Warcraft is a high-fantasy story split into four games; Warcraft 1, 2, and 3 are RTS games, whereas World of Warcraft is is an extremely popular MMORPG.

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ESRB Ratings





For expansion ratings, see the ESRB’s website.

Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n Roll

Violence: Cartoon blood only.

Sexual Content:  Suggestive themes–for instance, spoken innuendo accessible via the /flirt command in World of Warcraft.

Substance Use: Drinking (mostly ale and wine) and some allegorical, non-explicit drug use.

Crude Humor: A “Spongebob Squarepants” level of crude humor.

Nudity and Costuming: Varying levels of nudity. Characters in World of Warcraft can run around without armor at will. Many costumes show a fair amount of skin, both male and female. However, the cartoon aesthetic of the games may make this a minor concern.

Player Interaction: There is a large amount of player interaction in World of Warcraft, and most of it is in real-time and therefore it can’t be regulated ahead of time. It is, however, possible to block mature language, and most of this interaction is text-based (unless the player has access to headset systems like Ventrilo).


Save Points

Players of Warcraft 1, 2, and 3 may save their game whenever they like, except during cut scenes (none of which last more than 10 minutes, and most more along the lines of 2-3 minutes). Players of World of Warcraft can save at any point, but because of the multiplayer nature of the game may choose to honor another player’s wishes and continue “to the end of the raid” etc.

Story & Themes

Two races, the orcs and the humans, are battling each other in the land of Azeroth. The orcs have entered Azeroth from a different dimension and invaded the human world after being dislocated from their historic home. The second and third games expand this storyline to include other fantastical humanoids and their cartoon political intrigues. All of these characters fall along two factions: the Horde and the Alliance. World of Warcraft takes a new direction, with players able to create their own characters and complete individual quests and story arcs, albeit in the same setting as Warcraft’s previous iterations. The major themes in all games are war, dislocation, home, temptation, and duty; however, these are dealt with in fairly stereotypical ways.

The Creators

Blizzard Entertainment.

Conversation Starters

Some of the main questions you might bring up with kids are:

  • When two groups of people are fighting, and neither is evil, who is in the right? What are some ways to stop the fighting?
  • If a group of people is ousted from its historic home because of violence or natural disaster, where can the group go? Do other peoples have a moral duty to help them, even if they don’t share the same core values?
  • When is it okay to turn against your leaders, or even your people?
  • Many of the races in the Warcraft universe are stereotypical representations of different cultures or nationalities–at what point does stereotype become damaging? Is a stereotype inherently damaging to the people it is applied to?


Zugzug is something the Orc peons say in the earlier Warcraft games, and has become a phrase that many Warcraft players use for fun. It doesn’t mean anything.


This article was written by

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.