"Beyond the gates of mighty kingdoms, lies a vast, unexplored world. A world of honor. A world of mystery. A world of danger. The world of Warcraft."World of Warcraft
is easily the most popular subscription-based Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
in the world today. It's based on Blizzard Entertainment
's popular Warcraft Real Time Strategy
game series and was originally set four years after Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
, with later expansions advancing the timeline.World of Warcraft
is based in the world of Azeroth, on four main continents: Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend and Pandaria; as well as the former planet of Draenor, now known as Outland, whence the Orcs
originate. There are two factions: the Alliance and the Horde (though neither is automatically good or evil — and in trope terms, both
are The Alliance
), thirteen races, eleven classes, eleven primary professions, and four secondary professions.
The game is casual-friendly to a point, being designed so that those who prefer to play solo can still achieve maximum level. It should be noted that, like most MMORPGs, about half of WoW
's content can only be accessed after you reached maximum level, and cooperative play is required to earn the best gear and other rewards. Guilds are a major part of the game's community, with the majority of players belonging to one. Benefits of guild membership are both social and material — most endgame raid content is done by guilds and they can share a pool of resources much greater than that available to the solo player.WoW
follow the standard RPG archetypes
. The three core roles are tanking (taking damage so others don't have to), healing (patching others up), and damage dealing (or DPS). These roles are further refined by the talents each character chooses to specialize in. There are "pure" classes that can only fill a DPS role, and "hybrid" classes that must choose a role to specialize in, but may also fill additional roles at the cost of efficiency.
- Death Knight (added in Wrath of the Lich King) — A tank or melee DPS class that utilizes the power of death and disease, and may summon undead minions to aid it. Formerly servants of the Lich King, they broke free of his control and now seek to Pay Evil unto Evil. Unlike other classes, new Death Knights start at level 55, but before a Death Knight can be created on an account, another character on that account of any class must be leveled to 55.
- Druid — Servants of nature, Druids are the most versatile class, relying on talents and shapeshifting to specialize in melee DPS (cat), ranged DPS (Moonkin), tank (bear), or healer (tree). Additional forms allow them to breathe underwater, increase foot traveling speed, and fly without a special mount.
- Hunter — A ranged DPS class that tames beasts to use as pets in combat. The Hunter can specialize in improving his pet or his ranged combat skills, and is a master of traps and controlling monsters. Notably the only class that deals primarily physical ranged damage.
- Mage — A ranged DPS class that excels at dishing out magical damage. Talent choices focus on specific types of magic: Arcane, Fire, and Frost. Mages are also versatile in managing large numbers of enemies and controlling monsters.
- Monk (added in Mists of Pandaria) — A tank/melee DPS/healer hybrid focused on the Pandaren culture. They can tank as a Brewmaster, deal damage as a Windwalker, and mix up damaging attacks with herbal medicine to heal as a Mistweaver. They use Chi as a resource.
- Paladin — A hybrid melee class that can specialize as tank, melee DPS, or healer. Paladins wield their faith in the Light as sword, shield, and bandage, incorporating holy magic into their martial abilities as well as their spellcasting. Formerly available only to the Alliance, which was changed in Burning Crusade in giving Blood Elves to the Horde, and then Tauren could do it too.
- Priest — A hybrid caster, Priests channel their faith into spellcasting. The archetypal and most versatile of healers, they're the only ones to have two skilltrees dedicated to healing and protecting. Priests may also specialize as ranged DPS, destroying their enemies with shadow magic and psychic assaults.
- Rogue — A melee DPS class that attacks from stealth for incredible damage, then vanishes into the shadows when the advantage is lost. Rogues may specialize in the use of poisons, toe-to-toe combat, or trickery and deceit.
- Shaman — A caster/melee hybrid that draws on the power of elemental and ancestral spirits. Shaman may specialize in melee DPS, ranged DPS, or healing, and utilize mystical totems to buff allies and attack their foes. Formerly available only to the Horde, which was changed in Burning Crusade with the addition of the Draenei to the Alliance, and later expanded when the Wildhammer Dwarves joined and began teaching other Dwarves.
- Warlock — A ranged DPS class that employs demons and attacks with shadow and fire magic. Warlocks may specialize in summoning demonic minions to cause damage and bolster their party, withering their targets with curses, or battering them with direct power. Warlocks have varying resources depending on their specialization, from turning into a demon with new spells, empowering your current ones with soul shards, or using burning embers to hit the enemies with massive force.
- Warrior — A melee hybrid, warriors are the pinnacle of martial prowess. Besides tanking, they may specialize in two forms of melee combat; either skillfully wielding a single heavy weapon, or relentlessly striking with two. Warriors utilize specialized combat stances to access and enhance various sets of offensive or defense abilities in the heat of battle.
Players can play against the environment, completing quests and conquering dungeons; against each other, in dedicated Battlegrounds and Arenas (and even in the world at large if playing on a server which allows such activity
); or a mixture of any of these, with talents and gear to support either choice. Servers are designated Player Versus Player
, Player Versus Environment, and Role Playing. The main difference is that on PvP servers, you are automatically flagged for PvP in all zones above level 20, and in PvE servers, you must manually flag yourself for PvP. RP servers can also be PvP or PvE, but have more rules in regards to character names, and for killing players much lower level than you.
The original, or "classic/vanilla" game, featured a level cap of 60 and was played in the two continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. New content was added regularly up until the first expansion; the final released dungeon was Naxxramas.
The first expansion, The Burning Crusade,
was released in January 2007, raised the level cap to 70, and allowed travel to Outland. Flying mounts and druid flying form were first introduced in this expansion, as well as an expanded world to fly within. It also allowed the creation of Blood Elf characters on the Horde and Draenei on the Alliance. This gave the Horde access to Paladins and the Alliance access to Shaman, a restriction which had previously caused game-balance issues. The final released dungeon of The Burning Crusade
was Sunwell Plateau.
The second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King
, was released in November 2008, raised the level cap to 80, and allowed travel to a new area: Northrend. It added the Death Knight "hero" class, available only to players who already had a level 55 or higher character. Death Knights start at level 55 in an exclusive zone with a full set of equipment, but no profession skills except First Aid. The final dungeon of Wrath of the Lich King
was canonically Icecrown Citadel; although additional content was added to tide players over until Cataclysm
, it was officially part of the latter. The last added dungeon was The Ruby Sanctum.
The third expansion, Cataclysm
, was released in December 2010. It returned players to a redesigned Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms (devastated after the titular Cataclysm), raised the level cap to 85, and revisited a great deal of old and unfinished content while continuing the story lines of Azshara, Deathwing, and the Guardians of Tirisfal. The expansion saw upsets in the leadership of several player races and a resurgence in the Alliance/Horde conflict storyline throughout Azeroth. It added two new races: the bestial Worgen of Gilneas for the Alliance, and the cunning Goblins of Kezan for the Horde. The final dungeon was Dragon Soul, featuring the long-awaited battle against Deathwing the Destroyer.
The fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria
, was released in September 2012. It raises the level cap to 90 and opens up the continent of Pandaria for exploration. It features the Pandaren as a playable race for both the Alliance and Horde, a new class in the form of the Monk, and more focus on PvP content. Additional features include pet battles
, PvE scenarios, and Challenge Mode dungeons. As the Horde vs. Alliance conflict will be a major part of the storyline, the Final Boss
will be none other than the current leader of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream.
Well-known for its depth of interaction, WoW has also spawned a collectible card game, a pen-and-paper RPG, comic books, and many other merchandising peripherals. The game was one of the largest MMO in the world by a huge margin, with a peak subscriber base of 11.5 million players and at one point holding nearly 60% of the total market share. note
A feature film based on the Warcraft franchise is currently in Development Hell
, but seems to still be happening..
See also the Warcraft Expanded Universe
, which contains write-ups for works set in the Warcraft universe. The character sheet (for the entire Warcraft universe) is here
. This game has also spawned enough memes to warrant its own page.
World of Warcraft provides examples of: