World of Warcraft

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For the classic server option dedicated to emulate the original experience, see World of Warcraft: Classic.
World of Warcraft

Vivendi Universal

Release date(s)

NA - 2004-11-23
EU - 2005-02-11
CN - 2005-06-07

Latest release

NA -
EU -
CN -

Expansion packs chronology

World of Warcraft
The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft, often referred to as WoW (or, to refer to the game without expansions: vanilla, classic, pre-tBC or pre-BC), is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) set in the Warcraft universe. It is developed by Blizzard Entertainment and contains six expansion packs: The Burning Crusade World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor and Legion World of Warcraft: Legion.

Over time, the game's expansions have been integrated into the basic package. As of 17 May 2016, all World of Warcraft subscribers automatically have access to all of the content and features of The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor expansions at no additional cost.[1]

Further story development is also made throughout its franchising, other than online media, such as Warcraft novels, comics, manga, RPG books, TCG, and board games.


Four years after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, tensions between the Alliance and the Horde begin to arise once again.[2]

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.[3]


Player Customization

The new digital edition of the World of Warcraft Battle Chest.
Game box alternate

Gameplay System

Box cover
General System
PvE and PvP Systems
  • 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.


Standard WoW
  • North America (English-US - US & Canada)
    • Oceania (English-US - Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand)
    • Latin America (Spanish)
    • Brazil (Portuguese-Brazilian)
  • 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)



The gameplay video displayed is the first, released on November 23, 2004. Other videos were also made before the European release.

Subscriber numbers


World of Warcraft's subscriber numbers have fluctuated tremendously over the years. The game reached its peak in October, 2010 with 12 million monthly subscribers,[4] and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest and most popular MMORPG.[5] Though World of Warcraft had dropped to 7.4 million subscribers as of the release of Patch 6.0.2[6], when the Warlords of Draenor expansion released a few weeks later it briefly jumped all the way back up to 10 million[7] before settling back down to 7.1 million.[8]

In January 2014 it was announced that more than 100 million accounts and 500 million characters had been created over the game's lifetime, with players in 244 different countries.[9]

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.[10] For a graphical representation of subscriber numbers up to November 2015, click here.

Date Subscribers
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


Main article: Blizzard Entertainment

System requirements

Main article: System requirements


See also: World of Warcraft evolution guide

Development of World of Warcraft was first announced in September 2001.[11] 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.[12]

By 2002, the game's visual design was being worked on.[13] 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).[14]

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.[12] In 2007, Blizzard predicted that the game would last for five more years, which spurred them to develop Titan as their successive MMO.[15]

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.[16] The game has been likened to a sandbox with content being added over time.[17]

On October 30, 2014, lead designer Ion Hazzikostas stated that World of Warcraft will still be around at its 20th anniversary, in 2024.[18]

As of June 2016 the World of Warcraft team comprises around 235 people.[19]


See also


  1. ^ Warlords of Draenor Added to the Base Game, Warcraft Movie Footage and Interview (2016-05-17)
  2. ^ WoW official trailer
  3. ^ Story of Warcraft: chapter 8
  5. ^ Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition - Records - PC Gaming. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  6. ^ WoW Up to 7.4 Million Subscribers. Retrieved on 2014-10-14.
  8. ^ WoW Down to 7.1 Million Subscribers. Retrieved on 2015-05-06.
  9. ^ World of Warcraft: Azeroth by the Numbers. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-01-28).
  10. ^ Blizzard Will No Longer Report World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers
  11. ^ Web Archive - Fusion NET: Blizzard Entertainment Announces World of Warcraft.
  12. ^ a b Phillip Kolar. The Three Lives of Blizzard Entertainment. Polygon. Retrieved on 2014-10-04.
  13. ^ 2015-05-27, BlizzCon 2014 – Overwatch Origins Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, retrieved on 2015-05-28
  14. ^ 2017-11-05, BEHIND BLIZZARD’S WORLDS PANEL. Blizzpro, retrieved on 2017-11-19
  15. ^ 2017-09-22, OVERWATCH: FROM CANCELLED PROJECT TO GAME OF THE YEAR - IGN EXPERT MODE EP. 3. IGN, retrieved on 2017-09-23
  16. ^ Blizzard on Revitalising World of Warcraft.
  17. ^ 2015-05-27, BlizzCon 2014 – Overwatch Origins Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, retrieved on 2015-05-30
  18. ^ Colin Campbell 2014-10-30. Blizzard is planning on World of Warcraft still being around in 2024. Polygon. Retrieved on 2014-10-30.
  19. ^ Blizzard Talks World of Warcraft Legacy Servers And More (2016-06-10).
  20. ^ 2014-08-11, Blizzard Has Considered WoW 2 -- What Would You Like to See?. Gamespot, retrieved on 2014-08-16
  21. ^ 2015-08-13, GAMESCOM 2015: BLIZZARD ON THE POSSIBILITY OF WORLD OF WARCRAFT 2. IGN, retrieved on 2015-08-14

External links