Instructions for Downloading World of Warcraft

Updated on June 29, 2016
Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl has played World of Warcraft since Burning Crusade and owns the expansions up to Legion. She loves pets and mounts.

What is World of Warcraft?

World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (abbreviated as “MMORPG”) where players take on the roles of fantasy characters in a virtual world made up of magic, adventure and warcraft. As a MMORPG, World of Warcraft can accommodate thousands of players at one time on multiple game servers. While only playable online, World of Warcraft can be enjoyed both alone and with friends or other players. With questlines, dungeons and raids, it is easy to enjoy all aspects of the game. Are you hooked yet?

World of Warcraft features two character alliances to choose from: the Alliance encompasses the human, dwarf, gnome, night elf, draenei and worgen races, while the Horde is made up of the orc, troll, tauren, forsaken, blood elf and goblin races. The Pandaren race introduced in the latest expansion Mists of Pandaria can choose to be either Alliance or Horde. Characters on both sides each have the option of various classes for gameplay, such as the warrior, priest, shaman or mage. Choosing a class determines a player’s role in gameplay and future abilities. There are currently four expansions for World of Warcraft (not including the original game).

Starting up World of Warcraft brings the player to an gorgeous log in screen.
Starting up World of Warcraft brings the player to an gorgeous log in screen. | Source

What is Battle.net?

Battle.net is a free Blizzard account that connects all Blizzard games under one gaming service. With Battle.net, your personal account information, Blizzard game accounts, transaction history and security settings are all in one place. While players of Starcraft II get the most out of Battle.net’s gaming community (with cloud saves, downloadable mods, matchmaking and more), Battle.net has many social features to offer for players of World of Warcraft. The Real ID and BattleTag features make it easy to stay in touch with close friends or online friends across different Blizzard games.

Get the Improved World of Warcraft Bundle!

World of Warcraft - PC/Mac
World of Warcraft - PC/Mac

This great deal includes the original game, plus all previous expansions (excluding Mists of Pandaria)!

 

In order to download World of Warcraft, you will need to create a Battle.net account (if you don’t already have one). Making an account is free, simple and necessary for all Blizzard games to date. To sign up for Battle.net:

  1. Navigate your browser to http://us.battle.net/en/

  2. Click the “Sign Up Now!” button on the right

  3. Fill out the following form with honesty

  4. Click the “Create Free Account” button below

When Blizzard asks for your country of residence, birth date and full name, they are asking for the truth. Your personal information is required to create a Battle.net account to ensure you are a real person and to authenticate the payment methods of game subscriptions and purchases. Try not to worry; Blizzard respects your privacy and will not abuse your personal information.

Creating a Battle.net account is a simple, free and is required to play World of Warcraft.
Creating a Battle.net account is a simple, free and is required to play World of Warcraft. | Source

Once you’ve created your Battle.net account, you’ll have access to multiple settings and features. You also have the ability to purchase games through the digital store, change your game subscription and add security measures to your account. On your Battle.net account, you are able to all of the following:

  • Change your email, password and account preferences

  • Change your address and payment options

  • Add a game key or purchase digital games

  • Download game clients and redeem codes

  • View your transaction history and account balance

  • Add an authenticator to secure your account

When you make your account, try to use a password that is long and uses letters, numerals and symbols; hacking can be a problem in World of Warcraft if your password is too weak. To better protect your Battle.net account, try installing an authenticator! You can get a Battle.net authenticator one of two ways:

  1. Purchase one from the Blizzard store for $6.50

  2. Download one for free on your smartphone device

An authenticator generates a six digit numerical code (or eight digits, if you use the digital version) that is unique to the user; the handheld authenticator resets every time the button is pushed, while the digital authenticator resets every minute. Each code is only usable once, helping to protect your Battle.net account from hackers.

Adding an authenticator to your account helps protect your information and password.
Adding an authenticator to your account helps protect your information and password. | Source

How to Download World of Warcraft

Before you decide to download World of Warcraft, it is best to check if you meet the minimum requirements to play the game. While World of Warcraft has been known to be a more low-end video game when it comes to graphics, some computers may still have difficulty running the game.

Minimum Requirements
Windows PC
Mac
Operating System
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Mac OS X 10.7 x
Processor
Intel Pentium D or AMD Athelon 64 x2
Intel Core 2 Duo
Video
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or ATI Radeon X1600 Pro
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600
Memory
2 GB RAM (1 GB Windows XP)
2 GB RAM (1 GB Windows XP)
Storage
35 GB hard drive space
25 GB hard drive space
Internet
Broadband internet connection
Broadband internet connection
Media
None
None
Input
Keyboard and mouse required
Keyboard and mouse required
Resolution
1024 x 768 minimum
1024 x 768 minimum

Get the Mists of Pandaria Expansion!

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria - PC/Mac - (Obsolete)
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria - PC/Mac - (Obsolete)

Mists of Pandaria features the Pandaren race, Monk class, cloud serpent riding, new scenarios and more.

 

Once you’ve determined that your computer can run World of Warcraft, you’ll need to download the game. Players need to add new Blizzard games to their Battle.net account to manage their account subscription and download the game. If you have a physical copy of World of Warcraft you'll need to add the game key to your Battle.net account. If so, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Battle.net account page

  2. Click the “Games and Codes” tab

  3. Select the option “Add a Game Key”

  4. Enter the key and click “Redeem Code”

Entering your 25-digit game key into the code redemption will add it to your account.
Entering your 25-digit game key into the code redemption will add it to your account. | Source

Redeeming your key code will attach World of Warcraft to your Battle.net account. Be aware that game keys are unique; once a key is redeemed, it cannot be used again for any other Battle.net account. If you don’t own a physical copy of the game, you can also purchase it digitally through the store. This allows immediate download of the game and is especially popular for new expansion releases. To get a digital copy of World of Warcraft:

  1. Go to your Battle.net account page

  2. Click the “Games and Codes” tab

  3. Select the option “Buy Digital Games”

  4. Buy World of Warcraft

Buying World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games online is a breeze!
Buying World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games online is a breeze! | Source

Which World of Warcraft expansions do you own?

See results

Blizzard games can be bought via American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and a Battle.net balance. Only one game license can be purchased per Battle.net account. This means that you cannot buy another copy of World of Warcraft for a friend or family member with your own Battle.net account. Digitally purchasing World of Warcraft will automatically add it to your Battle.net account and make it available for download.

Once World of Warcraft is connected to your Battle.net account, you can download the game client! If you have a physical copy of the game, all you need to do is install World of Warcraft onto your computer manually. Downloading the game, however, is required if you purchased a digital copy. To download and install your game:

  1. Go to your Battle.net account page

  2. Click the “Summary” tab (if not already there)

  3. Select World of Warcraft from “Your Game Accounts”

  4. Click “Download Game Client” on the right

Clicking on a game account will show the name, status and other important information.
Clicking on a game account will show the name, status and other important information. | Source

This option will download the original World of Warcraft game client and may not include patches and updates. But don’t worry - once the game is installed on your computer, the World of Warcraft launcher will patch and update your game files automatically. You can also edit your game subscription from this page; a monthly, 3-month or 6-month subscription is required to play World of Warcraft.

Note: Depending on your internet speed and strength, downloading World of Warcraft can take quite a while. Be sure your internet is operating and try using an ethernet cable if possible.

The World of Warcraft game launcher automatically updates your game files.
The World of Warcraft game launcher automatically updates your game files. | Source

How to Download World of Warcraft: Starter Edition

Blizzard has implemented a trial version of world of Warcraft for new, unsubscribed players. The World of Warcraft: Starter Edition allows you to play the game for free until level 20 without a time restriction. Players are limited to 10 gold - enough to purchase a mount, which was previously impossible. Professions are capped at 100 ranks, however, and players cannot speak in chat beyond the /say, /party and /whisper commands. Starter Edition players cannot create or join guilds, trade, invite players into a party or use Real ID features. These limitations encourage upgrading to the paid version of World of Warcraft. To download the World of Warcraft: Starter Edition game client:

  1. Go to your Battle.net account page

  2. Click the Summary tab (if not already there)

  3. Select “World of Warcraft Starter Edition”

  4. Click “Download Game Client” on the right

Your Battle.net account summary shows you everything from information to games.
Your Battle.net account summary shows you everything from information to games. | Source

Remember to be patient; installing World of Warcraft can take time due to all of the content and game updates, especially if you have to download it first. The installation alone can take hours before the launcher updates and patches your game files. In the end, do not expect to play World of Warcraft on the same day you download and install the game client, especially if you are installing multiple game expansions. Don’t let this ruin your game experience, however: once your game is up and running, you’ll be sure to have fun exploring the regions of Azeroth!

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Jessica Marello

    Comments

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      • Dreamhowl profile imageAUTHOR

        Jessica Marello 

        4 years ago from United States

        You're right, I should add that in! My computer isn't as awesome, so I avoid playing until everything is completely updated. Thanks for the correction!

      • kislany profile image

        kislany 

        5 years ago from Cyprus

        I can play the game almost from the beginning as it's downloading in the background as I play. Something to keep in mind that it's possible as long as soon as you see the big Play button enabled.

      • Dreamhowl profile imageAUTHOR

        Jessica Marello 

        5 years ago from United States

        Thanks! Battle.net is new to older players and can be confusing, so I figured instructions couldn't hurt.

      • KawikaChann profile image

        Kawika Chann 

        5 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

        Very informative with easy to follow instructs. Well done. Peace. Kawi.

      • Dreamhowl profile imageAUTHOR

        Jessica Marello 

        5 years ago from United States

        Thanks for reading, and I'm happy you enjoyed it!

      • Vacation Trip profile image

        Susan 

        5 years ago from India

        Interesting hub and very well written. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

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