In the United States, Canada, and Europe, Blizzard distributes World of Warcraft via retail software packages.[50] The software package includes 30 days of gameplay for no additional cost. To continue playing after the initial 30 days, additional play time must be purchased using a credit card or prepaid game card. The minimum gameplay duration that a player can purchase is 30 days using a credit card, or 60 using a prepaid game card. A player also has the option of purchasing three or six months of gameplay at once for a 6–15% discount.[51] In Australia, the United States, and many European countries, video game stores commonly stock the trial version of World of Warcraft in DVD form, which includes the game and 20 levels[52] of gameplay, after which the player would have to upgrade to a retail account by supplying a valid credit card, or purchasing a game card as well as a retail copy of the game.
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.
In April 2015, an alternate way to cover the subscription was introduced. A player may spend real money ($20 in North America and differing amounts in other regions) on a WoW Token, which is sold on the auction house for in-game gold that initially could only be used to add 30 days of playtime.[36] At the launch of the feature in NA, a token sold for 30k gold and 24 hours later sold for 20k gold, therefore the gold amount changes depending on what players are willing to spend and the supply. Subsequently, the amount that an NA token sells for remained selling at above 30,000 gold and the other Battle.net regions are well above that value. Once a player buys a token on the auction house, it is account bound and cannot be resold. In February 2017, the WoW Token can also be exchanged for $15 in Battle.net balance that can be used as credit for purchases in most of Blizzard's games as well as in Destiny 2.[39]
World of Warcraft ha inspirado dos juegos de tablero: World of Warcraft: El Juego de Tablero (incluyendo las expansiones Shadow of War y The Burning Crusade)59​ y World of Warcraft: El Juego de Aventuras,60​61​ producidos por Fantasy Flight Games y editados en español por Devir. También existe un juego de cartas coleccionables, World of Warcraft Trading Card Game,62​ y un juego de miniaturas coleccionable63​ ambos producidos por Upper Deck Entertainment, a partir de marzo de 2010, cambió a Cryptozoic Entertainment.

World of Warcraft was the world's most popular MMORPG by player count of nearly 10 million in 2009.[5][6] The game had a total of over a hundred million registered accounts by 2014.[7] By 2017, the game had grossed over $9.23 billion in revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time. At BlizzCon 2017, a vanilla version of the game titled World of Warcraft Classic was announced, which planned to provide a way to experience the base game before any of its expansions launched. It went live at 3pm PDT[b] on August 26, 2019.[8][9]
As characters become more developed, they gain various talents and skills, requiring the player to further define the abilities of that character.[15] Characters can choose two primary professions that can focus on producing items, such as tailoring, blacksmithing or jewelcrafting or on gathering from resource nodes, such as skinning or mining. Characters can learn all four secondary skills: archeology, cooking, fishing and first aid.[16][17] Characters may form and join guilds, allowing characters within the guild access to the guild's chat channel, the guild name and optionally allowing other features, including a guild tabard, guild bank, guild repairs, and dues.[18]
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]
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.
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