Los accesorios y otras mercancías oficiales incluyen las playeras de Warcraft III (en cuatro versiones diferentes) y su expansión, una gorra de elástico de Warcraft III, la banda sonora Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Soundtrack,4 cuatro litografías de Warcraft III,4 un DVD de Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos45 y dos series de figuras de acción (que conforman los personajes de Arthas, Shandris, Tichondrius, Medivh, Grom Hellscream y un fusilero enano).
Questing was described as an integral part of the game, often being used to continue a storyline or lead the player through the game. The high number of quests in each location was popular, as well as the rewards for completing them. 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. Quests also require players to explore every section of the game world, potentially causing problems for social gamers or roleplayers seeking somewhere quiet. 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. A large number of new players in a particular area meant that there were often no creatures to kill, or that players would have to wait and take turns to kill a particular creature to complete a quest. 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. Others complained that some dungeon or instanced group quests were not friendly to new players, and could take several hours to complete. Upon release, a small number of quests had software bugs that made them impossible to complete.
World of Warcraft won several awards from critics upon release, including Editor's Choice awards. In addition, it won several annual awards from the media, being described as the best game in the role-playing and MMORPG genres. The graphics and audio were also praised in the annual awards, with the cartoonish style and overall sound makeup being noted. The game was also awarded Best Mac OS X Entertainment Product at the 2005 Apple Design Awards. 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.
World of Warcraft received very positive reviews upon release, following a period of high anticipation before launch. Although the game follows a similar model to—and was noted for using many familiar concepts from—the role-playing genre, the new approaches to reducing pauses between game encounters were well liked. A common example was the approach to character death. In some previous MMORPGs, a player would suffer a high penalty for character death; in World of Warcraft, a player is able to recover and start playing quickly. Combat was another area where "downtime", or pauses between play, was reduced. By allowing all character types to recover from damage taken, players can return to combat quickly. Reviewers felt that these changes in pacing would make the genre more accessible to casual players—those who play for short periods of time— while still having "deep" gameplay that would attract players of all levels of interest. The concept of a "rested bonus", or increasing the rate at which a player's character gains experience, was also welcomed as a way for players to quickly catch up with their friends in progression.
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, 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.
Existen un total de trece razas jugables16 divididas en dos facciones, la Alianza y la Horda, siendo la decimotercera raza (Pandaren) compartida por ambos bandos. Pertenecen a la Alianza: humanos, gnomos, enanos, elfos de la noche, draenéi, huarguens y pandarens; y pertenecen a la Horda: orcos, no-muertos renegados, troles, taurens, elfos de sangre, goblins y pandarens. En la mayoría de las zonas, la Alianza y la Horda están en guerra una con la otra, aunque existen zonas neutrales como la ciudad flotante de Dalaran o la Ciudadela de Shattrath, estas zonas son conocidas como santuarios.
Los monjes son maestros del combate a mano y solo empuñan las armas para sus letales golpes de gracia (viajero del viento). Los monjes sanadores aportan armonía y equilibrio a todos los grupos y pueden sanar hasta las heridas más graves con remedios antiguos y artes espirituales (tejedor de la niebla). Son pocos los que pueden confiar en sobrevivir ante la extrema destreza del monje maestro cervecero, cuyas intensas bebidas e impredecible estilo de combate absorben unas cantidades de daño impresionantes (maestro cervecero).
Como en otros, los jugadores controlan un avatar dentro de un mundo en una vista de tercera persona (con la opción de jugar en primera persona) explorando el entorno, combatiendo contra varios monstruos y jugadores, completando misiones e interactuando con personajes no jugables (PNJ) u otros jugadores. El completar misiones ayudará a los jugadores a poder subir de nivel y de esta forma, podrán conseguir equipamiento que les ayudará más adelante a combatir a las distintas criaturas que vayan apareciendo en su camino.