The appearance of the game world was praised by critics. Most popular was the fact that a player could run from one end of the continent to the other without having to pause at a "loading screen" while part of the game is retrieved from storage.[86] The environment was described as "breathtaking". Players found it difficult to become lost, and each area in the game world had a distinct look that blended from one to the next.[21] Critics described the environment as "a careful blend of cartoon, fantasy art, and realism".[81] The game was found to run smoothly on a range of computer systems,[10] although some described it as basic,[21] and mentioned that the bloom light rendering effect can blur things.[20] One reviewer described the ability to fly over long stretches of scenery as "very atmospheric".[83] The user interface was liked, being described as "simple", with tooltips helping to get the player started.[10]

In May 2007, Blizzard filed a complaint against in Game Dollar LLC (trading as peons4hire) in U.S. federal court. In February 2008, the parties filed a consent decree in which in Game Dollar agreed to refrain from using any World of Warcraft chat or communication to advertise any business or sell any services relating to World of Warcraft.[140] In June 2007, World of Warcraft player Antonio Hernandez filed a class action lawsuit against IGE for interfering with the intended use of the game.[141]

In the Lich King's haste to spread the plague of undeath over Azeroth, he gifted one of his greatest servants, the lich Kel'Thuzad, with the flying citadel of Naxxramas, as a base of operations for the Scourge. Consistent attacks from the Scarlet Crusade and Argent Dawn factions weakened the defenses of the floating fortress, enabling an incursion from the heroes that led to Kel'Thuzad's defeat. However, a traitor among the ranks of the knightly order of the Argent Dawn ran away with Kel'Thuzad's cursed remains and fled to Northrend, where the fallen lich could be reanimated.

La apariencia del juego fue ensalzada. La característica más popular fue el que un jugador pudiera ir de un lado a otro del continente sin que se le presentara una pantalla de carga.35​ Se dijo del ambiente que "dejaba sin aliento", haciendo que los jugadores no se perdieran y que cada área del juego tuviera un aspecto único y extremadamente grande.41​ Los críticos describieron el ambiente como "una cuidadosa mezcla de dibujos animados, fantasía y realidad ".32​ El juego funcionaba bien en casi cualquier tipo de sistema,15​ aunque algunos los describieron como demasiado básico41​ y mencionaron que algunos efectos emborraban un poco la imagen.42​ La capacidad de volar sobre los escenarios fue descrita como "muy atmosférica".17​ La interfaz fue descrita como simple y con ayudas para el novato.15​
Questing was described as an integral part of the game, often being used to continue a storyline or lead the player through the game.[21] The high number of quests in each location was popular, as well as the rewards for completing them.[10] It was felt that the range of quests removed the need for a player to "grind", or carry out repetitive tasks, to advance their character.[20] Quests also require players to explore every section of the game world, potentially causing problems for social gamers or roleplayers seeking somewhere quiet.[21] Quests that required the player to collect items from the corpses of creatures they had killed were also unpopular; the low "drop rate", or chance of finding the items, makes them feel repetitive as a high number of creatures need to be killed to complete the quest.[20] A large number of new players in a particular area meant that there were often no creatures to kill,[21] or that players would have to wait and take turns to kill a particular creature to complete a quest.[10] Some critics mentioned that the lack of quests that required players to group up made the game feel as if it were designed for solo play.[83] Others complained that some dungeon or instanced group quests were not friendly to new players, and could take several hours to complete.[20] Upon release, a small number of quests had software bugs that made them impossible to complete.[10]
The company offers parental controls[40] that allow various limits to be set on playing time. It is possible to set a daily limit, a weekly limit, or to specify an allowed playing schedule. In order to control these settings, it is necessary to log in with different credentials than are used just to enter the game. It is also possible to receive statistics on the time spent playing. Apart from controlling children, adults sometimes use parental controls on themselves.[41] The company supports this kind of protection as otherwise the potential players or their supervisors may choose to uninstall or block the game permanently.
In South Korea, there is no software package or CD key requirement to activate the account. However, to play the game, players must purchase time credits online. There are two kinds of time credits available: one where the player is billed based on the actual number of minutes that will be available, and one where the player can play the game for a number of days. In the former, time can be purchased in multiples of 5 hours or 30 hours, and in the latter, time can be purchased in multiples of 7 days, 1 month, or 3 months.[54] As software packages are not required, expansion pack contents are available to all players on launch day.
The World of Warcraft launcher (referred to in press releases and the menu bar as the "Blizzard Launcher") is a program designed to act as a starting point for World of Warcraft players. It provides a way to launch World of Warcraft and starts the Blizzard updater. It was first included with the version 1.8.3 patch. The 2.1.0 patch allowed for an option to bypass the use of the launcher. Features of the launcher include news and updates for World of Warcraft players, access to World of Warcraft's support website, access to the test version of World of Warcraft when it is available to test upcoming patches, updates to Warden,[60] and updates to the updater itself. The 3.0.8 patch redesigned the launcher and added the ability to change the game settings from the launcher itself. The launcher update from patch 4.0.1 also allows people to play the game while non-crucial pieces of the game are downloaded. This requires a high-speed broadband internet connection.

Es una especie de mago oscuro, buen DPS a distancia, especializado en el daño progresivo DoT (Damage over Time) mediante maldiciones de la rama de las sombras a sus enemigos (aflicción), en daño instantáneo de la rama fuego (destrucción) y la especialidad de manejo de demonios (demonología) . Emplean el maná y tiene la capacidad de invocar espíritus malignos y demonios para que le ayuden en su lucha. Usan las armaduras más débiles (tela) y son malos contrincantes cuerpo a cuerpo, aunque gracias a la habilidad de Miedo (Fear) pueden mantener a su enemigo a distancia mientras causan daño DoT. Se usan para hacer convocaciones para mazmorras y para crear piedras de alma y salud entre otras.
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]
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.