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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the World of Warcraft

Updated on December 19, 2008

World of Warcraft (WoW) is one of the world's largest massively multiplayer online rolyplaying game.

Created by: Blizzard Entertainment

World: Azeroth

The game features three regions on the world of Azeroth, Northrend in the north, Kalimdor in the west, and the Eastern Kingdoms in the east, and a separate planet called Outland. Seasonal events that reflect on real world events such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Midsummer have been added to the game world. Locations can also have changeable weather such as rain, snow and dust storms.

Character

There are ten races and nine classes in the world. The game's primary choice when it comes to character creation is the faction you wish to fight for. You can join the Horde or the Alliance, and your choice here has an impact on what you can and cannot accomplish in the world.

You can only group and talk to players in your own faction. You also can only view and befriend players in your faction when using the in-game social commands. The intent is to make you feel like a member of one enormous team, while at the same time setting up the other faction as an enemy or a rival. Thus, if you wish to play with your friends, you should all join the same faction. Other content, such as the zones you can visit and the quests you can accomplish, are also organised by faction. Some quests can only be completed by Horde players and others can only be completed by Alliance players. Some zones offer cities and interactive NPCs for one faction, but are completely hostile to the other.

Races

The Horde faction includes orc, tauren, troll, blood elf, and undead races,

while the Alliance faction is comprised of dwarves, gnomes, humans, draenei, and night elves.

Classes

druid, hunter, mage, paladin, priest, rogue, shaman, warlock, warrior, death knight

After deciding what race to play, each character will choose one of several classes. Each race has its own list of class options available to it. Throughout their entire careers, characters will be able to learn from a pool of over 1000 spells and skills. A character's class will help determine which spells and skills he can master.

Professions

alchemy, blacksmithing, cooking, enchanting, engineering, first aid, fishing, herbalism, leather working, mining, skinning, tailoring, jewel crafting, inscription

PvP and PvE

To enter the game, the player must select a realm (or server). Each realm acts as an individual copy of the game world. Realms are either Player versus player (PvP) where open combat among players is more common, or Player versus Environment (PvE) where the focus is more focused on defeating monsters and completing quests.

Recently, Blizzard provides paid PvE-to-PvP character transfers so player can have more mobility and freedom to easily play with their friends.

Quests

Quests are a significant tool for level advancement in the WoW. Players who try to level up through combat alone will likely not advance as fast as those who combine questing with defeating monsters.

Sprinkled liberally throughout the game world are hundreds of quest givers who provide thousands of quests. These quests can range from the simple to the complex. Some quests ask you to slay a set number of beasts or monsters, others ask you to collect trophies from creatures, and still others ask you to slay unique non-player characters or named creatures. You may be asked to deliver documents or items to other NPCs, escort important characters out of danger, or recover artifacts or lost items from fortified dungeons. Although many quests share a similar structure, all of them are presented by unique NPCs who deliver interesting backstory with each quest, which in turn brings the world alive and gives each quest a unique flavor.

Nearly all quests give experience rewards. Many quests also provide material rewards, such as cash, potions, food, magic items, armor, and weapons. Some of the best equipment in the game will only be available as quest rewards.

Fiction timeline

Span of Years

-10,000 (Novel) War of the Ancients Trilogy:
 - War of the Ancients Trilogy: The Well of Eternity (R. Knaak)
 - War of the Ancients Trilogy: The Demon Soul (R. Knaak)
 - War of the Ancients Trilogy: The Sundering (R. Knaak)
-1 (Novel) Rise of the Horde (C. Golden) 
0 (PC Game) Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
 - (Novel) The Last Guardian (J. Grubb)
6 (PC Game) Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness
8 (PC Game) Warcraft 2X: Beyond the Dark Portal
10 (Novel) Day of the Dragon (R. Knaak)
18 (Novel) Lord of the Clans (C. Golden)
19 (Novel) Of Blood and Honor (C. Metzen)
20 (PC Game) Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos
21 (PC Game) Warcraft 3X: The Frozen Throne
23 (Manga) The Sunwell Trilogy
 - The Sunwell Trilogy: Dragon Hunt (R. Knaak & J. Kim)
 - The Sunwell Trilogy: Shadows of Ice (R. Knaak & J. Kim)
 - The Sunwell Trilogy: Ghostlands (R. Knaak & J. Kim)
24 (Novel) Cycle of Hatred (K. DeCandido)
25 (PC Game) World of Warcraft
26 (PC Game) World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
27 (PC Game) World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Regional variations

In the Northern America and Europe, Blizzard distributes World of Warcraft via retail software packages, which include 30 days of gameplay. In order to continue playing after the initial 30 days, additional play time may be purchased using a credit card or prepaid game card. In Australia, the US, and many European countries, video game stores commonly stock the trial version of World of Warcraft in DVD 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 as well as a retail copy of the game.

In China, because a large number of the players do not own the computer they use to play games, the CD keys required to create an account can be purchased independently of the software package. In order to play the game, players must also purchase prepaid game cards. A monthly fee model is not available to players of this region. The Chinese government and The9, the licensee for WoW in China, have imposed a modification on Chinese versions of the game which places flesh on bare-boned skeletons and transforms dead character corpses into tidy graves. These changes were imposed by the Chinese government in an attempt to promote a healthy and harmonious online game environment in the world.

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