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What Is World of Warcraft

Page history last edited by Helga Brown 15 years, 2 months ago

World of Warcraft Box Art

History of the Game


World of Warcraft (WoW) is a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG).  It has a high fantasy theme borrowing from the traditions of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  Launched on November 23rd, 2004, the game is based on Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft Universe which began in 1994 with Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, a real-time strategy game.


The game's first expansion, The Burning Crusade, released on January 16th, 2007 and the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, was released on November 13, 2008.




The story of World of Warcraft unfolds in the world of Azeroth, a large world consisting of three known continents and populated by the likes of night elves, dwarves, dragons, and trolls.




When playing for the first time, subscribers choose their race and class.  There are two primary factions in the game, the Alliance and the Horde.  The races of the Alliance include:  humans, gnomes, dwarves, night elves, and dranei.  The races available to the Horde are:  orcs, forsaken (undead), tauren, trolls, and blood elves.  Once players choose their faction and race, they choose their class (or role) in the game.  The available classes are: druid, priest, mage, shaman, warlock, warrior, paladin, and hunter.


Players start at level one and gain experience (XP) for completing quests while exploring increasingly difficult and dangerous areas.  They progress to a maximum level of 80.  While doing so, players can form groups of up to five members for some challenges while forming groups as large as 25 (raid) for more challenging situations.  In addition to these, players can form player guilds with individuals to collectively plan and organize events.


World of Warcraft also has a thriving in-world econonmy.  Completing quests also often includes a monetary reward in addition to the experience awarded.  Players can also create and sell items they create in-world using an auction house that functions in a similar way to eBay.




The number of subscribers to World of Warcraft have grown dramatically over the past four years.  As of their last report, Blizzard claims 11.5 million active subscribers, claiming an estimated 62% of the MMO market in April of 2008.

Woodcock, Bruce. “An Analysis of MMOG Subscription Growth.” MMOGCHART.COM 12.0. Nov. 29, 2004. Jan. 1,

     2005. <http://www.mmogchart.com>.



For more information about the game, check out these resources:


How Stuff Works: World of Warcraft: A Beginner's Guide - by Tracy V. Wilson


World of Warcraft Home Page by Blizzard Entertainment

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