The Replacement Killers!

Is this the year that World of Warcraft and Bliz get knocked off the top?  Will AoC and WAR really pull enough people away from WoW to cripple it?  Or, will it pull people away from Tabula Rasa, Vanguard and EQ2 to finally put them on life support? 

When I read posts about the new MMO’s coming out this year, it always strikes me as funny that people try to guess if its the killer replacement for WoW, rather than considering how much the new MMO’s will impact the smaller. less populated games like LOTRO or Vanguard.

 Who are these replacement killers really gunning for? 

 Is it WoW they have in their cross hairs or is it someone else that’s going to get caught in the crossfire?

I, like many, have a subscription to WoW and another MMO, my new addiction currently is LOTRO by the way. If AoC does preform well once released, I’m not going to be able to pay for three games a month, so something has to give.  LOTRO is a very nice diversion, but I’m not about to stop playing WoW.  Why you ask? Because I have a kick ass 70 Mage, that frankly, I’ve spent too much freaking time on, to just turn my back and walk away.  (yes, I do know that you can keep your character on the server after you unsubscribe and until they do a server wipe, but you see it was just a metaphor.)

So, how many people with two subs are going to stop WoW to play AoC as opposed to their other alt game?  Hence, the problem.  A lot of people just assume there is going to be a mass canceling of WoW subs and I’m thinking that it will be the other games people start dumping first.  

There are some games that won’t get impacted too much, like EVE Online or even Tabula Rasa, only because they are different from the fantasy game settings.  People play those games to get away from fantasy world based games, if anything they will pick up AoC and try it for 30 days, then leave.

Players have to remember that what impacts WoW will also impact the other MMO’s as well when a new game appears, which could be devastating.  WoW has over 8 Million players, none can boast those numbers.  Blizzard could even stand to lose a few people when the “Killer Replacements” start to get released, especially on some of the more congested servers. Honestly, I would think that the impact on games like POTBS or Vanguard would result in a more subtle thinning of the slowly growing MMO herd, by causing servers to merge and others to possibly shut down.

The wonderful thing about WoW is that because of its cartoon graphics, it should be able to still compete with other games for years to come.  The only issue that I see would be if the new game designers find a better way to execute the end game aspect, then it would be over for WoW.  Until then, nothing is really going to damage the game.  Course, this is my opinion, but I’ve seen people who blog how bad WoW is and then not more than 6 months to a year later they jump back in. (You know who you are!)  The game must have some redeaming qualities, I mean, over 8 million people think its fun and easy to play, apparently they can’t all be wrong.

The problem is going to be all the collateral damage that the new games bring with them.  WoW might take a small hit, but the gun fire may damage a lot of smaller ones to the point where they might just have to come off of life support, and finally be allowed to die.



~ by oakstout on May 8, 2008.

6 Responses to “The Replacement Killers!”

  1. And remember, Blizzard is NOT simply sitting idle, twiddling their thumbs waiting for WoW to be overtaken.

    They are developing ANOTHER MMO as we speak!

    If by chance, someone decides to make something better than WoW instead of just copying it, it will STILL not cause any trouble for Blizzard. All they have to do is change their formula to be just a tiny bit better than anyone else, and they remain at the top.

    And with millions of loose cash and the right to take as long as it takes until it’s completely polished… It’s going to be extremely difficult to beat.

    It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again.

    The only company that can beat Blizzard is Blizzard.

  2. I however do not worship blizzard and the ground it soils. I think many companies could beat blizzard in many specific ways. I also think you should get a lifetime sub to Lotro and then not worry about it anymore, its only 199 bucks right now anyways. Yes those new games are gonna hurt lotro, and eq2, and everything else cuz, they are new, and may even be shinier and better in some way. I personally will be trying warhammer and listening to stories of those who try AoC since I have morals and hence don’t want to play it (partial nudity more than anything). Anyways thats my take on teh situation. I am also looking forward to Chronicles of Spellborn though it may tank just due to its lack of marketing. (One thing Blizzard and Microsoft do very well is marketing)

  3. The reason I have so much good to say about Blizzard, is because they entertain me.

    They revamp each genre that they enter. Warcraft I and Starcraft helped to greatly advance the RTS genre in terms of balanced, fun gameplay. Games like Starcraft also hold up very well over time.

    They were a good company back then, and I don’t think they have become evil now that they have revamped a second genre, the MMO. They did help advance the genre, mostly by bringing a level of quality and all-around polish that had never been seen before).

    It’s not that these smaller games suck. It’s that they either tried to imitate WoW too closely, or tried something different that didn’t work.

    I’m all for trying something different. The #1 MMO on my radar at the moment is Spellborn, due to the concepts, the gameplay, and the community I’ve seen so far. I highly enjoyed Ryzom before it died, because it tried things that I’d never seen before!

    Trying different ideas CAN work. It just hasn’t so far. Often an MMO will have a wonderful idea that is completely unique, but never gets of the ground due to lack of marketing.

    You have to have good ideas AND quality. Many MMOs lack one or the other. Someday someone will produce one with both, but I personally believe that at this point, Blizzard is more likely to do it before anyone else.

  4. I regretfully never got to try Ryzom.. and you could be right, Blizzard may come up with the next big MMO that has good idea, and quality and a mountain of marketing. But there are a few things about them that make me hope they don’t. They don’t listen to their customers, they don’t innovate on gameplay much and they don’t adapt fast. They are like comfort food: tasty, addictive, and horrible for you. The only other companies that have the kind of money necessary are EA/Mythic, Microsoft (the source of all evil (jk)) and maybe some movie companies but they have no interest in this sort of thing. (except Steven Spielberg with his precious Boom Blox :))

    Do you have a good link with info on Spellborn? I’d like to delve deeper if possible. (I mean from somewhere other than their site… (most main sites are full of marketing guff))

  5. Unfortunately, no. There’s not many places to go for Spellborn info. There might be an unofficial forum somewhere if you google hard enough.

    As to Blizzard’s flaws, I’d regretfully have to agree. I really, really liked them in the pre-WoW days. But I suppose being in the position they are in, they don’t HAVE to listen to make money. There’s no incentive for the company to try any harder than they have to.

    And right now they’re relaxing on a hammock suspended by massive piles of cash.

    It is kind of sad, the crossfire and all. Not only is WoW sucking up subs from some of the smaller companies, the competition against WoW is ALSO sucking up subs. There’s really no safe place for a Fantasy MMORPG today. Things like EVE are immune to all this insanity.

  6. I think that Blizzard has slacked of with Customer support after they got a good bit of the game stable and picked up their first million customers.

    In the beginning, they were all about customer service. They even gave people free time when the servers were down during the early months. That says a lot about their earlier customer service, make sure the people you have are happy and you’ll get more people.

    Once it all got going, word of mouth pretty much sealed the deal. EQ2 was hard and system heavy and WoW would run on anything, including a Rock. It didn’t take long to level a character up. Sure EQ2 was better looking, but it was designed with Future Proofing, while WoW was living in the NOW. A hard lesson learned I say.

    WoW might not be innovative, but what Blizzard managed to do, was take all the things in other MMO’s that people really liked, combine them, spruced them up a bit and put a new spin on them. if you can’t learn from your competition who can you learn from.

    They packaged it all up and made the game easy to play and fun. Sure, we all bitch about how boring it is now, but man, not at the beginning we didn’t. We loved every quest and new zone we could get our hands on. Sure, they could be like SoE and release 1 or 2 expansions a year, but then how would we all feel about that? The same as i felt when I was playing EQ2, and they would release an adventure pack or expansion every few months. SoE just wanted my money and they’ll throw everything out there just to see who will throw money back at them. I play good money to play and MMO, the least they can do is give us something for free every now and then, Blizzard did and still does. They didn’t have to give us the new “Isle” or new daily quests for free or actually even at all, they could have saved it all for the expansion or and adventure pack.

    Blizzard gave us free content first and limited us to one expansion a year, so we didn’t have to throw more money at a game that we pay 14.99 a month to play, and I applaud that. Give me something free and you’ll keep me a lot longer than making me play another 39.99 for an expansion. Especially if all I get is a new level cap and maybe a new race.

    These are just a few of the tricks that made WoW original, and its the mold that someone has to break and come up with something more spectacular, even if its Blizzard themselves.

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