Warcraft

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Warcraft franchise
Warcraft-logo.gif
The official logo of the franchise
Genres Real-time strategy, MMORPG, Collectible card game
Developers Blizzard Entertainment
Publishers Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms MS-DOS, DOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Macintosh, Sega Saturn, AmigaOS 4, PlayStation, OS X, iOS, Android
First release Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
November 1994[1]
Latest release Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
March 11, 2014

Warcraft is a franchise of video games, novels, and other media originally created by Blizzard Entertainment. The series is made up of five core games: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The first three of these core games are in the real-time strategy genre, where opposing players command virtual armies in battle against each other or a computer-controlled enemy. The fourth and best selling title of the franchise is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), where players control their own character and interact with each other in a virtual world. The most recent title is Hearthstone, a digital collectible card game.

Of these games, no expansion sets were released for Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, but Warcraft II was accompanied by the release of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal and Warcraft III was accompanied by the release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Multiple expansion packages also accompanied World of Warcraft, including The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor.[2]

All games in the series have been set in and around the world of Azeroth, a high fantasy setting. Initially, the start of the series focused on the human nations which make up the Eastern Kingdoms, and the Orcish Horde which arrived in Azeroth via a dark portal, beginning the great wars. The Orcs arrived from another world, referred to as Draenor or Outland, a world which will be shattered into pieces by demonic magics during the events of Warcraft II. Later on in the series the world of Azeroth was expanded, revealing the new continents of Kalimdor, Northrend and Pandaria, allowing the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren and other major races into the universe. The world of Azeroth also contains the traditional fantasy setting races of elves, dwarves, gnomes, orcs, and trolls.[3][4]

The series also resulted in the publishing of several books relevant to the Warcraft universe setting, covering a wide range of the timelines of the universe.[5] A collectable card game was also published, which offered those who bought booster packs a chance to gain access codes to limited in-game content in World of Warcraft.[6][7] An upcoming film adaptation is planned.[8] A number of comics have also been released alongside the books, further covering parts of the universe's storyline. A short-lived, online-subscription only magazine was also available, but later ceased publication after just 5 issues.[9]

Video games[edit]

Release Timeline
1994– Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
1995– Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
1996– Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal
1997–
1998–
1999– Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition
2000–
2001–
2002– Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
2003– Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
2004– World of Warcraft
2005–
2006–
2007– World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
2008– World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
2009–
2010– World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
2011–
2012– World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
2013–
2014– Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
TBA– World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

The first three games in the Warcraft series, including their expansion packs, were all released on both the PC and Macintosh. All of these games were of the real-time strategy genre. Each game proceeded to carry on the storyline of the previous games, and each introduced new features and content to improve gameplay. Warcraft III was the first game in the series to feature a Collector's Edition, which all subsequent games have released as well. Warcraft II was the first game in the series to feature play over the internet using Battle.net, although this was not included until a later release of the game. Warcraft II was also the first in the series to be re-released as a "Battle Chest", a bundle copy of the game containing both the original and expansion. Warcraft III and World of Warcraft have also both had "Battle Chests" released for them subsequent to their initial release. The "Battle.net" edition of Warcraft II was also the first to introduce the use of CD keys to the series, requiring each user online to have their own copy of the game in order to be able to connect. However, a CD key is not yet required to play via a Local Area Network, although speculation is that future games in the series will do so, as another product in Blizzard Entertainment's portfolio, StarCraft II, is doing so by removing the option for using LANs completely, requiring the use of Battle.net.[10]

In 1998, an adventure game in the series, Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, was announced as being cancelled, having been previously delayed from a 1997 release.

In 2004, Blizzard Entertainment moved the series away from the real-time strategy genre, and released World of Warcraft, an MMORPG. Requiring a subscription fee to be paid to play, it also introduced regular additional content to the series in the form of patches. World of Warcraft quickly gained much popularity worldwide, becoming the world's largest subscription based MMORPG. They reached a peak 12 million subscribers worldwide.[11] World of Warcraft has had four expansions as of 2012. During the production of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce stated that "If there’s a team that’s passionate about doing another WarCraft RTS, then that’s definitely something we would consider. It’s nothing that we’re working on right now, we have development teams working on Cataclysm, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Diablo III, and when those teams are all off the projects they’re working on, they’ll be intimately involved in the discussions about what’s next."

In 2013, Blizzard announced a new online free-to-play trading card game titled Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, with the beta being available in summer of 2013.[12] Later that year at Blizzcon, they announced the fifth World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, as well as a possible re-release of the two very first games of the Warcraft series. In March 2014, Hearthstone was officially released.

Other media[edit]

An elf in costume at the 2013 Calgary Expo

Tabletop games[edit]

Collectible card games[edit]

Novels[edit]

Comics[edit]

Manga[edit]

  • Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, a manhwa series published by Tokyopop.
    • Dragon Hunt (March 2005)
    • Shadows of Ice (March 2006)
    • Ghostlands (March 2007)
  • Warcraft: Legends (2008 – 2009), a five-part graphic novel series, which is a continuation from The Sunwell Trilogy.
  • World of Warcraft: Death Knight (Dec 1, 2009)
  • World of Warcraft: Mage (June 1, 2010)
  • World of Warcraft: Shaman (Sept 28, 2010)
  • World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing
    • The Dragons of Outland (June 2010)
    • Nexus Point (March 2011)

Magazine[edit]

In 2009, Blizzard announced that it would be releasing a magazine with Future US Ltd. This magazine would only be purchasable by online subscription, and not for sale in newsagents or stores, thus making them collectors items. The magazine was released quarterly, and each contained 148 pages. No advertisements were included in the magazine.[9] In September 2011, Blizzard announced that the magazine was ceasing publication. Refunds, plush toys or in-game pets were given to subscribers depending on the outstanding length of subscription.[17]

Film adaptation[edit]

Main article: Warcraft (film)

In a May 9, 2006 press release, Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures announced that they will develop a live-action film set in the Warcraft universe.[18] At BlizzCon 2008, according to Mike Morhaime, a script was being written.[19] Chris Metzen mentioned that the film will be action-packed and violent, stating "We're definitely not going to make a G or a PG version of this. It's not PillowfightCraft."[20] On July 22, 2009, Blizzard Entertainment announced that Sam Raimi would become the Warcraft movie director, but in July 2012 he told Crave Online that he would not direct due to committing to the movie Oz the Great and Powerful.[21]

In January 2013, Duncan Jones was announced to direct the adaptation,[22] from a script by Charles Leavitt.[23] The film is supposed to begin principal photography some time in early 2014 with a plot based on the novel Warcraft: The Last Guardian.[24] On July 20, 2013, Legendary Pictures & Warner Bros. Entertainment unveiled a sizzle reel during their San Diego Comic Con 2013 panel, with Duncan Jones hopping on stage briefly to discuss the project.[25] Production on the film started filming in January 13, 2014.[26]

On October 1, 2013, Blizzard announced via their World of Warcraft Twitter page that the Warcraft film would be released by Universal Pictures on December 18, 2015.[27]

During Blizzcon on November 9, 2013, Duncan revealed concept art for three of the locations to be featured in the film. Also verified that some of the casting had been completed and a linguist was hired for some of the dialect work.

Setting[edit]

Location[edit]

Most of the Warcraft series takes place on the planet of Azeroth. Other planets in the Warcraft universe include: Draenor (and its shattered remnants, known as Outland), Argus, K'aresh, and Xoroth. There are also several metaphysical areas mentioned, including the Emerald Dream, the Elemental Planes, the Twisting Nether, and the Great Dark Beyond. Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, the first game in the series, takes place in Azeroth.

Azeroth[edit]

Azeroth has four known continents, named the Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor and Northrend, plus the forgotten continent of Pandaria. All continents are separated by the Great Sea. Two major islands also reside in the Great Sea: Kezan, land of the Goblins, and Zandalar, birthplace of the Troll civilization. In the center of the Great Sea is an enormous, everlasting vortex called the "Maelstrom" beneath which lies the aquatic city of Nazjatar, home of the amphibious Naga.

The Eastern Kingdoms are the primary setting of the first two games (and their expansions) and the first half of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and is currently made up of 22 areas or zones. The kingdom of Stormwind lies at the south of the Eastern Kingdoms, south of the dwarven kingdom of Khaz Modan and north of the jungle known as Stranglethorn Vale. The capital city of Stormwind, Stormwind City, is nestled into the northwest of Elwynn Forest, a large forest at the center of the kingdom. The Dwarven capital in Khaz Modan, called Ironforge, is located in Dun Morogh.

The former human kingdom of Lordaeron, which successfully headed the Human Alliance in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness but later fell to the Scourge in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, is located north from the southern kingdoms. Underneath the ruined city of Lordaeron now lies the Undercity, capital of the Forsaken, a rebel band of the undead Scourge. The area is now known as Tirisfal Glades and is threatened by the Western Plaguelands held back at The Bulwark. Northeast of Lordaeron is the elven nation of Quel'Thalas and its capital city, Silvermoon, both of which were conquered by the Scourge in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

The continent of Kalimdor was introduced in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and is made up of 18 zones. Whereas the Eastern Kingdoms can be described as the equivalent of medieval Europe, with traditional kingdoms with advanced cities, Kalimdor can be compared to the Americas at the time of their discovery by the Europeans, full of wild and unexplored lands. The geography and topography of Kalimdor are similar to North America and Africa, with massive, ancient forests and mountains covering the North and vast deserts and savannahs in the South. The Night Elven kingdom is located in the northwest region of Kalimdor, also including the island Teldrassil (actually a giant tree, similar in lore and spelling to Yggdrasil) off the northwest coast, which contains the city of Darnassus.

To the south, past the Ashenvale Forest, is a stretch of land known as The Barrens, situated between the grasslands of Mulgore to the west, and Durotar, the land settled by the Orcs, to the east. Mulgore is home to the Tauren capital of Thunder Bluff, a large city of tepees and lodges built on top of a conglomerate of high plateaus which are only accessible by air travel and a great series of lifts built down to the ground. In the north of Durotar is the fortress-city of Orgrimmar, capital of the Orcs.

The third continent, Northrend, is the northern polar cap of Azeroth and is the primary stronghold of the malevolent Undead Scourge. Northrend is featured in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion set Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and is the main location featured in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion pack to World of Warcraft.[4]

In the expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Azeroth has been changed permanently in-game, even for players without the expansion set installed. The corrupted Black Dragon Aspect, Deathwing the Destroyer (formerly Neltharion, the Earth-Warder) has broken free from imprisonment in Deepholm, part of the Elemental Plane, and caused major changes and destruction in the land. In addition, many new parts of the continents of Azeroth that have previously been inaccessible have become key parts in the new world.

Lorewise, this is the second major change to the face of Azeroth, the first being the Sundering. The Sundering was caused by the elves' overuse of arcane energies. It caused a massive explosion that split the one continent into four seen in-game and created the Maelstrom.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria was the fourth expansion released, and it focuses on the mythical and long-forgotten lands of Pandaria, a continent far to the south that has until now been shrouded in magical mists. With both factions landing on Pandaria, adventurers rediscover the ancient Pandaren people, whose wisdom will help guide them to new destinies; the Pandaren Empire's ancient enemy, the Mantid; and their legendary oppressors, the enigmatic Mogu.

The storyline for Mists of Pandaria is split into multiple chapters. The story arc that introduces Pandaria - where players discover the continent and level up, helping to solve problems and figure out what happened for the past 10,000 years and why - was included entirely within the initial expansion release. Later chapters in the storyline brought the war between the Horde and the Alliance back into focus, including changing parts of Pandaria (ostensibly via phasing) to show additional settlements, and eventually returning the players back to the rest of the world for a final showdown, dethroning Warchief Garrosh Hellscream.

Draenor (Outland)[edit]

Draenor, which featured in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, is the original homeland of the Orcs and a past home of the Draenei.

Draenor was torn apart when the Orcish leader, Ner'Zhul (later the first Lich King) opened dozens of portals to other worlds in an attempt to escape the invading Alliance Armies from Azeroth. The sheer number and combined power of the portals ripped Draenor into fragments and cast the remainder into the mysterious parallel dimension called the Twisting Nether, Home of the Demons. The remnants of the world are now known as Outland, and feature in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and more prominently in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.[4]

An intact Draenor is the main feature of the fifth World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, which takes place in an alternate timeline.

Major races and factions[edit]

Major characters[edit]

Creatures[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Legacy Games Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed April 24, 2011.
  2. ^ "Blizzard Entertainment: Games". Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  3. ^ "History of Warcraft". Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Warcraft Encyclopedia (Official Blizzard release)". Blizzard Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  5. ^ "Warcraft Novels". Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  6. ^ "Upperdeck World of Warcraft TCG". The Upper Deck Company. Archived from the original on 2010-07-17. Retrieved 2009-11-17. [dead link]
  7. ^ "WoW TCG- Loot Cards". The Upper Deck Company. Retrieved 2009-11-17. [dead link]
  8. ^ Pamela McClintock; Ben Fritz (2006-05-08). "Brave new 'World'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  9. ^ a b "World of Warcraft the Magazine". Blizzard Entertainment, Future US Ltd. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  10. ^ Haynes, Jeff. "No LAN for Starcraft II". IGN. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  11. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (24 December 2008). "World of Warcraft census tops 11.5 million". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  12. ^ "What we know so far about HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft". WoW Insider. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "October 25 Release Date – World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Blog". Warcraftcardgame.com. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  14. ^ "Blizzard Announces New Vol'jin Novel and More at NYCC Panels". Blizzard Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 20, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ "DC Comics World of Warcraft page". Dccomics.com. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  16. ^ "Walter Simonson: Into The World Of Warcraft". Newsarama. November 25, 2007.
  17. ^ Pereira, Chris (September 16, 2011). "World of Warcraft Official Magazine Shuts Down". 1up.com. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ Blizzard Entertainment (9 May 2006). "BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT® AND LEGENDARY PICTURES TO PRODUCE LIVE-ACTION WARCRAFT® MOVIE". Web.Archive.org. Archived from the original on 25 Nov 2007. 
  19. ^ Alex Billington (15 Oct 2008). "World of Warcraft Movie Still on the Horizon?". FirstShowing.net. 
  20. ^ Michael McWhertor (4 Aug 2007). "Warcraft Movie Details Revealed At BlizzCon". Kotaku.com. 
  21. ^ Fred Topel (13 July 2012). "Comic Con 2012 Exclusive: Sam Raimi Won't Direct the World of Warcraft Movie". Crave Online. "'Actually, they don’t have me directing World of Warcraft anymore because when I took the Oz job, they had to move on to another director,' Raimi said. 'They had to start making it.'" 
  22. ^ "'Warcraft' Movie Lands 'Source Code' Director (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter, 30 January 2013.
  23. ^ "'World of Warcraft' drafts new scribe". Variety, 2 August 2012.
  24. ^ Scoop: Everything We Know About Duncan Jones’ Warcraft Film. bleedingcool.com July 31, 2013.
  25. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2013-07-20). "World of Warcraft movie teaser trailer shown at Comic-Con". Polygon. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ [2] World of Warcraft twitter page

External links[edit]