The Corrupted Blood plague incident was one of the first events to affect entire servers. Patch 1.7 saw the opening of Zul'Gurub, the game's first 20-player raid dungeon where players faced off against a tribe of trolls. Upon engaging the final boss, players were stricken by a debuff called "Corrupted Blood" which would periodically sap their life. The disease was passed on to other players simply by being near infected players. Originally this malady was confined within the Zul'Gurub instance, but it made its way into the outside world by way of hunter pets or warlock minions that contracted the disease.
World of Warcraft was the best-selling PC game of 2005 and 2006. In the United States, it sold 1.4 million copies ($68.1 million) by August 2006. It was the country's third best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006. On January 22, 2008, World of Warcraft had more than 10 million subscribers worldwide, with more than 2 million subscribers in Europe, more than 2.5 million in North America, and about 5.5 million in Asia. At its peak in October 2010 the game had 12 million subscribers. As of November 2014 the game has over 10 million active subscribers. On January 28, 2014 Blizzard announced that 100 million accounts have been created for the game. On May 7, 2015, it was announced that there were 7.1 million active subscriptions. At the end of June 2015, subscriptions dropped down to 5.6 million, lowest since 2005. By the end of September, subscribers were at 5.5 million.
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.
World of Warcraft requires a subscription to allow continued play, with options to pay in one-month, three-month, or six-month blocks, and time cards of varying lengths available from retailers, or purchasing a "WoW Token" in-game. Expansion packs are available online and from retailers. As the game client is the same regardless of the version of World of Warcraft the user owns, the option to purchase expansions online was added as it allows for a quick upgrade. World of Warcraft is also available as a free Starter Edition, which is free to play for an unlimited amount of time. Starter Edition characters are unable to gain experience after reaching level 20, and there are other restrictions in effect for Starter Edition accounts, including the inability to trade, use mail, use Auction House, use public chat channels, join guilds or amass more than ten gold.
Son asesinos, se especializan en utilizar una gran variedad de armas con las dos manos, aunque el arma icónica de esta clase es la daga. Es una clase clave tanto para el PVE como el PVP por su capacidad de inutilizar a sus contrincantes , cualquiera de sus tres ramas de talentos (Asesinato, sutileza y combate) es compatible para las dos cosas depende de los gustos del jugador. Su rol se basa en énfasis en el sigilo, los venenos y el control. Usa energía como recurso.
Los orcos arrasan muchas villas en Azeroth. Anduin Lothar, comandante de las fuerzas humanas del Reino de Ventormenta, revisa los cuerpos de algunos de los hombres asesinados, encontrándose con un mago llamado Khadgar, quien explica que está investigando los cuerpos al hallar en ellos indicios de magia vil. Khadgar convence al rey de Ventormenta, Llane Wrynn, de consultar con Medivh, el Guardián de Trisfal, y Llane envía a Lothar y Khadgar a la fortaleza de Medivh, la torre de Karazhan, para informarle sobre la presencia de magia vil en Azeroth. En la biblioteca de Karazhan, una figura fantasmagórica guía a Khadgar hasta un misterioso libro, que él toma.
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.
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.