Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
World of Warcraft
|World of Warcraft|
|Release date:||November 23, 2004|
|ESRB ratings:||Teen (T)|
|Platforms:||Macintosh & Windows|
|Media:||CDs (4), DVD (1)|
World of Warcraft (WoW) is a class-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the 4th Blizzard game, not including expansion packs, 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.
The game was simultaneously released on November 23, 2004 in North America, Australia and New Zealand, on both PC and Macintosh systems. In its first 24 hours on the market, the game sold more than 240,000 copies, 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. At the E3 in 2003 the game won high praise, including Gamer's Pulse 's Best of Show award. World of Warcraft has been declared by many in the computer gaming industry, including GameSpot and Gamespy, as 2004's game of the year.
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 equal-sized factions: the Alliance and the Horde:
- The Alliance consists of Humans, Night Elves, Dwarves, and Gnomes.
- The Horde consists of Orcs, Tauren, Undead (a.k.a. Forsaken), and Trolls.
- Additionally, there are many NPC races such as Goblins and Ogres.
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. With the exception of the warriors, classes are also limited by race.
In addition to the character classes, a player may choose two primary professions and as many secondary professions as they wish. The primary professions are Mining, Skinning, Herbalism, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Tailoring and Enchanting. The secondary professions are Fishing, Cooking and First Aid. 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 for crafters. This type of player will typically offer gathered items for sale on the game's Auction Houses.
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. 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.
Recently, Blizzard altered the End User License Agreement EULA to specifically forbid the real-world sale of in-game material (e.g., via eBay). This policy is designed to make play more accessible to the casual player. A large crackdown spanning multiple servers and major gold farmers resulting in the banning or temporary suspension of a number of accounts.
The current 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 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 the previous Warcraft games, namely Warcraft III, are:
- The Undercity, which resides under the Ruins of Lordaeron, is the main city of the Forsaken, ruled by Sylvanas Windrunner and Varimathras. Here they are engineering a new plague to wipe out the Scourge and additionally all other life forms on Azeroth;
- The Eastern and Western Plaguelands , including places such as Andorhal, the place of origin of the Scourge and the Plague of Undeath, and Stratholme, the site of Arthas' initial fall into insanity;
- The Blasted Lands , home of the orginal Dark Portal from which the Orcs first came into Azeroth; and
- Kalimdor is home to the Tauren, Orcs, Trolls, and Night Elves. Areas to the north include Ashenvale Forest , Felwood , Winterspring , Azshara and the Moonglade. These regions surround Mt. Hyjal, where the final battle against Archimonde was held and the fall of the Burning Legion's Second Invasion took place.
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 aimed at convincing Blizzard to release a true Linux port. However, support for World of Warcraft has recently been added to Windows API implementations Wine and Cedega, allowing the game to be played on Linux.
There are rumors of a Linux World of Warcraft client however. During their extensive beta testing period, several binary files appeared for one release only within their datafiles (MPQs ). These files were things from sound libraries to XML libraries, and a 4.8MB "WowClient" binary. This would suggest that Blizzard is indeed working on a Linux World of Warcraft client, however much "beta" it is.
The 3.1.1 patch is notable for making the user interface more user-friendly by allowing multiple action bars to be up simultaneously. It also includes text bubbles above PC and NPC's heads when speaking, class improvements (for Mage, Druid, Warrior, and Priest), a HUD of quest goals below the mini-map, population restrictions on certain dungeons, lowering of many costs when getting class training, and numerous other tweaks and bug fixes that are listed in detail at the official community website. The deployment of the most recent patch was marred by server issues which prevented many players from being able to log in to their accounts, and created enormous amounts of lag in game that prevented gameplay. As is the case with most MMORPG games, these types of issues show up and are addressed on a constant basis. Developers of the MMORPG have stated that, starting after version 1.3, patches will be released more frequently; some players had noted content patches were very large and delivered after long durations of little patching activity.
The current patch, 1.4.0, includes the PvP Honor system, that was scheduled to ship with the game, but slipped behind. Also in this patch are competition events such as a treasure chest being dropped in the Free for all PvP arena and invasions of creatures to be stopped.
As of March, 2005, World of Warcraft has sold more than 1,500,000 copies worldwide. Blizzard also stated recently 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 the problem.
- 2005 Game Developers Choice Awards
- Excellence in Visual Arts
- Official World of Warcraft Website - List of Awards
- The official World of Warcraft website
- The official European World of Warcraft community website
- The official World of Warcraft forums
- Thottbot - World of Warcraft database
- Allakhazam - Another World of Warcraft database
- The Goblin Workshop - The third World of Warcraft database
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