It’s Not WoW’s Fault New MMOs Suck
Part of the dislike that people have for World of Warcraft tends to be focused around the argument that it’s damaged the industry by being too successful and created a culture of developers and publishers believing that WoW clones are the only way to achieve it’s success and make huge piles of cash. Yes, it’s definitely true that we’ve seen a rise of copy-cat games and a drop in independent thinking but I don’t that it’s Blizzard’s fault and I don’t think we can logically blame for them it. In fact, I’d directly blame the developers and publishers themselves for thinking that by copying WoW, they can create a good, popular and successful game.
I see a lot of this sort of thing in the movie industry. For instance, when a superhero film does well at the box office, producers assume that it’s because the public like the genre or franchise and immediately try to milk it dry with sequels and copies. And then when one or two of those films flop, they think the ‘fad’ for the genre is over and move onto something else. Unfortunately they underestimate the movie-going public and don’t appreciate that people like quality and substance more than anything else. It doesn’t matter what genre a film is, if it’s good it will do well.
I can understand the desire that developers may have to mimic features from a game like WoW but the thing that both they and especially publishers need to realise is that the success of WoW is due to more than the sum of it’s parts. Copying some or all of features from it in the hopes of manufacturing the future WoW-killer-clone is never going to work. I can follow a recipe from a cook book but that doesn’t make me Gordon f’ing Ramsay.
It’s my opinion that once developers and publishers stop chasing the dream of taking on the Titan that is WoW and just start focusing on creating excellent MMOs, we’ll eventually see something that rivals Blizzard’ dominance. Not because it’s a WoW clone but because it’s a great game that’s tapped into something else that players are looking for. As Wolfshead said, build it and they will come.
Blizzard achieved something magnificent with Warcraft. They took the equivalent of a B-movie industry and made it mainstream and for that we should be grateful to them. Just because everyone else in the past 6 years believed that the only way to achieve the same success is by copying them and failed miserably in the process is not WoW’s fault. It’s the fault of the development companies themselves for thinking gamers are just sheep who can be sheared for cash once herded through the right pens. I don’t baaa-lieve that for a second.
P.S. Image knicked from CtrlClick.com’s excellent Allods preview.