World of Warcraft (commonly abbreviated as WoW) is a pay-to-play massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the fourth game in the Warcraft series, set in the fantasy Warcraft Universe first introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. World of Warcraft takes place within the world of Azeroth, four years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. World of Warcraft's release celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise. The first official expansion pack of the game, the The Burning Crusade, was released on January 16, 2007.

Although its initial release was hampered by server stability and performance issues, the game became popular and a financial success, becoming the world's leading subscription-based MMORPG. On March 7, 2007, Blizzard announced that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft had reached a new milestone, with 8.5 million players worldwide; there are more than 2 million players in North America, 1.5 million players in Europe, and 3.5 million players in China. The game has won numerous awards and recognitions, including Gamespot's Game of the Year Award for 2004.

There is also a World of Warcraft Board Game published by Fantasy Flight Games and a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game published by Upper Deck Entertainment.

Blizzard Entertainment announced World of Warcraft on September 2, 2001. The game was released on November 23, 2004.

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