DevelopmentModifica

World of Warcraft was first announced by Blizzard at the ECTS trade show in September 2001.[1] Released in 2004, development of the game took roughly 4–5 years, including extensive testing. The 3D graphics in World of Warcraft use elements of the proprietary graphics engine originally used in Warcraft III.[1] The game was designed to be an open environment where players are allowed to do what they please.[2] Quests are optional and were designed to help guide players, allow character development, and to spread characters across different zones to try to avoid what developers called player collision.[3] The game interface allows players to customize appearance and controls, and to install add-ons and other modifications.[4]

World of Warcraft runs natively on both Macintosh and Windows platforms. 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. Although there is no official version for any other platform, support for World of Warcraft is present in Windows API implementations Wine and CrossOver allowing the game to be played under Linux and FreeBSD.[5] In addition, the Windows client allows for direct OpenGL rendering in Wine, making performance on Unix-like platforms comparable to the native performance seen on Windows.[6] While a native Linux client is neither released nor announced by Blizzard, in January 2011 IT journalist Michael Larabel indicated in a Phoronix article that a internal linux client might exist but is not released due to the non-standardization of the linux distro ecosystem.[7]

Regional variationsModifica

In the United States, Canada, and Europe, Blizzard distributes World of Warcraft via retail software packages.[8] 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.[9] 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[10] 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.

In Brazil, World of Warcraft was released on December 6, 2011 via BattleNet. The first three expansions are currently available, fully translated, including voice acting, into Brazilian Portuguese.[11]

In South Korea, there is no software package or CD key requirement to activate the account. However, to play the game, players must purchase time credits online. There are two kinds of time credits available: one where the player is billed based on the actual number of minutes that will be available, and one where the player can play the game for a number of days. 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.[12] As software packages are not required, expansion pack contents are available to all players on launch day.

In China, because a large number of the players do not own the computer they use to play games (e.g. Internet cafés), the CD keys required to create an account can be purchased independently of the software package. To play the game, players must also purchase prepaid game cards that can be played for 66 hours and 40 minutes.[13] A monthly fee model is not available to players of this region. 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.[14][15] The Chinese government has delayed release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, due to what it feels is objectionable content.[16] NetEase took over licensing of World of Warcraft from The9 in June 2009 following the expiration of The9's contract,[17] and were able to secure a launch for Wrath of the Lich King on August 31, 2010, nearly two years after its Western release.

Post-launch developmentModifica

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 1.8.3 patch. The 2.1.0 patch allowed for an option to bypass the use of the launcher. 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,[18] and updates to the updater itself. The 3.0.8 patch redesigned the launcher and added the ability to change the game settings from the launcher itself. The launcher update from patch 4.0.1 also allows people to play the game while non-crucial pieces of the game are downloaded. This requires a high speed broadband internet connection.

Patch 1.9.3 added native support for Intel-powered Macs, making World of Warcraft a universal application. As a result of this, the minimum supported Mac OS X version has been changed to 10.3.9; World of Warcraft version 1.9.3 and later will not launch on older versions of Mac OS X.[19] PowerPC architecture Macs are no longer supported since version 4.0.1.[20]

When new content is added to the game, official system requirements may change. In version 1.12.0 the requirements for Windows were increased from requiring 256 MB to 512 MB of RAM. Official Windows 98 technical support was dropped, but the game continued to run there until version 2.2.3.[21] Before Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft will officially drop support for Windows 2000.[22]

Starting with 4.3,[23] players could try out an experimental 64-bit version of the client, which required manual downloading and copying files into the installation folder. Since 5.0, the 64-bit client is automatically installed, and used by default.

Since the World IPv6 Day, the client and most of the servers are supporting IPv6.[24]

ExpansionsModifica

 Lo stesso argomento in dettaglio: World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor e World of Warcraft: Legion.

Five 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, and Warlords of Draenor, released in November 2014. 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.

Blizzard routinely applies older expansions to all accounts as new expansions are released. On June 28, 2011, The Burning Crusade expansion was automatically applied to all previous Warcraft accounts at no cost. On September 19, 2012, the same thing was done with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion,[25] and on October 15, 2013 the Cataclysm expansion was also applied.[26] Most recently, on October 15, 2014, Mists of Pandaria was applied to all accounts following the release of the fifth expansion.[27] All The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria content is now effectively part of the original game, with all new Warcraft accounts automatically including these expansions upon creation.[25]

The fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, was announced at BlizzCon 2013 on November 8, 2013,[28][29] and entered beta on June 27, 2014.[30] Warlords of Draenor was released on November 13, 2014.[31] In July 2015, Blizzard announced the sixth expansion would be revealed at Gamescom 2015.[32] Legion was revealed on August 6, 2015.[33]

AudioModifica

The soundtrack for World of Warcraft was composed and arranged by Jason Hayes, Tracy W. Bush, Derek Duke, and Glenn Stafford. It was released on November 23, 2004, together with the collector's edition of the game. It is sold separately on one CD in the MP3 format.


  1. Legends of Azeroth (Main title) – 2:40
  2. The Shaping of the World (Exclusive track) – 2:24
  3. Legacy (Exclusive track) – 2:25
  4. Song of Elune (Exclusive track) – 2:13
  5. Echoes of the Past (Exclusive track) – 1:53
  6. A Call to Arms – 2:18
  7. Seasons of War (Introduction music) – 2:57
  8. Stormwind – 2:14
  9. Orgrimmar – 2:14
  10. The Undercity – 2:27
  11. Thunder Bluff – 2:35
  12. Darnassus – 2:44
  13. Ironforge – 2:14
  14. Elwynn Forest
  15. Duskwood
  16. Dun Morogh – 7:30
  17. Burning Steppes – 2:26
  18. Shimmering Flats – 4:07
  19. Felwood – 2:37
  20. Stranglethorn Vale – 4:12
  21. Tanaris – 4:31
  22. Teldrassil – 3:55
  23. Tavern – 1:13
  24. Moonfall – 0:48
  25. Ruins – 1:16
  26. Temple – 1:03
  27. Lurking – 1:00
  28. Sacred – 1:10
  29. Graveyard – 1:07
  30. War – 0:49

On January 12, 2011, Alfred Publishing produced an officially licensed sheet music series for vocalists, pianists, strings, and other instruments, World of Warcraft Sheet Music Anthology in solo and accompaniment formats with CD. These works include four pages of collectable artwork, and vary by number of songs included.

ReceptionModifica

Template:Video game reviews

World of Warcraft received very positive reviews upon release,[34] following a period of high anticipation before launch.[35] Although the game follows a similar model to—and was noted for using many familiar concepts from—the roleplaying genre,[36][37] the new approaches to reducing pauses between game encounters were well liked.[38] A common example was the approach to character death. In some previous MMORPGs, a player would suffer a high penalty for character death; in World of Warcraft, a player is able to recover and start playing quickly.[36] Combat was another area where "downtime", or pauses between play, was reduced. By allowing all character types to recover from damage taken, players can return to combat quickly.[38] Reviewers felt that these changes in pacing would make the genre more accessible to casual players—those who play for short periods of time—[38] while still having "deep" gameplay that would attract players of all levels of interest.[39] The concept of a "rested bonus", or increasing the rate at which a player's character gains experience, was also welcomed as a way for players to quickly catch up with their friends in progression.[36]

Questing was described as an integral part of the game, often being used to continue a storyline or lead the player through the game.[38] The high number of quests in each location was popular, as well as the rewards for completing them.[36] 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.[39] Quests also require players to explore every section of the game world, potentially causing problems for social gamers or roleplayers seeking somewhere quiet.[38] 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.[39] The large number of new players in a particular area meant that there were often no creatures to kill,[38] or that players would have to wait and take turns to kill a particular creature to complete a quest.[36] Some critics mentioned that the lack of quests that required players to group made the game feel as if it were designed for solo play.[40] Others complained that some dungeon or instanced group quests were not friendly to new players, and could take several hours to complete.[39] Upon release, a small number of quests had software bugs that made them impossible to complete.[36]

Characters were felt to be implemented well, with each class appearing "viable and interesting", having unique and different mechanisms,[40] and each of the races having a distinct look and feel.[36] Character development was also liked, with the talent mechanism offering choice to players,[37] and profession options being praised.[36] Character customization options were felt to be low,[39] but the detail of character models was praised.[35]

The appearance of the game world was praised by critics. Most popular was the fact that a player could run from one end of the continent to the other without having to pause at a "loading screen" while part of the game is retrieved from storage.[35] The environment was described as "breathtaking". Players found it difficult to become lost, and each area in the game world had a distinct look that blended from one to the next.[38] Critics described the environment as "a careful blend of cartoon, fantasy art, and realism".[37] The game was found to run smoothly on a range of computer systems,[36] although some described it as basic,[38] and mentioned that the bloom light rendering effect can blur things.[39] One reviewer described the ability to fly over long stretches of scenery as "very atmospheric".[40] The user interface was liked, being described as "simple", with tooltips helping to get the player started.[36]

The game's audio was well received, particularly the background music. By assigning music to different areas of the game world, reviewers felt that the fantasy style added to the player's immersion,[37] and that the replay value was increased.[39] The sounds and voices used by characters and NPCs, as well as the overall sound effects, were felt to add a "personality" to the game.[37]

World of Warcraft won several awards from critics upon release, including Editor's Choice awards.[36][39] In addition, it won several annual awards from the media, being described as the best game in the role-playing and MMORPG genres.[41] The graphics and audio were also praised in the annual awards, with the cartoonish style[42] and overall sound makeup being noted.[43] The game was also awarded Best Mac OS X Entertainment Product at the 2005 Apple Design Awards.[44] World of Warcraft was recognised at the 2005 Spike TV Video Game Awards where it won Best PC Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Best RPG, and Most Addictive Game.[45] In 2008, World of Warcraft was honoured—along with Neverwinter Nights and EverQuest—at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for advancing the art form of MMORPG games.[46] In 2009, Game Informer ranked World of Warcraft 11th on their list of "The Top 200 Games of All Time".[47] In 2015, the game placed 3rd on USgamer's The 15 Best Games Since 2000 list.[48]

World of Warcraft was the best-selling PC game of 2005 and 2006.[49] On January 22, 2008, World of Warcraft had more than 10 million subscribers worldwide, with more than 2 million subscribers in Europe, more than 2.5 million in North America, and about 5.5 million in Asia.[50] At its peak in October 2010 the game had 12 million subscribers.[51] As of November 2014 the game has over 10 million active subscribers.[52] On January 28, 2014 Blizzard announced that 100 million accounts have been created for the game.[53] On May 7, 2015, it was announced that there were 7.1 million active subscriptions.[54][55][56][57] At the end of June 2015, subscriptions dropped down to 5.6 million, lowest since 2005.[58]

Less than two months after beginning operation of World of Warcraft in China on September 19, 2009, NetEase was ordered to immediately stop charging players and to cease accepting registrations.[59][60] A press estimate indicated that if World of Warcraft were shut down in China, the loss of subscribers would have caused Activision Blizzard's earnings to fall from 65 cents per share to 60 cents per share.[59] In April 2008, World of Warcraft was estimated to hold 62 percent of the MMORPG subscription market.[61]

Security concernsModifica

When players create World of Warcraft accounts, they are asked to choose a username and password. Afterward, whenever they play World of Warcraft, they are asked to supply the same username and password in full. This is also the case when using account management facilities online. This type of authentication is vulnerable to keystroke logging. While this is not unique to World of Warcraft and is common to many MMORPGs, the game has been directly targeted with trojans being specifically crafted to capture account login details.[62] Attacks have been reported as early as May 2006, and may extend as far back as July 30, 2005.[63] The game does, however, allow players to save their account name to the program to allow the player to only have to type their password.[64]

In September 2006, reports emerged of spoof World of Warcraft game advice websites that contained malware. Vulnerable computers would be infected through their web browsers, downloading a program that would then relay back account information. Blizzard's account support teams experienced high demand during this episode, stating that many users had been affected. Claims were also made that telephone support was closed for isolated periods due to the volume of calls and resulting queues.[65] In April 2007, attacks evolved to take advantage of further exploits involving animated cursors, with multiple websites being used.[66][67] Security researcher group Symantec released a report stating that a compromised World of Warcraft account was worth US$10 on the black market, compared to US$6 to US$12 for a compromised computer (correct as of March 2007).[68] In February 2008, phishing emails were distributed requesting that users validate their account information using a fake version of the World of Warcraft account management pages.[69] In June 2008, Blizzard announced the Blizzard Authenticator, available as a hardware security token or mobile application[70] that provides two factor security. The token generates a one-time password based code that the player supplies when logging on. The password, used in addition to the user's own password, is only valid for a couple of minutes, thus providing extra security against keylogging malware.[71]

Blizzard makes use of a system known as Warden on the Windows version of the game to detect third-party programs, such as botting software, allowing World of Warcraft to be played unattended. There has been some controversy as to the legality of Warden. Warden uses techniques similar to anti-virus software to analyze other running software on the players' PCs, as well as the file system. However, unlike most anti-virus software, it sends a portion of this information back to Blizzard, which caused privacy advocates to accuse it of being spyware.[72] One example of the information Warden collects is the title of every window open on the system while WoW is running.[73] On the other hand, many gamers responded positively to the development, stating that they supported the technology if it resulted in fewer cases of cheating. Blizzard's use of Warden was stated in the Terms of Agreement (TOA).[74]

The Warden's existence was acknowledged in March 2008, during the opening legal proceedings against MDY Industries.[75] The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Arizona, and also listed Michael Donnelly as a defendant. Donnelly was included in the suit as the creator of MMO Glider, software that can automatically play many tasks in the game. Blizzard claimed the software is an infringement of its copyright and software license agreement, stating that "Glider use severely harms the WoW gaming experience for other players by altering the balance of play, disrupting the social and immersive aspects of the game, and undermining the in-game economy." Donnelly claims to have sold 100,000 copies of the $25 software.[76]

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    «It turns out that this appears to still be the case that internally they have a Linux build of World of Warcraft but as of yet they have decided against releasing it to the public.».
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