Boats (aka sea vessels) are a form of transportation, mostly in use between Alliance ports, but also between some neutral ports. The Horde equivalent is the zeppelin airship, although some docked Forsaken ships have appeared in Northrend.
In patch 2.3.0, transport ships were crewed by NPCs. Unfortunately, the vendors did not work as intended and the crews were removed in a hotfix on 12/06/07. The crew and guards returned in the Wrath of the Lich King beta, and with patch 3.0 on live realms.
Seen extensively throughout Azeroth, transport ships are employed by both the Alliance and the Steamwheedle Cartel (and various pirate entities). They employ a barque sail plan (three masts with square sails) with jibs and gaffs and have no prominent weaponry. Their sails would make them suited to open ocean sailing along many points, but at the cost of requiring more crew to man the square sails.
Frigates are the warship of choice for the pirates of Azeroth, although surprisingly there are only a few to be found in the service of the Alliance (most notably at Venture Bay). These ships employ brig sail plans, but appear to lack jibs or gaff sails, both of which would contribute greatly to the maneuvering and speed of these craft without increasing the crew requirements to man the sails. With just square sails, these ships would have poor performance sailing against the wind or maneuvering in battle. In realistic terms, these ships would only qualify as brig sloops because of their small armament. Some confusion over whether these are actually battleships has arisen, but their sail plan has more in common with Warcraft III human frigates.
A new warship based on the mesh of the Transport with a gun deck. They can be found patrolling near Scaliwag Point. More information coming soon.
A type of cargo vessel that can be found in Venture Bay outfitted with cranes for handling lumber. Somewhat similar to the Oil Tanker of the Second War; possibly a multipurpose type that can be outfitted for various tasks. Driven by stern paddlewheel.
A type of submersible that can be found in Venture Bay. Its design draws parallels to the goblin-designed X-52, and it sport a large number of external rocket munitions.
More information coming soon.
More information coming soon. It is based on the Pirate Destroyer.
More information coming soon.
Employed principally by the night elves of Darnassus, these ships are similar in size and capacity to transports. Built around a lateen sail, they can be seen frequently plying the waters of the west coast of Kalimdor. Their sail plan does not require an extensive crew but can be a liability on the high seas and dangerous in storms, a problem that would be exaggerated by its high sterncastle.
A mainstay of the Second War, the trimaran destroyers of Silvermoon continue to be a common sight in the northern waters. While they do not mount heavy weaponry, their ramming prows and versatile junk rigging make them fierce opponents at sea. Their rigging would put them at a disadvantage for raw speed (partially offset by their hull configuration) but at a significant advantage for maneuvering in most wind conditions.
A relatively new invention, icebreakers appeared with the resurgence of Alliance activity in Northrend. Equipped with sturdy armored prows for icebreaking and backup brig rigging, they represent the resurgence of Alliance naval supremacy in the aftermath of the third war. Like frigates, their incomplete sail plan would put them at a disadvantage were it not for their steam powered paddlewheels.
Once the centerpiece of the Horde's naval power, juggernaughts today are but a fading memory. Only one surviving ship of the type is known to exist, hidden away in a secret dock in the mines south of Moonbrook. Having basically no significant sails to speak of these ships were dependent on steam power to move.
Time has not been kind to the ships of this class. Built during the days of the high elves, and featuring the prominent unicorn sails commonly employed by ships of Silvermoon before their downfall, these were at one time a common sight in the waters of Azeroth. No longer. No surviving member of this ship type have yet been found, and those wrecks that exist to be found are typically mangled so that no conclusive information can be drawn about their full sail plan. All that can be said for sure was that they were reasonably small craft with armored prows suitable for ramming.