Blizzard unveils World of Warcraft

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At the European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) this past weekend, game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment unveiled World of Warcraft. The new title is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in the Warcraft universe.

World of Warcraft

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is the next game to carry the Warcraft moniker (it's coming to PC and Mac late this year). For years, strategy game fans have associated Warcraft with strategy gaming, and Warcraft III is billed as a "role-playing strategy game." The series has long been known for its online gaming capabilities. The new World of Warcraft game appears to take that to the next logical step -- combining the online multiplayer gaming that Blizzard is known for into a full-blown MMORPG.

World of Warcraft is set four years following the aftermath depicted in Warcraft III. A great tension has settled over the world of Azeroth, and as various races rebuild their kingdoms, new threats have arisen. Players get the opportunity to explore Azeroth and forge fellowships with other players, thus building their strength.

Players will confront each other and non-player characters in action-oriented battle sequences, and players will be challenged in what Blizzard calls "a rich, evolving story and questing system" that will continually update the persistent online world with new content, as well. World of Warcraft will feature customizable character classes, different races and thousands of weapons, and Blizzard promises that the game will sport an intuitive user interface as well as support for advanced graphics hardware. The company plans to have a multiplayer network architecture capable of supporting thousands of simultaneous players.

No specific mention of system requirements was offered during this initial product introduction, but it's worth noting that Blizzard has developed Macintosh versions of every game they've released. And while the company once took months (in one case, more than a year) following their PC game releases to introduce Mac conversions of its games, Blizzard's most recent release, the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion pack, was a hybrid CD-ROM from day one. The original Mac release of Diablo II followed its PC counterpart's release by about a month.

If you're interested in learning more about World of Warcraft, visit the Web site, which is already chock-full of information, screenshots, and even some QuickTime video to whet your appetite.

This story, "Blizzard unveils World of Warcraft" was originally published by PCWorld.

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