I enjoyed both expansions for the most part. For all the hate on Cataclysm, I still enjoyed it. I didn’t get into the whole “Deathwing” deal. People complained about the leveling, at least it was over quick. My only real gripe came in later with Firelands and the dailies there, which was a little foreshadowing to how dailies would rule in Mists of Pandaria. Mists had it charms though. They had a good idea for the main theme, with Operation Shieldwall. I think they took too long to get to it, lost focus on it, and locked it behind dailies, which for me is a barrier for replaying it.
- Professions. Almost all professions were easier to collect the patterns you wanted. I’ll take orbs over motes of harmony any day. Not at all a fan of RNG/Discovery unless it works like Alchemy and you abosolutely end up with all the patterns at a reasonable point in the expansion. I pretty much gave up on Leatherworking, Tailoring and Blacksmithing after hitting 600.
- Exploration. With Cataclysm, there was so much to explore that was changed to the old world. Exploring Pandaria was fun, but it was a totally different world. Also, by the time I was able to fly on my first toon, I didn’t really have time for it.
- Leveling alts. As an altoholic, this was a major thing for me. I like to get a few toons leveled up then figure on which ones I want to play or gear up. Most of my alts playtime in Mists was simply logging on working on my farm for mats.
- PvP. I wasn’t able to even get into a Tol Barad match until a few months into Cata, but that’s more on the opposite faction’s poor participation. Once I started getting in it was pretty fun. Good chunks of honor. PvP in general seemed to be in a better place. I’m not a big fan of lengthy PvP battles. The crazy health pools alone make PvP drag on. This should be remedied in Warlords with the Stat squish. Not having server specific PvP is somewhat of a mistake in my opinion. I am a little interested in the new PvP area in Warlords. It seems like it will be CRZ to keep it balanced.
- Reputations. My main gripe here is that you couldn’t work on most of them until you hit 90. Then there was the fact that if you wanted certain patterns on alts you had to do the grind all over again to get it. Needless to say there are a bunch of patterns I don’t have. Yes, they helped it a little by putting commendations into the game but that only speeds up the process by 50% for your alts. Not very compelling. I would like to see account bound reps or account bound recipes/perks.
Despite all that, I wouldn’t want to go back. I like to keep hope for the next installment of Warcraft. I’m hoping the developers are finally less caught up on gating and making us jump through hoops and more focused on giving us compelling stuff to do.