Hello once again friends. Sorry I've been away for awhile school and marriage will do that to you from time to time. I thought for my little homecoming I'd hit on a subject that is of great annoyance to me and a little meatier than my previous two posts. Enjoy.
The term "WoW Clone" is a provincial four letter word on todays game development forums for up and coming games. It is considered a stigma, but in my opinion it is nothing more than a flawed and empty argument used by those who lack the intelligence to constructively criticize or just like to troll a forum or two and generally piss people off. In short in my opinion there is no such thing as a WoW Clone,yet! Well now that felt good to get off my chest. Now for those of you who might disagree with that statement read on and at least entertain my argument and then feel free to attack it any way you wish. For now though let's go ahead and dissect the WoW Clone argument piece by piece.
I usually find the WoW Clone advocates arguing the point of game play so I thought I'd just dive right on in and attack that real quick. Here are some popular arguments.
It's a WoW Clone because of it's fantasy theme.
Wrong. Actually the fantasy setting for many of the fantasy mmo's as well as pen and paper games came from or were heavily inspired by Tolkien's books. So I guess that makes most fantasy mmo's retroactively LOTRO clones.
It's a WoW Clone because the UI is the same.
Strike two. The UI that WoW employs was originally used in UO and then tweaked and used in Everquest. Just about every mmo uses a similar interface because simply it works. Think of a car like a Ford Taurus. The brake petal is on the left and the gas is on the right. You can find the ignition on the steering column and it sits on four wheels. Well so do many other cars on the market as well; Does this make them all Ford clones? No it doesn't they're just using what works. Can it be tweaked? Of course, but the basic concept is still the same.
It's a WoW clone because they have the same stupid quests.
Hey you got me on that one. Just kidding. If you think the minds at Blizzard developed that great idea well friend you should play some of the older games out there. Quests of the mundane have been around for the entire ten years of mmo's existence. And why not let's face it in a fantasy world peasants and the like are needy people. I will say that WoW did perfect these quests for maximum frustration making sure that only one out of five wolves actually had fur, and that one out of eight boars would actually be made of boar meat.
It's a WoW Clone because it's all centered around equipment and items.
That's getting a little weak me thinks. Now I agree that mmo's of past have been a little too centered on the whole gear idea, but in the end what's the whole point of doing this stuff anyway. To level up get some sweet newer abilities and show off that fancy new robe, sword, shield, or what have you to you friends and community alike. I can tel you this I didn't sit in a basement playing D&D in my youth because I thought it would get me laid. I did it for the chance to level up and get some new gear, and maybe some money on the side.
It's a WoW Clone because it looks like WoW.
Yeah that's a touchy one there. You see there is a game called Warhammer and about twenty years ago they kinda made the art style that Blizzard's developers kinda liked. I'm not saying they stole it just that they were inspired by it. Which in the end again would retroactively make WoW a WAR clone.
I'm sure there are many more examples, but I think I've made my point well enough.
The reality in all of this is that mmo's are businesses, and they follow a business model. McDonald's is the most successful burger joint out there, and many of their competitors have copied their business model in hope of achieving a similar success. That doesn't make every fast food burger joint out there a McDonald's clone. Because they take that business model and twist it a little to make it thier own. Our entire soceity is full of competing bussinesses that operate under tha same business model, so it's just silly to try and put down an mmo because they're mimicing a successful way of doing things. Hell that's pretty smart if you ask me. Some of you may be wondering about the yet I had put into my statement earlier as if to imply that you could make a WoW Clone, and I believe you can.
To do it you simply have to do what WoW did when thay made their game. You look at the best mmo's currently on the market and you take what they did right and use it, and find out what they are doing wrong or what didn't work out and find a workable solution or leave it, and throw a few of your own ideas in a presto! You did it. You have made a WoW clone. Congratulations.
In the end I find this phenomenon a little funny because you really don't see it alot in other genres. You don't see FPS or RTS fans going on about how one game is the clone of the other in their forums, and I guess maybe it's because we spend more on mmo's than we do single player games so our expectations are high. I can't wait with all the new games coming out in the next 2 years to see if one of them will become the next great game to be given the esteemed honor of being "Cloned" by alot of the mmo's being developed in that time.
And that's my 2 Copper.
Until next time.