The Warcraft franchise began in 1994 when Blizzard Entertainment released Warcraft: Orcs & Humans for PC and Macintosh. This real-time strategy game introduced the fantasy world of Azeroth for both single and multiple players. The game was well-received by both critics and gamers, winning several awards such as PC Gamer’s Editor’s Choice Award, and prompting developers to begin a Warcraft series whose competition with Westwood Studios’ Command & Conquer franchise created an RTS boom in the 1990s. The following two Warcraft games and their expansions continued the story with new features for better gameplay: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Warcraft II became the first game in the series to feature gameplay over the internet through Blizzard’s own Battle.net. Developers went in a new direction with the fourth Warcraft game, known as World of Warcraft (WoW), by making it a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Set in the same universe as its predecessors, WoW became a phenomenal success despite its new style of gameplay. Developers endeavored to ensure that all details from previous games remained consistant, and although similar to other MMORPGs in the basic style of gameplay, critics praised WoW for its meticulous design, excellent sound, and high quality graphics. WoW is best known for features that differentiate it from other MMORPGs, such as encouragements for players who cannot commit excessive amounts of time to the game. A player’s avatar, when at rest, accumulates points that encourage players to return and do not penalize them for taking time off. This allows players an extra chance to catch up with their friends who may have been playing in the interim. Furthermore, an older feature enabled players to collect Honorable Kill (HK) points for well-fought player versus player battles. Dishonor points ensured that players fought fairly, punishing players for killing new low level players or non-player characters (NPCs) to accumulate easy points. As of 2012, WoW contains four expansions—The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria—and became the world’s largest subscription-based MMORPG with 12 million subscribers. All of the games in the Warcraft series follow the same ever-expanding storyline that centers on warring between the different races, continents, and planets of Azeroth. New planes of existence and races are introduced throughout the series, but most fall into either the Alliance—the protagonists of the game which feature creatures such as humans, dwarves, gnomes, high elves, etc.—or the Horde—the antagonists, featuring orcs, trolls, goblins, ogres, etc. Players choose an avatar based on race—which determines a player’s allegiance and starting location—and class, such as hunter, rogue, warrior, or warlock. After creating their avatar(s), players can explore, quest, or battle through Azeroth, gaining experience levels, wealth, professions, helpful objects, and abilities. Overall, the Warcraft games resolve to be user-friendly, engaging, and attractive to new players. The Warcraft franchise also includes novels, comics, a collectible card game, and other related media.
|Material||plastic | printed paper|
|Credit Line||Gift of Rusel DeMaria|
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