Warcraft es una marca comercial de Blizzard Entertainment que ha sido ampliamente difundida y diversificada a partir del videojuego Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994), uno de los primeros en su género. Por extensión también implica a la marca World of Warcraft, que nace del videojuego de rol multijugador masivo en línea -por sus siglas en inglés, MMORPG- del mismo nombre.1​El universo de Warcraft que se encuentra en ambas marcas está ambientado en una fantasía épica moderna propia de El Señor de los Anillos o Dungeons & Dragons y tiene su inspiración inicial en los juegos del universo de Warhammer Fantasy[cita requerida], representando combates entre el bando de los humanos y el de los orcos, los cuales son seres fantásticos adaptados de la mitología clásica europea a la fantasía actual, pero con una concepción y estilos muy propios.
Seven expansions have been released: The Burning Crusade, released in January 2007; Wrath of the Lich King, released in November 2008; Cataclysm, released in December 2010; Mists of Pandaria, released in September 2012; Warlords of Draenor, released in November 2014; Legion, released in August 2016; and Battle for Azeroth, released in August 2018. Players are not required to purchase expansions in order to continue playing; however, new content and features such as higher level caps and new areas may not be available until they do so.
World of Warcraft has inspired two board games: World of Warcraft: The Board Game (including Shadow of War and The Burning Crusade expansions)[157] and World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game,[158][159] produced by Fantasy Flight Games. There is also a trading card game,[160] and a collectible miniatures game[161] on the market, both formerly produced by Upper Deck Entertainment, now produced by Cryptozoic Entertainment. Cryptozoic released an "Archives" set which contains foil reproductions of older cards produced by Upper Deck. In August 2012, Megabloks launched a licensed line of World of Warcraft 'building block' toys based on the game scenes, scenarios and characters.[162] In March 2014, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was released, which is a free-to-play digital card game based on the Warcraft universe, using classes similar to World of Warcraft.[163]
In China, because a large number of players do not own the computer on which they play games (e.g. if they play in Internet cafés), the CD keys required to create an account can be purchased independently of the software package. To play the game, players must also purchase prepaid game cards that can be played for 66 hours and 40 minutes.[55] A monthly fee model is not available to players of this region. The Chinese government and NetEase, the licensee for World of Warcraft in China, have imposed a modification on Chinese versions of the game which places flesh on bare-boned skeletons and transforms dead character corpses into tidy graves. These changes were imposed by the Chinese government in an attempt to "promote a healthy and harmonious online game environment" in World of Warcraft.[56][57] The Chinese government delayed the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, due to what it deemed objectionable content.[58] NetEase took over licensing of World of Warcraft from The9 in June 2009 following the expiration of The9's contract,[59] and were able to secure a launch for Wrath of the Lich King on August 31, 2010, nearly two years after its Western release.
World of Warcraft won several awards from critics upon release, including Editor's Choice awards.[10][20] In addition, it won several annual awards from the media, being described as the best game in the role-playing and MMORPG genres.[87] The graphics and audio were also praised in the annual awards, with the cartoonish style[88] and overall sound makeup being noted.[89] The game was also awarded Best Mac OS X Entertainment Product at the 2005 Apple Design Awards.[90] Computer Games Magazine named World of Warcraft the best computer game of 2004, and the magazine's Steve Bauman described his "feeling that Blizzard has analyzed every element of every existing game, pulled out the best ones, and then lovingly lavished an absurd amount of attention to their implementation." It also won the magazine's "Best Art Direction", "Best Original Music" and "Best Interface" awards.[91]
El juego fue lanzado el 23 de noviembre de 2004, celebrando el décimo aniversario de la franquicia Warcraft. La primera expansión del juego The Burning Crusade fue lanzada el 16 de enero del 2007.7​ La segunda expansión, Wrath of the Lich King, fue lanzada el 13 de noviembre de 2008.8​ La tercera expansión, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm fue anunciada en el BlizzCon 2009 y fue lanzada el 7 de diciembre de 2010.9​10​ La cuarta expansión, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria fue anunciada en el BlizzCon 2011 y fue lanzada el 25 de septiembre del 2012. La quinta expansión, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor fue anunciada en el BlizzCon 2013 y fue lanzada el 13 de noviembre de 2014. La sexta expansión, World of Warcraft: Legion fue anunciada en el BlizzCon 2015 y fue lanzada el 30 de agosto de 2016. La séptima expansión, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth fue anunciada en el BlizzCon 2017 y recientemente lanzada el 14 de agosto de 2018 siendo la primera expansión en la historia del juego en ser lanzada globalmente de forma simultánea. Con 7.7 millones de suscriptores,11​ World of Warcraft continúa siendo con diferencia el juego en línea por suscripción con el mayor registro de usuarios, manteniendo el récord Guinness para el MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Rol Playing Game) más popular.12​
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