer clan in vanilla although it was a long and tedious task. There were no rewards, and the faction was, for the time, removed with patch 2.0.1. Players who had previously attained reputation with the dwarves did not earn any achievements or favors when the faction was reintroduced.
- Since daily quests didn't exist yet and the existing quests only rewarded 50 rep, some factions required an insane amount of raw grinding, such as the Wintersaber Trainers and the Timbermaw Hold reputations.
- The Horde had no counterpart to the Wintersaber Trainers until mid-Wrath of the Lich King when the Ravasaur Trainers were added. Mor'vek, the representative of the faction, was actually in-game in vanilla, removed in The Burning Crusade, and re-added in Wrath of the Lich King.
- In The Burning Crusade, upping reputations was mostly done through grinding heroic dungeons and exchanging special drops at the factions' representatives.
- In Wrath of the Lich King, it was done by running dungeons while having the tabard of your chosen faction equipped.
- In Mists of Pandaria beta, there was a faction called The Brewmasters based in the Valley of the Four Winds. They were removed and did not make it to live, but several scenarios are still run by Brewmasters.
- In Mists of Pandaria, it was planned to have a Akama's Trust faction for warlocks engaging in the Pursuing the Black Harvest campaign.
- Early in the Legion development, a reputation faction called The First Responders was planned to be associated with the First Aid quests. The quests were still kept, and are required for the and achievements.
- It seems that a few more factions were planned for Legion besides the First Responders, like the Gilnean Survivors (possible the Bradensbrook people) and the Moon Guard.
Realms and connecting
- At vanilla release and in the following months, due to overcrowded servers, players very often experienced the infamous loot lag. You would get stuck in the loot position from looting pretty much anything, even using gathering professions.
- If you disconnected, there was a high chance you could not log into your character straight away. Instead, you would get an error message stating "A character with that name already exists", because your character was not yet logged out. It could take several minutes before you were allowed back into the game on that character. If you would log into another character, you could see 'yourself' still online.
- You couldn't initially have both Horde and Alliance characters on a PvP server.
- There was no Character Transfer service, so if you wanted to play on another server, you had to reroll, no matter how geared your characters were.
- It was initially not possible to transfer a character from a PvE server to a PvP server. Blizzard said many times that they wouldn't make it possible, but they eventually caved in.
- You could originally just straight-up launch the game like any other executable. You had to patch the game through the Blizzard Downloader, and the Blizzard Launcher was only added in patch 1.8.3, being eventually replaced by the Battle.net Desktop app in August 2013.
- There was originally no unified Battle.net account.
- In vanilla and for some time after, it was also possible to manually install patches.
- The Battle.net brand itself was retired on March 23, 2017. The desktop Battle.net software was renamed Blizzard App and things such as the Battle.net Shop were renamed from Battle.net to the Blizzard name format.
- On August 14, 2017, however, Blizzard announced that after listening to feedback from their players they had decided to retain the Battle.net brand and incorporate it into their logo as "Blizzard Battle.net".
Original gate to Darkshire
- Promotional images
Dwarf in armor
Dwarves on ram mounts
Hot babes at the tavern
Night elf at fountain
Troll on raptor mount
- 2015 #WoWHistory Event
- Patch notes
- Closed zones category
- Removed from alpha category
- Removed from beta category
- Removed from testing realms category
- Removed characters
- Removed mounts
- The World of Warcraft Townhall
- Patch 4.0.3a (world changes)
- Warlords of Draenor beta timeline
- Warcraft III evolution guide
- World of Warcraft Diary
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j 2015 #WoWHistory Event
- ^ a b Mark Kern 2019-05-30. WoW Lead Streams Classic, Tells Dev Tales. (around 1:27:00). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-08.
- ^ a b c d e f g h ..:: King of Dragons patch notes ::.. on Reddit
- ^ a b World of Warcraft Community Site -> Info -> Basics -> Death. Archived from the original on 2004-06-12.
- ^ a b c d US Gamer - How World of Warcraft Was Made: The Definitive Inside Story of Nearly 20 Years of Development
- ^ Mark Kern 2019-05-23. Mark Kern World of Warcraft: Classic stream (around 00:24:20). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-06.
- ^ Mark Kern 2019-05-23. Mark Kern World of Warcraft: Classic stream (around 00:38:55). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-06.
- ^ a b Derek Dela Fuente. TVG | Features || World of Warcraft Feature. Archived from the original on 2002-04-08.
- ^ a b Mark Kern. Chris Metzen really wanted a Naga race in Vanilla WoW. Twitch. Retrieved on 2019-09-07.
- ^ Countdown To Classic – A World of Warcraft Classic Podcast, Episode #63 – The Making Of World Of Warcraft With Vanilla Dev, John Staats
- ^ World of Warcraft - Collectors Edition - Behind the scenes: "Characters"
- ^ The World of Warcraft Diary kickstarter Update #12 (39min 30sec)
- ^ Muffinus 2014-03-25. Twitter / Muffinus.
- ^ MMO-Champion
- ^ Blood elf Pulp Fiction dances
- ^ a b c d e MMO-Champion 2018-09-24. John Staats Interview - The World of Warcraft Diary (1:11:30). YouTube. Retrieved on 2018-09-24.
- ^ a b Countdown To Classic: Episode #63 – The Making Of World Of Warcraft With Vanilla Dev, John Staats (2:23:50) (2018-08-20). Retrieved on 2018-09-24.
- ^ a b c d e f g The World of Warcraft Townhall/Classes
- ^ Countdown To Classic: Episode #63 – The Making Of World Of Warcraft With Vanilla Dev, John Staats (2:25:25) (2018-08-20). Retrieved on 2018-09-25.
- ^ a b Gamespy
- ^ a b c d e f g - I Was a Teenage Alpha Tester
- ^ a b MMO-Champion Hallow's End masks
- ^ Wesley Yin-Poole 2009-07-03. Blizzard's Tom Chilton on the future of WoW. VideoGamer.com. Retrieved on 2019-08-13.
- ^ John Staats AMA, author of 'The World of Warcraft Diary'
- ^ World of Warcraft Diary
- ^ Eurogamer WotLK interview
- ^ Knowledge: Dalaran Wizard Disguise on Wowhead
- ^ Knowledge: Dark Iron Dwarf Disguise on Wowhead
- ^ a b wowcrendor 2018-10-17. Fishing with Crendor Ep 44: Mark Kern (Team Lead for Vanilla WoW) (around 19:33). YouTube. Retrieved on 2019-03-16.
- ^ wowcrendor 2018-10-17. Fishing with Crendor Ep 44: Mark Kern (Team Lead for Vanilla WoW) (around 16:48). YouTube. Retrieved on 2019-03-16.
- ^ Mark Kern in the Elysium Discord server
- ^ Mark Kern 2019-05-23. Mark Kern World of Warcraft: Classic stream (around 00:49:55). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-07.
- ^ Mark Kern 2019-05-23. Mark Kern World of Warcraft: Classic stream (around 00:50:49). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-07.
- ^ a b Mark Kern 2019-05-23. Mark Kern World of Warcraft: Classic stream (around 00:48:20). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-07.
- ^ Ghostcrawler 2008-09-11. Re: Class balance in build 8926. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14.
- ^ a b c Mark Kern 2019-05-23. Mark Kern World of Warcraft: Classic stream (around 00:46:20). Twitch. Archived from the original on 2019-06-07.
- ^ a b How Scholomance Was Created - Learn More On Classic Development in The WoW Diary
- ^ Warcraft Interview: Dave Kosak - 2 NERDS, 1 LORE (Patch 5.4 and beyond)
- ^ a b c Ion Hazzikostas on Twitter
- ^ Kalimdor early development map
- ^ a b c Medievaldragon 2008-01-16. Blizzcon: Day One—World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Retrieved on 2013-03-15.
- ^ a b c Vanilla WoW Developer Q&A - Submit Questions for John Staats
- ^ Wowhead
- ^ Old Naxxramas in Eastern Plaguelands
- ^ World of Warcraft Diary
- ^ World of Warcraft: Looking for Group
- ^ Countdown To Classic: Episode #63 – The Making Of World Of Warcraft With Vanilla Dev, John Staats (around 2:32:00) (2018-08-20). Retrieved on 2018-09-24.
- ^ File:ABE - Lordaeron and Khaz Modan map.jpg
- ^ File:WoWCE - Lordaeron.jpg
- ^ a b c World of MapCraft
- ^ MMO-Champion 2018-09-24. John Staats Interview - The World of Warcraft Diary (18:27). YouTube. Retrieved on 2018-09-24.
- ^ File:Tor'Watha.jpg - The raid portal was behind the wooden door.
- ^ Behind-the-Scenes DVD
- ^ File:Sunwell Plateau design.jpg
- ^ World of Warcraft: Looking for Group
- ^ Anub'arak#Statements of a bigger role
- ^ Stockton of Blizzard
- ^ User:Mordecay/Archive/WotLK/Zones#Borean Tundra
- ^ Rushster 2008-05-09. Jeff Kaplan Video Interview Transcript. World of Warcraft: IncGamers. Retrieved on 2010-02-19.
- ^ MMO-Champion: Pre-Cata world event
- ^ The Cutting Room Floor Baine Bloodhoof yells: I will not let a single human step past me into Mulgore! My people will not be harmed!
- ^ WoW PTR: C'thun says Hi!
- ^ Wowhead
- ^ Tom Chilton Gamescom
- ^ Gamespy
- ^ Wowhead
- ^ File:UldumZone.jpg
- ^ Abyssal Maw#In Cataclysm
- ^ WoW Secrets - WarlockArea
- ^ Official Warlords of Draenor site. Retrieved on 2017-03-26.
- ^ WoW: Warlords of Draenor, the entire Blizzcon WoW panel. (13:23) (2013-11-10). Retrieved on 2017-03-26.
- ^ WoW Source: Warlords of Draenor (6:30) (2013-11-21). Retrieved on 2017-04-13.
- ^ The Characters of Warcraft/Yrel
- ^ Demo report
- ^ Warlords of Draenor Dev Interviews, Proving Grounds Requirement in WoD, Blue Tweets (2014-02-23).
- ^ Blizzplanet
- ^ Gamescom 2014 - Warlords of Draenor Interview with Tom Chilton
- ^ Wowhead
- ^ File:Draenor early layout.jpg
- ^ As evidenced by pre-patch Tanaan Jungle maps being pristine jungle and intact Citadel
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ MMO-Champion - Early Antorus, Legion build the Titan!!, by olddog
- ^ Wowhead - New 7.3 PTR Creature and Mount Models (Spoilers)
- ^ BlizzCon 2016 - World of Warcraft: Legion - Design Retrospective
- ^ Wowhead
- ^ Maiden of Vigilance#Quotes
- ^ MMO-Champion
- ^ MMO-Champion
- ^ MMO-Champion
- ^ TheRedShirtGuy on Twitter
- ^ Azshara Cinematic, Storytelling Ignite 'Warcraft' Expansion Sales: Designer Interview
- ^ Battle for Azeroth Preview: Stormsong Valley Visitor's Guide
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-02. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: Q&A (around 16:45). Retrieved on 2019-11-03. (MMO-Champion transcript/Wowhead transcript)
- ^ Wowhead
- ^ Moonguard, Moon Guard