The official logo of the franchise
|Genres||Real-time strategy, MMORPG|
|Platforms||MS-DOS, Mac OS, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Microsoft Windows|
|First release||Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
|Latest release||World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
September 25, 2012
Warcraft is a franchise of video games, novels, and other media originally created by Blizzard Entertainment. The series is made up of four core games: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, and World 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 last and best selling title of the franchise is a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Expansion sets were also released for multiple games in the series, each adding more content to each game as an effort to expand the product lifespan of each. No expansions were released for Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. Warcraft II was accompanied by the release of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal. Warcraft III was accompanied by the release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Multiple expansion packages accompanied World of Warcraft, namely The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria.
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.
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. 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. An upcoming film adaptation is planned. 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.
|This section requires expansion. (October 2009)|
|1994–||– Warcraft: Orcs & Humans|
|1995–||– Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness|
|1996–||– Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal|
|1999–||– Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition|
|2002–||– Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos|
|2003–||– Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne|
|2004–||– World of Warcraft|
|2007–||– World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade|
|2008–||– World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King|
|2010–||– World of Warcraft: Cataclysm|
|2012–||– World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria|
|2013–||– Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft|
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, and all subsequent games to this have also had collectors editions. 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.
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. 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."
- Warcraft: The Board Game – strategic board game from Fantasy Flight Games, based heavily on Warcraft III
- Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game – role-playing game from Sword & Sorcery
- World of Warcraft: The Board Game – board game based on World of Warcraft, also by Fantasy Flight Games
- World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game – board game based on World of Warcraft, also by Fantasy Flight Games
- World of Warcraft Miniatures Game – a miniature war game based on World of Warcraft, by Upper Deck Entertainment.
Collectible card games
- Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (2000)
- Warcraft: Day of the Dragon (2001)
- Warcraft: Lord of the Clans (2001)
- Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2002)
- Warcraft: War of the Ancients
- The Well of Eternity (2004)
- The Demon Soul (2004)
- The Sundering (2005)
- Archive (2007)
- World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred (2006)
- Warcraft Archive (2006)
- World of Warcraft: The Chronicles of War (2010)
- World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon (2008)
- World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King (2009)
- World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010)
- World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm (2010)
- World of Warcraft: The Chronicles of War (2010)
- World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects (2011)
- World of Warcraft: Wolfheart (2012)
- World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War (2012)
- World of Warcraft: Vol'Jin: Shadows of the Horde (2013)
- World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects Parts I-V (2013)
In May 2006, production company Legendary Pictures acquired film rights to adapt Warcraft for the big screen with the game's publisher, Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard had originally considered hiring a scribe for the film adaptation before teaming up with Legendary Pictures. The companies plan to create a film that will not follow one specific Warcraft game's storyline, but will still take place in the fantasy universe. According to Blizzard's Chief Operating Officer Paul Sams, the film's budget would be over $100 million. At Blizzcon 2007 Chris Metzen stated the storyline is a familiar one yet changed for film continuity. It takes place during The World of Warcraft game.
In August 2007, at BlizzCon, it was unveiled that the film will aim for a projected 2009 release. It has since been moved to 2013 on IMDB. It was also revealed that the movie will take place from an Alliance perspective, and current World of Warcraft storyline, and that it has a $100 million plus budget. "
As of September, 2008, Chris Metzen has been slated to write the film. At Blizzcon that year Metzen and Producers from Legendary Pictures stated the story would revolve around a "Kick Ass Human Character", which would not be Varian Wrynn, the then-unannounced hero of the comic. It was also said at Blizzcon 2007 in the following interview that "Varian Wrynn might have a twin ..." in reference to the "kick Ass Human Character." In the comics Varian Wrynn had a twin who was a Gladiator named Lo'Gosh, also Varian Wrynn.
At one point, director Uwe Boll expressed interest in directing the movie, even going so far as meeting with Paul Sams to pitch ideas, but Blizzard stated in no uncertain terms it wanted nothing to do with Boll, whose movie adaptations of video games routinely landed as among the 100 worst rated and reviewed movies in recent memory. They went on record to say to him, "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you... not ever to you."
On July 22, 2009, it was revealed that Sam Raimi, who is well known for his work on The Evil Dead series and the Spider-Man films, will be directing the movie. Blizzard Entertainment later confirmed Raimi's attachment to the project.
In October 2009, production company Legendary Pictures along with Blizzard Entertainment announced that the film's budget would be "Not less than $220 million".
Early in 2010, Sony confirmed that Raimi would not direct their next Spider-Man release and many expected that Warcraft would be the next project that Sam Raimi would begin directing. "It is in development," the film's executive producer Robert Tapert said. "We're in the outline/story/script phase."
During Blizzcon 2010's Lore panel, Chris Metzen stated the creative team had recently met with Sam Raimi and, while the Warcraft movie was not next on Raimi's production schedule, it was still very much in development. However, Raimi confirmed in July 2012 that due to his commitment to other projects, he would no longer be involved with the production of the Warcraft movie. Raimi stated in an interview that he had written a script with Robert Rodat for the film, but it was vetoed by Blizzard; the following script "was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out".
In January 2013, Duncan Jones was announced to direct the adaptation, from a script by Charles Leavitt. Legendary Pictures is looking to start filming in early 2014, with a possible release in 2015.
A number of comic adaptations have been made including:
- Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, a manhwa series published by Tokyopop.
- World of Warcraft, a series published by DC Comics imprint WildStorm.
- World of Warcraft: Ashbringer, a four-issue mini-series series published by DC Comics imprint WildStorm.
- Warcraft: Legends, a five-part graphic novel series, which is a continuation from The Sunwell Trilogy.
- Warcraft: Death Knight (Dec 1, 2009)
- Warcraft: Mage (June 1, 2010)
- Warcraft: Shaman (Sept 28, 2010)
- World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen (Oct 9, 2012)
- World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria (Sept 25, 2012)
- World of Warcraft: Dark Riders (May 7, 2013)
- World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn (Aug 13, 2013)
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. 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.
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 the human kingdom of Azeroth.
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 and 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.
In the expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Azeroth has been changed permanently ingame, 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 the three seen in game today 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.
As a first for Blizzard, the storyline for Mists of Pandaria will split into multiple chapters. The story arc that introduces Pandaria - where players will discover the continent and level up, helping to solve problems and figure out what happened for the past 10,000 years and why - will be included entirely within the initial expansion release. Later chapters in the storyline bring 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 return the players back to the rest of the world for a final showdown to dethroning the current Warchief Garrosh Hellscream.
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.
Major races and factions
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