World of Warcraft

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World of Warcraft
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WoW_Box_Art.jpg
World of Warcraft box art

Developer(s) Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s) Vivendi Universal
Release date(s) November 23, 2004
Genre MMORPG
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Rating(s) Teen (T)
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a class-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the 5th Blizzard game - not including expansion packs - if you take the cancelled Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans as being one of them, set in the Warcraft Universe, a fantasy setting introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. World of Warcraft is set four years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

Contents

General information

Large group preparing for a raid
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Large group preparing for a raid

The game was simultaneously released on November 23, 2004 in North America, Australia and New Zealand, on both PC and Macintosh systems. The game sold more than 240,000 copies in its first 24 hours on the market, more than any other PC game in history. Though not officially released in South Korea until January 18th, 2005, it had been found on store shelves since November 2004. The game was released in Europe on February 11th, 2005 with English, French and German language versions. On March 2, 2005, 100,000 testers signed up for China's WoW beta test within the first hour. The game was released in China on June 6th, 2005. The game won high praise at E3 in 2003, including Gamer's Pulse's Best of Show award. World of Warcraft was declared by many in the computer gaming industry, including GameSpot and Gamespy, as 2004's game of the year.

Collector's Edition

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Wowcollectors.jpg
Box shot of the World of Warcraft Collector's Edition
Blizzard released two versions of the game upon its launch. One was the regular CD edition, and the other was the very limited Collector's Edition. The collector's box contained the following items:
  • The entire game on both one DVD and six CDs.
  • One-month subscription to the game.
  • A guest pass to the game providing ten days of access.
  • A Behind the Scenes DVD.
  • Collector's Edition Soundtrack.
  • Collector's Edition manual.
  • The Art of World of Warcraft.
  • A cloth map of Azeroth.
  • Exlusive in-game pets (Zergling, Panda and Diablo).

Characters

Because World of Warcraft is a role-playing game, players create characters which serve as their avatar in the online world.

When creating a character in World of Warcraft, the player can choose from eight different races and nine different character classes. The races are split into two equally sized factions: the Alliance and the Horde:

The nine available classes are Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock and Warrior. Two of the classes are faction-specific: Paladins for the Alliance and Shamans for the Horde. Classes are also limited by race.

This is a chart showing which classes can be played by what races.

 
Races
Classes Human Night Elf Gnome Dwarf Troll Tauren Orc Undead
Druid No Yes No No No Yes No No
Hunter No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Mage Yes No Yes No Yes No No Yes
Paladin Yes No No Yes No No No No
Priest Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes
Rogue Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Shaman No No No No Yes Yes Yes No
Warrior Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warlock Yes No Yes No No No Yes Yes

In addition to the character classes, a player may choose two primary professions and as many secondary professions as they wish. The professions consist of three types: gathering, item creation, and service. Many players choose to pair two related professions (allowing the character to gather the required materials for the crafting skill), such as Mining and Blacksmithing or Alchemy and Herbalism. Some players choose to select only "gathering" professions, opting to simply supply metal, skins or herbs to crafters. This type of player will typically offer gathered items for sale on the game's Auction Houses.

The primary professions are:

The secondary professions are:

With World of Warcraft Blizzard has made some changes to the typical MMORPG in response to the common complaints received from players about other games in this genre. In particular the game play has been changed to make it more even and fair for both 'hardcore' and casual players. For example, players gain more experience overall from completing quests than by killing monsters ("grinding"). While grinding is still a viable tactic for advancing levels, players who choose to quest will progress faster than those who simply kill NPC monsters.


Virtual world

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World of Warcraft World Map

The current virtual world is built around two main continents: The Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. The new World Tree of Teldrassil is off the northwestern coast of Kalimdor. While not all of the history between the end of The Frozen Throne and the four years between the start of World of Warcraft has been revealed, it is assumed the conflict between the Horde's forces and the marines of the Theramore Isles at the end of the Orc mini-campaign were at least the kindling for the blaze of the current conflict.

Some of the notable landmarks and locations in the game that were featured in previous Warcraft games, namely Warcraft III, are:

World of Warcraft also has something called instances. Instances, short for "Instanced Dungeons", are dungeons in which a seperate copy of the dungeon is created just for you and your party.

And, as with any game, it has its terminology .

Community

Resting World of Warcraft party
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Resting World of Warcraft party

In addition to playing the game itself and conversing on discussion forums provided by Blizzard, World of Warcraft players often participate in the World of Warcraft virtual community in creative ways, including fan artwork (http://www.blizzard.com/inblizz/fanart/page1.shtml), comic strip style storytelling (http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/community/comics.html) or even recording songs (http://picturebin.com/mp3/) devoted to deleted NPCs.

Another popular phenomenon in the community is a video starring a player named Leeroy Jenkins (http://www.uploadtemple.com/view.php/1115793473.wmv), a staged video intended to provide publicity for Leeroy's guild. On some servers, this has become a popular meme.

As World of Warcraft's popularity increases so too do the controversial issues of neglect and game addiction. Like EverQuest, several support groups have been created to serve the growing community of gamer widows. 2005 saw the advent of WoW Widows (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/WOW_widow/) a yahoo email support group and GamerWidow.com (http://www.gamerwidow.com) a site devoted to the support of Gamer Widows that includes an RSS News feed and a message board with active participants.

Operating systems

As of March 2005, World of Warcraft is only available for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. Blizzard has no immediate plans of releasing a Linux version, but there is an online petition (http://www.blizzpub.net/petition/) aimed at convincing Blizzard to release a true Linux port. However, support for World of Warcraft is present in Windows API implementations Wine and Cedega, allowing the game to be played on Linux.


System requirements

The following requirements are as stated on the official World of Warcraft website, but are generally considered by players to be quite a bit under the suggested specifications.

  • Windows 98/ME/2000/XP:
    • 800 MHz or higher CPU
    • 256 MB or more of RAM
    • 32 MB 3D graphics card with hardware transform and lighting, such as GeForce 2 or better
    • 4 GB or more of available hard drive space
    • DirectX 9.0c or above
    • 56k or higher modem with an Internet connection
  • Mac OS X 10.3.5:
    • 933 MHz or higher G4 or G5 processor
    • 512 MB RAM or higher; DDR RAM recommended
    • ATI or NVIDIA video hardware with 32 MB VRAM or more
    • 4 GB or more of available hard drive space
    • MacOS X 10.3.5 or newer
    • 56k or higher modem with an Internet connection

Blizzard allow all users to play together, regardless of their operating system.

Version

As of June 14, 2005, World of Warcraft is operating version 1.5.1

Patch 1.5.0 introduced the long awaited Battlegrounds. The Battlegrounds are instanced battlefields allowing matched team vs. team PVP. Two battlegrounds were introduced with this patch: Alterac Valley (which allows teams up to 40 players apiece) and Warsong Gulch (which allows ten player teams). Other major content included in the 1.5.0 patch includes: a new Horde quest node and multiple quests in the Hinterlands; a shared quest node in Searing Gorge at Thorium Point; added quests for all characters in Feralas on the continent of Kalimdor.

See also: World of Warcraft version history


Modifications

Modifying the user interface (UI) of a game is nothing new. But Blizzard has done something new with it's concept. Not only can you change the setup for your buttons, you can also create macros and build entirely new set of tools that help you along as you venture in the world of Azeroth.

The range of modifications that are available can be anything from ways to control WinAMP in-game, to adding extra rows of button bars for spells, skills and more. There are also useless but harmless ones like the "Leeroy Jenkins" mod.

All addons are created using the Lua programming language and XML, images used for any modification are created using the .TGA (Targa) and .BLP image formats. Blizzard has released a User Interface Customization tool which they call "Cui" [1] (http://www.blizzard.com/support/wow/?id=aww01669p)

There is also a possibility that UIs can be used to Exploit the game (See: Exploit), these should be avoided at all costs seeing as they can lead to your account being temporarily and some times permanently suspended. To ease the concern to mod makers Blizzard has said on the forums that any modification that is uses the Lua programming language will not be considered an exploit, though Blizzard reserves the right to change information available via the Lua language if the modification changes the nature of encounters in the game.

See also: List of World of Warcraft Mods

Exploits

As with all massive multiplayer online games, WoW has had it's share of dishonest players who cheat and exploit the world of Azeroth. Everything from Goldfarming, to actually selling accounts on eBay. Blizzard has been instrumental in removing these players from the game so that it won't disrupt and ruin it for honest players.

The World of Warcraft End User License Agreement EULA specifically forbids this kind of activity. Blizzard actively takes action against anyone who exploits the game by temporarily and permanently suspending accounts. Thus far, Blizzard has banned well over 10,000 players from the game.

See also: Exploit

Sales

As of June, 2005, World of Warcraft has sold more than 2,000,000 copies worldwide. Blizzard also stated that at any given time at least 500,000 subscribers are online. Sales will be limited accordingly until more servers, called worlds, or realms, are assembled. Nevertheless, due to massive sales initially, there were periods where players had to wait in queues due to some realms being at their maximum player limit. Recently, players have been impressed with the differences, but are still asking for more. While in certain high population areas, (like Ironforge or Orgrimmar) players often experience a sort of framerate lag. Blizzard has said that they are working on solving this problem.

Awards


External links

Official Websites

Useful resources

Reviews

  • GameSpot's Review (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/worldofwarcraft/index.html?q=world+of+warcraft)
  • GameSpy's Review (http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/world-of-warcraft/571585p1.html?fromint=1)
  • IGN's Review (http://pc.ign.com/articles/572/572070p1.html)

Wikis

  • WoWwiki.com (http://www.wowwiki.com/) - A Wiki dedicated to World of Warcraft.

Template:Blizzardda:World of Warcraft de:World of Warcraft fr:World of Warcraft it:World of Warcraft ja:World of Warcraft he:Warcraft (משחק מחשב)#World of Warcraft nl:World of Warcraft no:World of Warcraft pl:World of Warcraft fi:World of Warcraft sv:World of Warcraft zh:魔兽世界

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