Speculating on WoW’s successor

Tobold posted some musings about what Blizzard will eventually do with their next MMO that got me thinking.

Tycho over at Penny Arcade speculated a few weeks back that Blizzard’s new MMO project will simply be an engine update for WoW, but I don’t think this will be the case. It seems inevitable that someone will eventually come out with something better designed, more accessible, more fun than WoW, just as WoW did the same for Everquest. And of course Blizzard would like that “someone” to be them.

I’m also not convinced that “the next big game” will be significantly more advanced than WoW, graphically. When you get into the sort of subscriber numbers that WoW has, you’re reaching far beyond the market segment of hardcore gamers, which means you’re targeting people that don’t make a point of upgrading their PC every 2-3 years. So you’ve got hardware limitations to deal with.

I’m also of the opinion that graphics technology today is already “good enough.” It can (and will) continue to get better, sure, but the main thing that distinguishes WoW for me visually is not the graphics technology, it’s the aesthetic. The art, the architecture, the style and spirit that goes into the world is something I find beautiful. I think it’s wonderful that graphics technology is advanced enough so that artistic beauty is finally the biggest differentiator in terms of a game’s visual impact.

– James

3 thoughts on “Speculating on WoW’s successor”

  1. If devs from other companies understood this, the world would be a better place, and I’d have viable alternatives to WoW.

  2. You know, I think companies have already started to, like Nexon and Three Rings. The graphics technology for their games is probably at a mid-to-late nineties level, so they’re very consciously prioritizing accessibility and gameplay over visual impact.

    But yeah, it still feels like there’s a reasonably heavy focus on graphics, doesn’t it? Though I do feel it’s decreasing.

    I think the word “graphics” in marketing literature and such is an indicator. “Graphics” is like “special effects” in Hollywood movies, it’s a focus on the technology. I’m more interested in games that talk about, say, “visuals.”

Comments are closed.