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Two Decades of World of Warcraft: Expansion Releases and Increasing Storage Requirements (2004-2024)

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Over the past two decades, WoW saw 10 expansions, each bringing new content and increasing storage demands. From the original "Vanilla" release in 2004, requiring just 4 GB, to the upcoming "The War Within" expansion in 2024, which demands at least 128 GB SSD storage, Blizzard's iconic MMORPG continues to grow. 

Today, we're diving into how the storage demands for World of Warcraft have grown over the past 20 years. While the original game needed only 4 GB of storage, two decades of new content and improvements have significantly increased this requirement. Now, you'll need at least 128 GB of SSD storage to enjoy the latest expansion!

The following timeline highlights the release dates and storage requirements of each WoW expansion from its inception with "Vanilla" to the highly anticipated "The War Within" in 2024. 

timeline.png

Recap

Below is a recap of minimum storage requirements for all expansions. Thanks to Reddit user factor3x for the data!

  • 2004: World of Warcraft (Vanilla)

    • Release Date: November 23, 2004
    • Storage Requirement: ~4 GB
  • 2007: The Burning Crusade

    • Release Date: January 16, 2007
    • Storage Requirement: ~10 GB
  • 2008: Wrath of the Lich King

    • Release Date: November 13, 2008
    • Storage Requirement: ~15 GB
  • 2010: Cataclysm

    • Release Date: December 7, 2010
    • Storage Requirement: ~25 GB
  • 2012: Mists of Pandaria

    • Release Date: September 25, 2012
    • Storage Requirement: ~30 GB
  • 2014: Warlords of Draenor

    • Release Date: November 13, 2014
    • Storage Requirement: ~35 GB
  • 2016: Legion

    • Release Date: August 30, 2016
    • Storage Requirement: ~45 GB
  • 2018: Battle for Azeroth

    • Release Date: August 14, 2018
    • Storage Requirement: ~70 GB
  • 2020: Shadowlands

    • Release Date: November 23, 2020
    • Storage Requirement: ~100 GB
  • 2022: Dragonflight

    • Release Date: November 28, 2022
    • Storage Requirement: ~120 GB
  • 2024: The War Within

    • Release Date: August 26, 2024
    • Storage Requirement: ~128 GB

As you can see, the storage requirements have skyrocketed, but Blizzard has also improved their file system. They now use the same data for both retail and PTR, which has notably reduced the size of the clients. In the past, having separate retail and PTR clients took up a lot more disk space!

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Assuming you made this chart as its not in the source mats, can you show the difference between expansions too. As in the size of the new content.
Just looking at it The War Within is adding (assuming they're not randomly optimising / deleting old content) 8GB, which is the lowest its been since before Legion.
I'm not saying the expansion will look bad / not have any content but its a little strange to me.

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