World of Warcraft didn’t invent the online role-playing genre, but it certainly benefits from the missteps of other titles that have come before. A mind-boggling array of improvements in graphics, gameplay, networking, and interface — really every category — makes this game the crown prince of the genre, a great starting place for newbies, and a challenge to any other MMORPG currently in the works.
World of Warcraft takes place just four years after the real-time strategy Warcraft series, which chronicles a 25 year struggle between the Alliance (humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves) and the Horde (orcs, tauren, trolls, and undead). Even though there’s tons of accumulated story to the series, new players should not be daunted. The background is there for you to explore, but you don’t have to tread a lot of Azeroth history to get into the action.