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 has inspired two board games: World of Warcraft: The Board Game (including Shadow of War and The Burning Crusade expansions) and World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game, produced by Fantasy Flight Games. There is also a trading card game, and a collectible miniatures game 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. 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.
On July 6, 2010, Blizzard Entertainment announced that on its forums for all games, users' accounts would display the real names tied to their accounts. Blizzard announced the change following an agreement with Facebook to allow Facebook to connect persons who choose to become friends to share their real identity (Real ID, as Blizzard calls the feature). The integration of the feature into the forums on the Blizzard Entertainment site raised concerns amongst fans of the many game series Blizzard has created over the years.
El sistema de personajes fue bien recibido, con críticos señalando a cada clase como viable e interesante, con características únicas,17 así como que cada raza tenía un toque de distinción y de aspecto.15 El desarrollo de los personajes también fue destacado, así como el sistema de talentos, su gran diversidad de opciones32 y el sistema de profesiones.15 La personalización física de los personajes fue considerada una de las cosas menos interesantes del juego,42 aunque el nivel de detalle de los modelos fue elogiado.35
On October 7, 2010 World of Warcraft reached a subscriber base of over 12 million players. Since May 2011, the number of players playing had decreased by 10% from 11.4 million to 10.3 million. Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime said that the reason was probably due to a drop-off in the Eastern markets. In 2012, senior producer John Lagrave told Eurogamer that the drop in subscriptions may have also been attributed to the recent release of BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic.
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.