Commenter Kinecticdamage tries to shock massively multiplayer online game developers out of their World of Warcraft-fueled haze and on track to create something truly unique and beautiful in today's Speak Up on Kotaku.
"In case of Doubt, copy WoW", a message to MMO devs.
I don't know if there are any MMO analysts, business angels, or game director browsing these forums. But in case of, I want to sum up the overall message a large portion of the MMO gaming community has addressed to them lately with sub drops in most popular MMOs.
It will be short, and will revolve around Bioware's co-founder quote:
"It [World of Warcraft] is a touchstone. It has established standards, it's established how you play an MMO. Every MMO that comes out, I play and look at it. And if they break any of the WoW rules, in my book that's pretty dumb."
- Greg Zeshuk
For the last time, NO.
Stop believing that because a product has 10 millions of subscribers, it means that you have to "steal" its user base.
Who the hell was paid to convince you about that ? Just use common sense: WoW is around for 7 years now, and you just can't match such a lifecycle at retail. All what you will succeed in with copying/being inspired by WoW, is not to make a new game, but popping a WoW Add-on. An expansion pack, but in a different universe. A "reskinning".
Game devs, MMO studios, contractors, investors, indies whatever ... Just please, please stop thinking to "secure an existing user base by design". Stop ignoring the market saturation. Plus, if you're really trying to copy a game's mechanics, all you will receive is this very game's fan base asking you to copy it even more. Especially with a massively popular title!
And what's next : you will be trapped into having to follow your "inspiration"'s footsteps forever, directly or indirectly.
I'm glad the overall player base is starting to voice its boredom of a 7 years old formula with mainstream articles, forum activity, and unsubbing. Because it seems game designers were so much convinced of the WoW formula that it seems like only thousands and thousands of people would have been enough to make them understand.
It's not even that hard to see the old formula boredom pattern: you just have to read MMO forums a bit, whatever they are.
In short : Devs ... Stop stealing, start creating.
Grow some balls, stop limiting your trust into financial reports and market share numbers. Just play all those games for at least 3 months, and judge by yourself.
Spread your f**king wings, I'm sure they are beautiful.