It Is Not WoW

Why do so many people have the gall to compare new products and services to existing ones you could buy instead?

We were trying a new coffee bar recently, and for some reason my friend kept comparing it to Starbucks. I mean, hello, they are trying to do something entirely different with coffee here. They have some new flavors, and the logo on the cups is not the same at all. It’s not like Starbucks invented ground beans or was the first company to use those little insulating sleeves. If Starbucks is so much better, why are you still drinking your coffee?

So I changed the subject to books. My wife has me reading this teen fantasy series, and here he goes again with, “That sounds like Harry Potter.” Yes, a boy discovers he is a wizard who is supposed to save the world, and he heads off to wizard school where antics ensue, but it is so not Harry Potter. Yes, he has a comedic sidekick and a brainy friend, and with very little help from his cryptic mentor he struggles and overcomes the enemy in its dark lair, but that is just the standard Campbellian heroic story. J. K. Rowling is not the end-all and be-all of writing; it is not even terribly innovative, just a well-polished version of things you can find in a dozen previous works.

Jeez, it’s like if there is one dominant market leader, it suddenly becomes okay to use it as the basis of comparison for competing brands. Hey, Microsoft stole that OS design from Apple, so you should be talking about how similar Windows is to the Mac, not vice versa!

: Zubon

With apologies to our friends who have interesting versions of the argument that I heard way too many times this weekend. Do you think I heard it in or with respect to Vanguard (live), The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ (beta), the alpha for a game still under NDA, or all three and then on the General Discussion board for every single game I play or ever have played dear god are you the same people everywhere let it go?

8 thoughts on “It Is Not WoW”

  1. In the context of games when so much in a game is so glaringly similar to the current leading product it is going ot be compared to that leading game. There is nothing wrong with that really.

    I see a lot of similarities between The Lord of the Rings™: Shadows of Angmar ™ and WoW, from the way quests work down to character classes, and even including alot of UI and keyboard mapping. That doesn’t make The Lord of the Rings: Shadows of Angmar ™ a bad game just derivative as is WoW (WoW just steals from a lot more sources).

    I can understand the frustration with it though, I don’t go out of my way to start screaming so and so is a ripoff (and I damn sure don’t post that on the boards in a Beta..it doesn’t serve the purpose for which I am there, which is to test), and I hate the people in The Lord of the Rings: Shadows of Angmar ™ beta who are constantly saying “This is such a copy of WoW it sukz LoL” in the general chat. I do however take my impressions in to consideration when trying to determine if I will buy that game.

    Why publishers think copying WoW is going to help them I have no idea. If I were to quit WoW because I hated it, the last thing I would want to do is play a game that is WoW in a different setting. If you aren’t adding anything new, you have given me no incentive to play your offering.

    Developers aren’t going to bring us the next WoW, by COPYING WoW.

  2. Sure they are. They just aren’t going to bring us a bestseller MMO, let alone break anything close to a megauser (really puts the MU back in MU*, eh?).

    Publishers seem to be playing at the music industry’s game of throwing a cluster of clones of a successful band into the arena and hoping one of them will succeed the original content. Barring success, they can always write it off as capital loss on their taxes while claiming/creating new code and IP.

    PS: WoW does not borrow from *NEAR* as much as EQ2 does with each successive expansion.

  3. For myself, I make comparisons just to keep things in perspective. It’s useful when you’re trying to explain something to someone else to say, ” its kind of like…”. It serves to give someone a point of reference.

    As for copying it’s good and bad. I mean, you replicate what worked and drop or improve what didnt. WOW popularity is going to resonate thru the industry for years. Some of those sound waves will be good – polish, accessability, support multiple play styles, etc. For others, the simplified and on rails play that others might copy will be frustrating to the more hardcore players.

    I can’t regain the same excitement about WOW simply because it’s been so long – too long playing the same game. And leveling lots of alts across the same content doesn’t count as more stuff to do. However, I loved the game when it was new to me and I’d play another WOW-like game because it’s not “WOW” that I’ve over. It’s the content, the same classes and options. An expansion can only carry you but so far if you were already in decline in your interest.

  4. “An expansion can only carry you but so far if you were already in decline in your interest.”

    I think thats the biggest flaw with BC. It doesn’t add anything NEW. It’s just more of the same with different scenery. Even the level cap being increased was negligble simply because those 10 levels went by very fast. Which I can’t decide if I am happy or sad about. Happy it wasn’t a grind to level, sad that now I have nothing too look forward to, except for the stupidly ridiculous grind they added in to access the frikkin content….UGH If i am going ot have to grind rep it hsould be done in an interesting fashion..not run the same instances, or kill the same mobs to turn in the same turnins over and over and over.

    Combine that with they are now letting PvP (specifically BG/Arena PvP)ruin the PvE balance and it’s just sad.

    For those reason BC to me has felt more like a really big content patch more than it has an expansion

  5. Yep… couldn’t agree more, Rand.

    I’m hoping LotRO doesn’t let me down slowly as much as WoW has these past few months. Tobold made a joke of what the next expansion would have as “features” over on his site, and that prompted me to vent on my blog as well… bildos.blogspot.com if anyone cares. :)

  6. Are we all ready for a lesson. Hopefully you can all follow this chain.

    Diku MUDS > Everquest > World of Warcraft : END

    Diku MUDs started it. Everquest stole it, put in 3d graphics, and horribly fucked it up. World of Warcraft balanced, polished, and made the Diku model fun. WoW DEFINED how the Diku style game should and needs to be made. It is now a closed model.

    All other games building upon this model simply don’t have a place to fit. In two years time this will be proven as games like Vanguard and LotRO begin folding. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Turbine folding well before then.

    Now here is a chain that is still open.

    Ultima Online > EVE : OPEN

    Why is this chain open? Because in a skill based virtual world system there is never an end to game play or game mechanic possibilities. In the Diku style there is definitive end to levels, gear, and meta-levels. No such thing in the Ultima Online model.

    With all this said. WoW is a game. UO/EVE are virtual worlds. Both have communities, but in the end you play WoW because it’s fun and a game. You play UO/EVE because you want to be a part of a virtual world that you can make an impact upon.

  7. If all games are the same, find me another game that involves killing slugs with salt… killing protes… and a slutty NPC that said “Talk to me” in an erotic tone…

    Maybe there’s a reason why that MMO never made it.

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