World of Warcraft is a popular online game from Blizzard Entertainment. Often referred to as WoW, it is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) that has millions of subscribers around the world. Part of the appeal to this game, as with other MMO’s, is the chance to play and interact with other players. The game is not dependent upon interacting with anyone- you can play to max level without ever speaking to another person in game if you chose to do so – but the game has been designed around playing with other people. Often quests require you to group in order to finish them to receive great rewards. Dungeons, or instances as they are often referred to, are meant for groups of 5 players and the end game content, called Raids, have been designed for 10 -25 players. Neither of these can be run solo, and require grouping in order to experience this aspect of the game. WoW also has a guild system. Players join guilds in order to chat, make friends, form groups, raid together, and many other things. The guild system has recently been updated and players now get rewards and benefits from being part of a guild, such as XP bonuses for leveling.
At the launch in 2004, the game allowed players to reach a maximum of level 60. This version of WoW is often referred to as “vanilla WoW” and many of the “hardcore” players often long for these days, as the content was more difficult and less “noobish.” Several years later, in January of 2007, The Burning Crusade was launched, and bumped the maximum level to 70. This expansion, referred to as BC, added a new area called outlands that could only be reached through a portal, and also added flying mounts to the game (at the time only max level players could fly.) This was followed in November of 2008 by The Wrath of The Lich King which added a new continent to the world of Azeroth called Northrend. The maximum level was increased to level 80, and cold weather flying (available only at level 77 at launch) was necessary for players to fly their mounts. Blizzard Entertainment recently launched another expansion for WoW in December of 2010 entitled Cataclysm. Players can now reach a maximum level of 85 in game. The game is constantly changing, and Blizzard is forever coming out with new large “patches” which effectively make wide scale changes to the world. With the launch of Cataclysm, the “old world” from “vanilla WoW” was effectively changed forever, making this new version of the game something new. One thing is certain: As long as the game remains popular, it will forever change and grow.