Gameplay of World of Warcraft Starting a character or play session 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.
Players without a subscription may use a trial account that lets the player character reach up to level 20 but has many features locked. Each realm acts as an individual copy of the game world and falls into one of four categories.
Available realms types are: Normal — a player versus environment PvE realm where the gameplay is more focused on defeating monsters and completing quests , player-versus-player fights must be consensual, and any roleplay is optional.
PvP player versus player — an environment where, in addition to defeating monsters and completing quests, open PvP combat is allowed so a player may be attacked by the opposing faction's players at any time. RP roleplay — a variant of PvE, where players roleplay in-character. Realms are also categorized by language, with in-game support in the language available. Races and factions of Warcraft To create a new character, in keeping with the storyline of previous Warcraft games, players must choose between the opposing factions of the Alliance or the Horde; Pandarens, added in Mists of Pandaria , do not commit to a faction until after the starting zone is completed.
Characters from the opposing factions can perform rudimentary communication most often just "emotes" , but only members of the same faction can speak, mail, group and join guilds. The player selects the new character's race , such as orcs or trolls for the Horde, or humans or dwarves for the Alliance. Ongoing gameplay As characters become more developed, they gain various talents and skills, requiring the player to further define the abilities of that character.
Characters can learn all four secondary skills: These quests are usually available from NPCs. Quests allow characters to gain access to new skills and abilities, as well as the ability to explore new areas. Quests commonly involve killing a number of creatures, gathering a certain number of resources, finding a difficult to locate object, speaking to various NPCs, visiting specific locations, interacting with objects in the world, or delivering an item from one place to another to acquire experience and treasures.
While a character can be played on its own, players can group with others to tackle more challenging content. Most end-game challenges are designed in a way that they can only be overcome while in a group. In this way, character classes are used in specific roles within a group. If a character is past level ten and they resurrect at a graveyard, the items equipped by the character degrade, requiring in-game money and a specialist NPC to repair them.
Items that have degraded heavily become unusable until they are repaired. If the location of the character's body is unreachable, they can use a special "spirit healer" NPC to resurrect at the graveyard. When the spirit healer revives a character, items equipped by the character at that time are further degraded, and the character is significantly weakened by what is in-game called "resurrection sickness" for up to ten minutes, depending on the character's level.
This "resurrection sickness" does not occur and item degradation is less severe if the character revives by locating its body, or is resurrected by another player through spells or special items. Players on player versus environment PvE servers can opt to "flag" themselves, making themselves attackable to players of the opposite faction. PvE called normal or RP servers, by contrast, allow a player to choose whether or not to engage in combat against other players.
On both server types, there are special areas of the world where free-for-all combat is permitted. Battlegrounds, for example, are similar to dungeons: Competing in battlegrounds rewards the character with tokens and honor points that can be used to buy armor, weapons, and other general items that can aid a player in many areas of the game.
Winning a battleground awards more honor and tokens than losing. In addition, players also earn honor when they or nearby teammates kill players in a battleground. World of Warcraft takes place in a 3D representation of the Warcraft universe that players can interact with through their characters. The game world initially consisted of the two continents in Azeroth: Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Four separate expansions later added to the game's playable area the realms of Outland and Draenor and the continents of Northrend and Pandaria.
As a player explores new locations, different routes and means of transportation become available. Players can access "flight masters" in newly discovered locations to fly to previously discovered locations in other parts of the world. Although the game world remains relatively similar from day to day, seasonal events reflecting real world events, such as Halloween,  Christmas, Children's Week,  Easter, and Midsummer have been represented in the game world.
Locations also have variable weather including, among other things, rain, snow, and dust storms. In each major city, characters can access a bank to deposit items, such as treasure or crafted items. Each character has access to personal bank storage with the option to purchase additional storage space using in-game gold. Mailboxes are used to collect items won at auction, and to send messages, items, and in-game money to other characters. These usually take place in dungeons—also known as "instances"—that a group of characters can enter together.
The term "instance" comes from each group or party having a separate copy, or instance, of the dungeon, complete with their own enemies to defeat and their own treasure or rewards. Dungeons are spread over the game world and are designed for characters of varying progression. A typical dungeon will allow up to five characters to enter as part of a group. Some dungeons require more players to group together and form a "raid" of up to forty players to face some of the most difficult challenges.
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.
Subsequently, the amount that an NA token sells for remained selling at above 30, gold and the other Battle. Once a player buys a token on the auction house, it is account bound and cannot be resold. 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.
Plot This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. Please help rewrite it to explain the fiction more clearly and provide non-fictional perspective. May See also: Meanwhile, dwarves, gnomes, and the ancient night elves pledged their loyalties to the Alliance, guided by the human kingdom of Stormwind. After Stormwind's king, Varian Wrynn, mysteriously disappeared, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon served as Regent but his service was affected by the mind control of the black dragon Onyxia, who ruled in disguise as a human noblewoman.
As heroes investigated Onyxia's manipulations, the ancient elemental lord Ragnaros resurfaced to endanger both the Horde and Alliance.
Assault on Blackwing Lair Deep within Blackrock Mountain, the black dragon Nefarian conducted twisted experiments with the blood of other dragonflights. Intent on seizing the entire area for his own, he recruited the remaining Dark Horde, a rogue army that embraced the demonic bloodlust of the old Horde. These corrupt orcs, trolls, and other races battled against Ragnaros and the Dark Iron dwarves for control of the mountain. Nefarian created the twisted chromatic dragons and a legion of other aberrations in his bid to form an army powerful enough to control Azeroth and continue the legacy of his infamous father, Deathwing the Destroyer.
Nefarian was vanquished by the heroes from the Horde and the Alliance. Rise of the Blood God Years ago, in the ruined temple of Atal'Hakkar, loyal priests of the Blood God Hakkar the Soulflayer attempted to summon the wrathful deity's avatar into the world. But his followers, the Atal'ai priesthood, discovered that the Soulflayer could only be summoned within the Gurubashi tribe's ancient capital, Zul'Gurub. Newly reborn in this jungle fortress, Hakkar took control of the Gurubashi tribe and mortal champions of the trolls' mighty animal gods.
The Soulflayer's dark influence was halted when the Zandalari tribe recruited heroes and invaded Zul'Gurub. The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj The great desert fortress of Ahn'Qiraj, long sealed behind the Scarab Wall, was home to the insectoid qiraji, a savage race that had once mounted an assault to devastate the continent of Kalimdor.
But something far more sinister lurked behind Ahn'Qiraj's walls: As C'Thun incited the qiraji to frenzy, both the Alliance and Horde prepared for a massive war effort. The heroes laid siege to the ruins and temples of Ahn'Qiraj and vanquished C'Thun. Shadow of the Necropolis 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.
Boxed copies of the game use a hybrid CD to install the game, eliminating the need for separate Mac and Windows retail products. The game allows all users to play together, regardless of their operating system. 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. The first three expansions are currently available, fully translated, including voice acting, into Brazilian Portuguese.
However, to play the game, players must purchase time credits online. There are two kinds of time credits available: 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.
In China, because a large number of players do not own the computer on which they play games e. To play the game, players must also purchase prepaid game cards that can be played for 66 hours and 40 minutes. The Chinese government and NetEase , the licensee for World of Warcraft in China, have imposed a modification on Chinese versions of the game which places flesh on bare-boned skeletons and transforms dead character corpses into tidy graves.
These changes were imposed by the Chinese government in an attempt to "promote a healthy and harmonious online game environment" in World of Warcraft. Post-launch development 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. 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 launcher update from patch 4. This requires a high-speed broadband internet connection. As a result of this, the minimum supported Mac OS X version has been changed to Official Windows 98 technical support was dropped, but the game continued to run there until version 2.