Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of the popular Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo strategy war-sims, have decided to try their hand at the increasingly popular MMORPG genre. Set in the same "universe" as the Warcraft series itself, World of Warcraft will take play roughly four years after the upcoming Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.
In their official press release, Blizzard promises fast-paced combat, fully-customizable characters classes, over 1,000 weapons, and a persistent online universe. Environments in the game will borrow from locations in Azeroth used in the previous 3 Warcraft games, and much of the series backstory will be incorporated into the plot.
Blizzard has announced that, unlike previous games, there will be a small monthly fee to play the game--although this fee has not yet been announced. All money that will be collected on a monthly basis is said to be put back into the game network itself, and the creation of new area, quests, and events. With Diablo II, Blizzard has shown that they know how to handle the implementation and pitfalls of an online environment very well, so it should be interesting to see how Worlds of Warcraft turns out.
At the time of the press release, Blizzard has only committed to a PC release; however a multi-platform release is a possibility. Given the broadband network plans and power of the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox, a console release may be in the works. A release date for Worlds of Warcraft has yet to be set.
In addition to this news, we also have a small collection of Worlds of Warcraft screenshots. Thanks to Citan Uzuki for setting these up.