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The following link gives the previous cause for deletion. Try not to take offense to the deleter's rationale - just make an article that goes above and beyond the call of Encyclopedic tone and is well referenced. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Ashen_Empires


Ashen Empires

Ashen Empires (commonly abbreviated as AE) is a pay-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It is Iron Will Games's primary game set in the fantasy world of Dransik, first introduced by ... in 1999. <ref>Excluding expansion packs and the canceled Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans.</ref> World of Warcraft takes place within the world of Azeroth, four years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment announced World of Warcraft on September 2, 2001.<ref>Blizzard Entertainment announces World of Warcraft</ref> The game was released on November 23, 2004, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise.

Although its initial release was hampered by server stability and performance issues,<ref name="queuecraft">Template:Cite web</ref> the game became popular<ref>G4 - Feature - World of WarCraft from G4TV.com Retrieved on 2006-01-16.</ref><ref>World of Warcraft for PC Review from gamespot.com Retrieved on 2006-01-16.</ref> and a financial success, becoming the world's most popular<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>[1] [2]</ref><ref>[3]</ref> subscription-based MMORPG. On March 7 2007, Blizzard announced that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft had reached a new milestone, with 8.5 million players worldwide;<ref name=eighthalfmillion>World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade shatters day-1 sales record. Blizzard Entertainment press release, March 7 2007. Retrieved March 12 2007.</ref> there are more than 2 million players in North America, 1.5 million players in Europe, and 3.5 million players in China.<ref name=eightmillion>"World of Warcraft surpasses 8 million subscribers worldwide", Blizzard Entertainment press release, January 11 2007</ref> The game has won numerous awards and recognitions, including Gamespot's Game of the Year Award for 2004.

There is also a World of Warcraft Board Game published by Fantasy Flight Games and a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game published by Upper Deck Entertainment.

The first official expansion pack of the game, the The Burning Crusade, was released on January 16, 2007.

Gameplay

File:WoW-Lakeshire.png
A screenshot of the game
Unlike previous games in the Warcraft series, World of Warcraft is not a real-time strategy game, but is a MMORPG. As with other MMORPGs, such as EverQuest, players control a character avatar within a persistent gameworld, exploring the landscape, fighting monsters, and performing quests on behalf of computer-controlled characters (also called NPCs—non-player characters). The game rewards success through money, items, and experience, which in turn allow players to improve in skill and power. In addition, players may opt to take part in battles against other players of an enemy faction, including both duels and fights.

The majority of the quests during the early and middle stages of gameplay can be completed without the help of other players, particularly if the player is a higher level than what the quest suggests. Other portions of the game such as dungeons (also called instances) are designed to require other players to work together for success. Dungeons are designed for parties ranging from two to five players, up to a maximum of 40 for the significantly more difficult "raids" (a term originating from Everquest gameplay) Template:Fact. The highest level, most complex dungeons and encounters are designed to take raiding guilds a lot of time (sometimes even months) and many attempts before they succeed.

Version history

World of Warcraft runs natively on both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Boxed copies of the game use a hybrid CD to install the game, eliminating the need for separate Mac and Windows retail products. The game allows all users to play together, regardless of their operating system.

Although there is no official version for any other platform, support for World of Warcraft is present in Windows API implementations Wine and Cedega, allowing the game to be played under Linux<ref>Wine application notes for WoW</ref> and FreeBSD.<ref>FreeBSD instructions for WoW</ref>

As of Patch 1.9.3 the game added native support for the newer Intel-powered Macs, making World of Warcraft a Universal application (as defined by Apple). As a result of this, the minimum supported Mac OS X version has been changed to 10.3.9; World of Warcraft version 1.9.3 and later will not launch on older versions of Mac OS X.<ref>"World of Warcraft Client Patch 1.9.3 (2006-02-07)" patch notes</ref>

Due to the fact that new content is constantly being added to the game official system requirements often change. As of version 1.12.0 the requirements for Windows have increased from requiring 256 MB to 512 MB of RAM and official Windows 98 technical support has been dropped even though the game should still run fine.<ref> Template:Cite web </ref>

Pricing

File:ExWoW1.jpg
The original login screen

World of Warcraft is priced differently in different regions of the world. Usually, the pricing model is similar to that of MMORPGs previously released in the market.

In the United States and Canada, Blizzard distributes World of Warcraft via retail software packages that originally had a suggested retail price of US$50 at the time of release, but have since dropped to around $20. The software package includes 30 days of gameplay (worth $15) for no additional cost. After 30 days in order to continue playing additional play time must be purchased using a credit card or prepaid game card. The minimum gameplay duration that a player can purchase is 30 days using a credit card, 60 using a prepaid game card. A player also has the option of purchasing three or six months of gameplay at once for a slight (6% to 15%) discount. A player pays about US$0.50 for one day of gameplay.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In South Korea, there is no software package or CD key requirement to activate the account. In order to play the game, however, players need to purchase time credits online via credit card or the ARS billing system. The minimum gameplay duration that a player can purchase via credit card is five hours. A player may also purchase game time by thirty hours or by increments of one week. A player also has the option of purchasing game time by one, three or six months of gameplay at once for a slight discount.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> As of December 17 2006, 30 days of gameplay costs 19,800 (US$21.46).

In China, because a large number of the players do not own the computer they use to play games (e.g. Internet cafes), the CD keys can be purchased independently of the software package. The CD key, which is required to activate an account, is sold for ¥30 (US$3.75) each. The software packages vary in price depending on the items they contain. In order to play the game, the player would need to purchase prepaid game cards in denominations of ¥30 each that can be played for 66 hours and 40 minutes.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> This equates to exactly ¥0.45 (US$0.06) for one hour of gameplay. A monthly fee model is not available to players of this region.

In Australia, the United States and many European countries video game stores commonly stock the trial version of World of Warcraft in DVD form priced at A$2 or 2 including VAT, which include the game and 14 days of gameplay, after which the player would have to upgrade to a retail account by supplying a valid credit card, or purchasing a game card.

Suggested Retail Price Monthly Fee Paid Character Transfer Fee
Europe €19.99<ref name="EU_Gen_FAQ">Template:Cite web</ref> €11-€13<ref name="EU_Gen_FAQ">Template:Cite web</ref> €19.99<ref name="EU_Xfer_FAQ">Template:Cite web</ref>
United Kingdom £14.99<ref name="EU_Gen_FAQ">Template:Cite web</ref> £7.70-£9<ref name="EU_Gen_FAQ" /> £14.99<ref name="EU_Xfer_FAQ" />
North America
Oceania
US$20<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> $13-$15<ref name="US_Gen_FAQ">Template:Cite web</ref> $25<ref name="US_Xfer_FAQ">Template:Cite web</ref>

Realms

World of Warcraft uses server clusters (known as 'realms') to allow players to choose their preferred gameplay type and to allow the game to support as many subscribers as it does. Users may have up to ten characters per realm and up to a maximum of fifty characters per account.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> There are four types of realms: Normal (also known as PvE or player versus environment), PvP (player versus player), RP (a roleplaying Normal/PvE server) and RP-PvP (roleplaying PvP server). The latter two enforce a set of roleplaying rules - players can be penalized for not roleplaying.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Blizzard posts announcements on the login screen of World of Warcraft and on the official forums about realm status or issues. The status for each realm can also be viewed on their main website.

Player versus Environment (PvE)

On the PvE (also known as Normal) realms throughout most of the world the PvP flag may only be enabled by actively turning it on, attacking a hostile player, entering a "PvP Territory" (such as a Battleground), entering an "Enemy Territory" (an enemy faction Capital City) or casting a positive spell on a friendly PvP-flagged player or NPC. The PvP flag will be removed after 5 minutes from the last PvP action. If the PvP flag was enabled using the command the player will need to turn it off using the same command and then avoid PvP combat for 5 minutes.

Player versus Player (PvP)

On a PvP realm, players are flagged for PvP by default. This flag is only disabled when a character is in a friendly faction city or a zone dedicated to newly created characters. All other zones are considered "contested territory" - players are automatically flagged for PvP upon entering a contested zone. Most players will not need to enter a contested zone until roughly level 20.

On PvP servers, a player is limited to creating characters on one faction. This is in contrast to PvE servers, where a player may create characters on both Horde and Alliance.

Roleplaying (RP)

The roleplaying servers use the same ruleset as PvE realms, with the exception that players must act and behave in character, and must follow "naming rules" when they name their character. This means that if players go onto one of these realms, those players act as their characters and anything that is not done in character is then out of character and usually in ((brackets)), or preceded by "OOC:". It is also against the rules to be off-topic in all public channels, such as General and Trade.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

However, it should be noted that this is very rarely enforced (unless brought to a Gamemaster's attention numerous times)Template:Fact, and out of character chat is common on RP servers, though usually not in such a blatant manner as on non-RP servers.

Role-playing Player versus Player (RPPvP)

The role-playing PvP realms are an extension to the role-playing realms in that they use the PvP ruleset instead of the Normal (PvE) ruleset. Blizzard did not initially have this server type when the game was launched. It was added later, largely due to player request.

Characters

Characters in World of Warcraft are tied to specific user accounts. User accounts can be used on all servers, or realms. Characters can be moved between servers in the same region (e.g., from one European server to another, but not from a European server to an American one) for a fee. The two playable factions currently in the game are the Alliance and Horde both consisting of five different races each. There are a total of 9 playable classes. The Burning Crusade expansion released on January 16 2007 added one new race to each faction (the Blood Elves and the Draenei). In a controversialTemplate:Fact decision by Blizzard each of these new races are able to play as the previously faction-specific class of the opposite faction. This means that a Blood Elf can be a Paladin, and a Draenei can be a Shaman. (Before the Burning Crusade only Alliance players were able to be Paladins, and only Horde players were able to be Shamans.)

Races and classes

Main articles: Races in the Warcraft universe and Classes in World of Warcraft

Players create characters which serve as their avatars in the online world of Azeroth. When creating a character in World of Warcraft, the player can choose from ten different races and nine different character classes. The races are split into two diametrically opposed factions, the Alliance and the Horde.

In addition to the ten playable races there are many NPC races including (but not limited to) Goblins, Ogres, Murlocs, and Naga.

The nine available classes are Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior. The Paladin class was previously only available to the Alliance, and the Shaman only available to the Horde. However with the release of Burning Crusade the Draenei (Alliance) are able to be Shamans and the Blood Elves (Horde) are able to be Paladins, thus removing the previous faction exclusivity. Classes are primarily limited by race: for example Night Elves can only be Druids, Hunters, Priests, Rogues or Warriors.

Character types

There are two types of characters in the game: Player Characters (PC) and Non-Player Characters (NPCs), the latter having many different offshoots. Player Characters are people around the world actively playing the game. The color of a PC's name tag can vary from blue, green, yellow or red depending on faction and Player vs. Player (PvP) status. NPCs are characters that can only interact with player characters through scripted events or artificial intelligence (AI).

There are many types of NPCs. There are friendly NPCs, whose names are displayed in green, and hostile NPCs; mainly the NPCs of the opposing faction and mobs (enemies controlled by AI) (also known as Creeps by some players), whose names are displayed in red. There are also NPCs who are neutral and will only attack if provoked; their names are displayed in yellow.

Some NPC interaction is affected by the reputation you have with them, and certain NPC merchants will have more items available if you have a higher reputation with their faction. Your standing with a faction can be increased or decreased by killing certain mobs or handing in items to certain NPCs.

You cannot gain reputation with opposing factions; the Horde cannot gain reputation with any Alliance-only faction and vice versa.

NPCs in major and minor cities can buy and sell merchandise, train class and profession skills, give quests and provide a large number of services that are needed in the game. While some will merely offer advice or further the story, others patrol around set paths to keep cities defended against attacking players or hostile NPCs that may attempt to invade a city.

Professions

Template:Main

During the course of playing the game, a player may choose to develop side skills for their character(s). These non-combat skills are called professions. Professions are divided into two separate categories, primary and secondary. Primary professions are those skills related to weapon/armor creation and/or enhancement (e.g., Blacksmithing). A character is limited to two primary professions. Secondary professions are skills that serve to enhance the player's experience (e.g., Cooking). A character is limited to four secondary professions. The Rogue class has a unique fifth secondary profession: Poisons.

Items and equipment

Player characters can acquire various items in the game. Items can vary from resources such as herbs or raw ores to items to be retrieved for quests. Player characters can also equip different weapons and armor, either to customize their character or improve abilities such as better attacks or defense skills. Item rarity is classified by the color of the item name: grey means poor rarity, white means common, green means uncommon, blue means rare, purple means "epic", orange means "legendary" and red means "artifact".

Mounts

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A mount refers to an item that, upon activation, changes the character graphic to represent the player is riding an animal, as opposed to the normal movement graphic of walking/running. Players of certain levels and skill ability have available to them the option of acquiring these mounts in order to increase their movement speed on land. Mounts can also be acquired via reputation with certain factions, completion of quests or through special items produced in related material, or as very rare loot drops obtained by defeating bosses in instances. In the expansion pack Burning Crusade, the ability to purchase or acquire flying mounts became available in the expansion areas.

PvP rankings

See also: World of Warcraft Player versus Player.

Upon defeating another player of the opposite faction in a PvP combat the victor earns "Honor Points" which may be spent as currency to purchase various rewards like armor, weapons and mounts. Some rewards require marks of honor from various Battlegrounds as well (a loss in a battleground awards the losing team 1 mark, while a victory awards the winning team 3). A recently added PvP activity (the Arenas) offer gladiator-like combat in a World of Warcraft setting. The Arenas<ref>Arena facts taken from http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/pvp/arena/index.xml </ref> have a separate system from the Battlegrounds. Instead of honor the Arenas give Arena Points which can be spent to purchase items just like Honor Points. There are also "Arena seasons" where, at the end of each season, the best Arena teams in each category(2v2, 3v3 and 5v5) are awarded unique Epic or Legendary quality items. Only level 70 players can participate in rated arena matches. Lower level players can always participate in arenas but no arena points are awarded.

Players can also be rewarded with titles<ref> http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/pvp/arena/index.xml bottom part of the page </ref> in the Arenas if they belong to one of the top teams at the end of an Arena season. These ranks are (from highest to lowest) Gladiator, Duelist, Rival and Challenger.

With the release of version 2.0, a change was made to the honor system making it easier to obtain cetain powerful items. This change was met with mixed reactions. Some criticized the change, claiming that the huge dedication in time and effort that players put forth under the old system had now been cheapened. Others, however, welcomed the change, since they felt the massive amount of time required under the old system was excessive and unhealthy, and was unreasonable for most people with jobs and other responsibilities.

As of March 2007, Blizzard has added a section to their main website where any player on any realm can view their current arena team's rankings.

The world

Geography

File:WoW Map Cosmic.jpg
World of Warcraft Map (Including 'Outland')

The current virtual world is built around two different planets: Azeroth and Outland. Azeroth currently consists of two continents: The Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.

Kalimdor is the beginning continent for the Horde races of the Orcs, Trolls and Tauren. It is also home to the Alliance races of the Night Elves, and the Draenei (added in The Burning Crusade).

The Eastern Kingdoms is the beginning continent for the Horde races of the Undead and Blood Elves (added in The Burning Crusade). It also serves as the home of the Alliance races of the Humans, Dwarves, and Gnomes.

Another planet, Outland, was added after the release of The Burning Crusade. It is only accessible to those who have bought and activated the expansion pack. It is initially reached by traveling through the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands.

Cities

There are four capital cities for each faction and one neutral city.

Horde cities include:

Alliance cities include:

Neutral cities include:

Villages and outposts

The Horde and Alliance both have several villages and outposts that serve as quest and flight hubs to players. Horde villages include Revantusk Village, Splintertree Post, Ghost Walker Post and more. Alliance villages include Refuge Pointe, Lakeshire, Theramore and more.

In addition, several in-game factions maintain villages and outposts where either Alliance or Horde (or both) can obtain quests, reputation-based items or flight paths. Such neutral areas may have auction houses and/or banks.

The most well-known neutral settlements are the Goblin villages of Ratchet, Booty Bay, Gadgetzan, and Everlook. Other examples include the posts and villages maintained by the Cenarion Circle, Sporeggar, Argent Dawn, Thorium Brotherhood and other organizations.

Instances

Main article: Instance (World of Warcraft)

Instances, also known as instance dungeons or simply "dungeons", are areas where multiple copies of the same area can exist concurrently.<ref name="Instancing">Template:Cite web</ref> This means that multiple groups can both be doing the same activities in the same location, yet not interfering with one another.

"Instance" can also refer to a particular copy of such an area. Other areas, such as battlegrounds, are also instances, enabling multiple groups of players to participate at the same time.

Virtual community

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<ref>Blizzard fan artwork web page</ref> and comic strip style storytelling.<ref>World of Warcraft comic strip site</ref> Blizzard furthers this community by offering in-game and out-of-game prizes, as well as highlighting community events and occurrences. Blizzard has also provided incentives for introducing new members to World of Warcraft. In late October 2005 each subscribed player received a 10-day free pass<ref>Blizzard Entertainment (2005). World of Warcraft Community Site - Check your inbox for the Recruit-A-Friend e-mail! Retrieved March 6, 2006.</ref> which they suggested be employed as seasonal gifts that could either be used by the current player or given to a friend. These passes would generate a free month's usage if the guest player purchased a full account.

There are various memes, including "Face Melting,"<ref>"Face Melting" WoW forum reference</ref> a reference to a very long thread on the priest forums on the World of Warcraft website that consisted of players saying, "You will melt faces as a Shadow Priest in PvP" in different ways. This is because the icon for Mind Flay, a powerful skill used heavily by Shadow Priests, looks like a melting face. Another popular phenomenon in the community are machinima videos such as the one <ref>Template:Cite video</ref> starring a player named Leeroy Jenkins, showing him and his guild in a funny encounter. Leeroy's popularity inspired more videos and tributes in other games, and he was even part of a clue on the November 16 2005 episode of the TV game show College Jeopardy!.<ref>Template:Cite video</ref> These memes gain notoriety through postings on the World of Warcraft Forums.<ref>A WoW Forum Post About Leeroy Jenkins</ref>

As of August 2005, the Dark Iron server has been home to the guilds of web-comic creators Scott Kurtz (PvP) and Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (Penny Arcade). Kurtz created Panda Attack and Djörk on the Horde side, while Holkins and Krahulik initiated a series of guilds that is now known as the Penny Arcade Alliance. This event is referred to as the Comic Guild Wars, and has created healthy competition between the authors, to the extent of dedicating some of their strips to the subject. Tim Buckley of Ctrl+Alt+Del and the creators of Holy Bibble have also joined in on making guilds for Dark Iron players.

Major world events

For a time, it was argued that dynamic world-changing events were in extremely short supply in Warcraft. There was an overall feeling that the ongoing "wars" from which the game takes its name were external and out of touch from the player base. The only cross-faction interaction took place during server-crashing city raids and skirmishes in certain "hot spots" around the world such as the popular "Southshore Tug of War" in which Alliance and Horde forces would fight back and forth over the stretch of land between Southshore and Tarren Mill.

The first world events were added in the form of outdoor raid bosses that could be accessed without entering an instance. These bosses were the blue dragon Azuregos of Azshara and the Burning Legion demon Lord Kazzak in the Blasted Lands. These were followed by four green dragons corrupted by the "Emerald Nightmare." In addition, certain areas of Azeroth experience an "elemental invasion" where waves of elemental-class monsters will run rampant for a time or until they are destroyed.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Blizzard has also implemented holiday content that could be considered a world event. Valentine's Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, as well as New Year's and its lunar counterpart all have their Warcraft-themed counterparts. During these week-long events players partake in holiday-themed quests usually involving humorous references to real-world pop culture surrounding the holiday. For example, one of the Winter's Veil (Christmas) quests involves fighting a creature known as the Greench and rescuing a kidnapped reindeer named Metzen (styled after lead designer, Chris Metzen).

The Darkmoon Faire

In patch 1.6, players were given the opportunity to plunder the first new 40-player raid dungeon added since launch: Blackwing Lair. However, a more peaceful distraction appeared traveling across Azeroth and coming to rest in Mulgore and Elwynn Forest on opposing months called The Darkmoon Faire. The Darkmoon Faire features attractions from across the globe such as the world's strongest woman, a petting zoo for some of Azeroth's most interesting creatures, various games of skill, a fortune teller, a giant human-launching cannon, and plenty of ale.

Players can perform quests for various members of the Faire and receive Darkmoon Prize Tickets in return. These tickets can then be redeemed for items of various quality, from "Month-Old Mutton" to epic-quality jewelry. Additionally, players can occasionally find Darkmoon Cards scattered throughout the world. Four sets exist at the present time: Elementals, Beasts, Warlords, and Portals. Collecting all eight cards of a set (Ace through 8, there are no face cards) allows the player to combine them into a deck and redeem them for a powerful, epic-quality trinket depending on which set was completed.

The Faire sees sporadic updates and expansions in a semi-regular fashion. The most recent addition was a 'battle' minigame in which players take control of tiny, remote controlled tanks called 'Tonks' which use various weapons to disable other Tonks.

Corrupted Blood plague

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While not an intentional world event, the Corrupted Blood plague nonetheless was one of the first events to affect entire servers. Patch 1.7 saw the opening of Zul'Gurub, the game's first 20-player raid dungeon where players faced off against an ancient tribe of jungle trolls under the sway of the ancient Blood God, Hakkar the Soulflayer. Upon engaging Hakkar, players were stricken by a debuff (a spell that negatively affects a player) called "Corrupted Blood" which would periodically sap their life. The disease would also be passed on to other players who were simply standing in close proximity to an infected person. Originally this malady was confined within the Zul'Gurub instance but made its way into the outside world by way of hunter or warlock pets that contracted the disease.

Within hours Corrupted Blood had infected entire cities such as Ironforge and Orgrimmar because of their high player concentrations. Low-level players were killed in seconds by the high-damage disease. Eventually Blizzard fixed the issue so that the plague could not exist outside of Zul'Gurub.

The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj

Patch 1.9 saw the first true world event in the World of Warcraft. Located in the mysterious insect-infested, quasi-Egyptian themed area of Silithus, Ahn'Qiraj was the capital city of the powerful Qiraji, a race of magical creatures under the thrall of an ancient and terrible Old God who was chained beneath the earth in ages past. A coalition of Night Elves and dragons of the Four Flights fought a war against the Qiraji and their Silithid minions and sealed them behind the Scarab Wall. However, after many centuries the bonds of their prison began to break and Silithus was overrun by the creatures once more. A call for War against Ahn'Qiraj went out and the combined might of the Alliance and Horde sealed away the menace of the Old God for good.

The world event was triggered by a twofold action. First, the entire server population was able to take part in the Ahn'Qiraj War Effort. Players of every level could turn in various items in both Ironforge and Orgrimmar for their faction's respective war preparations. Metals, herbs, textiles, and other commodities were all collected in great quantities. For example, one collector in Ironforge required players to turn in a stack of 20 runecloth bandages at a time. The total number of runecloth bandages required numbered in the tens of thousands. The faster materials were turned in, the faster the War would commence. In the weeks leading up to the opening of the gates many servers were neck-and-neck as Blizzard provided a rankings page to monitor the progress of each realm. In the end the realm Medivh succeeded in being the first to open the gates of Ahn'Qiraj.

At the same time the War Effort was taking in supplies, high level players could engage in a quest chain that spanned the entire world to piece together an artifact called the Scepter of the Shifting Sands. This item would be necessary to ring the Scarab Gong and break the seals holding the Scarab Wall closed. When the War Effort was completed the armies of the Alliance and Horde would march to Ahn'Qiraj. In a spectacular set-piece the armies formed ranks outside the Scarab Wall and the gong was sounded by one lucky person per server. The gates opened and the minions of the Qiraji spilled out in a titanic melee. Additionally, invasions of Silithid insects occurred in almost every populated area of Azeroth.

With the initial event completed the gates were open to everyone on a given server and players were able to access two new raid dungeons: the 20-man ruins zone and the 40-man temple zone and a few new quests.

The Scourge Invasion

The Invasion began with the launch of patch 1.11. Outside each major city and at various high level zones in the game players could encounter floating undead constructs called Necropoleis or necropolises with at least four groups of undead creatures spread out in a diamond formation below. At each point lay a necrotic crystal guarded by legions of undead. Upon destroying these crystals players could render the accompanying necropolis inert for a time and score a "victory" against the Scourge.

The Dark Portal Opens: War Unleashed Upon Azeroth

On January 9 2007, the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands opened, with demons pouring out. This event signaled the beginning of the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion, much of the content of which is accessed by going through the portal. The demon leader Lord Kazzak escaped through the portal, replacing his presence with Highlord Kruul who attacked several areas in the game world. The world event lasted for a week before the release of The Burning Crusade expansion.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for World of Warcraft was composed and arranged by Jason Hayes, Tracy W. Bush, Derek Duke and Glenn Stafford. It was released on November 23, 2004 together with the Collectors edition of the game. It is also sold separately on 1 CD, in the MP3 format.


Modifications

File:Modified WoW User Interface.jpg
A heavily modified World of Warcraft user interface
World of Warcraft includes significant support for modifications to the user interface (UI) of a game, colloquially known as "mods" and "addons". At a simple level it allows full control over the content of toolbars and hot keys, as well as macros to automate sets of operations and the ability to script much more elaborate tools. The range of modifications that are available can be anything from ways to automatically advertise trade skills, to adding extra rows of button bars for spells, skills and more. There are also various humorous mods, including one that reproduces the infamous Leeroy Jenkins sound.<ref>Leeroy Jenkins!!! sound clip mod</ref>

As of the 2.0 release of World of Warcraft, certain modifications and "Addons" no longer function the way they were intended by the addon designer, as the way that an addon interacts with the game has been changed. This has forced all addons pre-2.0 to have to be rewritten. This is such a drastic change to the addons that all players must now download new copies of the addon that they were using. More information on this topic is available in this forum post, made by a Blizzard MVP (Most Valuable Poster).

Addons are created using one or both Lua and XML, and images used for modifications are created using the .TGA (Targa) and .BLP image formats. Blizzard has also released a User Interface Customization tool to support and encourage UI modders.<ref>Blizzard's WoW User Interface Customization tool download</ref> However, Blizzard is unable to endorse or provide support for third party interfaces due to issues that may be caused by them.

Some third-party programs that operate in a stand-alone mode, or independent of World of Warcraft may be considered exploits, especially if they automate operation beyond that made available using the built-in macro functionality, or pass information in or out of the game. Use of these is against the Terms of Service agreed to when playing the game, and as such, may lead to possible suspension or closure of accounts. Blizzard has stated on the official forums that any modification that 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 World of Warcraft Thirdparty Extensions<ref name="WoWToU_righttochange">Template:Cite web</ref>

Expansion pack

Template:Main On October 28, 2005 Blizzard revealed that the first expansion pack would be called World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.<ref>CGW Has The Goods on World of Warcraft news from 1up.com from 1up.com Retrieved on 2006-01-16</ref> It includes an increased level cap of 70, a new profession (Jewelcrafting), the ability to 'socket' jewels into certain items for increased stats (a feature that originated with Diablo II), and two new playable races. The additional races are the Blood Elves for the Horde, residing in the capital city of Silvermoon, and the Draenei for the Alliance, residing in the capital city of Exodar. The expansion also features Outland as a new playable zone, as well as flying mounts usable only in Outland for high-level players. Some of the expansion's features will be available to all players, though the most significant additions, such as visiting Outland and creating characters of the two new races, requires the Burning Crusade expansion to be purchased and installed.<ref name=bcfaq>Blizzard Entertainment. Burning Crusade FAQ. Retrieved August 24, 2006.</ref>

On July 21 2006, Blizzard revealed that the new races will be able to use classes traditionally open only to the other faction, and that Blood Elves do not have the Warrior class open to them, making them the only race that cannot play a Warrior. These changes have received mixed feedback.<ref name=bloodelfpallies>Blizzard Entertainment. Burning Crusade website. Retrieved July 23, 2006.</ref>

Controversy and criticism

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Although financially successful (with 8 million players), World of Warcraft has received a moderate amount of criticism. Stories of game addiction to the popular video game are a common source of criticism. In June of 2005 it was reported that a child had died due to neglect by her World of Warcraft-addicted parents.<ref>http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=59697</ref> In August of that year, the government of the People's Republic of China proposed new rules to curb what they perceived to be social and financial costs brought on by the popularity of games such as World of Warcraft. The measure would enforce a time limit on China's estimated total of 20 million gamers.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Dr. Maressa Orzack, a clinical psychologist at McLean Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts, was interviewed August 8, 2006, stating that of the 6 million subscribers "I'd say that 40 percent of the players are addicted."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The 40 percent figure was not derived from a scientific study overseen by Dr. Orzack, but rather came from "a forum that Nick Yee runs". She added in an August 2006 interview that "even if the percentage is 5 to 10 percent which is standard for most addictive behaviors, it is a huge number of people who are out of control."<ref>Ars Technica interview with Dr. Orzack, 8/9/2006</ref> Also, according to Dr. John Grohol, a colleague of Orzack's, "Dr. Orzack is not claiming that up to 40% of World of Warcraft gamers are addicted based upon any actual evidence or surveys of players. This is just her opinion, based upon her own experience and observation of the problem."<ref>PsychCentral - John M. Grohol, Psy.D., August 10, 2006</ref>

In 2006, Blizzard's treatment of a transgender player who created a guild for other gay or gay-friendly players caught some media attention, and that of gay rights group, Lambda Legal. The incident resulted in changes to the game's terms of service and customer support.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

After Blizzard started offering free trial gameplay accounts, players started receiving increasing numbers of spam sent by bots in the virtual mailboxes of their characters, advertising virtual gold, honor, and experience selling services.<ref>GigaOM: Inside World of Warcraft Gold Farm, Future of Work by Wagner James Au, retrieved 2007-01-13</ref> One study shows that this problem is particularly prevalent on the European realms.<ref>World of Warcraft Gold Farmer Study by GamerPrice and Sheffield University, retrieved 2007-01-26</ref> In patch 2.1, Blizzard responded to this by adding additional anti-spam mechanics including whisper throttling, and the "Report spam" function.

Film

In May 2006, production company Legendary Pictures acquired film rights to adapt Warcraft for the big screen with the game's publisher, Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard had originally considered hiring a scribe for the film adaptation before teaming up with Legendary Pictures.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The companies plan to create a film that would not follow any of the Warcraft games' storylines but still take place in the fantasy universe.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> According to Blizzard's Chief Operating Officer Paul Sams, the film's budget would be over $100 million.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

In popular culture

Third party extensions

Template:Unreferencedsect WoW is a commonly targeted game for hackers. The core-coding is similar to previous developed games by Blizzard, which makes it easier for already experienced hackers to reverse and decode the memory of World of Warcraft to succeed with hacks and cheats. Right now, there is a legal conflict between Blizzard Entertainment and the creator of WoW Glider.

History of hacking

Since the beginning of the development of World of Warcraft, there have been users producing hacks.

  • Closed Beta: The first bots and hacks were developed including AutoIt Bots and basic Speedhacks.
  • Open Beta: The first cheating-wave affected the Open US-Beta Servers. 500 accounts were closed.
  • Release: Initially, it seemed World of Warcraft would be affected by hackers as Diablo II had been done before. However, Blizzard Entertainment acted quickly, banning about 5000 CD-Keys after the first month of use.

Common hacks

Bots

See also

References

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External links

Official websites
Useful information
Modification Info
Other sites