Of course it is a WOW-Clone

13 09 2010

by AngryPanda

Virtually every MMO released since WOW has been a clone. Some more so than others. And as you might have noticed the biggest names released (Conan, Aion,Warhammer,) were the most obvious clones. I’m sure the fans of these games will deny that but as a wise man once said “They will all go to hell for lying“. I played them all and it is basically the same game just with sex/asia fantasy skins/stupid. See the above listing to see which has what. This is a basic rule of the industry, the more money you want to spend the less risks they are willing to take. Now we get to this:

Wasn’t that awesome? This has got to rock. It as Bioware as a developer and it is the most expensive project EA ever attempted. But there lies the problem. Look again at what I said above the video. The very nature of this project assures that they will not take any risks. And for guys in suits that means copying WOW. Even though every person with a half a brain should have realized that the clones don’t fly. Sure, the videos look absolutely breathtaking. But remember someone else who had that? Actually a ton of now dead games did. The example I’m going to pick here is Hellgate London because boy did that ever look awesome.

Demons and high-tech knights in a destroyed London? Apart from being the wet dream of anyone who ever watched Dr Who this setting is just a great idea. How can you fuck that up? It should be impossible. But they did. Videos mean less than nothing. In the end gameplay is all that counts. So far Bioware is mostly talking about their great story (read: theme park MMO,o freedom) and all the voice acting. That is really nice but in the end the best voice in the world won’t help if if it tells you to go kill ten rats. Don’t get me wrong. I want The Old Republic to succeed. I’m starved for a sci-fi game and I said quite often that by now I’d even take one even if it is just a dressed up WoW. I still think Warhammer should have gone that way instead of releasing a direct clone. Instead their new Warhammer 40.000 MMO will have to compete directly against the monolith of EA’s Star Wars. The funny thing is that in the MMO business the usual “no risk” strategy is actually working in reverse. As competing with WoW is about the most stupid thing you can do. There will be no WoW-Killer. Anyone who says that views the world from a gamers perspective, not an economic one. This thing has so much momentum it would be incredibly hard to stop. And since no one with a budget is willing to innovate the chances are even worse. If I had to make a bet I’d say Blizzard’s new secret next-gen MMO will be the thing that dethrones WoW. And I’m not even sure of that. I never assumed the Old Republic would replace WoW (there is also the fact that a large group of people simply prefer fantasy) but I did think it would mark its territory and stabilize around a million subscribes or so after first selling a bazillion boxes to the locust swarm. Now I read that it will need a million subscriber just to break even. That’s just crazy.

There’s a major article about it on 20 side dice but here are the highlights:

The Old Republic quite simply is, from everything that I could gleam in my short demo, World of Warcraft. Sure, it’s a Star Wars game, and it looks much nicer, but once you look beyond the visual surface of the game, you begin to see very clear similarities. The combat mechanics are share stark similarities – I’m not sure there’s much of a difference between the two games’ combat systems at all. Likewise, the rigid class system is also present, and along for the ride are racial class restrictions – only certain races can be certain classes. Really, I couldn’t see much of a difference between WoW and ToR when I played the demo – I think it’s fair to say that it certainly felt like I was playing a reskinned version of WoW.

I had hoped it wouldn’t be but I can’t say I’m surprised and neither should anyone else be. At the very least we can assume it will be a good clone. And it will have lightsabers. So I’m certainly going to give it a try. But since it needs about 2 million players to be a “success” I’m not too optimistic about the its future.

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22 09 2010
Parker Lewis « This would be more awesome with lasers

[…] find anything like that here. The only way I think I even mention this was to make fun of it and say how it will end like a fly on a windshield then compared to the new Star Wars. But I’ll post a link to this “HALO: Reach” Comic instead. Maybe that […]

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