For those who are unfamiliar, real-time strategy games came into existence in the 1980s. However, it was Westwood Studios’s Dune II in December of 1992 that became so influential that it created the template of what a real-time strategy game was supposed to be. With that said, while Westwood Studios had started working on the first Command & Conquer that would come out in 1995, there was an opening in the market for real-time strategy games throughout 1993 as well as the first few months of 1994. Something that Blizzard Entertainment interpreted as a chance for them to launch something of their own.
The result was Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. In short, the title had two playable factions, with one being the Human inhabitants of the Kingdom of Azeroth and the other being Orcish invaders from another world. Said title proved to be successful, so much so that Blizzard Entertainment proceeded to make a follow-up called Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. In that title, it was revealed that while some of the events in the Human campaign had happened, it was the Orcs who had emerged victorious in the invasion. Due to this, the Fall of Azeroth prompted the creation of the Alliance, while the Orcs found their own allies to boost their numbers as well as round out their capabilities. On the whole, Warcraft II proved to be even more successful than its predecessor, thus ensuring Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Said installment featured not two, not three, but four factions, which were the Humans, the Orcs, the Night Elves, and the Undead. Moreover, it was Warcraft III that laid the foundation for World of Warcraft, the title that has been the “face” of the Warcraft franchise for more than a decade’s time.
It is interesting to note that Warcraft III and World of Warcraft were made on a concurrent basis for some time. We know this because Warcraft III was announced in 1999 before being released in 2002 while World of Warcraft was announced in 2001 before being released in 2004. Furthermore, it has seen said that the two titles shared some of their key staff members, which made sense because Blizzard Entertainment was a much smaller studio in those times. However, while the rest of the Warcraft titles provided World of Warcraft with its look, it was other MMORPGs that provided the makers with insight in what they did and didn’t want to do with their own offerings. Eventually, their efforts produced the MMORPG, which has overcome not just time but also a number of other MMORPGs designed to be World of Warcraft killers. Naturally, this means that World of Warcraft hasn’t been permitted to stand still but has instead received a regular succession of updates, which in turn, means that it has received a regular succession of logo changes as well.
How Has the World of Warcraft Logo Changed Over Time?
With that said, World of Warcraft’s logo changes have been very minimal. On the one hand, this hasn’t made for the most exciting logo; on the other hand, it has enabled World of Warcraft to maintain a very consistent brand. Considering the results, it seems safe to say that whatever Blizzard Entertainment’s thoughts might have been on the matter, they were more right than not.
The first World of Warcraft logo incorporated the same “Warcraft” that can be found in the Warcraft III logo. This is unsurprising because said “Warcraft” has been incorporated in each of the logos for each of the titles since the very beginning. With that said, the World of Warcraft logo stands out in one respect, which is that it incorporates a visual representation of the world situated behind the “World of” that is in a separate font from the “Warcraft.”
Since that time, there has been a new version of the World of Warcraft logo for each of the seven expansions. The basic look of the logos have remained the same. For example, the “World of Warcraft” is rendered using the same letters in the same position in each of the logos. Likewise, the basic shape of the frame has remained the same from version to version as well. However, it is very easy to distinguish one of these logos from the others because they incorporate a fair amount of changed detail to reflect the content of the expansion.
For instance, the logo for Wrath of the Lich King has elements that are meant to evoke the icebound landscape of the titular character’s holdings. One excellent example would be the patches of frost that can be found on the frame, while another excellent example would be how “Wrath of the Lich King” is rendered in letters of ice.
Moving on, the logo for Cataclysm features cracks situated in strategic locations that reveal the molten material that can be found beneath. In particular, it should be mentioned that its world has a very prominent crack running through it, which is meant to reflect the catastrophic consequences of Deathwing being unleashed. Meanwhile, the logo for Mists of Pandaria is simpler in nature but makes use of a vivid green color scheme, which makes sense because of the Jade Serpent as well as the landscape featured in the expansion.
In the case of Warlords of Draenor, the use of wood and iron motifs is meant to evoke the Iron Horde, which is the alternate version of the Horde that was presented with up-to-date technology by Garrosh Hellscream. Later, the green and black color scheme of the logo of Legion was very much meant to remind interested individuals of the sickly green glow of the fel magic that is so tied up with the Burning Legion. Finally, there is the Battle for Azeroth logo, which features a deeper blue than normal that is contrasted with gold. Apparently, the color combination is meant to represent the lifeblood of the world itself, which comes out of the ground as a kind of gold-blue substance called Azerite. Something that plays an important role in the story of the expansion as well as the mechanics of the expansion, thus making it worthy of being referenced in such a manner.