During a press conference today at the ECTS show in London, Blizzard Entertainment officially announced its newest project, a massively multiplayer online RPG spin-off of the popular real-time strategy series, Warcraft. Titled World of Warcraft, the game first came to the public's attention prematurely on August 31 when the Blizzard Insider newsletter was accidentally posted. Even with the surprise spoiled, today's press conference, marking the first official announcment from Blizzard concerning the title, has nevertheless drawn great interest from the PC gaming community.
Set in Azeroth four years after the events of the soon-to-be-released Warcraft III, players are given the chance to fully customize their characters, picked from any of the as yet mostly unannounced races; equip themselves with one of thousands of weapons; and adventure into the vast, uncharted territories of the realm, facing numerous challenges and enemies. According to Gamespot's preview of the new game, Blizzard has currently only announced three races to come: humans, both male and female; orcs; and the taurens, bull-like creatures introduced in Warcraft III. Sporting advanced 3D graphics, a simple user interface, a rich, evolving storyline, and an action-packed, yet strategic, combat system, World of Warcraft looks ready to impress.
Having been in development for over a year, chances are that Blizzard's new endeavour may be ready as early as Christmas 2002, although no official release date has been announced. Those who attended Blizzard's conference at the ECTS show seemed quite impressed with the game's graphics and intrigued by the demonstration of the game's quest system by Blizzard's own Bill Roper. According to Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment's president and co-founder, "World of Warcraft is our largest undertaking to date. We are extremely focused on increasing the scope of the Warcraft universe, giving gamers an incredibly dynamic online gaming experience complete with endless possibilities." Knowing Blizzard's successful track record, as well as their superb knowledge of network games due to the creation of the popular battle.net, World of Warcraft will no doubt carry on Blizzard's legacy of excellence. Thanks to Edwin Garcia for the heads up on the news.