The Rise and Fall of World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft was a staple in the gaming industry. It was the best MMORPG to play, and people were willing to play it at a premium. People were so hooked on the game before that some would camp outside gaming stores to get the first expansion. It was part of the US gaming culture, and it’s going to be a game that’ll be remembered for years to come.

However, as the game progressed, problems started to show themselves. When mixed with company controversies and a plethora of investment problems, WoW, and its developer Blizzard struggled to be relevant in today’s gaming world.

We will be investigating the remarkable rise and fall of this multi-billion-dollar game and where it could be heading in the foreseeable future.

Early Beginnings

The Warcraft franchise is one of the oldest gaming franchises out there. The first title in the series was aptly named Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. It was released in 1994 and became one of the most influential games. It was a real-time strategy game and had players control two races as they battled for the world and their survival.

Following the success of this game was Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, which was released a year after the first game. It wasn’t as influential as the first game, but it still gained millions in sales because of its innovative RTS system.

Then we have Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne. The game and its expansion are now considered part of the most influential games of all time. These games carried the framework of many RTS games today. After releasing this influential title, World of Warcraft was then released.

The Golden Years

World of Warcraft’s release gained critical acclaim. Many reviews of the game were positive, and back during its release in 2004, a review of a game could easily mean its success. Expansions were then released to capitalize on this success. One particular expansion did well among others, and that expansion was Cataclysm.

Cataclysm sold over five million units during its day of release and many more units after that. This was considered to be the best expansion among the rest. It ushered in the golden years of WoW. It had millions of players, and at its peak in 2014, it had well over one hundred million players and has made nine billion dollars in revenue, making it one of the most successful games of all time.

There are many factors as to why WoW was such a success at the time. The first was that the game was accessible to players. The game was available for purchase online, and its specs weren’t that demanding. Any decent gaming computer can run the game with no problem.

The second was the immersive experience people had inside the living and breathing world of Azeroth. Lastly, it was the gameplay. No other MMORPG comes close to WoW’s gameplay, and it continues to be the golden standard of many MMORPGs today.

But after the golden age comes the game’s eventual fall. Players’ numbers steadily dwindle as the gaming industry reaches a new age and one that has multiple competitors for a game like WoW.

A New Age

The fall of WoW was partially attributed to the new age of gaming. People are now looking for a much newer and fresher experience, and many other MMORPGs are on the horizon. In addition, games like Final Fantasy XIV and New World all offered a new gameplay experience to players. Although these games didn’t provide the same experience as WoW, they were unique in their own right.

However, this wasn’t the only problem that led to WoW’s downfall. The recently released Shadowlands is now considered to be the weakest expansion since Mists of Pandaria.


Shadowland’s release was underwhelming when it’s supposed to be one of the biggest expansions of the series. It was supposed to culminate a decade’s worth of storytelling and adventure, but all it could offer was more questions about the current state of Azeroth.

Moreover, the gameplay system felt more the same when Blizzard claimed that this expansion would be a fresh new start to certain game mechanics. It was a disappointing release, but more bad times are about to come for the game.

Blizzard’s Controversies

Blizzard is a big company, and big companies are prone to controversies, but nothing as big as this. Last year alone, Blizzard’s controversies were almost found daily. From reports of sexual harassment from the big shots of the company to disparities in pay between male and female employees, the list goes on and on for the company. This pushed many to move to other games, hence, bleeding out WoW even more.

WoW isn’t a bad game in any way? It still had four million players in 2020, but those players are gradually leaving for other games. If it wasn’t for all the things indicated above, WoW could still be one of the most decisive games today. Sadly, it has become a shadow of its former self, waiting for a day when it will finally be unplugged and forgotten forever in the history of gaming.

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