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World of Warcraft: 5 Best Opening Campaigns, Ranked

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As much as I would honestly love to say I enjoyed my time slaughtering boars for bits of battered flesh in the Valley of Trials, I'd definitely say I had a lot more fun spooling through the heaps of other story arcs Azeroth's many regions served up. Ever since Blizzard made the call to expand on the opening campaigns, World of Warcraft only continued to employ even bolder cutscenes and questlines, leaving the likes of the Orcs to scuffle in envy with the worn-out boars and deadly scorpid Sarkoth running amok.

Several expansions have come out since the early days of World of Warcraft, meaning we've had plenty of time to explore its every new race and class, as well as experience each of their opening stories one by one. The question is: which race had the most memorable opening sequence, and which fell beside the Orcs in the Valley of Trials? Well, let's go ahead and rank the best of the best. Here are, in our opinion, the five best opening campaigns in World of Warcraft.

5. Undead

Long before Blizzard employed a new line of cinematics and exaggerated opening campaigns, both Alliance and Horde races owned up to having relatively basic quest chains. Without the theatrics, it was a simple case of patrolling an unusual surrounding, getting your bearings, and then being scooted along your way. However, where the Orc faction failed to inflict even the slightest shred of interest from its opening, the Undead ally definitely managed to resurrect the faith with its Tirisfal Glades segment.

From headbanging in a cemetery to submerging into the darkest depths of the Undercity, the Forsaken faction had one of the most engrossing tales of the bunch. It was chilling, and yet so incredibly beautiful and well constructed. Waking to a new life as a member of the Forsaken, bound for an eternity in misery; it was the strangest breath of fresh air one could possibly inhale. It was exciting, outlandish, and oh so entertaining.


4. Pandaren

Mists of Pandaria was a welcome addition to the base game, because it not only brought a whole new class to the fold (that being the Monk), but also an entire new species to enrol as. The ability to course the beloved Pandaren folk towards one of two factions was a crossroads nobody really expected, but an exciting one to be a part of nonetheless.

From the moment you step foot into The Wandering Isle as a newborn Pandaren, you're given a role, a role that keeps the balance of peace and prosperity among your kind. However, with adventure coursing through your veins, you soon find yourself battling your inner demons, desperate to branch out and aid the wide world outside your own home. Thankfully, when opportunity comes knocking, adventure follows suit. Are you with the Alliance, or for the Horde?

3. Worgen

As much as we enjoyed the Undead chapter and all its morbid humor and grave robbing quest chains, something about the Worgen world just hit a little differently. It was almost as if every cheap eighties horror movie surrounding werewolves just spoonfed its strongest influences to Blizzard for inspiration. The result of that, of course, led to the creation of Gilneas, a vacant town that was highly reminiscent of a generic steampunk suburb, complete with all the gears, knobs and cogs one would hope for.

At first glance, being a Worgen didn't seem any different to fighting for any other faction on the Alliance team. But then, completely out of the blue, the moon uncloaked its true colors, and along came Pandora's box, ready to be opened and decoded. Gilneas had plenty of secrets, and being there to unravel its abundance of mysteries was a delight in itself. Some would say, excluding the Death Knight, it was the best starting zone, period.


2. Goblin

Unlike the Pandaren opening, which was of course filled with tranquil settings and what have you, the Goblin induction phase was a little more, say, manic. It was a supercharged world with explosive personalities, with a whole lot of mechanical enhancements and steampunk embellishments. But after Mists of Pandaria, that's exactly what we needed; something completely out of the ordinary.

As one of thousands of Goblins on the remote island of Kezan, you start your journey by trying to make a name for yourself as a mid-level executive for a major trading branch. However, after a nearby volcano erupts and causes the region to flee for the boats and find sanctuary in distant lands, your race quickly falls between the lines of an ongoing war. With the Horde desperate to drive back the Alliance, opportunity knocks once again, giving you the freedom to pursue a brand new adventure.


1. Death Knight (Wrath of the Lich King)

The Death Knight isn't a race, but a class. Not that it matters, because we're still going to throw its opening sequence up there as the best in the series. Wrath of the Lich King was an expansion that changed the face of the MMO, and without the accompanying Death Knight faction to boot, it probably wouldn't have been anywhere near as impressive. But it was. And that opening cinematic atop the glorious Icecrown Citadel? Wow.

Before the fearsome folk uprooted and set up shop within the Eastern Plaguelands, Death Knights claimed sanctuary in the frosty region of Icecrown, where war and fear scourged the lands and fear churned in the pit of every heart. Starting at level 55, with a whole bunch of rare gear to boot, becoming one of the Lich King's new recruits gave us a feeling of superiority unlike anything we had ever experienced before. Suddenly, everybody wanted to be “the greatest Death Knight in all of Azeroth.” That says it all, to be fair.


So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.