Type of site
|Fan site (wiki)|
|Launched||24 November 2004|
The WoWWiki or World of Warcraft Wiki was a wiki about the Warcraft fictional universe, and one of the largest wikis about a specific subject. It began as an independent project in November 2004, and in 2007 joined Wikia. In late 2010, most of the administrators that were unhappy with Wikia-mandated changes started an independent fork known as Wowpedia. In May 2020, WoWWiki was archived and the wiki's userbase was merged into the much more active Wowpedia, somewhat reuniting the two communities once again.
WoWWiki.com was launched on November 24, 2004, the day after the release of World of Warcraft (WoW), as a source of information pertaining to WoW and the interface modification suite Cosmos. The wiki later expanded to cover the entirety of the Warcraft universe, including RTS games, novels, RPG reference books, manga, and other written sources, along with the WoW expansion packs. At various points in its development history, it was described as the "best known MMO wiki", "the second largest English-language wiki in the world behind Wikipedia", and the "mother of all WoW informational sources."
On November 1, 2010, in an interview with the Toronto Star, Jimmy Wales described sites in entertainment and gaming as the most popular part of Wikia, stating that "in gaming, every major video game has a huge wiki about it. World of Warcraft is probably the biggest. ... Just for that particular wiki alone, I think we see 4 to 5 million people a month."
In March 2008, SXSW held a panel on "How Gamers are Adopting the Wiki Way", which heavily featured WoWWiki and focused on the wiki as a collaborative strategy space for players. In a 2009 article, Lee Sherlock argued that WoWWiki constituted a collaborative writing genre, distinct from forums and walkthroughs (e.g. GameFAQs). Rik Hunter treated WoWWiki as a fan "affinity space". Both Sherlock and Hunter argued that WoWWiki was a primary example of a broader trend in digital media where consumers and users became producers of information. More recently, Hunter has analyzed talk pages for patterns of collaboration and suggests that "Successful collaborative writing on WoWWiki is a result of writers sharing common 'habits of mind,' and collaboration can be disrupted by those who hold more author-centric perspectives of textual ownership." In a follow up article, Hunter further analyzed talk pages to "describe a model of writing that accounts for readers-as-writers." Faltin Karlsen saw WoWWiki's size and complexity as evidence for the scale of emergent complexity in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft.