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About WarCraft and the Franchise
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 and 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 life span of each.Warcraft: Orcs & Humans had no expansions, Warcraft II had Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, and Warcraft III had Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. World of Warcraft has had multiple expansions, namely World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

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 has been shattered into pieces by demonic magics. Later on in the series the world of Azeroth was expanded, revealing the new continents of Kalimdor and Northrend, 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 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 also being produced. A number of comics have also been released alongside the books, further covering parts of the universe's storyline. An online-subscription only magazine has also been released, which is not sold at newsagents, released quarterly.

1 As a video game series
2 Media set in the Warcraft universe
2.1 Computer games
2.2 Tabletop games
2.3 Collectible card games
2.4 Books
2.5 Film adaptation
2.6 Comics
2.7 Magazine
3 Setting
3.1 Location
3.1.1 Azeroth3.1.2 Draenor (Outland)
3.2 Major races and factions

As a video game series
This section requires expansion.
Release Timeline

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 1998, an adventure game in the series, Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, was announced as being cancelled, having been previously delayed from a 1997 release.

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 MMORPG. They reached a peak 11.5 million subscribers worldwide, however that number may have dropped after World of Warcraft was shut down in China. World of Warcraft has had two expansions, with another announced in 2010. During the production of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce stated that "If thereís a team thatís passionate about doing another WarCraft RTS, then thatís definitely something we would consider. Itís nothing that weíre working on right now, we have development teams working on Wrath of the Lich King, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and when those teams are all off the projects theyíre working on, theyíll be intimately involved in the discussions about whatís next."

Media set in the Warcraft universe
Computer games
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994) - real-time strategy game
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (1995)
Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal (1996) - expansion pack to Tides of Darkness
Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition (1999) - allowed online play of Warcraft II on Battle.net
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans - adventure game, cancelled
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002)
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (2003) - expansion pack to Reign of Chaos
World of Warcraft (November 23, 2004) - MMORPG
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (January 16, 2007) - first expansion pack to World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (November 13, 2008) - second expansion pack to World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (December 7, 2010) - third expansion pack to World of Warcraft, in beta testing as of June 2010[update]
[edit] Tabletop games
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.
[edit] Collectible card games
World of Warcraft Trading Card Game - 2006
Warcraft: Day of the Dragon
Warcraft: Lord of the Clans
Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor
Warcraft: The Last Guardian
Warcraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy
The Well of Eternity
The Demon Soul
The Sundering
World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred
World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde
World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness
World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal
World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon
World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
World of Warcraft: Stormrage
World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
[edit] Film adaptation
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.[8] 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.[14] According to Blizzard's Chief Operating Officer Paul Sams, the film's budget would be over $100 million.

In June 2007, Legendary Pictures chairman Thomas Tull said that the studio was working closely with Blizzard's designers and writers to adapt World of Warcraft. Tull explained the desire to have a good story for the film adaptation, "I think some of the stuff that makes a game translate well... if there's a lore, if there's a road and story and a world that's been created, and characters that are interesting in a way that's more than just point and shoot." World of Warcraft's lead designer Rob Pardo expressed interest in being able to adapt the intellectual property of World of Warcraft to the appropriate medium of the film. He also added that the designers were collaborating with Legendary Pictures on story and script development.

In August 2007, at BlizzCon, it was unveiled that the film will aim for a projected 2009 release. It was also revealed that the movie will take place from an Alliance perspective,with a storyline set one year before the beginning of the World of Warcraft storyline. Also revealed was the $100 million budget. As of this time, no cast are said to be firmly associated with its development. Thomas Tull stated that, "Itís not so much a quest movie. Itís more of a war movie." Blizzard vice president of creative development and co-producer of the movie, Chris Metzen, said at the very same BlizzCon, that they would not make a PG version, stating "We're definitely not going to make a G or a PG version of this. It's not PillowfightCraft."

In August 2008, Blizzard Entertainment co-founder and vice president, Frank Pearce, was asked about the current status of the feature film. He replied briefly:

"I think they're looking to assign a screenwriter and director to it right now... it's still really early."

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.

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 movies, will be directing the movie. Blizzard Entertainment later confirmed Raimi's attachment to the project.

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."

In October 2009, production company Legendary Pictures along with Blizzard Entertainment announced that the film's budget would be "Not less than $220 million".

On October 13, 2009, MTV Multiplayer announced that Robert Rodat would be writing the story for the movie. Robert Rodat is best known for his work on Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot.

Early in 2010, Sony confirmed that Raimi would not direct their next Spider-Man release and many expected that "Warcraft" would be the first project that Sam Raimi would take next. Robert Rodat's script for the big-screen adaptation may not be ready for Raimi yet, and even if it were, he may have other priorities in mind. "Itís in development," the film's executive producer Robert Tapert said. "We're in the outline/story/script phase."

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.
Warcraft: Mage.
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 is released quarterly, and each contains 148 pages. No advertisements are included in the magazine.

Most of the Warcraft series takes place on the planet of Azeroth. Other planets in the Warcraft universe include: Draenor (also 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 three known continents, named the Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor and Northrend, 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 Dwarvern 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 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: 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 upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Azeroth will be changed permanently ingame, even for players without the expansion set installed. The corrupted Dragon Aspect, Deathwing the Destroyer (formerly Neltharion, the Earth-Warder) will break free from imprisonment in Deepholm, part of the Elemental Plane, and cause major changes and destruction in the land. In addition, many new parts of the continents of Azeroth that have previously been inaccessible will 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.

Draenor (Outland)
Draenor, which featured in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, is the original homeland of the Orcs and 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.
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