With more than 100 million accounts created in its 13 years, World Of Warcraft is the most popular massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) of all time. If you’re interested in joining the worldwide sensation, here’s some important info to know about the game’s history first.

The designers got the idea for World Of Warcraft after getting hopelessly lost in the Mall Of America: Minneapolis residents and lifelong friends Rob Pardo, Jeff Kaplan, and Tom Chilton decided to finally check out the great big mall everyone had been talking about for so long on one fateful day in the summer of 2001. They almost immediately got separated, and it took them days to find each other, and even longer to find a way out. Weeks later, they met up at a local diner to discuss what had happened and realized that a video game based on exploring uncharted territories full of wonders like T-shirt kiosks and incredible challenges like finding Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. would appeal to millions of players. After some debate, they changed the setting to the mystical realm of Azeroth, and the rest is history.


The game didn’t allow orcs to use weapons for years until the development team went to sensitivity classes and were convinced to stop being prejudiced against them: A truly dark spot on the history of World Of Warcraft is the discrimination orcs faced in the early years. The programmers behind the game were scared of orcs because of their no-nonsense attitudes about life, love, and barbecue, so they made sure that it was impossible for any of them to carry so much as a dagger. After thousands of fans sent in letters vouching for the orcs’ virtuous character, Blizzard sent the programmers to sensitivity classes and orcs were allowed to carry any weapon they desired the very next day.

George R.R. Martin credits World Of Warcraft as a key influence of his popular book series Tom The Trombone Player’s Adventures Abroad: One of the world’s greatest authors says that his most lauded work wouldn’t exist without this game. George R.R. Martin has spoken at length about how the game inspired him to finally get serious about writing, and that he began writing his smash hit saga Tom The Trombone Player’s Adventures Abroad soon after that. “Tom is based on my gnome rogue from the game. Tom isn’t a gnome, he isn’t a rogue, but he does know how to play the trombone, and that’s the exact stroke of genius that World Of Warcraft inspired in me,” said Martin in a 2011 interview with Entertainment Tonight.


The avian flu was a publicity stunt meant to convince people that the only way to avoid it was playing World Of Warcraft indoors 24/7: In 2007, Blizzard had the would-be brilliant marketing idea to stoke interest in World Of Warcraft’s first expansion by biologically engineering a disease that would be spread by birds and had the potential to kill millions. They thought that consumers would be forced to stay inside and find comfort in World Of Warcraft. However, this plan backfired when scientists reported that a goose with avian flu could, theoretically, get inside your house through an open window and spit on you. Once Americans knew that they were no safer indoors than out, Blizzard’s strategy was sunk.