MMOs do not exist in a vacuum

I don’t think I have read a less-informed blog post in quite some time. Syncaine believes that WoW turned the entire MMO market on its ear–and continues to do so–with the aid of some miraculous happenstance; that those 700,000 people that tried and left WAR and went back to play WoW did so for some other reason than that they liked WoW better. Get that people, you aren’t playing WoW because it’s better. You’re playing WoW because… well, we don’t know why exactly.

Excuse my sarcasm, but the type of logic found in that post is nothing short of utterly ridiculous. if WAR had been determined to be the “better” game by the MMO consumer, they, and not WoW, would be atop the mountain right now. It is nothing more difficult to grasp as that. It’s another version of supply and demand. WoW gives the most people what they want, and WAR doesn’t.

Syncaine also believes that no game can overcome the “WoW factor” and will meet the same fate as WAR did. Which I also disagree with. Any well planned game that caters to the majority of the MMO market has every opportunity to dethrone WoW; including a second Blizzard MMO. A game doesn’t have to start out of the gate with 11 million subscribers to be or become successful as he states though. Any newly released game is unlikely to dethrone WoW immediately. In fact, WoW didn’t dethrone the other existing MMOs at the time either. It took time and consumer realization that WoW catered best to the various play styles the best. Blizzard solidified that fact with constant content updates.

The end result is this. In this world society of ours, where kids have the attention spans of gnats, it speaks volumes that a game like WoW not only beat out existing MMOs at the time of it’s release; but that it also amassed an unheard of subscriber base. Which continues to increase to this day. If WoW wasn’t doing it right, they wouldn’t be the 800 lb gorilla. And as soon as someone else does it better than WoW, they in turn will take on that mantle. If not immediately, then over time.

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2 Responses to MMOs do not exist in a vacuum

  1. WOW is a great game, for all the love/hate I had while playing it. I think what annoys me more about some of the game previews I read is, if it’s too much like WOW, ZOMG it sucks. If it deviates from the basic WOW formula, ZOMG it sucks. It often seems like the market is in a no-win situation up against WOW, if you believe game coverage is speaking for the masses.

  2. Iggep says:

    I agree with you. The problem with WoW in regard to other games is that Blizzard hit on what I like to think of as the “sweet spot”. They crafted a game that caters enough to a majority of the gaming consumers, which means anyone that intentionally alters gaming mechanics too much from that will necessarily mean they will be attractive to fewer gamers. Unfortunately if they model WoWs mechnics too closely they are smacked by the gaming press.

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