In today's thrilling episode of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Vezroth explains why people need to stop getting angry when every other massively multiplayer online game in the world is compared to World of Warcraft.
I am, and have been a consistent World of Warcraft player since the Burning Crusade expansion. Vanilla I played off and on, but never really got into it heavy. In Vanilla the highest I ever got was a level 40 Undead Warlock. That's beside the point.
I am tired, very, very tired of people complaining about how MMOs are compared to WoW. There is a reason for it. It has now become the description of a genre. Like someone else mentioned, it defines the MMO at large. When you say MMO to someone they'll likely say WoW. Reverse time 8 years... or 9 years. What was the game that EVERYONE knew was an MMO? What defined the genre before WoW existed? Everquest. Same idea. Stop getting pissed off people when they compare one game to the next.
Rift? Compared to WoW because they are similar. Age of Conan, Tabula Rasa, all MMOs in recent years have been modeled after WoW because the game was — simply put — SUCCESSFUL. You do NOT break with a good thing. You give it a new face, some new innovation, and hope that it takes on a life of its own.
MMOs are like old cities, or civilizations. They are built on the bones and blocks of those that came before. WoW was built on the bones of Everquest. Taking the most successful parts of it, throwing in a splash of some of the most amazing story-telling in a long history of games and coming out with something (although not entirely unique) was compelling. Much more compelling than Everquest was, much more accessible. 12 million people kind of accessible.
Soon. Maybe not next year, maybe not this game, maybe not even Rift, (which has been growing in popularity) a new civilization will rise up. Building on the tools that made WoW such an incredibly successful game. Is it possible Blizzard will be the crafter of this success? Maybe. but mark my words here and now. When the game is made that defeats WoW, it will become the new definition of an MMO.
MMO: World of Warcraft.
FPS: Halo. (Synonyms: Call of Duty, Gears of War, Doom, etc, etc.)
RTS: Starcraft. (Synonyms: Warcraft, DOTA, Command and Conquer)
RPG: Final Fantasy.
Rail Shooter: Panzer Dragoon.
Beat 'em Up: God of War.
When you think of a genre. You ALL think of one title first. As gamers, when we explain a title to someone that may, or may not have played it we use simplifications. It's natural. Stop being pissed off.