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Gaming To Hell In A Handbasket

The trials, tribulations and musings of an MMO veteran trying to find the next holy grail.

Author: Strayfe

World of Warcraft: So Good It Ruined A Genre

Posted by Strayfe Wednesday November 28 2007 at 5:23PM
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I hate WoW.  Not because I think it's a bad game, but because I think it's a good game.  At the same time, I will never play it again, because it's simply not for me any longer.  I'm past the linear by-the-book PvE dungeons, the boring, repetitive grinding, the mindless quests, and by far the most annoying aspect, the immature, GIMME-NOW community.  I am eager for something new.  Something entertaining.  I am a gamer.

We need new direction.  Gamers want change.  Gamers want innovation.  Gamers want to feel nostalgic again.  Instead, gamers get World of Warcraft.  Many, MANY times over.  We get World of Warcraft repackaged, with different art, different place and NPC names, and one or two new features.

We smile, and nod, and wait a few months for the next title on the horizon, only to find out that it too shall be World of Warcraft - only this time with better graphics.  I think somewhere deep down, even the die hard WoWbies are tired of it.

Sadly, this trend is set to continue for a good long while.  World of Warcraft showed game developers that an MMO could make a substantial amount of money.  As with all things in our capitalist society, people took notice.  Game developers stood up on their chairs and bellowed in a single collective voice, "Me too!"

Suddenly, almost overnight, nearly every game developer set to work on remaking World of Warcraft.  Driven by visions of multi-million dollar mansions, and a woman on each arm, the nerd community set their sights firmly on delusions of grandeur, oblivious to one thing:

Development takes time.  Trends change.

Fast forward to Christmas 2007.

In the last year, we've had several Worlds of Warcraft release.  People oooh'ed and ahhhh'ed as Sigil - ahem - SOE, released a buggy World of Vanguard, with really good graphics and less content.

Turbine followed up Asheron's Call and DDO with World of Tolkien, the roleplaying community's WoW, complete with epic, instanced questlines and more RPing tools than you can shake a stick at.

World of Tabula Rasa opted for a sci-fi spin on the old favorite.

Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online and Tabula Rasa are all good games.

I will repeat that:

Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online and Tabula Rasa are all good games.

Why are these games not as successful as World of Warcraft?  Simple.  Because they aren't World of Warcraft.

Think about it.  I try out a new hot dog stand down the street that I've heard about, Blizzard Dogs.  It's supposed to have awesome hot dogs, and hey, what do you know?  It does.  The hot dogs are cooked in a revolutionary manner, taste great, and are good for you.  The hot dog stand proceeds to do record breaking business.

Other hot dog stands take notice.  Their owners each head to the new stand, buy a hot dog, and deconstruct everything about it: the taste, the aftertaste, the texture, the ingredients, everything.  Having satisfied themselves that they can duplicate it, they each head back to their own businesses and perfect the recipe, each attempting to add a pinch of something new to make it unique.  Perhaps one serves their hot dog with onions.  Another one seasons theirs with pepper.  But essentially, they have succeeded admirably in cloning the original recipe.

The stands unveil their newest hot dog.  The people who have been eating at Blizzard Dogs for the past 3 years are looking for a new spin on an old hot dog.  They try the new hot dogs from the new stands, and... though they taste great, they can't help but feel as though something seems awfully familiar.  After 3-4 of the hot dogs, it hits them.  This is the same recipe as Blizzard Dogs!

Frustrated at the clones, customers head back to Blizzard Dogs.  Why?  Because they know the owners, and they have made friends with other customers who frequent there.

Get the picture?

*knocks on game developers' heads*  Hey, anyone home? 

Nobody is going to leave World of Warcraft to play World of Warcraft with Onions On Top

If they wanted to play World of Warcraft, they would play World of Warcraft.  They have friends there, they have guilds there.  They have characters there that they've played for years and have become attached to.  In order to draw subscribers away from World of Warcraft, you have to make something BETTER, not something the same.

Sadly, 2008 will see the release of World of Warhammer.  Customers everywhere who have been eagerly watching the refinement of this recipe are going to discover that Warhammer is destined to be nothing more than a giant replica of Alterac Valley in World of Warcraft.  It will probably be a good game, but it's not the holy grail.  It's World of Warcraft.

We can hope for the future though.  Age of Conan, Darkfall, Aion, Chronicles of Spellborn.  There are several games slated to make an attempt to become the next big thing.  We can hope that they succeed, and that the industry can come to realize this:

Gamers don't want clones.  Gamers want innovation.  If you create a copy of an existing game, you will fail.

EQ2 is not as successful as the original EQ.  Asheron's Call 2 was a monumental failure.  World of Warcraft 2-9 are not going to be as good as the original.  It's only too bad that developers didn't realize this back in 2004 and early 2005.




Malkosha writes:

You make a lot of great points and I agre with all of them except on.


For every line (except for direct references) you wrote "World of Warcraft" put in EQ1.


WoW is simply a clone of EQ1 made easier for solo play. There is nothing really new in WoW that EQ1 hasn't done. Raids, con systrem, grouping dyanmics including the ever popular Tank/Hearle/DPS-CC. Change WoW to EQ1 and you have it right.



Wed Nov 28 2007 6:07PM Report
vajuras writes:

Man this blog was totally awesome I almost fell out of my chair bro laughing so hard I've been saying this all along. now enjoy being a marked man like myself. Be cautious, the wowbois are everywhere and they will click 'Report' everytime they see you post.

"omg noooo he's such a troll ban him!!! Ban him!"

Great blog yo

Wed Nov 28 2007 6:21PM Report
malachidark writes:

This was an awesome read. You hit the nail on the head with it. "Nobody is going to leave World of Warcraft to play World of Warcraft with Onions On Top." dude that's just perfect!


I expect to see innovative games in about 3 or 4 years. WoW had just come out not too long before all these "current new" games had just started being developed. When the new games were about halfway through development, people started realizing that clones are bad.


Hopefully, people will start working on games today that won't be anything like WoW and we'll see them released in like 2010 or at the latest 2012. Oh wait, 2012 is supposed to be the end of the world. I guess it's true....The day World of Warcraft is dethroned, is the day the world ends!

Wed Nov 28 2007 7:57PM Report
Pepsipwnzgod writes:

this post would have been a lot more "ground breaking" if you hadnt of totally flamed wow beforehand, it's a meager conclusion to "i suck at wow so i quit" kind of past few weeks or however long you played wow, if you quit it - quit it- deal with the fact it's the best and move on slowly to the full on pvp of guild wars or rakion or what not, but your not saying anything that 50 million other people on this same exact site havnt said, im drawn in by seeing "wow" and it's always this same... WOW ROCKS but i hate it, but it's so good, but im not addicted, and i need a new one, but it sucks so bad even though it has amazing graphics but this one game could have better graphics and jesus... so let's all say what we mean shall we?

WoW pwns all, people in the "now" wont make a game like it until it's the "later" ~ but just wait until games like aion and warhamemr come out and we'll see, i have a good feeling about the 2 - and let's not forget about ragnarok 2, we will see a lot of changes in the fairley close future.

Wed Nov 28 2007 8:15PM Report
imrodus writes:

WoW went ahead of its time to create new things and make them perfect for players all around.

It will take a few years at least for developers to create something newer... because there are not many ideas out there or the right tools to bring those ideas to life.

Wed Nov 28 2007 9:30PM Report
JB47394 writes:

Good article, Strayfe.  It says something that nobody has really articulated particularly well: now that World of Warcraft has been done, the EverQuest-style game has been done.  Period.  Next!

Wed Nov 28 2007 9:48PM Report
Scissors writes:

This was an awesome read while i was on my lunch break. Personally i hate wow myself but i do understand that wow gave other devs out there hope that you can make quite alot of money making an mmo. I just hope for fresh new ideas for the future. Sadly im starting to think that some gamers are getting too used to the same layout and standards of all wow and wow like games, that they will be too afraid of a change. Lets hope not....

Wed Nov 28 2007 9:58PM Report
ElRenmazuo writes:

Dont worry citizens Bioware, Square-Enix, and Bethesda will save us!

And I agree with everything you said.

Wed Nov 28 2007 10:13PM Report
kaltam writes:

i agree on this post except the comment about warhammer. I'm Banking on that to be my MMORPG Savior.


Thu Nov 29 2007 2:21AM Report
vhadakhan writes:

Hooraw. Darkfall is my next hope.

Thu Nov 29 2007 3:47AM Report
Norden writes:

HA! A good read. Only one thing, copycats ("Game developers stood up on their chairs and bellowed in a single collective voice, "Me too!") will be satisfied with a fraction of the market WoW holds. "If only we can get 10-20% of this, we'll be rich!" They are not expecting in beating WoW at all, only getting a share of the market. I agree, that even that hasnt worked out too well for the reasons you mentioned, mainly community.

thx :-)

Thu Nov 29 2007 4:14AM Report
patrikd23 writes:

One this is for sure.... Playabillity rules when it comes to a good game.

Thu Nov 29 2007 4:56AM Report
rampone writes:

So... what you are saying is all these games are actually hot dogs? is this a article or are you just hungry... actually I could go for a hot dog

Thu Nov 29 2007 6:34AM Report
ShrikeValeo writes:

same....had nothing to eat yet. Great read, accurately identifying what so many think. All WoW did was kill the genre, nothing more. no landmark, redifining concept, it just took a deep breath, inhaling too many people as it did. Its saddening that so many don't take the financial risk of using a completely redefined idea, but it is indeed a strong pressure for them to decide to use an idea thats worked or try to create a new one, being the guinea pig of that idea whether it works or not. All we can do is hop from game to game, hoping that each in turn is the "new idea" we've all hoped for

Thu Nov 29 2007 7:28AM Report
Kenny3000 writes:

wow only took 4 posts for the wowbies to show there faces... i think thats a new record. Strayfe if anyone bust this post just for being on WoW and the like ignore it thats was the best post i have read to date. and suprisingly most of thies people are smart and understand what you are trying to say and not just OMG He HATES WOW KILL HIM!!! Awsome post.

Thu Nov 29 2007 8:14AM Report
Isoman writes:

Excellent post, Strayfe, and I agree 100%

Thu Nov 29 2007 10:39AM Report
DAS1337 writes:

I'll go against the grain here.  Not because I want to be argumentative,  but because I don't agree with your WoW clone comparisons.  I will give you kudos however, this post is extremely well thought out, the ideas seemed to be formulated with the signs of someone intelligent behind them. 

All of these games you've mentioned.  How do they clone wow?  A Sci-Fi game that is FPS is a completely different genre of game.  How you can compare Tabula Rasa to Wow is beyond me.  Are you only saying this because it has instanced combat?  It also has far less content than WoW.  You are completely wrong.

LoTR.  I can see a few things.  Such as raid content in end-game.  But, other than that.  There is no PvP, short of fighting as a monster.  Which WoW doesn't do.  You can't attack other players in the open world.  The crafting system is similar, but I believe that LoTR is better than WoW in that aspect.  The graphics aren't cartoony at all.  The fighting system is far better.  Which the additions of titles, how the screen shakes and colors change to give you illusions of hope or doom.  Those tweaks make it all better than WoW.  This game isn't even close to similar as a whole.

We'll finish it off with what we know about WAR.  I focused RvR game.  With all of the PvP that WoW has, but bigger, better, and more meaningful.  Where are siege engines?  Catapults? Trebuchets?  Battering rams?  Where is the real competition in races?  In Wow(I played for over 3 years), I always got the feeling that I was fighting, just to get new gear.  I wasn't fighting for a cause.  I went on hundreds of end-game raids.  WoW has people so mind-washed that they don't understand that all they are doing is fighting bosses to get gear to fight more bosses.  They aren't doing anything meaningful.  Just because you have good gear doesn't make you a smart person or a good player.  It just means you fell in with the right guild and rode them to epics.  WAR took WoW's combat and duplicated it, then added their own things.  WAR has different classes for every race and faction.  WoW does not.  Taking cities in Wow has no meaning.  In WAR, it does. 

Ultimately, every game takes from it's formers.  It is natural evolution.  Just because there are things that are similar, doesn't immediately make it the same game.  I admit that WoW was entertaining for a while, but eventually, people get something called a life, and it's really hard to have to spend 8 hours a week grinding for the chance to get into a raid, then only to realize that you need to grind that dungeon even longer just to be competitive.  To be successful in WoW, you have to make it your second job. 


Unless you have played DaoC, you have no idea what kind of awesome fun you are getting yourself into with WAR.  WoW's loot mongers need not apply.  The game will be about skill and smarts.  Not strength alone.

Thu Nov 29 2007 11:40AM Report
vajuras writes:

WAR is just one big Battleground where everything you do will be erased/reset. gimmie a break thats a fake war that NPCs can rage by themselves. I want true IMPACT. I want to takeover a town and just own it.

WAR is gonna blow. Even WoW was smart enough to make ALL the CLASSES the same for ALL faCTIONS. Mythic is too stupid to even grasp that concept.

Thu Nov 29 2007 12:55PM Report
Darris writes:

If you guys are tired of a game revolved around grabbing the phatest lewt (This is really World of Diablo) then check out some games that forsake the lewt completely and focus on the character and their skills. 

Games such as City of Heroes/Villians is a great example of an industry trend-breaker.  I think I had more fun creating my own unique hero/villian than I did playing the game.  And the game is pretty damn fun.  The developers did an excellent job of breaking the need for the holy trinity in parties.  Villains did wonders to break the mold on what classes should be.  The mastermind may be considered a pet class as you get up to 5 minions to control, but actuality it's an innovative tank class in disguise.  Your class canon is also your weak healer set, your combat control class is secretly your damage dealer and your big tanker-looking guy is actually your hardest-hitter. 

Are you an entrepreneur at heart?  Stake out EVE Online.  The graphics are gorgeous for a four year-old game even by today's standards.  It may have a steep learning curve, but there's no real shortcuts to the game and the game is just HUGE.

How about an MMO with some challenge and an interesting story line.  FFXI has almost no "Fed Ex" quests in it, but the missions tell a story much deeper and grander than anything I felt in WoW.  The difficulty bar is set pretty high on this game, but the reward for obtaining your paladin flag or taking your first air ship ride, or grabbing the last piece of your class unique armor is very satisfactory.

Or, you can take a break from MMO's completely and try the plethora of games that are online but really lack the requirements to be called a true MMO.  Games like Guild Wars which have enviroments to rich that I find myself re-playing through the game just to wander through the artists' worlds.  And the PVP is all tournament based with real-life prizes such as money and gaming gear. 

There are plenty of choices out there for the gamer tired of hot dogs.  Go grab some pizza or tacos.  You're not limited to the plethora of hot dog vendors.  You might be surprised that tacos are just as tasty as that wow dog you've been eating for the past 3 years.

Thu Nov 29 2007 1:38PM Report writes:
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