WoW didn't ruin the MMO genre.
The only thing WoW ruined was itself - over years of patches and expansions that changed the game and really took it far, far away from the original direction.
And why? Because we (maybe not us here on MMORPG.com) asked them to. Begged them to.
We didn't know this was where it'd lead, but WoW is really a shadow and a whisper of the game it once was... yet, at the same time, all of the quality of life improvements made to the game have made certain/many things much better.
But over all, despite all the fixes and positive changes, something was certainly lost. The soul of the game one could say.
The real problem with the genre as a whole is not WoW but it is/was in everyone else trying to copy/emulate WoW.
Accepting the new "standards" that WoW set is one thing - all games of all genres that are successful do this, like FPS games and HUD's - it's just an industry standard you copy and hopefully try and improve on/customize for your purposes.
It's the spin-off strategy that always leads to the same thing - unoriginal, uncreative garbage that tries to capture a piece of the other guy's pie and fails.
Television does this, movies do this, books and music certainly do this.
TV show is exceptional and popular - you get bad spin offs - Law and Order, NCIS, Friends, etc. etc. led to all kinds of garbage shows.
Movie is exceptional and popular - you get spin bad offs - Lord of the Rings - fantasy movies, Iron Man - comic book movies, etc. etc. led to all kinds of garbage movies.
Book is exceptional and popular - you get bad spin offs - Harry Potter / Twilight, there have been all kinds of garbage spin offs.
(Not saying Twilight was ever good but HP certainly is)
Music, a sound is popularized and successful, you get all kinds of crappy spin-off bands trying to get their piece of that pie, to emulate that sound....
But we all know how this turns out right?
Only thing that will "save" the genre from unoriginal, uncreative spin-offs is bold, decisive action and fresh new thinking.
Let me be clear on one thing - some of the games that have been released post-WoW are really quite good, quite enjoyable even if they are not original and creative.
Just like some of the spin-off movies/shows/books/music is actually quite good and has some staying power.
But will they ever be the "next big thing?"
Only the original and creative ever truly has the potential to break perceptions, bend expectations, and redefine how we define a thing.
The MMO genre is far from ruined. It is larger and in many ways better then ever before due to the massive availability of choice in a genre that not too long ago had very little.
The genre does need a revival. A new way forward. A fresh reboot.
Where is JJ Abrams when you need him?