A very popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) created by Blizzard Entertainment. Set in the same fictional universe as the company's 3 previous "WarCraft" games, the game follows a traditional MMORPG structure of level-based advancement, as well as encouraging in-game social interaction to accomplish team goals.
The game worlds are separated by "servers", which are typically in reference to the computer server clusters that make up each game world. These are systems maintained by Blizzard Entertainment and are partially paid for by the player monthly subscription fee.
Starting at level 1, the game is designed to quickly provide players with a set of small goals, thus familiarizing themselves with the game world. These goals, or "quests", are typically tasks provided by computer-generated "NPCs" or "Non-Player Characters" and typically involve fighting and defeating other NPC antagonists or collecting and delivering certain items. Through this progression players obtain new abilities and equipment, eventually teaming up with others to fight and defeat increasingly difficult encounters.
The World of Warcraft game environment also allows players to engage and combat other players from the opposing "team" under certain rules and controlled circumstances depending on the type of ruleset the game server is running. This is referred to as "PVP" (Player Versus Player). There are currently 4 different types of game rulesets:
1) PVE: Player-Versus-Environment. PVP combat is purely consentual, requiring a player to either duel, enable pvp by typing in a command, or enter a pvp enabled battleground.
2) PVP: Player Versus Player. PVP combat is enabled in all but the starting areas of the game.
3) RP: Role-Playing. Ruleset is identical to PVE, but players are encouraged to "Role-play" their character, ideally removing modern and out-of-game references from in-game interaction.
4) RP-PVP: Role-Playing, Player Versus Player. Ruleset is identical to PVP, but with the same RP encouragement as an RP Environment.
Resources: www.worldofwarcraft.com ; www.blizzard.com
"I used to play Ultima Online, EverQuest, and even Dark Age of Camelot... but I ended up sticking with World of Warcraft for the longest time simply because there's so much to do!"