- For the classic server option dedicated to emulate the original experience, see World of Warcraft: Classic.
|World of Warcraft|
After release: Team 2
Tracy W. Bush
|Platforms||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, (Linux via Wine or Cedega)|
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing|
World of Warcraft, often abbreviated as WoW (or, when referring to the original game, vanilla, classic, or pre-BC), is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released on November 23, 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise, three years after its announcement on September 2, 2001. It is the fourth released game set in the Warcraft universe, and takes place four years after the events of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
- 1 Selected World of Warcraft articles
- 2 Plot
- 3 Updates
- 4 Account levels
- 5 Features
- 6 Availability
- 7 Subscriber numbers
- 8 Development
- 9 Creatures
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Videos
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Selected World of Warcraft articles
- Instances by continent
- Instance grouping guide
- Newbie guide
- Choosing a class
- Travel guide
- Talent builds
- For many more, visit guides
Four years after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, tensions between the Alliance and the Horde begin to arise once again. Intent on settling the arid region of Durotar, Thrall's new Horde expanded its ranks, inviting the undead Forsaken to join orcs, tauren, and trolls. Meanwhile, dwarves, gnomes and the ancient night elves pledged their loyalties to a reinvigorated Alliance, guided by the human kingdom of Stormwind. After Stormwind's king Varian Wrynn mysteriously disappeared, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon served as Regent, but his service was marred by the manipulations and mind control of the black dragon Onyxia, who ruled in disguise as a human noblewoman. As heroes investigated Onyxia's manipulations, ancient foes surfaced in lands throughout the world to menace Horde and Alliance alike.
There have been eight expansions to World of Warcraft:
- The Burning Crusade was released on January 16, 2007.
- Wrath of the Lich King was released on November 13, 2008.
- Cataclysm was released on December 7, 2010.
- Mists of Pandaria was released on September 25, 2012,
- Warlords of Draenor was released on November 13, 2014.
- Legion was released on August 30, 2016.
- Battle for Azeroth was released on August 13/14, 2018.
- Shadowlands was released on November 23/24, 2020.
Additionally, World of Warcraft: Classic, released on August 26/27, 2019,, provides a way to experience the game as it was before any expansions, and World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic released on June 1/2, 2021, provides a way to experience the game as it was during its first expansion.
Over time, the game's expansions have been integrated into the base game. With the release of patch 9.0.1 released on October 13, 2020, all World of Warcraft subscribers (or those with game time) automatically have access to all of the content and features of all the expansions up to Battle for Azeroth at no additional cost.
- Main article: Account#World of Warcraft account levels
- World of Warcraft: Free Trial - Try World of Warcraft for Free - level to 20.
- Subscription / Game time (monthly payment) - level to 50. Also get access to WoW Classic and BC Classic.
- World of Warcraft: Shadowlands - level to 60 in the new expansion - requires subscription.
- 2 factions: Horde and Alliance.
- 23 playable races:
- 12 classes: Mage, Warlock, Priest, Rogue, Druid, Hunter, Shaman, Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight, Monk, Demon Hunter.
- 14 professions, enabling resource gathering and item crafting:
- Different specializations for each class that define the player's abilities, strengths and role in the game.
- The talent system allows customization of the character's passive and active abilities.
- Glyphs are additionally used to customize the character's abilities.
- General System
- A casual-friendly character progression system.
- In-game trading, mail service, auction system, text and voice chat.
- Two server types: Normal and RP.
- PvE and PvP Systems
- PvE System:
- Thousands of quests.
- Dungeons, Raids, and Scenarios.
- 1 to 5 player content: Horrific Visions and Torghast, Tower of the Damned.
- Solo only content: Brawler's Guild and Mage Tower Challenges.
- Garrisons, Class Order Halls and Covenants.
- PvP Honor system:
- PVP talent system.
- Turn on or off War Mode for PvP in the open world.
- 13 Battlegrounds: Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, Alterac Valley, Eye of the Storm, Isle of Conquest, Battle for Gilneas, Twin Peaks, Silvershard Mines, Temple of Kotmogu, Deepwind Gorge, Seething Shore, Battle for Wintergrasp, Ashran.
- Arena PVP System for 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 intense, small area combat (12 different PVP arena locations).
- PvP objective world quests.
- Dueler's Guild.
- PvP difficulty island expeditions.
- A variety of seasonal world events: Darkmoon Faire, Children's Week, Midsummer Fire Festival, Love is in the air, Feast of Winter Veil, and more.
- More events were added in later expansions: Brewfest, Pirates' Day, Day of the Dead, and Pilgrim's Bounty.
- Unique one-time events: Gates of Ahn'Qiraj, Scourge Invasion, Dark Portal opening event, World of Warcraft anniversaries, and others.
- Micro-holidays (patch 7.1.5): including Call of the Scarab, Hatching of the Hippogryphs, Glowcap Festival, and others.
- Continues and expands the lore from the Warcraft universe.
- Streamlined questlines and NPC-voiced storytelling.
- User Interface and Customer Support
- Customize AddOn and Interface with some game commands support.
- Client seamlessly supports both Mac and Windows operating systems. Linux users can play via Wine, however this is not supported and can be buggy at times.
- North America (English-US - US & Canada).
- Oceania (English-US - Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand).
- Latin America (Spanish).
- Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese, 2011).
- Europe (English-UK, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese-Brazilian, Italian).
- South Korea.
- China (Simplified and Traditional Chinese; including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau).
World of Warcraft's subscriber numbers have fluctuated tremendously over the years. With a peak of 12 million monthly subscribers in October 2010, World of Warcraft remains among the most popular MMORPGs and holds the Guinness World Record for the world's most popular subscription-based MMORPG. Though World of Warcraft had dropped to 7.4 million subscribers as of the release of patch 6.0.2, when the Warlords of Draenor expansion released a few weeks later it briefly jumped all the way back up to 10 million before settling back down to 7.1 million. In the final report in October 2015, there were 5.5 million subscribers.
In November 2015 Blizzard announced that they would no longer give regular updates of subscriber numbers, as they felt there were better performance metrics they could use. For a graphical representation of subscriber numbers up to November 2015, click here.
|December 2004||400 thousand|
|March 2005||1.5 million|
|June 2005||3.25 million|
|September 2005||4.25 million|
|December 2005||5.6 million|
|March 2006||6.4 million|
|June 2006||6.6 million|
|September 2006||7 million|
|January 2007||8 million|
|March 2007||8.5 million|
|June 2007||8.8 million|
|December 2007||9.75 million|
|February 2008||10.2 million|
|October 2008||11 million|
|December 2008||11.5 million|
|March 2009||11.5 million|
|December 2009||11.5 million|
|October 2010||12 million|
|March 2011||11.4 million|
|June 2011||11.1 million|
|September 2011||10.3 million|
|December 2011||10.2 million|
|July 2012||9.1 million|
|September 2012||10 million|
|December 2012||9.6 million|
|March 2013||8.3 million|
|June 2013||7.7 million|
|September 2013||7.6 million|
|December 2013||7.8 million|
|March 2014||7.6 million|
|July 2014||6.8 million|
|October 2014||7.4 million|
|November 2014||10 million|
|December 2014||10 million|
|March 2015||7.1 million|
|July 2015||5.6 million|
|November 2015||5.5 million|
As of Q2 2021, World of Warcraft is among the three largest franchises of Activision Blizzard, alongside Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
- See also: World of Warcraft evolution guide
The history of World of Warcraft has its origins in Project Nomad. Accounts differ as to the timing of this project, some stating that work began on it after the release of StarCraft, others that development on the game had begun prior to the "crunch period" of StarCraft's development, and as a result, developers were transferred to work on the RTS game. Nomad itself was to be a sci-fi squad-based shooter, some of its developers taking inspiration from Necromunda, others from Final Fantasy. Those in the former camp conceptualized a squad-based game where players would build up squads of soldiers, upgrade their abilities, find new guns, and go online to challenge other players' armies. Those in the latter camp wanted an adventure/RPG game.
The lack of direction didn't help and the game was scrapped in favor of World of Warcraft. During development, Kevin Beardslee and Bill Petras wanted to make something else entirely different from what Nomad was, specifically a more accessible version of EverQuest. Nomad was scrapped and development on World of Warcraft began two days later.
Development of World of Warcraft was first announced in September 2001 at the ECTS tradeshow. There was little fanfare in the original announcement, and the original development team consisted of around fifty individuals. Inspiration was taken from other MMOs such as Ultima Online and EverQuest, using the lore and characters of Warcraft as the basis for the setting. It would be a risky venture, as the company had grown used to games passing the 1 million sales mark, whereas EverQuest had peaked at the 500,000 subscriber mark. While a subscription fee would help recoup costs, there was unease as to whether the game's reception would be as positive as Blizzard's previous games, and it was thought that the game would only appeal to pre-existing Warcraft fans. Furthermore, few members of Blizzard had experience in developing MMOs, and while they enjoyed playing them, there was fears that the game would be overshadowed by Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest 2. When the game was first announced, members of the press often asked Blizzard as such, seeing them as "the RTS company." By 2002, the game's visual design was being worked on. There was initial pushback in Blizzard as to the Alliance/Horde faction divide, as some feared that some players wouldn't like it because they couldn't play with friends (if they chose different factions).
The game originally had a true to life day-night cycle, which dictated when events and spawns would happen. This idea was scrapped so that players wouldn't have to disrupt their real lives to do these time-specific activities.
The game had a significant "crunch period" of development.
The game released in late 2004. Surpassing expectations, the game had reached 5 million subscribers by the end of 2005. Blizzard had to develop tech and customer support on the fly in order to keep up with the demand. Not only was it well received by the critics, but it also became the best selling PC Game of 2005 and 2006. It was recognized at the 2005 Spike TV Video Game Awards where it won Best PC Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Best RPG, and Most Addictive Game.
In 2007, Blizzard predicted that the game would last for five more years, which spurred them to develop Titan as their successive MMO.
As of 2014, Blizzard's intended development pattern is to keep content at a relatively steady pace—still producing expansions, but with shorter gaps between content implementation. The game has been likened to a sandbox with content being added over time. Expansions are planned out in advance, with narrative threads in one expansion leading to events in the next.
As of June 2016, the World of Warcraft team comprises around 235 people.
The system requirements for the game evolved a lot from it's original version. Details of this evolution, and the current requirements, can be checked on this article.
World of Warcraft is inhabited by a large number of creatures. The following creatures were added in Vanilla World of Warcraft before the release of expansions:
- Keeper of the grove
- Lost one
- Mok'nathal (in Vanilla introduced as a single NPC)
- Two headed ogre
- Spirit Healer
- Clam (as a intractable item)
- Core hound
- Sand reaver
- Sea lion
- Thunder lizard
- Two-headed dog-like beast
- Wind serpent
- Dragon (in Vanilla five types)
- Drakonid (in Vanilla six types)
- Dragonspawn (in Vanilla six types)
- Faerie dragon
- Eye of Kilrogg
- Void hound
- Animated weapons
- Bone golem
- Crypt fiend
- Crypt lord
- Frost wyrm
- Skeletal horse
- Skeletal wind serpent
- Undead gnoll
- as a single NPC) Undead high elf (in Vanilla introduced
- Undead human
- Undead quilboar
- Undead troll
- Crowd pummeler
- Harvest golem
- Mechanical chicken
- Mechanical dragonling
- Mechanical gorilla
- Mechanical sheep
- Mechanical squirrel
- Bog beast
- Obsidian destroyer
- Mana surge
- Stone golem
And many creatures are added in each World of Warcraft expansion:
- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade#New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King #New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Cataclysm#New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria#New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor#New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Legion#New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth#New creatures
- World of Warcraft: Shadowlands#New creatures
- The introduction of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans already greeted the player by welcoming him into the "World of Warcraft". Before its cancellation, the tagline of Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was also supposed to be "An Adventure Game in the World of WarCraft".
- Blizzard has considered making a "World of Warcraft 2" since 2004. J. Allen Brack has expressed doubts about the possibility of a sequel, stating that "there’s not really a great model for a successful sequel MMO."
- In China, many models had to be edited due to not being allowed to show bones. For some examples, see the trivia sections of Lord Marrowgar, Sindragosa, and Forsaken. Bones and skulls are usually replaced by loaves of bread.
- Carbot Animations made cartoon-styled parodies of World of Warcraft called WowCraft.
- World of Warcraft appears in the book, "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die".
- In 2018, World of Warcraft was #41 on IGN's Top 100 Video Games of All Time.
- World of Warcraft is featured at the Computer History Museum's Make Software: Change the World! exhibit since they opened in January 2017.
- On page 204 of the World of Warcraft instruction manual, the "Additional Thanks" section includes "Happy 30th to RUSH".
- ''World of Warcraft'' Trailer
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 1
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 2
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 3
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 4
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 5
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 6
- ''World of Warcraft'' Gameplay 7
- ''World of Warcraft'' Cinematic
- ''World of Warcraft'' Cinematic Enhanced to 4K
- ''World of Warcraft'' TV Spot
- Patch 1.1.0 - Onyxia's Lair Trailer
- Patch 1.5.0 - Battlegrounds: Warsong Gulch
- Patch 1.6.0 - Assault on Blackwing Lair
- Patch 1.6.0 - Darkmoon Faire Trailer
- Patch 1.7.0 - Rise of the Blood God
- Patch 1.7.0 - Battlegrounds: Arathi Basin
- Patch 1.9.0 - The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj
- Patch 1.10.0 - Storms of Azeroth #1
- Patch 1.10.0 - Storms of Azeroth #2
- Patch 1.11.0 - Shadow of the Necropolis
- Patch 1.12.0 - Drums of War
- 8 years of WoW
The gameplay video displayed is the first, released on November 23, 2004. Other videos were also made before the European release.
- Game manual
- Loading screen
- A listing of World of Warcraft-related sites.
- World of Warcraft Mac OS X Icons
- Timeline (World of Warcraft) for a timeline of game milestones since its announcement.
- The World of Warcraft Townhall
- EU English realms info
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- ^ Shadowlands: Story Trailer
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