The WoW Killer

There will never be a “WoW Killer” simply because WoW itself was unable to kill any of the big MMOs in existence when it launched. If big bad WoW couldn’t kill when it launched, why would we think something new would be able to kill WoW? And why do we want to kill WoW anyway? I like to have options.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

16 thoughts on “The WoW Killer”

  1. Ye gods, thank you. If you hadn’t said it, I would. “Will this be a WoW-killer?” is not only trite and so overdone, it’s also entirely irrelevant. If people have to ask that kind of half-assed useless question, they’d be smarter to ask “Will this game achieve similar subscription numbers and retention to WoW?”

    But then I guess it depends on why you’re asking. If you’re a WoW-boi, you’re worried. If you’re an anything-else boi, only the total crushage of WoW matters.

    People are shallow. ;)

  2. It’s the same we do for celebrities. We love to find someone (or in WoW’s case, something) and put them up on a pedestal. Once they’re up on that pedestal and everyone else recognizes them, and they get the mass fame, then we can’t wait to knock them off that pedestal.

    Anything popular gains detractors. Windows vs. Linux (or even MacOS). If Linux/Mac had as much market saturation as Windows, we’d be rooting for the underdog, Microsoft and lambasting the evils of *nix.

    Humans are fickle.

  3. It really actually did kill wow for me though. Better PVP and a deeper richer PVE experience all but did it. Sure it can be said its like playing WoW, but it went one step further and gave me so much to do other than another 10 levels and needless faction grinds for new shoulders that I will not ever go back to WoW.

  4. You have a point Hud, and I think I’m writing from the perspective of someone who hasn’t played WoW in over 2 years (or is it 3?) and thus is somewhat tired of the endless focus on it. (Yes, it’s a phenomenon. Yes, it’s hugely successful (good for them). Yes, it has great things and bad things. Let’s move on.) The immense emphasis WoW places on gear-acquisition just doesn’t do it for me, since I’m not item-motivated and I don’t enjoy raiding all that much – nor PvP-motivated for that matter. RvR, however, is quite another kettle of fireballs. As are PQs.

  5. Good post. I’d say that the “wow killer” line is frequently the kiss of death for an otherwise OK game.

    For example, Pirates of the Burning sea, for example, had under a third of WoW’s development budget & an even smaller fraction of any marketing budget. Toss in a few untested mechanics that guarantee some bugginess and post-launch tweaks, and you have a game that should have been seen set in an entirely different class than WoW. Yet the press and pundits had the audacity to call it “challeger” to wow’s dominance. When you can’t meet those expectations, you’re perceived as a failure.

    Age of Conan, for all its faults, had much heftier system requirements than WoW- meaning a much smaller potential market base (users with PC’s capable of playing it at reasonable quality). It also, I’m told, had a budget that was less than half of WoW’s and even less than EQ2’s. Again, the hype machine was rather excessive, and again, the expectations weren’t met.

    If you instead compared it to something like EQ2’s launch, which also had hefty system requirements, a moderately bigger budget, a similar area of availability (a lower ESRB rating), and EQ2’s state-of-play at launch, and you can’t help but see AoC’s achievements as rather noteworthy.

  6. WoW dosn’t need to lose player to be killed. If a MMO comes and becomes larger than WoW, then it is a WoW killer. WoW will still be around and still have million of people playing it, it just won’t be the number 1 MMO again.

    I think most people would think WoW is an Everquest killer, even though everquest is still around

  7. Knocking WoW off the #1 MMO spot is one thing, but “killing” it is an entirely different thing. However, I think Ogrebears is right, in the sense that many people use the phrase to mean “more popular (=more subscribers) than WoW.” Considering WoW’s numbers, that’s still a pretty hard target to achieve.

    I’m still not sure it’s a valid measurement anymore, though it certainly provides lazy pundits with easy writing material, as Chas said. There are far more MMOs out now than there were when WoW was released, and the category itself has widened to include more non-fantasy themed games. On top of that, I know lots of the players around my age (let’s just say, over 30) now often subscribe to more than one game at a time, which further dilutes the purity of the numbers.

    I don’t know why I’m still commenting (apart from the fact that it’s a fun subject to kick around). My main concern with games coming out now is that they be profitable regardless of how they stack up to anyone else. If they get WoW’s numbers, good for them, but fortunately that’s not actually the yardstick a game needs to use to gauge overall success or survivability. A game that does well (even if it doesn’t have 10 million subs) will hopefully continue to get attention and development time, so that I can continue to play it.

  8. @Ysharros: That’s a lot of the problem. People these days seem to equate not getting WoW numbers with failure.

  9. A WoW Killer is the game, that replaces WoW in your mind, heart and harddrive. The WoW Killer game is a personal matter. To WAR is that WoW-Killer application.

    ‘Nuff said!

  10. It’s also a problem from the publisher side as well. I won’t say “all”, but I imagine “most” publishers and/or investors would say, “Nice game you got there kid. You think it will kill WoW?”

    If you say “yes”, you’re probably setting yourself up to fail.
    If you say no, well, why would they fund it.

    Yes, I understand that not all investors and publishers definitely refuse to fund something that won’t be #1. That’s the nature of investment. You want to maximize your profits, and that’s how it is. However, when you’re up there in the AAA, the proposition changes and you can’t happily tell your investors that, no, what you’re really aiming for is 2nd, 3rd, 4th or less and make do with what you have, because who wants to dump a hojillion dollars on the second guy? Shit, if we’re gonna dump a hojillion dollars anyway, let’s try to dump it on the guy that will come first.

    There is a lot of pressure on the publisher side to come up with WoW killers. It doesn’t make much financial sense otherwise, investing on the guy you know will lose.

  11. Curse you for trying to inject a logical statement into the current wave of hysteria!

    You will be dealt with accordingly foolish mortal.

    Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive)

  12. I think wow will feel some pain as many of their pvp players switch to warhammer. By no means will that kill them plus they got other markets besides the US, EURO, AUS market. I know a lot of large guilds that are packing their bags. The real question will be if warhammer can hold the refugees attention.

    The Lich king expansion seems to be a double edged sword. Although it sparks interest in some for people like me it just means a longer grind. I think blizz wants to make it as long as possible so you don’t see how boring endgame can be. I never like leveling(mostly because all<70 did not matter at all) and i certainly don’t like raiding. The only thing i like about wow is the 4 bgs and arena which have gotten old from grinding them to death. Would be nice if they had any world pvp. Yes i heard about the pvp zone in the expansion but i think thats just going to turn into another bg and with no other bgs being added that brings the count up to 5. 4 of which i’m totally bored of. If i’m going to have to level grind might as well be in a new world that i haven’t seen before.

    War will definetly be my wow killer(if not screw mmos i’m not going back) assuming that it lives up to what mythic promised. From what i’ve heard from beta testers it seems it has. Preview weekend is tomorrow, i can’t wait to get a first hand look at the game.

  13. The thing that everybody is missing here (and everywhere else) is that Mythic is NOT going after WoW’s market. They are only going after a small portion of it.

    Blizzard, with the addition of the Russian marketplace this month, is now very nearly everywhere but South America and Africa, where they quite simply can’t find a market until economic conditions there change.

    Mythic, with WAR, will only be in: North America, Western Europe, and Oceania.

    Bliz has less than 5 million accounts in those areas. The majority of Blizzard’s accounts are now in Asia, where Mythic is not setting up shop.

    So if Bliz has 4.5 or 5 million accounts in the relevant marketplace, and Mythic grabs 1 or 2 million of those, or even half, and along with non-WoW customers manages to surpass Blizzard’s subscription numbers IN THAT MARKET, then Mythic has “killed WoW” in the West. But ONLY in the West. And ONLY if you accept that what people mean, when they say “killed WoW”, is simply surpassing WoW’s subscriber number.

    Blizzard’s been getting a pass on sub numbers for years. When you hear people talk about the massive numbers a game like Lineage gets, they always qualify it with “well they’re mostly in Korea”. But these days, it is fair to say that Blizzard’s subscribers are “mostly in Asia”. Yet nobody ever points that out.

    Interesting times.

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