Hs a massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft enables thousands of players to come together online and battle against the world and each other. Players from across the globe can leave the real world behind and undertake grand quests and heroic exploits in a land of fantastic adventure. At long last, the world of Azeroth, first glimpsed in Warcraft I and further enhanced in subsequent strategy games, is realized in glorious detail and ready for the arrival of millions of prospective players. So step upon the hallowed shores of this embattled world, and see what journeys await for those who would plumb this ancient realm's many secrets.
A Familiar World
World of Warcraft draws heavily upon the lore of the Warcraft universe. Long-time fans of the Warcraft games are finally able to step into the world from a player's perspective, and experience the universe firsthand. People, places, and units from the strategy games are finally brought to life in World of Warcraft.
You can visit such places as the Burning Steppes, where Grom Hellscream fell in battle against the demon lord Mannoroth, and Ironforge, where the dwarves make their home below the mountain. Legendary heroes, such as Thrall, Cairne Bloodhoof, and King Magni Bronzebeard, are also in the game, presiding over their respective peoples as leaders in their race's capitals.
Guards in the human city of Stormwind look just like footmen from Warcraft III, peasants in the human town of Hillsbrad look exactly like their counterparts in the strategy games, and orc peons shuffle about the farms of Go'Shek in the Arathi Highlands. Night elf players can even see gargantuan Ancient Protectors patrolling the elven lands of Teldrassil, while a towering Ancient of War waits to greet all visitors to Darnassus.
Creating a Character
When choosing a character to create in World of Warcraft, there are many choices before you. There are eight races and nine classes available, but 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 determines much of 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, at best, a rival. Thus, if you wish to play with your friends, you will want to all join the same faction. Other content, such as the zones you can visit and the quests you can accomplish, are also organized 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.
The Horde side includes the orc , tauren , troll , and undead races, while the Alliance side includes dwarves , gnomes , humans , and night elves . All classes are equally well-represented on both sides, with the exception of the shaman and paladin classes. Shaman can only be played by Horde players, and Paladins are exclusive to the Alliance side.
Adventuring in the World
When you first start a game of World of Warcraft, you will be taken to your race's starting area. All the races except trolls and gnomes begin in a unique location. Those two races have to share starting locales with the orcs and dwarves, respectively. After watching a brief in-game cutscene introducing your race, you are set loose upon the world.
World of Warcraft presents many different monsters to challenge you in battle. These creatures roam the countryside and populate vast dungeons and aboveground locations. There are wandering beasts, such as wolves, spiders, scorpions (called scorpids in this world), six-legged crocodiles called crocolisks, crabs, vultures, hyenas, big cats, bears, and more. More sinister enemies also block your travels. Humanoid foes of every kind, such as pirates, bandits, cultists, and soldiers from the opposing faction, join more unnatural monsters like undead, oozes, gryphons, and elementals, in providing conflict and danger on your journeys.
You'll also see some familiar monstrous creatures, such as ogres, gnolls, centaurs, satyrs, murlocs, wildkin, and others, that are inspired by the hostile creeps of Warcraft III. And you'll encounter more spectacular enemies like demons, infernals, dragonspawn, and mighty dragons stalking the dungeons and high-level areas of the world.
The territories and terrain you will be able to explore are vast and varied. In addition to borrowing from some of the most storied locations in Warcraft history, the game also shows off many different kinds of environments, such as the lush forests in Ashenvale and Feralas, the snowy mountains in Dun Morogh, the savannah of the Barrens, the plains of Mulgore, and the deserts of Tanaris. Swamps in Un'Goro Crater, jungles in Stranglethorn Vale, farmland in Elwynn Forest, and even deforested hills in Stonetalon Mountains are some more of the many environmental regions you can explore. Terrain that has been vastly altered by magic and the ravages of war also appear in the game. The razed city of Dalaran, encased in a protective magic shell, is a painful reminder of the devastation of the Reign of Chaos, while the infested Eastern and Western Plaguelands are filled with diseased animals and plantlife, courtesy of the Scourge's plague.
This long list of fascinating terrain doesn't even include the underground environments and dungeons of the world. There are dungeons available for all ranges of mid- to high-level players, and offer many rich quests, rewards, and enemies to encounter in the depths below ground.
Quests are a big part of World of Warcraft. Like most other role-playing games, World of Warcraft lets you advance in level as you gain experience. Experience can be gathered by killing monsters, exploring new destinations, and completing quests. Unlike in other games, quests are a significant tool for level advancement. Players who try to level up through sheer combat will never advance as fast as those who combine questing with monster killing.
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 kill a set number of beasts or monsters, others ask you to collect trophies from creatures, and others ask you to slay unique non-player characters or named creatures. Other quests ask you 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.
Although those who love the story will want to dive into the quests for the lore they reveal, many players will also want to complete quests for the experience and the rewards. Nearly all quests give sizeable experience rewards.
Many quests also provide material rewards, such as cash, potions, food, drink, magic items, armor, and weapons. Some of the best equipment you can find in the game will only be available as quest rewards.
World of Warcraft has as friendly a user interface as possible to make the game accessible to all players.
To ease players into questing, the game makes it easy to identify quest givers by the yellow exclamation marks over their heads. It is also easy to keep track of your quests through the quest log. You can always refer to this interface window to see all your accepted quests, the goals you need to still accomplish, and where to go to turn in your quest. When you return to a quest giver for your reward, a yellow question mark will replace the exclamation mark to tell you that your quest can be turned in.
You can also tell at a quick mouse-over who an NPC is and how you can interact with it. A smart cursor usually pops up with an icon to remind you that you can just right-click on the NPC to begin an interaction. Quest givers pop up with a chat balloon to tell you that you can talk to them. Trainers, who teach your characters new abilities and spells, pop up with a book. If you can harvest a resource from the world, your cursor will pop up with an appropriate action icon. If you can harvest a plant, a flower cursor pops up. If you can mine ore, you get a mining pick cursor. In this way, the game tells you immediately and intuitively how you can interact with the world.
Fighting is just as easy. All you need to do is right-click on a monster to begin attacking. Casting spells is also simple: Click on a spell icon and then click on a target. To facilitate the use of spells, World of Warcraft offers an action bar at the bottom of the screen where you can place icons representing all your spells and abilities. You can thus use them at a quick click of the mouse, or by pressing the hotkeys associated with the icons on your action bar.
You can even move your chat window around the screen, customize the colors of the window to better suit your tastes, and customize your combat log, which is a scrolling text box showing all your maneuvers and those of your enemies in battle so that you can keep track of combat.
World of Warcraft is an online game with thousands of players, so naturally the game is built to facilitate extensive in-game socializing. You can search for players easily by key words, looking for those in your same zone or with certain names. You can also add players to a friends list, so you can keep track of nice and helpful players for grouping or just talking.
Grouping is simple as well. Many quests are designed to be accomplished with other players, and you'll therefore want to seek out the help of other characters. Groups can have up to five players, who should be around the same level so that all players in the group can fight acceptable challenges and earn good experience. The game also has "raid groups," which allow up to 40 players to adventure together against uncommonly powerful foes and quests.
To promote the idea of epic adventuring with friends, World of Warcraft also introduces a concept called the instance dungeon . Instance dungeons are dungeons in the world that spawn specifically for each group of adventurers that enter them. Each time a group enters such an instance, a unique version of it spawns for that group only. This means no other players can play in that instance and bother the group, steal kills or treasure from the party, and hinder its play experience. With each group getting its own personal dungeon, players will have all the benefits of a single-player role-playing experience but with the camaraderie and fun of an online game.
Instance dungeons are incredibly difficult yet fun. There is especially good treasure in instances to entice players to explore their depths, and more powerful foes called elite monsters to keep the instances challenging. Instances are also more densely packed with monsters, and home to some of the game's most unique and powerful adversaries.
The first available instance dungeons are for characters in the mid-teens in levels, and there are dozens more to accommodate all levels thereafter up to 60.
Player-versus-player gameplay is very important to World of Warcraft. However, the designers are mindful that players are very divided about this issue. Thus, Blizzard has made sure that there are two different server types at launch. On the normal servers, PvP combat is entirely consensual. You cannot be attacked by other players unless you want to be. The other server type is player-versus-player, and on this server, you can sometimes be attacked by players of the opposing faction without warning.
On normal servers, you can enter into player-versus-player combat by storming enemy capitals, entering special PvP zones called battlegrounds, or by attacking the guards in enemy cities. In all cases, you have a choice to engage in PvP combat or not.
On PvP servers, there are many zones that are flagged as contested territory. In these zones, players from opposing factions can attack each other freely. Thus, you could be fighting monsters by yourself, only to be killed by a stealthed enemy rogue. PvP servers also enable PvP combat through Battlegrounds, attacking enemy guards, and entering enemy capitals.
The rewards for PvP play are excellent, however. Blizzard wants to encourage players to participate in PvP, since the Horde-Alliance conflict is central to the Warcraft universe. As you kill enemy guards and enemy players, you will accumulate honor points, which translate into a military rank. As you progress through the ranks, you will gain certain benefits, such as special equipment, weapons, and mounts. Because rank is competitive, you will have to continue to engage in PvP play to maintain or increase your rank, since other players could advance past you if they accomplish more in the battle against the opposing faction. Keep in mind though, that you will only gain points for killing players near your level. Blizzard will not reward players who attack lower-level characters.
The information in this guide is a teaser for World of Warcraft. Indeed, the information contained herein is just a small sample of the epic adventure you can experience and the scope of detail and options available to you in the world of Azeroth. To learn more about the game, visit the World of Warcraft guide via the links to the left or by visiting the URL