World of Warcraft was first announced by Blizzard at the ECTS trade show in September 2001.[43] Released in 2004, development of the game took roughly 4–5 years, including extensive testing. The 3D graphics in World of Warcraft use elements of the proprietary graphics engine originally used in Warcraft III.[43] The game was designed to be an open environment where players are allowed to do what they please.[44] Quests are optional and were designed to help guide players, allow character development, and to spread characters across different zones to try to avoid what developers called player collision.[45] The game interface allows players to customize appearance and controls, and to install add-ons and other modifications.[46]
Blizzard garnered criticism for its decision in January 2006 to ban guilds from advertising sexual orientation preferences. The incident occurred after several players were cited for "harassment" after advocating a group that was a gay-straight alliance.[133][134] Blizzard later reversed the decision to issue warnings to players promoting LGBT-friendly guilds.
Deep within Blackrock Mountain, the black dragon Nefarian conducted twisted experiments with the blood of other dragonflights. Intent on seizing the entire area for his own, he recruited the remaining Dark Horde, a rogue army that embraced the demonic bloodlust of the old Horde. These corrupt orcs, trolls, and other races battled against Ragnaros and the Dark Iron dwarves for control of the mountain. Nefarian created the twisted chromatic dragons and a legion of other aberrations in his bid to form an army powerful enough to control Azeroth and continue the legacy of his infamous father, Deathwing the Destroyer. Nefarian was vanquished by the heroes from the Horde and the Alliance.
Tras los eventos narrados en Wrath of the Lich King, Arthas ha muerto, y la guerra en Rasganorte parece haber terminado, ya que la Plaga está controlada por Bolvar Fordragon, convertido en el nuevo Rey Exánime, el carcelero de los malditos. Pero entonces, misteriosos terremotos comienzan a sacudir toda la faz de Azeroth, y poco después, comienzan una serie de ataques elementales contra las capitales de la Alianza y la Horda. Estos ataques son el preludio del resurgimiento del Dragón Aspecto corrupto Alamuerte, que las destruirá, extendiendo su dañino poder por los dos continentes. Cinco años después, en los que se suceden los eventos narrados en la novela World of Warcraft: The Shattering, Ventormenta y Orgrimmar están en proceso de reconstrucción, y la faz del mundo en Azeroth ha cambiado por completo tras los ataques de Alamuerte, que han reducido a cenizas algunas zonas y han provocado violentos maremotos y terremotos que han partido literalmente la tierra en trozos, inundando algunas zonas y haciendo resurgir otras. Alamuerte ha vuelto con un solo objetivo, el de destruir Azeroth, y no se detendrá hasta conseguirlo.
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