Warcraft (Series)

Blizzard Entertainment

Until 11 July 2007

Blizzard Entertainment / 1994-2007 / USA / Selected by Henry Lowood

The first release in Blizzard’s Warcraft series, “Warcraft: Orcs and Humans” (1994), helped define the genre known as “real-time strategy,” and inspired franchises such as “Starcraft,” “Age of Empires” and “Command & Conquer.” As the term suggests, these games progress in real time rather than on a turn-by-turn basis, as had their predecessors. The genre required players to master the intricacies of the controller, the game interface, and keyboard use, and challenged their contemplative problem-solving and decision making skills. With “Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness” (1995) and “Warcraft III: Reign of Terror” (2002), Blizzard raised the bar for single- player experience in what were multi-player games. Narrative was built not through traditional linear story-telling, but through player performance. The game’s designers guided player skill development by gradually ramping up the difficulty. Indeed, the Warcraft story world is compelling enough to be supplemented by books, player- created stories, movies, tabletop role playing, and comics. When Blizzard released its massively multiplayer game, “World of Warcraft” (2004), its unprecedented success was due in part to the vitality of the Warcraft universe created earlier in the series.