An examination of who comprises the over 5.5 million players in one of the most popular online role playing games of it’s time.
World of Warcraft has developed an enormous following since its release in November 2004. It has built upon its initial success to become an enduring and hugely popular title. The demand for the game has been stronger than its creators might have expected, and it is now a fully-fledged social phenomenon, attracting all kinds of people to its world.
World of Warcraft has enjoyed global success and acclaim. It seemed natural that it would do well in America, where there was anticipation for a new Warcraft title. The truth though is that it has taken off everywhere it has been released. It has been a massive hit in Asia, Australia, Canada, and Europe, and has many international fans and subscribers. The game has a simple, universal appeal that transcends language barriers and geography.
One of World of Warcraft’s strengths is that it appeals to both casual gamers and more experienced players. The game has made the online multiplayer genre more accessible to people who might not normally play it. A lot of people who try the game may have regarded the genre as too complex or may not have played a role-playing game before. It is the quality of World of Warcraft and the buzz surrounding it that has drawn people’s attention towards it.
World of Warcraft has a huge following on the Internet. There is an official site that is busy and informative and contains forums for the game’s subscribers. There are many other fan sites as well. It has a keen fan base made up of a broad cross section of society. People enjoy the game for all sorts of reasons, with fans citing the gorgeous graphics, addictive gameplay and unique characters as elements they find appealing.
Although World of Warcraft has the visual style of a cartoon, it is a game that people of any age can enjoy. All age groups play it, from children to seniors. This leads to an interesting online environment, as younger players interact with older gamers. It is a real mix of people, as children and teenagers share the game’s world with twenty year olds and more mature, middle-aged players and older. It is a friendly, lively environment and tends to be good-natured and welcoming.
The World of Warcraft universe is a happy, thriving community. There is a strong social aspect to it and players can become friends with each other. The game’s world of Azeroth follows the real world’s calendar and so they mark holidays and seasonal events in the game. On New Year’s Eve in 2005 there were parties and celebrations in Azeroth that all players could attend. It is features like this that make its world much more vivid, colourful and convincing.
There is a fan convention for World of Warcraft. The game’s developer Blizzard held an event in October 2005 named BlizzCon, for fans of Warcraft and their other titles. World of Warcraft was a major part of this event, and one of the main attractions was a preview of the game’s expansion, The Burning Crusade. Some 8,000 people attended the event, which is expected to become an annual occurrence. Families went together and fans dressed up in costume as their favourite characters from the game.
World of Warcraft has caught people’s imagination and this has led to a variety of creative offshoots. One key sign of the game’s popularity is the existence of Warcraft fan fiction. Players like to write fictional stories about the characters and events of the game. Fan art is also popular. People draw and paint images inspired by the game and post them in galleries online. Blizzard run their own Fan Art Program that fans can submit their art to for display. There is great creativity and beauty there.
The broad appeal of World of Warcraft is such that it has infiltrated popular culture. The game has been used as an answer on the quiz show Jeopardy. It also has celebrity admirers. The comedian Dave Chappelle is a fan. Chappelle talked about the game during a stand-up performance in San Francisco in 2005. “You know what I’ve been playing a lot of?” the comedian reportedly asked the audience, “World of Warcraft!” He praised the game and expressed his delight with it.
World of Warcraft then is a game that has broken new ground to appeal to a great number of people in society. With more than five million subscribers, it is now the most popular online role-playing game and has grown far beyond its cult origins. Its wide appeal speaks of the brilliance of the game itself.