Since the late 90s, when EverQuest took online gaming into a new light, massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) have been steadily gaining popularity. World of Warcraft became an instant success when it was launched in November 2004 and currently has more than half the market of the MMORPG genre with over 7.5 million players worldwide.
The way you play World of Warcraft or WoW, is you create a character either on the Alliance or Horde faction, which are enemies. You choose your race and class in typical RPG style, such as a gnomish magician or undead warlock. Some classes can only be played on one faction but that is changing when The Burning Crusade expansion is released this January.
Once your character is introduced into the world of Azeroth (the name of the game world) you gain experience and levels by killing mobs (non-player character enemies) and completing quests. Quests can be aquired from various sources, such as NPCs or by finding certain items. Quests usually give a nice amount of experience and often useful items so leveling is faster if you do quests as much as you can.
Items and armor are major parts of playing WoW....