Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is a suite of productivity programs created by Microsoft and developed for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems. As well as the office applications, it includes associated servers and Web-based services. Recent versions of Office are now called the 'Office System' rather than the 'Office Suite' to reflect the fact that they include Servers as well.

Office made its first appearance in the early '90s, and was initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications that were previously marketed and sold separately. The main selling point was that buying the bundle was substantially cheaper than buying each of the individual applications on their own. The first version of Office contained Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Additionally, a "Pro" version of Office included Microsoft Access and Schedule Plus. Over the years the Office applications have grown substantially closer together from a technical standpoint, sharing features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. In recent years, Microsoft has attempted to position Office as a development platform in its own right, but has had mixed results with this.

Office is currently the most popular office suite in the world and considered to be the de facto standard for productivity programs, although its market share is currently decreasing with the rise of viable free and open source alternatives. It has certain features not present in other suites, and other programs have capabilities Office lacks. The next version, 12.0, will have a radically different user interface from the older versions.


Office programs

These programs are included in all editions of Microsoft Office 2003, except Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003. Microsoft Office Basic Edition includes Word, Excel and Outlook only.

Office Word

Microsoft Word is a word processor. It is considered to be the main program of Office. It possesses a dominant market share in the word processor market. Its proprietary DOC format is considered a de facto standard, although its most recent version, Word 11.0/2003, also supports an XML-based format. Word is also available in some editions of Microsoft Works. It is available for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. Its main competitors are OpenOffice.org Writer, StarOffice, Corel WordPerfect, Apple Pages and AbiWord.

Office Excel

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program. Like Microsoft Word, it possesses a dominant market share. It was originally a competitor to the dominant Lotus 1-2-3 but it eventually outsold it and became the de facto standard. It is available for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. Its main competitors are OpenOffice.org Calc, StarOffice, Corel Quattro Pro and Gnumeric. SPSS is often used for advanced statistical applications.

Office Outlook

Microsoft Outlook, not to be confused with Outlook Express, is a personal information manager and e-mail communication software. The replacement for Microsoft Mail starting in the 1997 version of Office, it includes an e-mail client, calendar, task manager and address book. Its e-mail program's main competitors are Mozilla Thunderbird/Mozilla, and Eudora. Its personal information manager's main competitors are Mozilla, Lotus Organizer, and Novell Evolution. It is available for Windows; a version is also included with most Pocket PC handhelds. Its Macintosh equivalent is Microsoft Entourage.

Office PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular presentation program for Windows and Macintosh. It is used to create slideshows, composed of text, graphics, movies and other objects, which can be displayed on-screen and navigated through by the presenter or printed out on transparencies or slides. Windows Mobile 2005 (Magneto) will have a version of this program. It possesses a dominant market share. Its main competitors are OpenOffice.org Impress, Corel WordPerfect and Apple Keynote.

Other programs included in the Windows versions

An office dinosaur, as depicted in a Microsoft Office ad encouraging businesses to update.
  • Microsoft Access – database manager. For the 2003 version, included in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, and Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003.
  • Microsoft InfoPath – application that enables users to design rich XML-based forms. Included in Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003.
  • Microsoft Publisher – Desktop publishing software. For the 2003 version, included in Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003, Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, and Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003.
  • Microsoft FrontPage – web design software (also requires its own server program). Offered only as a stand-alone program for the 2003 version (not part of the office suite).
  • Microsoft Visio – diagram software.
  • Microsoft Office Picture Manager – basic photo management software (similar to a basic version of Google's Picasa or Adobe's Photoshop Elements).
  • Microsoft Photo Editor – photo editing/raster graphics software in older Office versions, and again in XP. It was temporarily supplemented by Microsoft PhotoDraw in Office 2000 Premium edition.
  • Microsoft Project – project manager.
  • Microsoft OneNote – note taking software for use with tablet PCs or regular PCs.
  • Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 - [1]
  • Developer Tools – (included only with developer editions)

Other programs included in the Mac versions

  • Microsoft Entourage – Personal information manager and communication software for Macintosh only (similar to Outlook).
  • Virtual PC – Emulates a standard PC and its hardware. Included with Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2004

Web services associated with Microsoft Office

  • Microsoft Update – Web site. Similar to Windows Update, but also encompasses other Microsoft applications.
  • Microsoft Office Live – Web service. An online Office suite as part of Microsoft's Windows Live initiative.
  • Microsoft Office Online – Web site. Included in all versions of Microsoft Office 2003.
  • Microsoft Office Update – Web site. Patch detection and installation service for Office 2000, XP, and 2003. - [2]

Older programs no longer included

  • Microsoft Binder – incorporates several documents into one file.
  • Microsoft Schedule Plus – released with Office 95. It featured a Planner, To do list, and Contact Information. Its functions were incorporated into Microsoft Outlook.
  • Microsoft Mail – mail client (in old versions of Office, later replaced by Microsoft Outlook).
  • Microsoft Outlook Express – mail client (in Office 98 Macintosh Edition, later replaced by Microsoft Entourage).
  • Microsoft Vizact 2000 – a program that "activated" documents using HTML, adding effects such as animation. The main reason for its unpopularity was because many people had no idea what it did by looking at its box alone, and therefore did not buy it.

Since 1997 Office has included Office Assistant, a system that uses animated characters to offer unrequested context-sensitive suggestions to users and access to relevant parts of the help system. Intended to make the software less intimidating to new users, it is typically disabled by experienced users. The Assistant is often dubbed "Clippy" or "Clippit," due to its default to a paperclip character, coded as CLIPPIT.ACS. The Assistant is the main use of Microsoft Agent technology.

Also, beginning with Macintosh Office 4.2, the Macintosh and Windows versions of Office share the same file format. Consequently, any Macintosh with Office 4.2 or later can read documents created with Windows Office 4.2 or later, and vice-versa.

Office 11.0/2003 introduced a new, optional file format for the entire suite, built on XML technology. Office X for Mac is also built to handle this file format.

Other related companion servers

  • Microsoft Office Live Communications Server - real time communications server
  • Microsoft Office Project Server - project management server
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server collaboration server

Editions

The Windows version of Microsoft Office 11.0/2003 is available in six editions: (Please note that for the most part, pricing reflects installation on only a single computer.)

  • Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $149 US)
  • Microsoft Office Basic Edition 11.0/2003 (bundled with new computers only)
  • Microsoft Office Standard Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $399 US; Upgrade Price $239 US)
  • Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $449 US; Upgrade Price $279 US)
  • Microsoft Office Professional Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $499 US; Upgrade Price $329 US)
  • Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 11.0/2003 (volume licensing only)

The Macintosh version, Microsoft Office for Mac 2004, is available in three editions. All include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. They are identical except for pricing and the inclusion of Virtual PC in the Professional Edition.

  • Office for Mac 2004 Standard Edition (MSRP New User Price $399 US; Upgrade Price $239 US)
  • Office for Mac 2004 Student and Teacher Edition (MSRP New User Price $149 US)
  • Office for Mac 2004 Professional Edition (MSRP New User Price $499 US; Upgrade Price $329 US)

Pricing as of April 9, 2005 [3] [4]

Cross-platform use

Microsoft develops Office primarily for Windows and secondarily for Macintosh. However, most versions of the suite can also be run on Unix-like operating systems through the use of a compatibility layer such as CrossOver Office or WINE.

The older, simpler versions tend to run considerably better on WINE than newer ones. However, all versions are known to work to some extent.

Versions

Major Microsoft Windows versions

  • Office 3.0 (CD-ROM version: Word 2.0c, Excel 4.0a, PowerPoint 3.0, Mail) - released August 30, 1992 (repackaged as Office 92)
  • Office 4.0 (Word 6.0, Excel 4.0, PowerPoint 3.0) - released January 17, 1994
  • Office for NT 4.2 (Word 6.0 [32-bit, i386 and Alpha], Excel 5.0 [32-bit, i386 and Alpha], PowerPoint 4.0 [16-bit], "Microsoft Office Manager") - released July 3, 1994
  • Office 4.3 (The last 16-bit version; Word 6.0, Excel 5.0, PowerPoint 4.0 and in the pro version: Access 2.0) - released June 2, 1994
  • Office 7.0/'95 (Word '95, etc.) - released August 30, 1995
  • Office 8.0/'97 (Word '97, etc.) - released December 30, 1996 (was published on CD-ROM as well as on a set of 45 3½-inch floppy disks)
  • Office 9.0/2000 (Word 2000, etc.) - released January 27, 1999
  • Office 10.0/2002/XP (Word 2002, etc.) - released May 31, 2001
  • Office 11.0/2003 (Word 2003, etc.) - released November 17, 2003
  • Office 12.0 - due to be released simultaneously, or near simultaneously with Windows Vista, Microsoft's next major consumer operating system.

There are variants of more recent versions such as Small Business Edition, Student and Teacher Edition, Professional Edition and Developer Edition with different collections of applications and pricing points.

Apple Macintosh versions

  • Office 1 (Word 3, etc.) - released 1990
  • Office 2 (Word 4, etc.) - released 1992
  • Office 3 (Word 5, etc.) - released 1993
  • Office 4.2 (The first Power Mac-aware version; Word 6.0, etc.) - released June 2, 1994
  • Office 98 (Word 98, etc.) - released March 15, 1998
  • Office 2001 (Word 2001, etc.) - released October 11, 2000
  • Office v.X (The first Mac OS X/Aqua edition; Word X, etc.) - released November 19, 2001
  • Office 2004 (Word 2004, etc.) - released May 11, 2004

Add ins

A major feature of applications in the Office suite is the ability for users and third party companies to write Office COM add-ins. Component Object Model (COM) add-ins are supplemental programs that extend the capabilities of an application by adding custom commands and specialized features that can accommodate specific tasks.

Trivia

Screenshot of Word 97 running on Windows NT 3.51

For some reason, most versions of Microsoft Office (including 97 and later, and possibly 4.3) use their own widget set, and as a result do not exactly match the native operating system.

Whereas Windows uses "Service Packs", Office used to release "Service Releases". However, after Office 2000 Service Release 1, Office releases only Service Packs. Service Releases are not cumulative (i.e. it is necessary to install each release in turn) whereas Service Packs are. This means that any copy of the original Office 2000 ("RTM" or "Gold" in Microsoft documentation) requires Service Release 1 to be installed before a Service Pack can be installed.

Alternatives

There are also several alternative office suites available, including:

  • OpenOffice.org, a completely free and open-source suite available for download to Windows, Linux, and Macintosh users. It includes practically full compatibility with Microsoft Office (with the exception of lack of full support for Microsoft Office Publisher (pub) files and a lack of a mail client à la Microsoft Office Outlook, however, there are many alternative mail clients to choose from.)
    • NeoOffice, an open-source OpenOffice.org port for Mac OS X that integrates into its Aqua interface.
    • StarOffice, based on the OpenOffice code.
  • Corel's WordPerfect Office.
  • iWork, Apple's Mac-only office suite. Includes Pages, for word-processing, and Keynote, for presentations.
  • KOffice, an open-source office suite which is part of the KDE Desktop Environment.
  • GNOME Office, a loosely coupled group of open-source applications including Abiword and Gnumeric, which is targetted for the GNOME desktop environment.
  • Lotus SmartSuite, provided by IBM contains a word-processing program called Word Pro, spreadsheet program called Lotus 1-2-3, a program similar to Microsoft's PowerPoint, Lotus Freelance Graphics and a database program called Lotus Approach. Lotus Notes provides the email/PIM portion of the Lotus offering.
  • ThinkFree Office, a free web-based alternative office suite. It is almost fully compatible with Microsoft Office files.

Microsoft Office Converters and Viewers, provided by Microsoft. It is not designed to replace MS Office, and has only compatibilities of reading Office files. It is for Windows, free-of-charge. [5]


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[5]. The game has been blamed by many educators for a fall in performance in school.[citation needed] The game is indeed so addictive that it has been nicknamed WarCrack, in a manner like EverQuest named EverCrack. It is for Windows, free-of-charge. Further criticisms have focused on the addictive nature of WoW. It is not designed to replace MS Office, and has only compatibilities of reading Office files. Blizzard have responded by outlining the policy they based this decision on, "To promote a positive game environment for everyone and help prevent such harassment from taking place as best we can, we prohibit mention of topics related to sensitive real-world subjects in open chat within the game, and we do our best to take action whenever we see such topics being broadcast.". Microsoft Office Converters and Viewers, provided by Microsoft. The incident occured after several players were cited for "harassment" after advocating a group for gay-straight alliance[8] [9].

There are also several alternative office suites available, including:. Blizzard garnered criticism for their decision in January 2006 to ban mention of homosexuality in-game. This means that any copy of the original Office 2000 ("RTM" or "Gold" in Microsoft documentation) requires Service Release 1 to be installed before a Service Pack can be installed. The RP and RP-PvP also have naming and chat rules to encourage roleplaying. it is necessary to install each release in turn) whereas Service Packs are. On a Normal or RP realm, players can only attack opposing faction members that willingly choose to "flag" themselves. Service Releases are not cumulative (i.e. On a PvP or RP-PvP realm certain areas known as "contested areas" allow players to freely attack members of the opposing faction.

However, after Office 2000 Service Release 1, Office releases only Service Packs. Normal, Player versus Player (PvP), roleplaying (RP) and roleplaying player versus player (RP-PvP). Whereas Windows uses "Service Packs", Office used to release "Service Releases". There are four different kinds of realm. For some reason, most versions of Microsoft Office (including 97 and later, and possibly 4.3) use their own widget set, and as a result do not exactly match the native operating system. Users may have up to ten characters per each realm, up to a maximum of fifty characters per account. Component Object Model (COM) add-ins are supplemental programs that extend the capabilities of an application by adding custom commands and specialized features that can accommodate specific tasks. World of Warcraft also uses servers, known as 'realms' to allow players to choose their preferred gameplay type, and to allow the game to support as many subscribers as it does.

A major feature of applications in the Office suite is the ability for users and third party companies to write Office COM add-ins. Some of the expansion's features will be available to all players, though the most significant additions – visiting Outland, creating characters of the two new races, and so on – will require the Burning Crusade to be installed. There are variants of more recent versions such as Small Business Edition, Student and Teacher Edition, Professional Edition and Developer Edition with different collections of applications and pricing points. The expansion will also feature Outland as a new playable zone, as well as a new flying mount, usable only in Outland, for high-level players. However, all versions are known to work to some extent. It will include an increased level cap of 70, a new crafting profession, and two new races, one of which being the Blood Elves for the Horde. The older, simpler versions tend to run considerably better on WINE than newer ones. On October 28, 2005 Blizzard revealed that the first expansion pack will be called World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

However, most versions of the suite can also be run on Unix-like operating systems through the use of a compatibility layer such as CrossOver Office or WINE. However, it is possible to launch World of Warcraft without the Blizzard Launcher by opening WoW.exe (typically found at C:Program FilesWorld of WarcraftWoW.exe). Microsoft develops Office primarily for Windows and secondarily for Macintosh. The Blizzard Launcher is automatically opened by default desktop and start menu shortcuts. Pricing as of April 9, 2005 [3] [4]. The Launcher was designed to report cheats that would be considered a bannable offense to the user so they may avoid starting the game (and Warden) before removing them. They are identical except for pricing and the inclusion of Virtual PC in the Professional Edition. In November 2005, Blizzard introduced patch version 1.8.3 which added the Blizzard Launcher application.

All include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. In November 2005, it was proven that the XCP rootkit secretly included with Sony music CDs in the US for the purposes of copy prevention could be used to disguise cheat programs from The Warden. The Macintosh version, Microsoft Office for Mac 2004, is available in three editions. However, such anti-cheat software can only follow a set of rules, so there follows a cat and mouse game as the game developers and cheat programmers attempt to circumvent each other. The Windows version of Microsoft Office 11.0/2003 is available in six editions: (Please note that for the most part, pricing reflects installation on only a single computer.). In particular, Blizzard relies heavily on a technology known as The Warden which can detect some botting and cheating programs. Office X for Mac is also built to handle this file format. Although Blizzard continues to ban players when they are detected as cheating, many players have found ways to escape detection.

Office 11.0/2003 introduced a new, optional file format for the entire suite, built on XML technology. Debates regarding the game's EULA as well as the rights of the players continue. Consequently, any Macintosh with Office 4.2 or later can read documents created with Windows Office 4.2 or later, and vice-versa. There has been some controversy as to the legality of The Warden, since it allegedly uses techniques similar to spyware in order to analyse other running software on the players' PCs, as well as the file system.[7] However, software such as anti-virus software loosely falls into this definition as well. Also, beginning with Macintosh Office 4.2, the Macintosh and Windows versions of Office share the same file format. Blizzard makes heavy use of a system known as The Warden on the Windows version of the game in order to detect third-party programs, such as botting software. The Assistant is the main use of Microsoft Agent technology. So far, Blizzard has banned well over 25,000 players from the game.

The Assistant is often dubbed "Clippy" or "Clippit," due to its default to a paperclip character, coded as CLIPPIT.ACS. Blizzard takes action against anyone who exploits the game by temporarily and permanently suspending accounts. Intended to make the software less intimidating to new users, it is typically disabled by experienced users. The World of Warcraft End User License Agreement specifically forbids these kinds of activities. Since 1997 Office has included Office Assistant, a system that uses animated characters to offer unrequested context-sensitive suggestions to users and access to relevant parts of the help system. This has since been stopped by modifying the linguistics engine to remove punctuation and numbers from the text. Its main competitors are OpenOffice.org Impress, Corel WordPerfect and Apple Keynote. One common exploit was the use of leet (an example is '|-|()// |2 U?', read as 'how r u?') to communicate between the Horde and the Alliance, since symbols and numbers were left unmodified in otherwise scrambled communications.

It possesses a dominant market share. Such abuse ranges from gold farming to selling accounts on eBay. Windows Mobile 2005 (Magneto) will have a version of this program. As with all massively multiplayer online games, World of Warcraft has had its share of players who exploit the world of Azeroth. It is used to create slideshows, composed of text, graphics, movies and other objects, which can be displayed on-screen and navigated through by the presenter or printed out on transparencies or slides. WoWWiki [6] has several resources for information about WoW User Interface customization. Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular presentation program for Windows and Macintosh. Blizzard has stated on the official forums that any modification that uses the Lua programming language will not be considered an exploit, though Blizzard reserves the right to change information available via the Lua language if the modification changes the nature of encounters in the game.

Its Macintosh equivalent is Microsoft Entourage. Use of these is against the Terms of Service agreed to when playing the game, and as such, may lead to possible suspension or closure of accounts. It is available for Windows; a version is also included with most Pocket PC handhelds. Some programs that operate stand-alone, independent of World of Warcraft may be considered exploits, especially if they automate operation beyond that made available using the built-in macro functionality, or pass information in or out of the game. Its personal information manager's main competitors are Mozilla, Lotus Organizer, and Novell Evolution. Blizzard has released a User Interface Customization tool which they call "Cui" [5].. Its e-mail program's main competitors are Mozilla Thunderbird/Mozilla, and Eudora. All addons are created using the Lua programming language and XML, and images used for any modification are created using the .TGA (Targa) and .BLP image formats.

The replacement for Microsoft Mail starting in the 1997 version of Office, it includes an e-mail client, calendar, task manager and address book. There are also various cosmetic mods, including one that reproduces the infamous 'Leeroy Jenkins' sound [4]. Microsoft Outlook, not to be confused with Outlook Express, is a personal information manager and e-mail communication software. The range of modifications that are available can be anything from ways to control Winamp in-game, to adding extra rows of button bars for spells, skills and more. SPSS is often used for advanced statistical applications. At a simple level it allows full control over the content of toolbars and hot keys, as well as macros to automate sets of operations and the ability to script much more elaborate tools. Its main competitors are OpenOffice.org Calc, StarOffice, Corel Quattro Pro and Gnumeric. Modifying the user interface (UI) of a game is nothing new, but Blizzard has included exceptional support for modifications.

It is available for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. The upgrade from 10.3.5 to 10.3.9 is a free download from Apple. It was originally a competitor to the dominant Lotus 1-2-3 but it eventually outsold it and became the de facto standard. This is being done to help support upcoming x86-based Macs. Like Microsoft Word, it possesses a dominant market share. Note: In the patch notes for version 1.9.0, Blizzard announced that the operating system requirement for Mac OS X will increase from 10.3.5 to 10.3.9 in a future (beyond 1.9.0) patch or expansion. Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program. This is discouraging for those who are not on an unlimited internet usage plan.

Its main competitors are OpenOffice.org Writer, StarOffice, Corel WordPerfect, Apple Pages and AbiWord. Furthermore, they have not yet considered making it possible to play WOW as single player/Offline, that is: you play alone against the computer controlling NPCs. It is available for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. FreeBSD users have also been successful in using Wine to run the game. Word is also available in some editions of Microsoft Works. However, support for World of Warcraft is present in Windows API implementations Wine and Cedega, allowing the game to be played on Linux. Its proprietary DOC format is considered a de facto standard, although its most recent version, Word 11.0/2003, also supports an XML-based format. As of July 2005, Blizzard has no immediate plans to release a Linux version, but there is an online petition aimed at convincing Blizzard to release a true Linux port.

It possesses a dominant market share in the word processor market. World of Warcraft allows all users to play together, regardless of their operating system. It is considered to be the main program of Office. The following requirements are as stated on the official World of Warcraft website, but generally players believe that these specifications are too low for the game to be played enjoyably. Microsoft Word is a word processor. Boxed copies of the game use a hybrid CD to install the game, eliminating the need for separate Mac and Windows retail products. Microsoft Office Basic Edition includes Word, Excel and Outlook only. World of Warcraft runs natively on both Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms.

These programs are included in all editions of Microsoft Office 2003, except Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003. [3]. .
On February 2, 2006, the game won the "Grand Prix" award at the 2006 Imagina Games Awards.
. World of Warcraft won critical acclaim in 2004 and achieved many awards as a result of this, some which can be found at the official World of Warcraft list of awards. The next version, 12.0, will have a radically different user interface from the older versions. The impact of this on Blizzard's revenue is still to be determined.

It has certain features not present in other suites, and other programs have capabilities Office lacks. On August 3, 2005, China implemented legislation which forbids minors from playing games in which players kill each other. Office is currently the most popular office suite in the world and considered to be the de facto standard for productivity programs, although its market share is currently decreasing with the rise of viable free and open source alternatives. [2]. In recent years, Microsoft has attempted to position Office as a development platform in its own right, but has had mixed results with this. Due to World of Warcraft's high sales it has been described as a "runaway success" with "overwhelming popularity", which other games, like The Matrix Online, blame for their lackluster sales. Over the years the Office applications have grown substantially closer together from a technical standpoint, sharing features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Blizzard also stated that at any given time at least 500,000 subscribers are online.

Additionally, a "Pro" version of Office included Microsoft Access and Schedule Plus. These numbers exclude all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or canceled subscriptions, and expired pre-paid cards. The first version of Office contained Word, Excel and Powerpoint. 1.5 million of these are from the Chinese launch on July 7, 2005. The main selling point was that buying the bundle was substantially cheaper than buying each of the individual applications on their own. Over 1 million of these players live in the US. Office made its first appearance in the early '90s, and was initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications that were previously marketed and sold separately. As of December 2005, World of Warcraft has more than 5,000,000 players worldwide, making it the most popular MMORPG in the world.

Recent versions of Office are now called the 'Office System' rather than the 'Office Suite' to reflect the fact that they include Servers as well. Still, in certain high population areas (like Ironforge or Orgrimmar), players continue to experience game performance delays. As well as the office applications, it includes associated servers and Web-based services. When more servers were added, these queues became less common and sales of the game resumed. Microsoft Office is a suite of productivity programs created by Microsoft and developed for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems. Due to the massive initial sales, there were also periods where players had to wait in queues before playing, as some realms were at their maximum player limit. It is almost fully compatible with Microsoft Office files. Sales were limited accordingly until more servers, called worlds, or realms, could be assembled.

ThinkFree Office, a free web-based alternative office suite. Partly because of the huge number of people who bought the game, along with server instability, Blizzard chose to stop selling copies of the game some time after the launch. Lotus Notes provides the email/PIM portion of the Lotus offering. As is common with the launch of a MMORPG, World of Warcraft had its share of problems at first. Lotus SmartSuite, provided by IBM contains a word-processing program called Word Pro, spreadsheet program called Lotus 1-2-3, a program similar to Microsoft's PowerPoint, Lotus Freelance Graphics and a database program called Lotus Approach. And, as with any game, it has its own terminology. GNOME Office, a loosely coupled group of open-source applications including Abiword and Gnumeric, which is targetted for the GNOME desktop environment. World of Warcraft was declared by many in the computer gaming industry, including GameSpot and GameSpy, as 2004's game of the year.

KOffice, an open-source office suite which is part of the KDE Desktop Environment. The game won high praise at E³ in 2003, including Gamer's Pulse's Best of Show award. Includes Pages, for word-processing, and Keynote, for presentations. The game was released in China on June 6, 2005. iWork, Apple's Mac-only office suite. On March 2, 2005, 100,000 testers signed up for China's WoW beta test within the first hour. Corel's WordPerfect Office. The game was released in Europe on February 11, 2005 with English, French and German language versions.

StarOffice, based on the OpenOffice code. Though not officially released in South Korea until January 18, 2005, it had been found on store shelves since November 2004. NeoOffice, an open-source OpenOffice.org port for Mac OS X that integrates into its Aqua interface. The game sold more than 240,000 copies in its first 24 hours on the market, more than any other PC game in history. It includes practically full compatibility with Microsoft Office (with the exception of lack of full support for Microsoft Office Publisher (pub) files and a lack of a mail client à la Microsoft Office Outlook, however, there are many alternative mail clients to choose from.)

    . The collector's box contained the following items:. OpenOffice.org, a completely free and open-source suite available for download to Windows, Linux, and Macintosh users. One was the regular CD edition, and the other was the limited Collector's Edition.

    Office 2004 (Word 2004, etc.) - released May 11, 2004. Blizzard released two versions of the game upon its launch. Office v.X (The first Mac OS X/Aqua edition; Word X, etc.) - released November 19, 2001. The game was simultaneously released on both Windows and Macintosh computer systems in North America, Australia and New Zealand on November 23, 2004. Office 2001 (Word 2001, etc.) - released October 11, 2000. Rest increases whether or not a character is logged in, but slowly enough (10 days to reach a fully-rested state in an inn) that it is most easily noticed when a character is first logged in after not having been played for several hours or days. Office 98 (Word 98, etc.) - released March 15, 1998. Players can increase the rate at which their characters gain rest by a factor of four by returning to an inn or capital city to log off.

    Office 4.2 (The first Power Mac-aware version; Word 6.0, etc.) - released June 2, 1994. However, in order to prevent players exploiting this by leaving one character logged off in an inn while playing another, the maximum amount of rest a character can accumulate is capped at 1.5 levels' worth; the quantity of experience this represents varies depending on the character's level. Office 3 (Word 5, etc.) - released 1993. This feature allows someone who has been away from the game for a period of time to double his leveling capability until he leaves the rested state, providing a "catch up" incentive upon returning to the game. Office 2 (Word 4, etc.) - released 1992. While in rested state, a character will earn twice as much experience as would normally be gained from killing monsters, but will gain the standard amount of experience from completing quests and exploring. Office 1 (Word 3, etc.) - released 1990. The other system used by Blizzard to help the casual player is the "rested state".

    Office 12.0 - due to be released simultaneously, or near simultaneously with Windows Vista, Microsoft's next major consumer operating system. Many players find grinding uninteresting and opt instead to continue to do quests. Office 11.0/2003 (Word 2003, etc.) - released November 17, 2003. For example, players gain similar experience overall from completing quests as by only killing monsters ('grinding'). Office 10.0/2002/XP (Word 2002, etc.) - released May 31, 2001. In particular the game play has been changed to make it more even and fair for both hardcore and casual players. Office 9.0/2000 (Word 2000, etc.) - released January 27, 1999. Blizzard has used World of Warcraft to make some changes to the typical MMORPG in response to the common complaints received from players about other games in this genre.

    Office 8.0/'97 (Word '97, etc.) - released December 30, 1996 (was published on CD-ROM as well as on a set of 45 3½-inch floppy disks). As World of Warcraft is a constant work in progress, there are a number of issues affecting it. Office 7.0/'95 (Word '95, etc.) - released August 30, 1995. These memes gain notoriety through postings on the World of Warcraft Forums. Office 4.3 (The last 16-bit version; Word 6.0, Excel 5.0, PowerPoint 4.0 and in the pro version: Access 2.0) - released June 2, 1994. There are various other memes, including "Face Melting", a reference to a very long thread on the priest forums on the World of Warcraft website which consisted of players saying "You will melt faces as a Shadow Priest in PvP" in different ways. Office for NT 4.2 (Word 6.0 [32-bit, i386 and Alpha], Excel 5.0 [32-bit, i386 and Alpha], PowerPoint 4.0 [16-bit], "Microsoft Office Manager") - released July 3, 1994. On some servers and to a lesser extent, YTMND, has become a popular meme.

    Office 4.0 (Word 6.0, Excel 4.0, PowerPoint 3.0) - released January 17, 1994. Also, there is a similarly reckless Arachnos Soldier NPC in the game City of Villains by the name of "Jenkins." In an amazing sign of the prevalence of the Jenkins joke, he was even part of a clue on the November 16th, 2005 episode of the TV game show College Jeopardy!. Office 3.0 (CD-ROM version: Word 2.0c, Excel 4.0a, PowerPoint 3.0, Mail) - released August 30, 1992 (repackaged as Office 92). Or, in Adventure Quest, where a direct tribute to Leeroy Jenkins is replayed by players in the Vamprook Spyre. Office for Mac 2004 Professional Edition (MSRP New User Price $499 US; Upgrade Price $329 US). Leeroy's popularity is even present in other games such as Guild Wars, where an NPC named Kilroy Stonekin rushes into battle, disrupting a perfectly good plan, while yelling his name in a direct reference. Office for Mac 2004 Student and Teacher Edition (MSRP New User Price $149 US). Another popular phenomenon in the community is a video starring a player named Leeroy Jenkins, intended to provide publicity for Leeroy's guild.

    Office for Mac 2004 Standard Edition (MSRP New User Price $399 US; Upgrade Price $239 US). In addition to playing the game itself and conversing on discussion forums provided by Blizzard, World of Warcraft players often participate in the World of Warcraft virtual community in creative ways, including fan artwork, comic strip style storytelling or even recording songs devoted to deleted NPCs such as Captain Placeholder. Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 11.0/2003 (volume licensing only).
    . Microsoft Office Professional Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $499 US; Upgrade Price $329 US).
    . Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $449 US; Upgrade Price $279 US). One of the more elaborate instances being RFD, otherwise known as Razorfen Downs, which consists of many hallways and rooms, and houses a long, elaborate spiral in the center, requiring users to fight everything in the way to advance.

    Microsoft Office Standard Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $399 US; Upgrade Price $239 US). Instances are very elaborate dungeons that require good skills and organization to conquer. Microsoft Office Basic Edition 11.0/2003 (bundled with new computers only). Some rare items such as armor sets, epic weapons, rare mounts, etc. Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 11.0/2003 (MSRP New User Price $149 US). Instances in World of Warcraft also feature many more rare item drops than just the world itself. Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server collaboration server. kill a certain number of enemies, or collect a certain number of objects).

    Microsoft Office Project Server - project management server. Therefore, instanced dungeons tend to be much more interesting than normal areas, in which quest requirements are very simple (e.g. Microsoft Office Live Communications Server - real time communications server. For example, requiring that a large group of enemies be defeated so that one can pull a lever to rotate a bridge in order to access a new section of the map makes sense when one group is traversing the dungeon linearly; it makes far less sense in public areas where hundreds of other players might be in the same area. The main reason for its unpopularity was because many people had no idea what it did by looking at its box alone, and therefore did not buy it. Typically, instanced dungeons are more elaborate and require more steps to be taken in a particular order for successful completion than are necessary in the main world. Microsoft Vizact 2000 – a program that "activated" documents using HTML, adding effects such as animation. The recently added Zul'Gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj instances allow for a maximum of 20 people and offers a more casual gameplay experience.

    Microsoft Outlook Express – mail client (in Office 98 Macintosh Edition, later replaced by Microsoft Entourage). These are the toughest areas in the game and success in these four instances is virtually impossible without great organization and good equipment. Microsoft Mail – mail client (in old versions of Office, later replaced by Microsoft Outlook). As of late 2005 there are four instances which allow for a maximum of 40 people: Onyxia's Lair, Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. Its functions were incorporated into Microsoft Outlook. Instances will allow only a certain maximum group size to enter, ranging from 5-man groups in some small instances, to 40-man raids. It featured a Planner, To do list, and Contact Information. This way a party can experience a dungeon without interference from other players, and cannot zerg it by bringing in outside help to overwhelm the opposition.

    Microsoft Schedule Plus – released with Office 95. Instances, or "Instanced dungeons", are dungeons that have been designed and tailored specifically for certain sizes of groups and are duplicated for each group that enters it. Microsoft Binder – incorporates several documents into one file. World of Warcraft also features instances. - [2]. Given that every game like World of Warcraft has had new content sold as a new game expansion, this might be added in a future expansion for this game. Patch detection and installation service for Office 2000, XP, and 2003. The 3rd major continent, Northrend, which was featured in Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne expansion, does not appear in the World of Warcraft at all.

    Microsoft Office Update – Web site. The second-to-last content patch (1.8) introduces Emeriss, Taerar, Ysondre, and Lethon, four outdoor raid encounter dragons that protect the four portals to the Emerald Dream, and hints at further development of this storyline. Included in all versions of Microsoft Office 2003. It is unknown where this device is, how to acquire it, or whether its currently in the game right now at all. Microsoft Office Online – Web site. He says that Eranikus is not dead and he can contact him, but he needs a powerful augur device that was stolen from him. An online Office suite as part of Microsoft's Windows Live initiative. The current quest chain ends when you talk to Umbranse the Spiritspeaker.

    Microsoft Office Live – Web service. It is also thought that the Essence of Eranikus trinket quest will be continued and will include Emerald Dream content. Similar to Windows Update, but also encompasses other Microsoft applications. The green dragon and younger sister to Alexstrasza, she was empowered by the titan Eonar to be bound to the Emerald Dream in an eternal trance to forever watch over the wilds and the Druids. Microsoft Update – Web site. Ysera or the Dreamer is one of the five Dragon Aspects that watch over the world of Azeroth. Included with Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2004. The other four portals, in Ashenvale, Duskwood, Feralas, and the Hinterlands are connected to the Emerald Dream.

    Virtual PC – Emulates a standard PC and its hardware. (Note: This is speculation based on lore; there may be more to opening the portal than just acquiring the Book of Medivh.). Microsoft Entourage – Personal information manager and communication software for Macintosh only (similar to Outlook). The Naxxaramas Necropolis is not yet implemented, although you can see an inactive portal deep inside Stratholme. Developer Tools – (included only with developer editions). This book might be found on Kel'Thuzad who ought to be found in the Naxxaramas Necropolis, above Stratholme. Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 - [1]. Some speculate that this portal will be opened when a player acquires the Book of Medivh.

    Microsoft OneNote – note taking software for use with tablet PCs or regular PCs. It is thought that this portal will be opened when the expansion set is released. Microsoft Project – project manager. Information released recently says that, come the expansion, The Dark Portal will lead to Outland. It was temporarily supplemented by Microsoft PhotoDraw in Office 2000 Premium edition. It is however not advised as it is a bannable offense. Microsoft Photo Editor – photo editing/raster graphics software in older Office versions, and again in XP. It is possible to enter these zones, either accidentally or intentionally.

    Microsoft Office Picture Manager – basic photo management software (similar to a basic version of Google's Picasa or Adobe's Photoshop Elements). Some examples of this are:. Microsoft Visio – diagram software. As of early 2006 a number of areas in the virtual world have yet to be implemented. Offered only as a stand-alone program for the 2003 version (not part of the office suite). They are:. Microsoft FrontPage – web design software (also requires its own server program). Some of the notable landmarks and locations in the game that were featured in previous Warcraft games, namely Warcraft III, are featured in the game.

    For the 2003 version, included in Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003, Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, and Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003. This forced the Horde to mainly reside in Kalimdor, and the Alliance to settle predominantly in the Eastern Kingdoms. Microsoft Publisher – Desktop publishing software. While not all of the history of the four years between the end of The Frozen Throne and the start of World of Warcraft has been revealed, it is known that the conflict between the Horde's forces and the marines of the Theramore Isles at the end of the Orc mini-campaign were the kindling for the current conflict. Included in Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003. The new World Tree of Teldrassil is off the northwestern coast of Kalimdor. Microsoft InfoPath – application that enables users to design rich XML-based forms. The current virtual world is built around two main continents: The Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.

    For the 2003 version, included in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, and Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003. Some even grant a chance-on-hit ability, like the chance to spin the weapon wildly (damaging every hostile in the area) or hurl a fireball at enemies. Microsoft Access – database manager. Better weapons have a higher DPS (damage per second) and grant better increases to the player's attributes. Some classes rely more heavily on weapons than others, the Warrior relying on weapons the most heavily while the Mage hardly ever engages in physical combat. Warriors can equip every weapon available in the game with the exception of wands.

    Weapons: Every class can equip a melee weapon, while most can equip a ranged weapon such as a bow, wand, crossbow, or gun. these usually provide no additional protection, instead boosting attributes or granting useful, sometimes bizarre abilities. In addition, two rings, two trinkets, and a neck piece can be equipped to the character. Armour can be equipped to the head, shoulders, back, chest, wrists, hands, legs, waist, and feet.

    Armour is used to reduce damage taken from melee attacks, with cloth providing the least protection and plate providing the most. Warriors and Paladins can equip Cloth, Leather, and Mail armor prior to level 40, at which point they can upgrade to Plate armor. Hunters, Shamans, Druids, and Rogues are restricted to Leather and Cloth armor; however, the former two can upgrade to Mail at level 40. Mages, Priests, and Warlocks are restricted to Cloth armor.

    Types of Armour and Requirements: There are several different types of armor in the game, but not every class can wear every kind. A few of the many available include: rabbit, parrot, snake, or chicken. Another set of miscellaneous items purchasable are non-combat pets, often stored in a crate in the player's inventory. Around major holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Chinese New Year, etc), special holiday-specific items and decorations appear in the game.

    Miscellaneous Items: These items include balls that can be tossed back and forth between two people, snowballs, fireworks, alcohol, and many other novelty items (such as a flute that makes people dance). Leatherworkers require skins and pelts to create items, and Alchemists require herbs and flowers. that can be made by disenchanting green or better quality items. Enchanters require essences, dusts, shards, crystals, etc.

    Tailoring materials are usually some form of cloth, such as linen. For example, ores and stones are materials for several Blacksmith and Engineering recipes. Materials: Materials, or "mats", are the components to make an item through a profession. Any soul shard collected is automatically put into the soul shard bag.

    These bags are unique to warlocks, who have always had trouble with having to carry so many soul shards. Soul shard bags have more slots than other bags as well, but only carry soul shards. They also increase your firing speed. Ammo bags have more slots than normal bags, however only ammo, such as arrows and bullets, can be put into them.

    There are also two types of special bags: Ammo bags and the new soul shard bags, introduced in patch 1.9. For example, twenty Silk Cloth can occupy one slot, meaning Silk Cloth can stack up to 20, while a bolt of Linen can stock up to 10. Not all items are stackable, and the maximum stacking number varies from item to item. Every item occupies one slot in a bag, unless it is "stackable." Stackable simply means that several items will occupy one slot in a bag.

    They come in numerous carrying capacities, starting with a 4 slot bag, and increase in increments of two, up to 18. Bags: Bags allow players to carry items. There is speculation that the legendary mount has a faster speed than the standard epic mount. This is believed to be a one-of-a-kind item, even though some speculate that it may be a very rare mount drop in AQ as well, such as the mounts found in Zul'Gurub and Stratholme.

    A special mount, given to the one who opened the gates of Ahn'Qiraj, is also a legendary item. Orange items, referred to as "legendary" quality, are the most powerful and rare in the game with only two weapons, and a necklace classified "legendary". With an exceptionally low drop rate, these items are hard to come by, and they are usually limited to boss drops or quest rewards. An item that has its name written in purple is extraordinarily powerful, and is referred to as an "epic" item.

    Blue items, too, sometimes carry an "Of the..." suffix. Blue items are usually dropped by enemies in instances, and usually have better attribute increases than green items. An item of Blue rarity is powerful, and is classified as rare. For example, items with the suffix "Of the Bear" carry Strength and Stamina boosts.

    Green items often carry a suffix with an animal name, such as "Of the Bear" or "Of the Monkey." These tell what attributes the item carries. An item of Green rarity is uncommon, and can be very useful. An item with a white name is often useful to someone. Grey body parts from beasts are surprisingly lucrative, selling often for several times what other grey items of similar level would sell for; this is to compensate for the fact that beasts do not drop cash.

    These items are often known as "Vendor Trash" or "Vendor Fodder," as they are easily sold for a moderate amount of money to any vendor. An item with a gray name is often worthless. Rarity: The rarity of an item may be noted by the coloring of the item's name. The deeper the color, the higher the rarity, and the higher stat boost it will grant.

    A weapon or piece of armor that boosts attributes will have its name written typically in green, blue, or purple, depending on how high the boost is. Weapons may also boost attributes in a similar faction. Some armor also can grant increases to critical hit percentage, dodge percentage, etc., and some grant unique abilities. Attributes: Some items carry bonuses to a character's attributes.

    There are various types of items in World of Warcraft, ranging from axes to flowers to animal organs. These special raptor and tiger-type mounts are very rare and take hours of game time to earn. Lastly, there are quests that are not very well known that can be done by each faction to gain a unique mount. Popular rumor has it that there are insectoid mounts as fast or faster than the epic level mounts of other species in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj instance, added in January 2006.

    Additionally, Baron Rivendare in Stratholme and Bloodlord Mandokir and High Priest Thekal of Zul'Gurub have a low chance of dropping epic mounts, unique to each individual, as well. Players who reach PvP rank 11 gain access to cheaper versions of the epic mounts. There are several other ways to acquire a mount as well. That said, the price is subject to discounts for honored reputation with your faction or attainment of rank three (of fourteen) in PvP Combat.

    In addition, if you are not a Paladin or Warlock, you must learn the riding skill before you can use a mount, which costs twenty gold. The Warlock and Paladin classes gain access to free mounts at level 40, and a cheaper mount at level 60, whereas every other class needs to pay 90 gold for their standard mount, or 1000 gold for their epic mount. The first is availible at level 40 and gives a 60% increase to movement speed, while the other mount (commonly referred to as an "epic" mount) becomes available at level 60 and gives a 100% bonus to movement speed. World of Warcraft offers different types of mounts that move players faster around the world.

    Additonally, the formula to calculate the amount of mana regenerated per second varies depending on the class. Trolls have an inherent passive racial ability that keeps 10% of their health regeneration active during combat. Healing rotations can be used to counter this, though. This says that spirit will not regenerate mana until 5 seconds have passed since the last spell cast - which effectively nullifies mana regeneration if you cast continuously.

    Mana does, but it is important to take the "5-second rule" into account. Regardless of how high your spirit is, your health does not regenerate in combat. Each point of spirit increases the amount of mana regenerated by 1/8 and health by 1/9 per tick (every 2 seconds). Spirit increases the rate at which you recover health and mana.

    Stamina is especially important for Warriors and Warlocks, but is also important for any class that focuses on player versus player combat as the more stamina a player has, the longer the player survives. Each point of Stamina increases a character's health by 10. Intellect is also used to determine the rate at which weapon skill increases. This attribute is very important for casting classes (Mages, Warlocks, Priests, Druids, Shamans), and is also used by the Paladins and Hunters, although it is not of the highest priority.

    A level 60 mage will gain a 1% crit chance w/ spells for each 59.5 int they have.). It is also linked to the critical strike chance with spells (Crit chance varies for every class/level. Each point of Intellect increases the character's mana by 15. This attribute is generally important for all melee classes (Warriors, Shamans, Paladins, Rogues and feral Druids) although Hunters also benefit from strength.

    It is also linked to the amount of damage blocked by a shield. Each point of strength increases attack power by 2 points for Warriors, Paladins, Shamans and Druids, while Priests, Mages, Warlocks, Rogues and Hunters get 1 attack power per strength. It is said for example that a level 60 Rogue gains a 1% chance to get a critical strike for every 29 Agility, and a level 60 Hunter receives 1% for every 53 Agility. Hunters and Rogues generally need as much as an agility boost as possible from gear (in game equipment).

    Agility is also linked to a character's chance to dodge and perform a critical strike with a weapon (although the degree of effect varies for each class). Hunters, Rogues and Druids also gain 1 point of melee attack power per point of Agility, although Druids only get attack power when shape-shifted to a Cat. Each point of Agility increases armor by 2 points, and ranged attack power by 2 points. For classes that rely on melee combat, strength is more important than spirit, while spell casters will benefit more from a spirit and intelligence boost than from a boost in strength.

    For each class, different attributes are more important. These attributes hold a key role in determining a character's health (hit points), mana (is used up by casting spells), attack power (each point of attack power increases a character's damage per second by 1/14), armor (reduces the amount of damage you take), dodge chance, critical strike chances (a default of double damage with ranged and melee weapons, a default of 1.5 times with spells), health regeneration, and mana regeneration. Strength (STR), Intellect (INT), Spirit (SPI), Agility (AGI), and Stamina (STA) are the attributes of World of Warcraft. They are as follows.

    Attributes are used by the game to calculate strengths and weaknesses for each character. In the upcoming expansion, the Jewel Crafting profession will be introduced. These types of players will typically offer gathered items for sale in the game's auction houses. Some players choose to select only "gathering" professions, opting to simply supply resources to players with item creation skills.

    The most commonly paired skills are as follows: Mining and Blacksmithing, Mining and Engineering, Skinning and Leatherworking, Herbalism and Alchemy, and to a lesser extent, tailoring and enchanting. Many players choose to pair two related professions, thus allowing the character to gather the required materials for the crafting skill. Essentially, there are two types of professions: gathering and item creation. In addition to the character classes, a player may choose two primary professions and all three secondary professions that the game offers, if they so choose.


    . Some will merely offer advice or further the story, while others patrol around set paths to keep cities defended against overzealous players. NPCs in major and minor cities can sell you merchandise, train you in your selected profession and class, sell you mounts, connect you to the Auction House (an eBay-like place to buy and sell items), and provide all services that are needed in the game. Early in the game, most mobs will be neutral.

    There are also neutral NPCs that will only attack you when provoked, their name displayed in yellow. Any character with his name displayed in red is hostile towards you and should either be avoided or dealt with caution. There are also several hostile NPCs, mainly the NPCs of the opposing faction and mobs (enemies controlled by AI). They will be found automatically in any city allied with your faction, as well as any city you have earned a reputation of friendly or better with.

    First are the friendly NPCs, whose names are displayed in green. NPCs have many types. NPCs are the characters that can only interact with player characters through scripted events or AI. The color of a PC's name tag can vary from blue, green, yellow, or red depending on faction, location, and play combat status.

    Player Characters are people around the world actively playing the game. There are two types of characters in the game: Player Characters(PC) and Non-Player Characters (NPCs), the latter having many different offshoots. There are 20 possible combinations of race and class for each faction, for a total of 40 combinations across both factions. Classes are also limited by race.

    Two of the classes are faction-specific: Paladins for the Alliance, and Shamans for the Horde. The nine available classes are Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock and Warrior. The races are split into two equally sized factions, the Alliance and the Horde:. When creating a character in World of Warcraft, the player can choose from eight different races and nine different character classes.

    Players create characters which serve as their avatar in the online world of Azeroth. The two factions currently in the game are the Alliance and Horde, both consisting of different races. Users can create up to 10 characters per realm which range from a diverse amount of races and classes. Characters in the World of Warcraft are tied to specific user accounts which can be used in all servers, or realms.

    . This level of popularity eventually led major MMORPG developers such as Sony Online Entertainment to re-think the way they are making games, even changing the gameplay of their past successful titles. As of January 2006, World of Warcraft is one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world, with more than 5.5 million active subscriptions. World of Warcraft is set four years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

    The Warcraft games are set in the eponymous Warcraft Universe, a fantasy setting introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. It is the 4th game in the Warcraft series, excluding expansion packs and the canceled Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. World of Warcraft (commonly abbreviated as WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Players will try to access files not yet in game and then host them on websites to expose content not yet released (usually new zones, items, and graphics).

    Data Mining – This is typically most common around the time that a patch is released on the public test realm. These exploits are usually not discovered right away and are allowed to be used (though typically thought of as unfair) until stated otherwise by Blizzard. This includes using wall-walking (removed in patch 1.9) to get into unfinished areas or abilities like the Sentry Totem to make one's character unattackable by other players. Game Mechanics Exploits – There are also other exploits involving the physics of the game, sometimes in conjunction with items.

    The bot will kill monsters, loot gold, mine ore, collect herbs or gain levels automatically without the player having to be in front of the computer. Botting – A player who runs a third party program to control their character. Speed Hacking/Teleporting/subterrain travel – Since character position in World of Warcraft is determined by the client side, it is possible for players to send out artificial positional data and be instantly transported to any part of the world (even underground) or used to speed up traveling speed by increasing positional deltas. DirectX 9.0c.

    32 MB 3D graphics card with hardware transform and lighting, such as GeForce 2 or better. 256 MB RAM or more (512 MB recommended, 1 GB for comfortable play). 800 MHz or higher CPU. Windows 98/ME/2000/XP:

      .

      Mac OS X v10.3.9 or newer (see note below). ATI or Nvidia video hardware with 32 MB VRAM or more. 512 MB RAM or higher; DDR RAM recommended. 933 MHz or higher G4, G5, or Intel processor.

      Mac OS X:

        . 56k or higher modem with an Internet connection. 5 GB or more of available hard drive space. General requirements:
          .

          An exclusive in-game pet for every character, chosen from a Zergling, Panda, and Mini Diablo. A cloth map of Azeroth. The Art of World of Warcraft (Hardcover book). A Collector's Edition manual.

          A Collector's Edition Soundtrack. A Behind the Scenes DVD. A guest pass to the game, providing a player's friend with 10-day access. A One-month subscription to the game.

          The entire game on both one DVD and four CDs. Other popular online games such as Diablo II (which was made by Blizzard), Neverwinter Nights, and Counter-Strike often lack the dedicated support, server resources, and consistent additions of new content seen in WoW. With the financial resources and investment Blizzard has in making their customers happy, they appear to address issues quickly and effectively when compared to other online games. Rewards for completing such challenges are in the form of better character equipment, which makes for a better experience when attempting other quest or PvP content.

          The epic nature of some instanced dungeons provides a more content-rich and interesting experience for those who wish to immerse themselves in the world for the amount of time required to complete such instances. The Priest class will be revamped in the upcoming patch 1.10. Lately, significant changes to the Paladin have been made in patch 1.9. In recent patches Blizzard has revamped certain classes to make them more viable and playable such as Hunters and Druids, which were revamped in patches 1.7 and 1.8, respectively.

          Classes are generally balanced, though specialization in some of the talent trees is generally not practical. In addition to playing the "actual" game, players can interact socially, explore the various landscapes, or participate in the game's virtual economy. Players can experience the questing content alone, with friends, or with a gaming guild. Since the game is based on a community of players with the ability to interact in many ways, the gaming experience is always evolving and new.

          Many players become irritated with issues like 'ganking' (one or often more players of the opposing race repeatedly killing a character), quests which involve traveling through hostile lands (relates to ganking problems), and the collection of Honor Points (gained from killing hostile players) to earn special items. Focus on PvP (Player versus Player) combat: Issues with balance in the game have put off many players, especially with the game's focus on PvP combat for developing content. The issues were suspected to be Blizzard's upstream Internet service provider [1]. For example, in September 2005, Blizzard gave all European players two free days of play as compensation for repeated network failures.

          Due to failures in these, there have been times when the game has been unplayable by a large number of players. World of Warcraft is not playable offline: As with other online games, server and network stability is critical. This means that none of the bosses will spawn again until after that time period is up and the entire instance resets itself. Once a group of players kill the first boss, their future progress is saved and stored for one week from the first boss kill, or to when the weekly server maintenance takes place, whichever happens first.

          However, Blizzard has made it so that the instance does not have to be done in one, large chunk. The Molten Core (a commonly run, high-level instance usually referred to as 'MC') can usually take as long as six hours to complete. Long time online required at high level: High-level dungeons can take many hours of party finding, strategy discussion, and battles. This balancing action is sometimes called 'buffing' or 'nerfing,' depending on whether the change strengthened or weakened the class.

          Blizzard periodically releases patches which, along with adding features or fixing bugs, also attempt to balance gameplay by updating the class skill trees and spells. Unbalanced classes: Many people tend to believe that certain classes or races are over- or underpowered. This will provide the Horde with a so-called "pretty race," which is one of the previous reasons a player might choose Alliance over the Horde races. This issue will possibly be addressed in the expansion, where it has been announced that the Blood Elves will be a new playable race for the Horde.

          This affects PvP and the quality of gameplay for some players. Lopsided Horde to Alliance ratio: Many of the servers are becoming outnumbered, with many servers suffering a 2:1 ratio of Alliance to Horde. The opposite of this is also true; some servers are too overpopulated and are hard to play on because of server load and long queues to log in. Blizzard has taken certain measures to alleviate this problem by allowing character transfers on certain servers, but it is still something of a problem.

          Certain low population servers are experiencing a vast number of players leaving the servers, making it harder for people to find groups, and affecting the in-game economy. Population: Some World of Warcraft players created characters on servers with medium to low populations. This way the people will be spread among these cities instead of lagging one correspondent area. The Auction House, the trade channel, and the group channel are now linked with every capital city since the patch 1.9 updated 2005-11-23.

          This may no longer be a serious problem, especially since changes were made to the Auction House. Serious lag — or slow operation — often occurs on weekend nights, and in the central cities of the Warcraft world, such as Ironforge and Orgrimmar (sometimes nicknamed "Lagforge", "Laggerforge" and "Lagrimmar"), where large concentrations of players congregate. Lag: The popularity of the game means that at times, so many people are on-line that the servers become overloaded and very slow. There are four other portals, located in Duskwood, Ashenvale Forest, Feralas, and The Hinterlands that are the sites of four extremely powerful green dragons.

          One portal, the Dark Portal, is present but currently serves no purpose. Several islands named on the map cannot be reached, such as Kul Tiras, Tol Barad, Zul'Dare, Crestfall, and Sunwell Grove. In Azeroth (confusingly both the name of the eastern continent and the name of the world): Medivh's Tower (in Deadwind Pass). In Khaz Modan: Grim Batol (in the far east of the Wetlands).

          In Lordaeron: Gilneas (south of the Greymane Wall), Quel'Thalas (north-east of Stratholme), and Zul'Aman (east of Quel'Thalas). In Kalimdor: Mount Hyjal (south-west of Winterspring) and the Caverns of Time and Uldum (both in Tanaris). Hyjal, where the final battle against Archimonde was held and the fall of the Burning Legion's Second Invasion took place. These regions surround Mt.

          Areas to the north include Ashenvale Forest, Felwood, Winterspring, Azshara and the Moonglade. Kalimdor, home to the Tauren, Orcs, Trolls, and Night Elves. The Blasted Lands, home of the original Dark Portal out of which the Orcs first came into Azeroth. The Eastern and Western Plaguelands, including places such as Andorhal, the place of origin of the Scourge and the Plague of Undeath, and Stratholme, the site of Arthas' initial fall into insanity.

          Here they are engineering a new plague to wipe out the Scourge and all humans in Azeroth. The Undercity, which resides under the Ruins of Lordaeron, is the main city of the Undead, ruled by Sylvanas Windrunner and Varimathras. Because of these advantages, warriors are among the most common classes played in World of Warcraft. Warriors can also use all types of armor.

          Warriors are very powerful in melee combat and can use all types of weapons except wands. Warrior: An adept mercenary type class that specializes in damage mitigation and keeping the focus of monsters on him or in doing massive amounts of damage. The bulk of the Warlock's spells do shadow damage, but some of their nukes (and both their area damage spells) do fire damage. Warlocks can only wear cloth armor, but unlike mages usually have much higher amounts of health.

          At higher levels warlocks can summon more powerful demons such as the Infernal and Doomguard, which require the use of reagents bought from vendors and can turn on their casters if not carefully employed. Warlocks can summon demons as pets for various purposes: the Imp (magical ranged damage and stamina buff), Voidwalker (tank), Succubus (crowd control, melee damage), and Felhunter (anti-caster). Warlock: Warlocks, depending on how the user plays, can either do ranged burst-damage as a mage, or use Damage over Time (DoT) spells to defeat their opponent. The Shaman class is only available to the Horde side.

          A well played Shaman can be extremely adept at Player vs Player combat, with spell interrupts for casters and slowing spells for melee classes. Shamans can use mail armor once they reach level 40. Shamans use totems in combat to heal or cure their parties, slow the enemy, or deal damage to them. However, Shamans generally have inferior tanking abilities to a Paladin, compensating for this with higher damage.

          Shamans are basically the Horde's Paladin, capable of healing and fighting in melee combat. Shaman: Shamans are a hybrid class combining melee and magical abilities. Every race has access to the Rogue as of January 2006, with the exception of the Tauren. Rogues mostly wear leather armor, yet they possess the ability to wear cloth armor as well.

          Rogues specialize in quick strikes from the shadows, and are very adept at stealth and poisoning targets, as well as lockpicking. Rogue: Rogues are assassins that prefer to fight quickly and discretely, often employing underhanded tactics. Priests are often found working in groups or teams with other classes in order to gain levels faster. Priests are only able to wear cloth armor and only have access to a limited number of weapons.

          Priest: The Priest is the most powerful healer in the game, although specialisation into the Shadow talent tree allows them to become quite formiddable damage dealers and is therefore a popular choice of talents for Player versus Player combat. Paladins are only available to the Alliance side. Paladins are a very good group-oriented class. Paladins are able to make themselves immune to all damage, which gives them time to fully heal during combat, making them difficult to kill in Player versus Player combat.

          Paladins have seals, auras, and blessings to use in combat to buff themselves as well as other players. Paladins can use all armor types and most weapon types (but not ranged weapons). Paladins are a hybrid class, not able to tank or deal damage as well as a Warrior, and not able to heal as well as a Priest. Paladin: Paladins are a powerful combination of a warrior and a priest.

          Alternatively, they can specialise in the frost tree and do ranged area damage with a snare component, preventing the monsters or players from reaching the mage. When specialised partly in the arcane tree (as most mages tend to be) they can do large ininterruptable area damage at point-blank range. One of the biggest strengths of the mage is area damage. Mages also have a large amount of utility, such as conjuring water to allow party members to spend less time resting or creating portals to travel to cities far away.

          They rely on the ability to destroy opponents at long range, as they can only use cloth type armor and have low health. Mages specialize in ranged spell damage, often being able to kill the opponents before they reach the Mage. Mage: Mages are a very powerful spellcaster-type class. Hunters wear leather armor, and gain the ability to use mail armor at level 40.

          Hunters can also lay traps, cast self-buffing "aspects" to boost both combat and non-combat abilities, and increase their damage output with an array of magical shots and "stings". They can train wild animals as pets for use in combat, where the pet engages enemy targets in melee while the Hunter attacks from a distance. Hunter: Hunters specialize in ranged weaponry and are excellent for solo play. A smart Druid can therefore be very difficult to defeat, as he can change between taking damage as a Warrior, healing as a Priest or doing Rogue-like damage - but not quite as well as the original class.

          Druids have the ability to transform into different animals with many different abilities. Druid: Druids are one of the more versatile classes in the game, making them good for multiple play styles. Additionally, there are many NPC races such as Goblins, Ogres, High Elves, Murlocs and Nagas. Blood Elves will be added in the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion.

          Forsaken) and Trolls. The Horde currently consists of Orcs, Tauren, Undead (a.k.a. An unknown race will be added in the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion. The Alliance currently consists of Humans, Night Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes.

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