World of Warcraft

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World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft cover
Blizzard Entertainment
Release dates
Windows November 23, 2004
macOS (OS X) November 23, 2004
Metacritic 93
Monetization Expansion pack, Subscription
Microtransactions Boost, Cosmetic, Currency
Modes Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Third-person
Controls Direct control
Art styles Cartoon
Themes Fantasy
Series Warcraft
World of Warcraft on HowLongToBeat
World of Warcraft on IGDB
World of Warcraft guide on StrategyWiki
World of Warcraft on MobyGames
World of Warcraft on Wikipedia


This game requires a constant internet connection for all game modes.

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans 1994
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness 1995
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans Cancelled
Warcraft II: Edition 1999
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos 2002
World of Warcraft 2004
Hearthstone 2014
Warcraft III: Reforged 2020

World of Warcraft is a third-person MMORPG made by Blizzard Entertainment. The game is set in the Warcraft series of games, and is the first game released in the series not to be a RTS game.

The game was released November 23, 2004 in North America. In the week of launch, Realm (server) capacity could not meet player demand resulting in queues and latency.[1] Over the years, Blizzard opened new servers to meet demand[2] as player numbers reached 12 million in October 2010. However, a declining player population resulted in a Connected Realms feature which results in virtual server merges on September 10, 2013.[3]

The engine has seen several changes, most notably the original 32-bit client ran DirectX 9/11 which was deprecated in favour of a 64-bit client that ran only DirectX 11/12 on July 1, 2018 with the Battle for Azeroth patch, which also dropped support for 'exclusive fullscreen' mode.[4][5][6]

World of Warcraft has had several expansion packs which added new content. World of Warcraft Classic, a new game mode based on 'vanilla' or pre-The Burning Crusade content was released August 26, 2019.

AddOns are the primary method of modding the game, which extends the game's interface providing communication tools, maps, statistics, minigames, etc. AddOns can be found on websites such as WoW Interface and CurseForge and often need updating every time the game is patched. The game also has a history of extensive communities based in 'private' or emulated servers, which are against Blizzard's Terms of Service, a famous example of which was a server called Nostalrius which was shut down on April 10, 2016.

General information

Blizzard Watch "WoW" Category - A news site dedicated to all Blizzard Entertainment news.
Wowpedia - A huge wiki for everything World of Warcraft related. Also handles anything Warcraft universe related.
Wowhead - An expansive database on anything that can be found or used in-game. Has a clean interface.
Statista - A ranking on the distribution of characters across EU and U.S. realms. Other statistics on World of Warcraft accessible.
Curse and WoWInterface are both great addon sources.


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Icon overlay.png
Always online (requires a constant internet connection to play)
Expansions are available on DVDs.
macOS (OS X)
Icon overlay.png
Always online (requires a constant internet connection to play)
First 20 levels are free-to-play. Subscription includes The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor and Legion expansions.
macOS (OS X)
All versions require DRM and a constant internet connection for all game modes.
The playable characters from all expansions are available (except for the last expanion Shadowlands), even if the player has not bought any expansion packs.

Starter Edition[edit]

The World of Warcraft Starter Edition is a free but limited version of World of Warcraft.

  • Characters can be created and leveled up to 20, and professions to 100.
  • Each character can earn up to 10 Gold.
  • Cannot access expansion zones or quests, join guilds, hold Pet Battles, or use the Auction House.
  • All achievements and progress carry over to the full version.


Type Notes
Subscription To play beyond Starter Edition limitations, a subscription is required as a real money purchase in 1, 3 and 6 month increments. The subscription includes access to World of Warcraft and WoW Classic. Subscription time can be earned in-game via the WoW Token.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
The Burning Crusade Available for free. Included with all full versions of the game.
macOS (OS X)
Wrath of the Lich King Available for free. Included with all full versions of the game.
macOS (OS X)
Cataclysm Available for free. Included with all full versions of the game.
macOS (OS X)
Mists of Pandaria Available for free. Included with all full versions of the game.
macOS (OS X)
Warlords of Draenor Available for free. Included with all full versions of the game.
macOS (OS X)
Legion Available for free. Included with all full versions of the game.
macOS (OS X)
Battle for Azeroth Can be bought from the store.
macOS (OS X)
Shadowlands Can be bought from the store.
macOS (OS X)


Type Notes
Boost Level boosts, e.g. Level 120 Character Boost.[7]
Cosmetic Cosmetics like mounts and pets are real money purchases.[8]
Currency WoW Token was introduced March 5, 2015, and is a real money purchase which can be traded in-game or redeemed for added subscription time or Blizzard Balance which is credit for the Blizzard Store.[9]
Free-to-grind Because WoW Tokens can be redeemed for Blizzard Balance it makes it technically possible to achieve all microtransactions through grinding in-game Gold.
Infinite spend The shop updates frequently with new unlocks and cosmetics, and the existence of WoW Tokens means that there is no practical limit to how much can be spent on the game in addition to subscription costs.
Unlock Unlocks include race change, character transfer, faction change, name change, guild services, etc.[10]

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\_retail_\WTF\[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game>\WTF\
Progress and stats are saved automatically by


In-game general graphics settings.
In-game general graphics settings.
In-game advanced graphics settings.
In-game advanced graphics settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Frame rate is capped at 200 FPS.[11]
Color blind mode
Set in Accessibility settings.[12] See Color blind mode for further options. [Incorrect implementation, Applies filter to simulate colorblindness]

Color blind mode[edit]

Enable color blind mode[13]
  1. Go to Menu, then Interface.
  2. Choose Accessibility, then enable color blind mode.


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Can be changed using the Mouse section of the Interface menu.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Use ConsolePort and follow the instructions for your type of controller.
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Master, sound, music, ambience, dialog.
A selected number of optional sounds can also be fully disabled
Surround sound
5.1 and 7.1[14]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 3. XP compatibility mode is also required from Vista onwards (besides DirectSound3D restoration).[15]
64-bit build is unsupported.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
enUS, enGB, enCN, enTW available.
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Brazilian Portuguese
Latin American Spanish


Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
LAN play
Online play

Connection types


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 3724, 1119
UDP 3724, 1119
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support[edit]

Issues fixed[edit]

Windowed mode (OS X)[edit]

OS X - Windowed mode[citation needed]
The window size can sometimes not be changed by dragging after entering windowed mode.
  1. Open World of Warcraft
  2. Disable all add-ons at the character screen
  3. Enter the game
  4. Enter windowed mode (command+m or command+enter)
  5. Force quit the game
  6. Relaunch it as normal

FPS performance issues (OS X)[edit]

OS X - FPS performance issues[citation needed]
World of Warcraft might run sluggishly on older-model Macs despite having the required specs.

Sound issue (OS X)[edit]

OS X - Sound issue[citation needed]
If the machine overheats during gameplay, the sound can become distorted, which causes the framerate to fall dramatically.
This issue only seems to occur on older MacBooks (PowerBook series, early MacBook series).
  • Shut off the sound by going into the settings and removing Master volume.

Mature Filter Options Not Saving[edit]

Force a save to the server side[citation needed]
  1. Open the options menu.
  2. Change the setting (whether on or off).
  3. Use Alt+F4 to forcibly close the game.
  4. Re-open the game and the new setting should be saved properly.

World of Warcraft unable to run after using Xbox app[edit]

Turn off your Game DVR on Xbox app[citation needed]
  1. Open the Xbox app (search for Xbox and you'll find it).
  2. Click the settings button that looks like a gear. It's at the row of buttons on the left of the screen, all the way on the bottom.
  3. Click "Game DVR" on the top of the screen.
  4. Turn the Game DVR off.
  5. This should let you play World of Warcraft again.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 11, 12 Previously contained Direct3D 9 and 10 modes until January 2018.
Direct3D 12 is available for both Windows 7 and 10.
OpenGL 2
Metal support
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Only the 64-bit client is supported as of patch 8.0.1.
macOS (OS X)
PowerPC support was dropped in October 2010 with patch 4.0.1.
32-bit support was dropped in January 2018 with patch 8.0.1.

Visual enhancements[edit]

Increase graphical settings further than the sliders allow[citation needed]
  • /console farclip 1300
  • /console horizonfarclip 2112
  • /console groundeffectdensity 256
  • /console groundeffectdist 140
  • /console smallcull 0
  • /console skycloudlod 3


A comparison of each setting is shown in this video.

DirectX 11 Rendering[edit]

DirectX 11 can significantly boost performance in some scenarios.
Enable DirectX 11[16]


  • A DirectX 10, 10.1, 11 or 12-compliant graphics card
  • Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7/8
Windows Vista without Service Pack 2 will be able to run the API, but it will only use shader model 4.0.
  1. Right-click on the shortcut you use to start WoW and select "Properties".
  2. You should see a target line in the new window that is already highlighted.
  3. Add -d3d11 to the end of the Target.


This tweak seems to improve peformance for some. Only works when running d3d9ex.
The default value of '0' lets the game handle the cache size. ~70-75% of your VRAM tends to be the best value
  1. Ingame type /console gxTextureCacheSize <VALUE in MB>
  2. Restart the game for change to take affect.


  1. Edit World of Warcraft\WTF\
  2. Add SET gxTextureCacheSize <VALUE in MB>


World of Warcraft's UI is developed via Lua scripting, and XML data.
AddOns are essentially mods, files to add to the installation folder that can improve interaction with the game.
AddOns are generally self-contained User Interface (UI) modification components. However, some AddOns can be dependent on other AddOns to work, and some AddOns are actually collections of other AddOns. Some are built on libraries such as Sea or Ace. There is no size restriction on AddOns; some can grow to be quite massive.

Blizzard's AddOn Policy[edit]

With the release of Patch 3.1, Blizzard Entertainment introduced a new UI AddOn development policy.[18]
According to the policy, "failure to abide by them [these rules] may result in measures up to and including taking formal legal action."[18]
AddOn Policy[citation needed]
  1. AddOns must be free of charge.
  2. AddOn code must be completely visible.
  3. AddOns must not negatively impact World of Warcraft realms or other players.
  4. AddOns may not include advertisements.
  5. AddOns may not solicit donations.
  6. AddOns must not contain offensive or objectionable material.
  7. AddOns must abide by World of Warcraft ToU and EULA.
  8. Blizzard Entertainment has the right to disable AddOn functionality as it sees fit.

Creating an AddOn[edit]

Creating an AddOn[citation needed]
  1. Create a new directory in Interface\AddOns. The name of this directory is important, as it is what other AddOns use to refer to this AddOn in dependencies. Using version numbers in this directory name is not recommended, as other AddOns may "break" when the version is changed.
  2. Create a .toc file. .toc is short for "table of contents". A functioning AddOn will need a file named <YourAddOnDirectoryName>.toc in "Interface\AddOns\YourAddOnDirectoryName\".
  3. Add the following required elements to the file: an interface keyword with a correct interface number and the name(s) of one or more files to load.
Blizzard requests that at least these five client-recognized tag lines must be included.
## Interface: <API_LatestInterface>
## Title: My Add On
## Version: 1.0.0
## Notes: A short description of my AddOn
## Author: Your name or memorable descriptor (e.g. LuckyLuke)
<API_LatestInterface> is the current interface number.
Do not have any extra spaces at the end of the line with the filename specified. The extra space is taken as part of the filename and will cause the AddOn to fail to load silently.
The .toc file is not reloaded when the UI is reloaded; if changes are made to it, the game must be closed to the desktop before those changes can take effect.
The interface number in the .toc file must match the current build or the AddOn will not be loaded/active, unless the user has explicitly told the game to load out-of-date Addons. If the .toc file declares an interface number prior to 2.0.0 (i.e. pre-The Burning Crusade), the AddOn can not be loaded, regardless of the load-out-of-date AddOns setting.
If a Bindings.xml file is included, it does not have to be included in the .toc list of files to load, as the game loads this file automatically. This file is used to set key bindings specific to the AddOn.
Please check out The TOC Format for a more detailed list of other keywords in the .toc file.

Troubleshooting an AddOn[edit]

"Interface action failed" error[citation needed]
As of Patch 2.3, if the message "Interface action failed because of an AddOn" appears, an AddOn interfered with the Blizzard UI in some way.
  1. Enter the following into chat: /console taintLog 1.
  2. Restart the game and try to reproduce it.
  3. If the issue is reproduced, quit the game and search through the file Logs\taint.log for the word blocked and mail the log to the author of the AddOn listed there.
  4. Turn off logging by entering the following into chat: /console taintLog 0.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 7 64-bit
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-760
AMD FX-8100
System memory (RAM) 4 GB
(8 GB for Intel HD Graphics 530)
Hard disk drive (HDD) 70 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce GTX 560
AMD Radeon HD 7850
Intel HD Graphics 530
2 GB of VRAM
Other Minimum resolution of 1024x768.
Broadband internet connection
At the game's launch, the game also supported Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP as supported operating systems. 98 and ME support were dropped with the 2.2.3 patch in October 2007, 2000 support was dropped with the 4.0.1 patch in 2010, and XP support was dropped shortly before the 8.0.1 patch at the start of 2018, along with Windows Vista.[19]
A 64-bit system is required.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.12
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-760
System memory (RAM) 4 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 70 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce GT 750M
AMD Radeon R9 M290
Intel HD Graphics 530
2 GB of VRAM
Other Minimum resolution of 1024x768.
Broadband internet connection
PowerPC Mac support was dropped with patch 4.0.1.


  1. When running this game without Administrator elevation, activity in %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%, and %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore\ (more details).


  1. Remembering the Launch of World of Warcraft - last accessed on 2020-05-19
    "It’s fun remembering the times in the past when we, as World of Warcraft, had to battle against server queues, errors, and latency during the original launch of WoW."
  2. ,Timeline of the creation of US realms - last accessed on 2020-05-19
  3. Patch 5.4.0 -- Wowpedia - last accessed on 2020-05-19
  4. Support Ending for World of Warcraft 32-Bit Client This Summer - last accessed on 2020-05-19
  5. World of Warcraft now supports DirectX 12 -- OC3D News - last accessed on 2020-05-19
  6. Worried about removal of exclusive fullscreen mode in BFA? Check here - last accessed on 2020-05-19
  7. Level 120 Boost - World of Warcraft - Blizzard Shop - last accessed on 2020-04-18
  8. Cosmetic Armor Pieces—Now Available on Blizzard Store - last accessed on 2020-04-18
  9. World of Warcraft's WoW Token allows trading gold for game time - last accessed on 2020-04-18
    "Called the WoW Token, the in-game item works similarly to EVE Online's PLEX or Wildstar's CREDD. It needs to be bought for real money via the World of Warcraft in-game Shop, though the exact pricing is yet to be announced. The buyer can then sell the WoW Token via the in-game Auction House's Token Exchange for in-game currency at a market price set by Blizzard, which will circumvent players trying to exploit the system."
  10. World of Warcraft - Blizzard Shop - last accessed on 2020-04-18
  12. New Colorblind Support in Patch 6.1 - World of Warcraft
  13. Color Blind Mode - Support
  14. 5.1 surround sound not working in 64-bit - World of Warcraft forums
  15. Creative EAX Help - World of Warcraft forums
  16. Reference
  18. 18.0 18.1
  19. Ending Support for Windows XP and Vista - World of Warcraft Forums