As characters progress in World of Warcraft and take on some of the toughest challenges, many of the rewards received are bound to that character and cannot be traded, generating a market for the trading of accounts with well-equipped characters. The highest noted World of Warcraft account trade was for £5000 (€7000, US$9,900) in early September 2007. The high price was due to the character possessing items that at the time were owned by only a handful out of the millions of active players, due to the difficulty in acquiring them. However, Blizzard banned the account five days after the purchase.[142]
As with other MMORPGs, players control a character avatar within a game world in third- or first-person view, exploring the landscape, fighting various monsters, completing quests, and interacting with non-player characters (NPCs) or other players. Also similar to other MMORPGs, World of Warcraft requires the player to pay for a subscription by using a credit or debit card, using prepaid Blizzard game cards or using a WoW Token purchased in-game. Players without a subscription may use a trial account that lets the player character reach up to level 20 but has many features locked.[10]
Blizzard routinely applies older expansions to all accounts as new expansions are released. On June 28, 2011, The Burning Crusade expansion was automatically applied to all previous Warcraft accounts at no cost. On September 19, 2012, the same thing was done with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion,[67] and on October 15, 2013 the Cataclysm expansion was also applied.[68] On October 15, 2014, Mists of Pandaria was applied to all accounts following the release of Warlords.[69] On May 17, 2016, Warlords of Draenor was applied to all accounts to coincide with the release of the Warcraft movie that gives a 30-day trial of the game.[70] All The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor content is now effectively part of the original game, with all new World of Warcraft accounts automatically including these expansions upon creation.[67] As of the pre-patch release of Battle for Azeroth in July 2018, all expansions up to Legion are included in the base game.[71]
En un principio la acción de Warcraft trataba sobre el bien y la nobleza de los hombres y el mal e inmundicia de los seres verdes invasores llamados orcos. No era una historia muy compleja pero era un pretexto suficiente para poner en combate a muerte a dos bandos contrarios. No obstante, el crecimiento del mercado requería tomar mayor empatía de la afición, y se construyó un universo de mayores posibilidades. La cantidad de razas involucradas en la guerra aumentó en Warcraft II, los humanos se unieron con las razas de los altos elfos, los enanos y los gnomos, formando la Alianza de Lordaeron; mientras que los orcos se aliaron con los troles, los ogros y los goblins, aumentando así las filas de la incontenible Horda. Se incluyeron traiciones determinantes para el transcurso de la guerra, siendo la principal la búsqueda de poder del brujo de Gul'dan, que causó un retroceso a las «mareas de la oscuridad» (los orcos) que costó la victoria a la Horda en la Segunda guerra. Además se incluyó la participación de unidades especiales que representaban leyendas vivientes, grandes héroes como Sir Anduin Lothar o Zul'jin que daban al juego una atmósfera más envolvente y épica.
Han pasado cinco años desde los eventos narrados en Warcraft 3. La Alianza y la Nueva Horda viven en un estado de guerra fría, y mantienen una frágil y quebradiza paz, mientras reconstruyen sus reinos y tratan de recuperar su prosperidad. En Ventormenta, el rey Varian Wrynn ha desaparecido en circunstancias misteriosas mientras viajaba en misión diplomática a la isla de Theramore, por lo que en su ausencia, es nombrado rey su hijo Anduin Wrynn, todavía un niño, asumiendo la regencia lord Bolvar Fordragon y la misteriosa lady Katrana Prestor. En Orgrimmar, el jefe de guerra Thrall lucha por sacar adelante a la Nueva Horda.
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