World of Warcraft, often referred to as WoW, is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) set in the Warcraft universe. It is developed by Blizzard Entertainment and contains multiple expansion packs: The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, and Legion (forthcoming). The initial release (from late 2004) is now sometimes known as "vanilla WoW" or "classic WoW".
As of 2010, World of Warcraft had more than 12 million monthly subscribers, and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest and most popular MMORPG. Numbers have dropped since, but they remain in the millions. It also continues its further story development throughout its franchising, other than online media, such as Warcraft novels, comics, manga, RPG books, TCG, and board games.
- Uses and expands the storyline from the Warcraft series of RTS games.
- Customizable characters:
- 2 factions: Horde and Alliance.
- 8 initial races: Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Night Elf, Orc, Troll, Forsaken, Tauren; The Burning Crusade added Blood Elf / Draenei, Cataclysm added Goblin / Worgen, and Mists of Pandaria added Pandaren.
- 9 initial classes: Mage, Warlock, Priest, Rogue, Druid, Hunter, Shaman, Warrior, Paladin; Wrath added Death Knight (Hero Class), Mists of Pandaria added Monk, and Legion will add Demon Hunter (Hero Class).
- 9 initial professions, enabling resource gathering and item crafting; Burning Crusade added Jewelcrafting and Wrath of the Lich King added Inscription.
- 4 initial secondary professions: Cooking, Fishing, First Aid, Riding; Cataclysm added Archaeology.
- 2 initial class-based professions (Rogue): Lockpicking (Rogues only) and Runeforging (Death Knights only with Wrath of the Lich King).
- The Talents and Glyphs system allows further customization of the character's skills and stats.
- General System
- A casual-friendly character progression system up to a point.
- Quests occur frequently, and being offline (resting) increases your experience points gain.
- Free-to-play option up to level 20.
- In-game trading, mail service and auction system (not available to free-to-play players).
- Four server types: Normal PvE, RP, PvP, and RPPvP.
- Quest and Honor Systems
- A PvP Honor system, 3 initial Battlegrounds
- Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin, Warsong Gulch; The Burning Crusade added Eye of the Storm, Wrath added Strand of the Ancients / Isle of Conquest, Cataclysm added Battle for Gilneas / Twin Peaks, and Mists of Pandaria added Deepwind Gorge / Silvershard Mines / Temple of Kotmogu.
- A variety of World Events including:
- Darkmoon Faire, Children's Week, Midsummer Fire Festival, Pilgrim's Bounty, Hallow's End, and Feast of Winter Veil.
- Dozens of Instanced dungeons, ranging from Blackfathom Deeps to Zul'Farrak with dozens more added in content patches and expansions.
- User Interface and Customer Support
- Customize AddOn and Interface support with some many game commands.
- Client seamlessly supports both Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Linux users can play via Wine (MS Windows emulation), however this is not supported and can be buggy at times.
- Oceania (English - Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand)
- North America (English - US & Canada)
- Europe (English-UK, French, German, Spanish, Russian)
- South Korea
- China (Simplified and Traditional Chinese; including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau)
- Latin America (Spanish, English?)
The original WoW is sometimes referred to as "vanilla World of Warcraft," "pre Burning Crusade (Pre BC)," or "classic World of Warcraft".