World of Warcraft ( WoW ) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment . It is the fourth released game set in theWarcraft fantasy universe .  World of Warcraft takes place in the Warcraft world of Azeroth , Blizzard’s previous Warcraft release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne .  Blizzard Entertainment announced World of Warcraft on September 2, 2001. The game was released on November 23, 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise .