Blizzard Entertainment launched one of their most famous games on November 30th, 2004, World of Warcraft (WoW). This teen-rated, subscription-based economy game is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) and is the follow up to one of their other games, warcraft 3. That means you have the ability to play with people from all over the world. WoW has been a trendsetter in the MMORPG industry for so long that it is impossible to escape references to it in other games. Over the years, there have been many attempts to “kill WoW” but those games have failed to meet expectations.
There were a few factors that brought the game to the level of popularity it enjoyed, including other major game failures and good timing. The impact of WoW is so large that there is a movie that tells some of the story. At one time, WoW boasted of 13 million subscriptions. Since then, the game has gone through ebbs and flows, depending on what expansion packs and/or new content Blizzard has added to the game. If you are in a nonsupported area and you wanted access to a North American (NA) server (called a realm), or if you want to protect your account from hacking or a possible Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, you could make sure everything is secure by using a VPN.
How to Use a VPN to Play WoW
I’ll use ExpressVPN for the example of how to use a VPN service to play WoW online. First, you’ll want to download the VPN client. ExpressVPN offers free client software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. In addition to free apps for iOS and Android.
Now that you’ve had a chance to download and install the software it’s time to connect. Launch the ExpressVPN client and select a server location. We’ll walk you through step by step using their Windows client.
- Since a lot of gamers like to connect to servers in the US, we used that country for our guide. ExpressVPN has a large network of servers located all over the world.
- We recommend you select OpenVPN (TCP) or (UDP). For streaming videos from sites like YouTube, we use OpenVPN (UDP) because its faster than TCP. They also support PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP. We still recommend OpenVPN UDP for the best mix of speed and privacy protection.
- Click the big round connect button. After a few seconds, you’ll see the shield around the button turn green. There will also be a message letting you know the “VPN is ON”
- You now have an IP address in the USA, as far as anyone can tell online. As such, you can reach any site as if you were sitting there. The same would be true if you connected to a server in the UK or anywhere else in the world.
It is just that easy to do. Now that you have an IP address from an ExpressVPN server in the US, you can game, browse the Internet or watch shows as if you were actually there. Connecting to a server in the UK would give you full access to geo-blocked sites there as well. The same is true for any country.
As you can probably tell by now a good VPN opens access to content around the world. If you live outside the United States the service can help you access popular services like Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora. You still need an account for services like Netflix but the VPN will help you watch US television shows and movies on Netflix as if you were sitting in the United States or any other region you would like to access.
World of Warcraft Game Highlights
WoW is divided into two factions, the Horde and the Alliance. Both of these factions inhabit a realm called Azeroth. The maximum level of this game is 100, and all races can speak their specific language in addition to a faction language. The Horde races are Orc, Troll, Tauren, Undead, Blood Elf, Goblin, and Pandaren. The Alliance races are Human, Night Elf, Gnome, Dwarf, Draenei, Worgen, and Pandaren. You may notice that we have mentioned Pandaren twice. That is because they can choose either faction. By choosing a Pandaren, you do not decide immediately what faction to choose. Unless you are like one guy that decided to go all the way to 100 without picking a faction or leaving the starting area, you would generally choose one between level 10 and 15.
Before you can create a character, you have to pick a server. As we mentioned earlier, If you want to connect to an NA realm from outside the supported areas, you would want to use a VPN. Here is a list of the types of available servers, and a bit about them.
- PVE/Normal – PVE stands for Player vs Environment. This type of realm is a regular realm and is designed for anything you would like to do. You are not allowed to be attacked by other players unless you choose to turn on the option of PVP. You are also allowed to create characters from both factions on these types of realms.
- RP – RP stands for Role Playing. You can do all the things you can on a regular realm, but these servers have strict naming guidelines and typically have an older realm population. Normally, you would expect to see people roleplaying in the vast online world. You are not allowed to be attacked by other players unless you choose to turn on the option of PVP, and are allowed to create characters from both factions on these types of realms
- PVP – PVP stands for Player Vs Player. Like the other server types, you can do anything you would regularly be able to do, but there is a twist. Once you hit level 10, You are allowed to be attacked by other players automatically, and that can not be changed. You are not allowed to create characters from more than one faction on these types of realms.
- PVPRP – As you would think, this type of realm is a combination of PVP and RP realms. Like the regular PVP realm, once you hit level 10, You are allowed to be attacked by other players automatically, and that can not be changed. Also, are not allowed to create characters from more than one faction on these types of servers.
After picking the type of server you want, you will choose one of the 13 races from the character creation screen, and choose a job (called a class). Every class has their strengths and weaknesses, and your playing style will determine which one to pick. Though you can not change this like you can in some games, WoW will allow you to create up to 11 characters on one server, and a total of 50 characters across all servers. With that many options, you could try them all. Let’s have a look at the classes available and their roles. Please note that Rdps means ranged and Mdps means melee.
- Warrior – Tank, Melee Damage Dealer (Mdps)
- Paladin – Tank, Mdps, Healer
- Hunter – Ranged Damage Dealer (Rdps)
- Rogue – Mdps
- Priest – Rdps, Healer
- Death Knight – Tank, Mdps
- Shaman – Rdps, Mdps, Healer
- Mage – Rdps
- Warlock – Rdps
- Monk – Tank, Mdps, Healer
- Druid – Tank, Rdps, Mdps, Healer
Since the Death Knight is considered to be a “hero” class, DKs are only unlocked once you hit level 55 on another character. Also, some classes may only be done by specific races, so if you want a certain job, be prepared to choose a matching race. Some jobs may be chosen by many races, but the only one that may be picked by all 13 races is the Warrior class.
Now that you have picked a realm, faction, race, and class, it is time to enter the game. Every race has a beginning cutscene that brings you to the starting area for that race. From levels 1-10, you begin to level by doing quests. Quests are usually easy in the starting area, and may include killing animals, monsters, humanoids or gathering items. All environmental creatures you can attack are referred to as mobs. The quests teach you about your class abilities and teach you game lore. Once you hit level 10, PVP battlegrounds become available to you.
Battlegrounds are specific arenas (instances) that only allow in people that want to PVP. The two factions are pitted against each other, and these instances have goals. This is a list of the battlegrounds in the game, number of players allowed, and the levels you can enter them in. All dungeons and battlegrounds group players together, usually by level. The range of levels in a battleground prior to max level is five. In other words, if you are level 10, you could expect to see players as high as level 14. That trend continues until you reach max level. At max level, you are only playing against other max level characters. Killing in the battleground is not necessary as long as you are working towards the goals of the match. Typically, the team that wins is the team that goes after the objective, instead of trying to kill the enemy.
Dungeons (also called instances) are a good way to get weapons, armor, and even experience. Unlike questing, the gear found in dungeons is of better quality than you would find normally. Because of the group settings, experience (XP) usually builds up more quickly, because the mobs are designed to fight in groups. Dungeons may be run beginning at level 10, and continue until max level. There are varying degrees of hardness to these dungeons, and some have harder versions. Each dungeon usually has 2-4 stage bosses and may be completed in a reasonable amount of time. In the past, other games have used the same dungeon layouts but changed the mobs in the dungeons. That is not the case in WoW. Every dungeon has it own feel, though sometimes the design staff will bring back bosses in dungeon tie-ins.
Quests have always been a large part of WoW. They are a way to make money, gain experience, get gear, and even tell the story of Azeroth. Often times, quests will make references to pop culture, literature, and occasionally, other video games (called easter eggs). One of my favorite examples of a video game reference occurred after I accepted a quest. Across the screen, a warning flashed that said “Prepare to joust, buzzard bait!”. I remember laughing out loud because that is a reference to a very popular 80s video game called Joust. The quest was basically a 3D version of that game, including some of the original nuances.
There are more than 6,000 quests in the game, starting at level 1 and continuing through the max level. Some quests will make you laugh, others may make you sad. One quest, in particular, is located in the Tauren starting area called Mulgore. A Non-Playing Character (NPC) named Ahab Wheathoof provides a quest about feeding his dog, Kyle. What makes this quest interesting is that the voice of the NPC has a different voice than any other game character. This is the voice of a child, instead of an actor. It belonged a 10-year-old WoW player named Ezra Chatterton that had a rare type of cancer. As part of the make-a-wish foundation, he got to be a game designer. The quest was designed by him, and his voice was recorded for that reason. Blizzard put other easter eggs in the game that specifically relate to him.
Raids are high-level content that generally involve 10-25 players. This is where the best gear may be found. When WoW first opened, raids required 40 people. Because of the organizational nightmares of that scenario, that number has been reduced to the first number I mentioned.
Azeroth is quite large now, and the factions have their own lands, but occasionally they will meet in-game, especially on a PVP server. The races in the game usually have their own cities. In those cities, the NPCs will usually be of the race that the city is dedicated to. That said, as long as you are in the same faction, you may travel to any of them and use their facilities safely. The major cities for the Alliance are:
- Stormwind – Home of the Humans
- Ironforge – Home of the Dwarves and Gnomes
- Darnassus – Home of the Night Elves and Worgens
- Exodar – Home of the Draenei
The Horde major cities are:
- Orgrimmar – Home of the Orcs and Trolls
- Undercity – Home of the Undead
- Thunder Bluff – Home of the Taurens
- Silvermoon City – Home of the Blood Elves
All of the cities have rulers, and there are some sanctuary cities that both factions may share.
Professions are divided into two groups, primary and secondary. These are skills that need to be leveled up, and have their own unique benefits. Only 2 primary professions are available at one time, and to learn a new one, you must unlearn one. The primary professions are broken down into crafting or gathering skills. Those are:
- Alchemy – Crafting skill
- Blacksmithing – Crafting skill
- Inscription – Crafting skill
- Jewelcrafting – Crafting skill
- Mining – Gathering skill
- Tailoring – Crafting skill
- Engineering – Crafting skill
- Herbalism – Gathering skill
- Enchanting – Crafting skill
- Leatherworking – Crafting skill
- Skinning – Gathering skill
In addition to those primary skills, everyone can level up secondary skills without having to choose any. Those are fishing, cooking, first aid, and archeology.
Travel among the different lands may be accomplished in several ways. Ground travel is one of the first ways you travel between areas. It can b an increase of 60-100% of your character running speed in the game, and as long as the areas are connected, you can drive the mount from one area to another. You do run the risk of being attacked by mobs or opposite faction players, however. Once you reach a certain level, you have the option to fly in most areas. Flying can be up to 310% faster than ground travel, and you may travel in straight lines. There is not the concern of mob attacks, and if an opposite faction player attacks you, flying away is the best option. Azeroth is divided into several continents and you may travel between them via boat. Griffins are the game’s system of flight that may be utilized from the first level. It is like a taxi to another area, providing you have been there before. There is usually a small fee involved with this sort of flight, and you have no control over the path or speed of the griffin. The last method of travel is via the portal. Mages have the ability to make portals for themselves and other players. Portals to different areas may be located in major cities. If you are high enough level, you can set your home to one of these cities and have the ability to travel to almost any area in Azeroth you wish to.
Guilds are common in almost every game, and WoW is no exception. There are guilds devoted to different purposes including raiding, PVP, and social styles of play. Lasting friendships may also be formed there if you choose the right guild. Because of the length of time the game has been played, there are people that may have known each other online for more than a decade but never met each other face to face. That could be said of other video games as well.
That covers many points of this well-seasoned MMORPG. I could go into more depth, but there have already been many books, strategy guides, and websites devoted to World of Warcraft. With all of this being said, there are some really good reasons to use a VPN while playing WoW, and it is easier than you think.
The first reason is for security purposes. With any popular game these days, hacking can be a big problem. Because of the age of the game, many people have left and came back eventually, only to discover that any gold or valuables they had were sold. Realizing this problem, Blizzard enlisted a two-factor authentication method in the form of a password token. Though it helped, those that did not take advantage of the technology were in danger of being hacked and robbed. There were several methods used to accomplish the theft. The first method involved regular hacking, and by using a VPN, you add an extra layer of protection to your gameplay, because your connection is encrypted.
Sometimes emails would be sent to the user’s email address on record saying there was a problem and that they needed to log in to a certain website by clicking a link to resolve the issue. Unsuspecting users could possibly get their info stolen that way. That method is called phishing and the only way to protect yourself against that sort of attack is to be vigilant.
The second reason to use a VPN relates to something I mentioned earlier, accessing wow from anywhere. If you are not in a country that supports WoW, you would use a VPN to connect to a country that does. If you are playing on US realms, it makes sense to use a VPN server located there. That brings us to a potential 3rd reason to use a VPN.
No matter where you are located, there is a chance your ping may be higher than normal because of the indirect way your connection travels. There have been instances of getting a faster connection speed by using a VPN than without because the connection signal travels more directly.
Enjoy all the excitement as you play World of Warcraft online. Please share this post with your friends so they can enjoy gaming from anywhere in the world with a VPN. Follow us @VPNFan for the latest deals and guides.