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News & Features Discussion  » World of Warcraft: WoW Clone Syndrome

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82 posts found

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  6/18/07 8:09:54 AM#1

AJ Glasser tackles the popular idea of "WoW clone" MMORPGs, and examines the impact and validity of that idea on a pair of high-profile games.

In a recent article from, EVE Online CEO Hilmar Petursson asked why so many Massively Multi-player Online Games copy World of Warcraft - as if developers do it on purpose.

"...World of Warcraft is the perfect implementation of this [genre]," says Petursson, referring specifically to fantasy MMORPGs. "It's been done. Do something else."

Petursson's game, EVE Online, has the luxury of being unique among MMOs; it's science fiction and it is entirely dependent on social interactions in gameplay, EVE Online has catered to a specific (and loyal) niche of MMO gamers that generally has no cause to compare it to WoW. Other games, particularly ones in the fantasy genre, don't fare so well. The stigma of WoW clone syndrome can cripple an MMO in the early release days, driving away players who either, 1) Don't want to see the same old thing or 2) are completely loyal to WoW on grounds that it's the best of the best.

Take, for example, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Whatever you feel about the game, Vanguard brings originality to the fantasy MMO genre with gameplay features like Diplomacy and a robust crafting system that caters to the unique skill sets of the crafter. The game is also designed to be a follow-up to the original EverQuest (as opposed to EverQuest II) and therefore specifically, and by definition, not copying WoW. Even so, Vanguard was dubbed a WoW clone - and a lousy one, at that.

Read the whole article here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Novice Member

Joined: 4/11/05
Posts: 709

6/18/07 8:42:11 AM#2

I am so sick of people referring to MMO's as "WoW clones".  WoW is based on Warcraft, and if anything borrows concepts from other games to cross the Warcraft series into the MMO scene.  The only thing that could be considered a WoW clone, would be if someone were to develop an MMO version of Command & Conquer, and even that wouldn't really be a clone.

There are no WoW clones.

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Novice Member

Joined: 10/30/06
Posts: 107

6/18/07 8:55:52 AM#3

It has nothing to do with clones, and everything with the changed communities on the Internet.

Every released game suffers from the "When game X is released this game is going to die" comments. Some games even get bashed before they even released a beta.

Blizzard has increased the MMO market and with it the ammount of people with an opinion. Problem is, players keep on bashing games they never played or quit playing. Just look at this site or Silky Venom, 95% is about bashing (which is really sad). And THATS the problem not the 'wow clone' syndrome!


Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/04
Posts: 18

6/18/07 9:04:05 AM#4

Warhammer online, Age of conan, Pirates of the burning sea are all going to stink.


The next gen MMO is Darkfall Online.  Get a peek at it. 


Warning though, it is not for the faint of heart, or people you like shiny things.

Will any game ever equal the rampant pking fun of the good ole' dreadlord days of UO 98?


Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/04
Posts: 116


6/18/07 9:06:50 AM#5
People who call all new games "wow clones" are retarded. They arent more clones of WoW, than WoW is a clone of all games before it. People need to get that into their heads and shut up already.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/28/05
Posts: 63

6/18/07 9:08:14 AM#6
How the hell can POTBS be "WoW in a boat". That is the most idiotic comment I've ever read on these boards, and that took some doing. It blows my mind seriously. Thats like calling EvE a WoW clone lol.

Novice Member

Joined: 1/13/07
Posts: 275

6/18/07 9:11:47 AM#7
Originally posted by DKShadow
People who call all new games "wow clones" are retarded. They arent more clones of WoW, than WoW is a clone of all games before it. People need to get that into their heads and shut up already.

So very true. A stupid discussion or even to only think about such matters.
  User Deleted
6/18/07 9:15:33 AM#8
Originally posted by hbosman

It has nothing to do with clones, and everything with the changed communities on the Internet.

Every released game suffers from the "When game X is released this game is going to die" comments. Some games even get bashed before they even released a beta.

Blizzard has increased the MMO market and with it the ammount of people with an opinion. Problem is, players keep on bashing games they never played or quit playing. Just look at this site or Silky Venom, 95% is about bashing (which is really sad). And THATS the problem not the 'wow clone' syndrome!


Exactly!  It's not the "WoW clone" problem... it's the people in the community who bash any game they don't like.. regardless if they play it or not.  The excuse is always the same... "WoW clone".  Even when the game doesn't even remotely resemble WoW, it's still compared to it.

The community is the problem.. not the genre.



Novice Member

Joined: 12/08/06
Posts: 5

6/18/07 9:18:36 AM#9
I must disagree with your article.

First, if a game becomes a WoW because it has elves, dwarves and orcs then if you would grab EVE and replace every ship with a character and every space region with hills and deserts you could call it a WoW clone and nothing could be further from the truth. EVE would still be EVE if it was fantasy. It's the "sandbox" mechanics that make it special.

Secondly, tabula (a shooter!), pirates, conan and others like spellborn are all games that apparently will aim to make skill (as in combat twitch/tactical skill) much more central to the gameplay (in some cases through PvP or RvR) and if in the end they have quests and character leveling that still wont make them feel anything like WoW but potentially much more like action games. Planetside for example has character leveling but it had nothing to do with WoW.
kuyzat Xfire Miniprofile
  User Deleted
6/18/07 9:19:10 AM#10
Originally posted by Stradden

AJ Glassner tackles the popular idea of "WoW clone" MMORPGs, and examines the impact and validity of that idea on a pair of high-profile games.

In a recent article from, EVE Online CEO Hilmar Petursson asked why so many Massively Multi-player Online Games copy World of Warcraft - as if developers do it on purpose.

"...World of Warcraft is the perfect implementation of this [genre]," says Petursson, referring specifically to fantasy MMORPGs. "It's been done. Do something else."

This is nothing more than the usual Eve Online eliitist speak.  Nice try Mr Petursson but to take the highest subscriber fantasy MMO and smugly say all the rest are WoW clones because you offer a space game is a self serving joke.  I'm sure you'd love to raise your arm of victory beside Blizzard by saying there's only two games of real choice out there WoW and yours but sorry my friend, your game will never even compare to WoW's shadow.  But nice try at trying to bask in some of WoW's glory though.

Signed, a very happy EQ2 player.  And proud that  both games are from the good ole U.S.A!  :)



Novice Member

Joined: 1/04/07
Posts: 601

"Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum"

6/18/07 9:21:27 AM#11
Originally posted by trajan

Warhammer online, Age of conan, Pirates of the burning sea are all going to stink.


The next gen MMO is Darkfall Online.  Get a peek at it. 


Warning though, it is not for the faint of heart, or people you like shiny things.

You are entitled to your opinion ofc, but you have no real proof to back up those statements as none of the games you mentioned have released yet.

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/05
Posts: 220

Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten. B.F. Skinner

6/18/07 9:22:22 AM#12
If a game clones WoW is beside the point. The simple fact is WoW has a lot of players. Which in turn means a lot of subscriptions and hence lots of money for the company. Therefore another company in the business of making a mmorpg will look at WoW and try to in some respect clone it with the intention of also making lots of money. Love or hate WoW the one thing it has done for mmorpg is help destroy innovation. Why try and create something new and different? Why not simply clone WoW with the expectation of having lots of players, like WoW does. Forget what gamers want. This business is about making money!

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/03
Posts: 5

6/18/07 9:23:26 AM#13

People who complain about games being called wow-clones are themselves wow-clones.

thats clone-on-clone action, its not for family viewing...


Novice Member

Joined: 4/14/06
Posts: 68

6/18/07 9:27:50 AM#14
Some people in the World of Warcraft community  put WoW and Blizzard on this god like pedestal, that if another game whether it is fantasy or whatever, is a “WoW Clone.”  I have nothing against WoW, I love the interface, how simple to figure out things.  But if I went to the forums General or the realm I play on.  I could guarantee I  would not brought the game at all.

So really a better article would had been, “[INSERT GAME NAME] Communities”  

Novice Member

Joined: 2/12/06
Posts: 202

6/18/07 9:27:51 AM#15
Elves, Dwarves and Orcs aren't the property of Blizzard. They are common enough in fantasy themes to be a theme unto themselves.

The cartoony look of WoW is closer to be signature to them however... they did borrow heavilly on the Warhammer franchise...

The gameplay for WoW is just typical of MMOs that came before it...

I think that people that go around calling other games "WoW in space" or "WoW on boats" or whatever simply haven't played many MMOs. Simplistic statements are a reflection of simplistic views and minds.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/14/04
Posts: 397

6/18/07 9:29:36 AM#16
When people say a "WoW clone", it pretty much just means same general game play style.  I know that you all can't think that they mean it is a copy of it.  Where it be combat or quests or whatever.  Most of the games do follow the same type game play.

The only reason WoW is used as the game, is because it is the most popular or widely played(at least by people in the US).  WoW is just a clone itself, which someone already said.  WoW is pretty much just EQ 1 with better combat and more casual friendly.  I usually use EQ as a reference, because it was the first, first person 3d based MMOG. 

It will always be this way, just WoW happens to be the most popular right now.  Some day it might be "Tarred and Feathered Clone", if that were ever to become a game.

BTW, no you can't steal my game name fools!!!


Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/04
Posts: 225

6/18/07 9:47:07 AM#17
It's an interesting read but overall not a very informed article.
You know, there is more to the fantasy MMO genre than World of Warcraft. They struck it big with a winning formula but to say 'the fantasy genre has been done now so move on' is total crap.
Also, LOTR is a clone of WoW? Possibly in numerous ways but certainly not in it's class system. WoW did not invent the 'wizard' class.
And Warhammer Online a WoW clone? Get it right. Warhammer has been around using that graphical style for over 25 years. WoW owes it's very existence to the Warhammer Universe.

You can walk the walk but can you talk the talk?


Novice Member

Joined: 6/11/05
Posts: 633

6/18/07 9:47:56 AM#18
pff i think its justified to call it wow clones couse the game has everything a standard mmorpg has
take any mmorpg compare it to wow and  atleast 70% are the same  30% go to grahpics some details in combat mechanics
and other details that keep the games from being assaulted in court

i think, its reasonable to blame most mmorpgs to be wow clones couse of the major lack of
look at the fps gerne -noone is bitching about hal life clones and why?
its basically always the same runnning arround killing whatever and solving
by the way some smaller puzzle and still noone speaks about half life clones
fps have a lot more settings and graphic styles  than we have in mmos
(mmorpgs ~ 80% fantasy whith  orcs,elves & dwars  ...very exciting)
same is found regarding storys
good chunk of mmos have not even something that could be called a story

Pi*1337/100 = 42


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/30/06
Posts: 331


6/18/07 9:48:28 AM#19

I'm guessing on November 23, 2004 the MMORPG market started and all games before that date never existed.

And to the guy that said WAR, AOC and POTBS are going to sink and DF will be the next big thing... LAWL  I can't laugh hard enough.

Oh hell!! I can't see, the vapor in my eyes are blinding me!


Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/04
Posts: 805

6/18/07 9:53:56 AM#20
I think people are forgetting that,just like it said it in the article, WoW is just a EQ clone. So technically all new mmos that are said to be WoW clones are really EQ clones but are called WoW clones because the majority of the new gamers brought in with WoW are fucking retarded or just don't know their history very well.
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