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Teala's Wickedly Cool MMORPG.com Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Why Guild Wars 2 is good for World of Warcraft

Posted by Teala Thursday August 30 2012 at 8:03PM
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Ever wonder why the MMO gaming genre has been in a rut for such a long period of time?  Of course you have.  We all have.   Ever since World of Warcraft came onto the stage it has been the model by which many game designers have tried to copy.    Instead of bringing about changes and innovation to the genre, game designers saw Blizzards success with WoW and immediately they jumped on the WoW model for game design band wagon.  

Even the once great  SOE(publishers of EverQuest and the former Star Wars Galaxies) were amazed at World of Warcraft's growth, and couldn't take it lying down.  They took a game fresh on the market, in its first couple of years of its life, Star Wars Galaxies, and rewrote it to play more like World of Warcraft - the NGE(new game experience) was SOE's and Lucas Arts attempt to make their game Star Wars Galaxies play more like WoW.  Who could blame them, World of Warcraft saw phenomenal growth in a short period of time, and brought in millions of new MMO players.   This was an astounding feat, and for any gamer that had been playing MMO's since their inception(with the creation of such games as Ultima Online and EverQuest) they were surprised as well.  

World of Warcraft set the gold standard for MMO's.    Within a couple of years we saw dozen of games that would be deemed WoW clones get launched.   All were decent games, but the one thing they failed to do was take what World of Warcraft had done and instead of making as good a game, or better - they merely tried to counterfeit.   It didn't work.    Many games ended up going free to play just to stay alive, some barely clung to life support due to the publishing company unwillingness to proclaim defeat, while others did close their doors.

This is good!   In fact it is great.  It means the good games succeed and the bad made games went the way of the Dodo.    It also meant that game makers realized that in order to compete for the market, that Blizzard dominates, they'd have to take risk and try to give players other options.    Because of that we saw games like Pirates of the Burning Sea, Darkfall,  and the Secret World get published - games that tried to go off the beaten path from the WoW blueprint, that so many game makers had tried to follow.  Sure these games were not a huge hit, but at least these gave us other options as gamers, and it showed that some game companies were willing to take a chance to give us something different.

Recently Anet and NCsoft gave us what some people would love to call a WoW knock-off.   Guild Wars 2 is not a WoW clone, it is a themepark, but unlike games like SWTOR and RIft that fell more into the definition as a WoW clone, Guild Wars 2 has brought a new type of themepark to the table and is trying new things.   It is showing us that even though Guild Wars 2 is a still a themepark, it can and does have unique game play, and innovates how a themepark game can be built.   It is a great base for Anet to build from to make Guild Wars 2 one of the best MMO's on the market.

This is good for Blizzard and the gamers that play World of Warcraft.   It is good because Blizzard, in order to stay relevant, must adapt and innovate themselves - if they wish to stay competitive in todays MMO market.   If they don't, then games like Guild Wars 2, and other up coming titles, will strip gamers away from World of Warcraft and Blizzard itself may find itself scratching its head asking - "Where did we go wrong?"   

Blizzard has to realize that their game is starting to show its age.  The graphics need updated and the game itself could do with some substantial, sustainable, content upgrades.   Not just new battlegrounds or raids, but new content, and new ways to play through that content that is both dynamic and fluid.    Static worlds are going to go away.     Azeroth itself is very much a static world.     Anet has shown us that a game world doesn't have to be static.   That it can change and evolve through the actions of the gamers that play the game.   Something many games fail to do(games like EVE and Darkfall are exceptions to the rule).  

With competition comes innovation.    Guild Wars 2 has brought a good alternative to the table in regards to themepark MMO's and I for one think this is a good thing for all of us as gamers.    Let's hope other game designers take notes and realize that good games succeed and can make it in a tight market place - even if said market place was once controlled by an 800 pound gorilla.   

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BTW if you are curious, my only real complaints about Guild Wars 2 is the lack of first person view, and no mounts.   If Anet ever decides to add them, I'll probably give Guild Wars 2 a go.   ^-^