World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft was created by Blizzard and published by Blizzard on 2004-11-23. World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) game.

World of Warcraft, often referred to as WoW, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the fourth released game set in the fantasy Warcraft universe, which was first introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. World of Warcraft takes place within the Warcraft world of Azeroth, two years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous Warcraft release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment announced World of Warcraft on September 2, 2001. The game was released on November 23, 2004, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise.

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

With more than 11.5 million monthly subscribers, World of Warcraft is currently the world's largest MMORPG in those terms, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG. In April 2008, World of Warcraft was estimated to hold 62% of the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) market.

Starting a character or a play session

As with other MMORPGs, players control a character avatar within a game world in third person view (with the option of playing in first person), exploring the landscape, fighting various monsters, completing quests, and interacting with NPCs or other players. In common with many other MMORPGs, World of Warcraft requires the player to pay for a subscription, either by buying game cards for a pre-selected amount of playing time, or by using a credit or debit card to pay on a regular basis.

To enter the game, the player must select a realm (or server). Each realm acts as an individual copy of the game world, and falls into one of four rule-set categories. Realms are either Player versus player (PvP), where open combat among players is more common, or Player versus environment (PvE), where the focus is more focused on defeating monsters and completing quests; roleplay (RP) variants of both realm types are also available. On a PvP or RP-PvP server a player may create characters belonging to either the Horde or the Alliance factions, but not both. Realms are also categorized by language, with in-game support in the language available. Players can move established characters between realms for a fee. Then the player may either select one of their previously made characters or create a new one.

To create a new character, in keeping with the storyline in the previous games in the Warcraft series, players must choose between the opposing factions of Alliance or Horde. Characters from the opposing factions can perform rudimentary communication and trade, but only members of the same faction can speak, email, group, and share guilds. The player selects the new character's race (species), such as Orcs or Trolls for the Horde or Humans or Dwarves for the Alliance. Players must also select the class for the character, with choices such as mages, warriors and priests available. Some classes are limited to particular races.

Ongoing gameplay

As characters become more developed, they gain various talents and skills, requiring the player to further define the abilities of that character. Professions such as tailoring, blacksmithing, mining, cooking and first-aid can also be learned by characters. Characters may also form or join guilds, allowing characters in the same guild unified communications, a shared guild name, and possibly identity, guild bank and dues.

Much of World of Warcraft play involves "questing". These quests, also called "tasks" or "missions", are usually available from non-player characters (NPCs). Quests usually reward the player with experience points, items, and/or in-game money. It is also through quests that much of the game's story is told, both through the quest text and through scripted NPC actions. Quests are linked by a common theme, with the next quest triggered by the completion of the previous, forming a quest chain. Quests commonly involve killing a number of creatures, gathering a certain number of resources, finding a difficult to locate object, speaking to various NPCs, visiting specific locations, interacting with objects in the world, or delivering an item from one place to another.

While a character can be played on its own, players can also group up with others in order to tackle more challenging content. In this way, character classes are used in specific roles within a group. World of Warcraft uses a "rested bonus" system, increasing the rate that a character can gain experience points after the player has spent time away from the game. When a character dies, it become a ghost (or wisp for elf character) at a nearby graveyard. Characters can be resurrected by other characters that have the ability, or can self-resurrect by moving from the graveyard to the place where they died. If this location is unreachable, they can use a special NPC known as a spirit healer to resurrect at the graveyard. When a character dies the items being carried degrade, requiring in-game money and a specialist NPC to repair them. Items that have degraded heavily become unusable until they are repaired.

World of Warcraft contains a variety of mechanisms for player-versus-player (PvP) play. Some realms allow player-versus-player combat almost anywhere in the game world. In these environments, members of opposing factions can attack each other at almost any time or location. Player-versus-environment (PvE) servers, by contrast, allows a player to choose whether or not to engage in combat against other players. On both server types, there are special areas of the world where free-for-all combat is permitted. Battlegrounds, for example, are similar to dungeons: only a set number of characters can enter a single battleground, but additional copies of the battleground can be made to accommodate additional players. Each battleground has a set objective, such as capturing a flag or defeating an opposing general, that must be completed in order to win the battleground. Competing in battlegrounds rewards the character with tokens and honor points that can be used to buy armour and weapons.

Setting

World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. In addition to sharing the "Warcraft" name with the real-time strategy games in the Warcraft series, it is set in the world of Azeroth and has similar art direction.

World of Warcraft takes place in a 3D representation of the Warcraft universe that players can interact with through their characters. The game world features three continents on the world of Azeroth and a separate planet known as Draenor, original home of the Orc and Draenei races, now referred to as Outland. In this game world, players use their characters to explore locations, defeat creatures and complete quests, among other such activities. By doing this, characters gain experience points. After a set amount of experience points have been gained, a character gains a level, opening up the option of learning new skills or abilities, exploring new areas and attempting new quests. As a player explores new locations, a number of transport shortcuts become available. Players can discover "flight masters" in newly discovered locations and then use those NPCs in order to fly to previously discovered locations in other parts of the world. Players can also use facilities such as boats or zeppelins in order to move from one of the continents on Azeroth to the other. Although the game world remains reasonably similar from day to day, seasonal events that reflect on real world events such as Halloween, Christmas, Children's Week, Easter and Midsummer have been added. Locations can also have changeable weather such as rain, snow and dust storms.

A number of facilities are available to characters when in towns and cities. In each major city characters can access a bank in order to deposit items, such as treasure or crafted items. Each bank is unique to that character, with players able to purchase additional storage space. In the major cities of Azeroth, Auction houses also exist as a way for characters to sell items to others in a similar way to online auction sites such as eBay. Players can also use mailboxes, which can be found in almost every town. The mailbox can be used to collect items won at auction and also to send messages, items and even in-game money to other characters.

Some of the harder challenges in World of Warcraft require players to group together to defeat them. These usually take place in dungeons, also known as instances, that a group of characters can enter together. The term comes from each group or party having a separate copy or instance of the dungeon, complete with their own enemies to defeat and their own treasure or rewards. This allows players to explore areas and defeat quests without other players outside the group interfering. Dungeons are spread over the game world and are designed for characters of varying progression. A typical dungeon will allow up to five characters to enter as part of a group. Some dungeons require more players to group together and form a raid of limited size (up to forty players) to face some of the most difficult challenges. As well as dungeon-based raid challenges, several creatures exist in the normal game environment that are designed for raids to attack.

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