That’s one BIG, SCARY, bear.

Everquest was, in my opinion, the first very, very successful MMO’s.  In it’s day, it was fondly referred to as EverCrack.  I remember sales people in stores tell customers they weren’t going to be able to sleep or eat with this game on their computers, it was so addictive.  But when the new breed of MMO came out, they weren’t called “EQ-like” or “EQ-Killers”.  They were just the next thing.  The New Generation of MMO’s.  The next stop on the evolutionary chain.  

When exactly in the gaming culture did World of Warcraft become the measuring stick?  I’m not saying it shouldn’t be the the candle we hold all other MMO’s up to, but when did this transformation happen?  I understand that having over 8 million customers is impressive, but I don’t hear people referring to other cable systems as being “Time Warner-like” or that  Dish network might be the “Direct TV-Killer”.

Now, everyone is comparing all other MMO’s to WoW.  LOTRO is “WoW” with a different interface, the questing in Vanguard is “WoW-like” and how about, Tabula Rasa has instancing similar to “WoW”.  It’s just strange that World of Warcraft is now an adjective, used to describe other MMO’s.  Even MMO’s that are coming out are being scrutinized as being possible “WoW-killers“.

Are we so caught up in the hype that is WoW that we now have to use it when talking about other games as well?  I’m just not sure when this started happening, but it seems a little strange.




~ by oakstout on May 8, 2008.

9 Responses to “That’s one BIG, SCARY, bear.”

  1. While this certainly isn’t a new topic, it’s definitely one that’s worthwhile to revisit from time to time. First and foremost, WoW did an excellent job of catering to both hard-core and casual players simultaneously. If you wanted to take your time and play for 3-4 hours a week you could still progress rather effectively, but if you wanted to reach the level cap in a month or less, you could do that to. If you are a casual player who has reached level 70 (or whatever the max level happens to be at the time) you can PvP or instance very casually and, again, still progress at a reasonable pace. If you are an extreme raider or PvPer, you will progress extremely fast, but you have to be willing to devote the time and energy necessary to do so.

    I believe that this above anything else it what has made WoW so popular. Yes, there is of course the buzzword which I hate to even mention, and that certainly helped. The newbie experience is basically flawless (until you’ve done it more than 3-4 times.) Quest-based leveling is something that became the norm with WoW also, which made players feel like they had things to do other than continuously grind to higher levels.

    That said, the things that WoW made the standards of the genre don’t necessarily deserve to be standards at all. They were simply executed so well that they seemed to dim the light bulbs in many developers head, who decide that rather than trying something innovative (and inherently risky,) they will stick with what they know works, regardless of whether there are much better options out there. In one sense, you can’t blame them, but in another, it means that the evolution of MMO’s has and likely will continue to suffer as a result of one game that was executed to near perfection.

  2. I took a break from wow over a year ago for lack of free time, but recently I started playing eve online – mostly because it’s available for linux). Eve online is pretty non-wowish, sorry not sure how to use the wow adjective properly, lol!

    I’ll probably give wow another try soon. Eve didn’t work very well in linux, and I never quite enjoyed the game play for the couple of days that I gave it a shot.

    I never played everquest, maybe wow became more popular because it was a huge jump forward?

  3. all true

  4. I actually listened to a pod cast today, where apparently last year, a game that was being released was being touted as the new “Halo-Killer”. It pretty much tanked. It was called “Kill Zone.”

    WoW is what we all idolize in a game. Once they can make a game that executes well and does everything WoW does and better, then you might have a new king.

    And yes, Blizzard will probably create the next WoW killer. But it has to be better, but using the same formula that got them on top to start with.

  5. I gotta agree about this obsession with WoW-comparisons. This is why I kinda laugh when newer gamers start pontificating about games… most of the time they just display the fact that their experience is limited to one or two of the recent AAA titles.

    Case in point, a blogger recently wrote an otherwise interesting article about morale systems in MMORPG’s… but he claimed that WoW was the first MMORPG that had tried to implement one.

    Seems to me, I remember getting steamrolled quite a few times under a mass of “FROAK”ing froglocks because of that one runner that got away… and BAF in DAOC was treacherous. 😉

    Blizzard succeded by delivering a basic, vanilla, but very polished MMORPG using an IP that they’d taken the initial inspiration for from a successful tabletop game that shall remain Warham… er, nameless.

    Games have lifespans… eventually WoW will start to lose out to newer games such as AoC, WAR, and new console MMO’s not even on the radar yet. The “new hotness”, whatever it is, will draw in a bigger percent of the new players just coming into the market, and eventually churn will outpace new subscriptions.

    No successful game ever truly dies (there’re still a million folks playing Lineage1) but we’ve seen the decline before, and we’ll see it happen again.

  6. The good and bad thing about Blizzard is they take what is already out there and implement it into their game. I would say that WoW stole from EQ and EQ2. Not that I don’t think that SoE stole from WoW, they did. lol

    But games like AoC try to be different by not being the same and that is what will make them fall apart. There are so many things that WoW has that should be the standard for other games. For instance, a working ingame mail, a bank, and an auction house. True these don’t all have to be working on day one, but they need to get on it.

    Not being able to change your chat or create different channels for you and friends, is a basic slip up in my opinion.

    I guess what I am saying, developers should take what WoW has to offer and create something different, but don’t exclude things that make it work, things that people are use to having in their MMOs. Othewise, you’ll create a flop and not a WoW killer.

  7. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Outpace.

  8. imo, the reason everything is referred to as “WOW-like” is because with 8 million plus users its a good chance most everyone has either heard of or played WOW. So rather than try to explain what something similar is like people just refer to it as “WOW-like”. Its pretty much the same reason everyone explains new phones or mp3 players as “iPod-like”. Everyone knows what an iPod is.

  9. True, but I don’t see that used as often as people in the blogging or game news media using the word WoW to describe other MMO’s. It’s almost a culture unto itself now. WoW doesn’t just describe a game from Blizzard but also what other games are not, they are not WoW.

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