Sure, the numbers are dazzling. WoW reportedly hit its one hundred millionth (!) registered account by 2016, representing an estimated total of $9.23 billion US dollars earned in the timespan of 2004 (when WoW first went live) to 2017.
But numbers - however impressive - aren’t everything. WoW has an enormous cultural impact too, uniting people from all over the globe who invest countless hours in the myriad of activities WoW offers.
They play in a multi-layered world that’s hard to describe if you have never engaged with it: it offers both large-scale wars involving hundreds of active players, and also basic solo tasks; it invites both grand strategic scheming of guild against guild, and moment-to-moment decision making about what to do next.
And everything under the umbrella of a high fantasy world that has developed far beyond the ‘orcs versus humans’ proto-story of that 1994 installment.
Today, there’s complete WORLDS within the world of Warcraft, huge swaths of land filled with cities and towns, each with their own population of various races, and each land with their own physical make-up, and specific challenges.
Unifying this ever-expanding world is the great art direction and iconic art that captures the imagination.
The 1994 game’s theme was heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, and sought to capture the brilliance of the tabletop fantasy games by envisioning larger-than-life orcs fighting bulky medieval knights.