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World of Warcraft: The WoW Effect

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,637MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

There is no question that Blizzard's World of Warcraft has had a profound effect on all MMOs since its launch. We call it the WoW Effect and have some thoughts to share about it. Read more of The Devil's Advocate and then leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Some notes before we continue though: today's Devil's Advocate will look at what aspects of WoW have become culturally significant as a result of its existence and subsequent popularity. Some of these aspects may not actually have originated from WoW, but are still relevant to the discussion by virtue of WoW being the strange beast that it is.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: The WoW Effect.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,925Member Uncommon

    The WoW effect or as I like to call it, "limited competition and using other ideas from other games to improve their own" effect. I hate hearing WoW being used as some holy graal of originality when in the end if it came out today it wouldn't reach remotely close to its numbers in the past. 

     

    Don't get me wrong, it is (or was really) a great game, but it gets way to much credit where it really doesn't deserve it for a lot of its features.

  • MyPreciousssMyPreciousss BiopausePosts: 427Member

    This "funny" mod is so revealing of the WoW community, its level of maturity, and what nonsense WoW tolerated in its own lore, universe and chat channels.

  • DragonantisDragonantis DublinPosts: 974Member

    An inteesting read that hit the nail on the head.

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member

    "The second positive WoW shared with gaming culture is its forgiving nature towards death and loss."

    I disagree. What it shared is the idea that death means little to nothing which in turn took the excitement and thrill out of playing. I've played games where people would suicide to get back to where they wanted to be, that's ridiculous. That removed a lot of immersion and overall fun out of games and replaced it with a "throw-away" mentality.

    I'll take that heart-pumping action, thrill and excitement over a throw-away "I don't care" mentality any day.

    No risk, no reward.


    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • GudrunixGudrunix Washington, DCPosts: 149Member

    I think the "WoW effect" will become tempered based on the simple fact of their declining subscription base.

    To draw a parallel, the decline of Magic: The Gathering was one of the best things to happen to board and card games.  While M:TG was dominant, every game company did nothing but CCGs, because "conventional wisdom" was that that was the best business model.  But as soon as it became clear that Wizards of the Coast had killed the goose that laid the golden egg by getting too greedy with their customers (paying attention Blizzard?), game companies began branching out and trying new things, and the new golden age of board games and card games was ushered in.

  • imjonahimjonah Longmont, COPosts: 19Member Uncommon

    You missed the two really big negatives .

    First, by making everything so easy you removed the joy and pleasure of accomplishing anything.   What satisfaction is there from achieving something whose difficulty was trivial.

    You hint at this with the death penalty thing but you miss something key.   Doing a dungeon crawl where if we fail and the group wipes, it may take 2 hrs and a lot of pain to recover from, vs the same dungeon crawl where failure has no real penalty is a very different expereince.

    Second, WoW greatly reduced the social side of the game, the human interaction.

    -IN Everquest the only time efficient way to level was with a group, you were forced to be social to make freinds and interact with others.  You had an in game social  enviroment where you new by name easily 100+ other players, you had a couple dozen freinds and aquantinces.  Your raid group was often 70+ players

      In WoW you could easily solo level , to the max level.  You could play the entire game without making a single friend or ev n talking to another player. 

           By making soloing an attractive viable option you removed the multi from MMORPG.

    I leveled a LOTRO character solo 2/3 of the way and duo the last 1/3 and that last 1/3 was far far more enjoyable, challenging and fun.

    The primary reason people have such fond memories for EQ and some of the older MMORPGS is rmebering all the peole you met and the camaraderie and friendship.

    True, you can have the same level of social interaction in WoW or any other MMORPG, but by making social interaction an option you destroy, for a large portion of the player base, some of the magic and what makes MMORPGS special.

     

     

     

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    Holy crap Victor...do you know ANYTHING about the history of MMORPGs?

    Everything you credited WoW for was done by OTHER games first...and if you fall back on "WoW popularized it" you are basically saying something along the lines of Ford didnt invent the automobile because someone else sold more.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,607Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Purutzil
    I hate hearing WoW being used as some holy graal of originality when in the end if it came out today it wouldn't reach remotely close to its numbers in the past.
    Thats impossible to judge because WoW has so intrinsically changed the MMO genre since it came out.


    If WoW wasnt released in 2004 then the western MMO crown would have gone to Everquest 2. But EQ2 was terrible and ran like crap on everyone's PC. Even if EQ2 didnt have WoW to compete against people would have left EQ2 in droves, probably to go back to EQ1 which a lot actually did.


    So, yes, you may be right: WoW would not have the same subscriber numbers if it was released in 2012 instead of 2004. Probably because the Western MMO genre would most likely be dead.

  • 2D34DLY4U2D34DLY4U CascaisPosts: 62Member

    I think the greatest effect WOW had is the sheer amount of people it brought to MMO's, I read somewhere between 10mil active and 25mil overall counting former players. These crowds that are burned out of the traditional theme park mmo (=WOW) and have tried some of the variations to find nothing new (WAR, LOTRO, AOC, SWTOR), are now a demanding audience that pushes the gaming studios to do better and better.

    One way or the other we are all grateful to WOW for bringing us to where we are now.

    WOW created a market and still keeps doing its job, pushing hordes of new players through it's grind so that eventually they will become former WOW'ers in search of THAT awesome uber post WOW game that has not arrived yet. The way WOW keeps running and the numbers it pulls also attracts studios to develop better and innovative games by helping those studios attract investors.

    The MMO market so far can be summarized as UO, EQ, WOW, WOW clones and EVE.

    Appologies if I am missing out on a few important things, but it's the way it looks to me.

  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member

    WOW effect after 2004 is that every MMO developpers tried to get a part of the cake.   Instead of trying to develop something new and original they all tried to make clones.   MMO's originality died after 2004.

  • AoriAori Carbondale, ILPosts: 1,886Member Uncommon

    WoW took great concepts and made them work, something most other mmo's have failed to do whether it be their own or anothers.

    I'm going to throw this out there, conversations about WoW are usually like the occupy protest in reverse. It is the 1% getting pissed at the 99% because the elites finally aren't getting EVERYTHING their way. I mean lets face it, it isn't smart business to FULLY cater to the minority consumer base.

  • Agnostic42Agnostic42 That place, Overthere, WAPosts: 375Member

    The positives...uhm... those did not come from WoW and WoW didn't make them main stream. Ask any Everquest player or DAoC player what Allakhazam's is(changed their name several years ago to Zam), I bet they still have a bookmark on their browser to it. Or Caster's Realm, or EQCrafters or EQUI or EQInterface or EQPlayers run by Sony on the EQ main page and last but not least Magelo.

    So instead of the four positives listed, you now have one remaining, Death and Loss. I have many bad things to say about how the lack of a death penalty made the mainstream MMO far less challenging but, that's my own opinion...

    All WoW really did was take the ideas of the the games before it, and pump a ton of advertising money into it with a dumbed down system, taking MMO's into more and more peoples houses. That's it, and while this is indeed a grand achievement, it's not nearly as "WoW Effect" as everyone thinks.

  • Shakes420Shakes420 Marietta, GAPosts: 23Member

    Originally posted by jtcgs

    you are basically saying something along the lines of Ford didnt invent the automobile because someone else sold more.

     

    Actually, Ford did not invent the automobile.  But he did develope the first inexpensive, standardized car that was widely accessible.

     

  • gr0und3dgr0und3d Why, CAPosts: 113Member

    "I long for a game world where we have the modern conveniences of MMOs now with the unfettered experiences of a player-driven game."




    You did not mention TERA.   This quote is basically what TERA is promising.... (unless a convenience includes tab targetting)  Check out the political system and guild housing. 









     




     

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,607Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Kaynos1972
    WOW effect after 2004 is that every MMO developpers tried to get a part of the cake.   Instead of trying to develop something new and original they all tried to make clones.   MMO's originality died after 2004.

    Originality doesnt put food on the table.


    Star Wars Galaxies is hailed by MMORPG.com posters as the best pre-WoW MMO but it was a horrible, badly designed, bug ridden mess that was bleeding subs before WoW came out.

  • FrostWyrmFrostWyrm Tempe, AZPosts: 1,036Member

    Originally posted by jtcgs

    Holy crap Victor...do you know ANYTHING about the history of MMORPGs?

    Everything you credited WoW for was done by OTHER games first...and if you fall back on "WoW popularized it" you are basically saying something along the lines of Ford didnt invent the automobile because someone else sold more.

    As much as I want to agree with you, I just have to point out that Ford did NOT invent the automobile. Ford is essentially WoW in this analogy. They popularized the automobile by simplifying its production and making it easier for anyone to buy.

    The first patented automobile was invented in Germany by Karl Benz, and several others before him played around with the idea.

  • arctarusarctarus nilPosts: 2,570Member Uncommon

    Blizzard remove the tedious part about mmo, in fact about a game, and make it fun!

    No longer you have to grind hours just to increase 1%of you xp bar, lost everything you earn when you die, waiting for your friends or guidies to log on with the correct class so that you can progress, etc etc etc....

    This are simply not fun for alot of players! They play game for fun, not 2nd job!

    Blizzard makes WoW accessible to the target players of their game! There's no worng in that. If you find WoW is dump down, than its simply personal preference, this game is not for you, and there's other game out there that will suit your needs.

    I agree that WoW's end game is still raid-or-die, which is very non-innovative , the urshering of fluff itmes in cash shops, leveling too fast that players dont know how to play their class properly etc...

    But no game is perfect, and  i blame other devs for trying to copy WoW to make their game successful, not blaming Blizz.

    I feel that alot of devs thought that just by giving players tons of quest to level up , by going the easy way out, will make their game successful, and yet many of them have neglect the other parts of WoW.

    Simple things like day and night cycle, crafting, quite alot of different professions, details, changing of spells animation once a while, " semmless " world, chat bubble, emotes, sitting on chairs, swimming.... the list goes on, if these devs after WoW really bother to  " clone" WoW they would have added all these.

    (LFD is newly added and a welcome addtion for me.)

     

    Thats why now we are left with these so-call AAA titles barely surviving, and some devs blame RMT.... lol...

     

    Yet despite all the negative of WoW, it not only brings millions of players into this genre, but also companies, companies like War that brings us PQ, BW that bring us class stories from lvl 1 to max, GW2 that bring us D.E....

    If WoW didnt bring in these millions of players and make this a lucrative business , than i can safely say we wont see all these companies coming in and brings about new ideas...

     

    Finally i believe that 1 day, although very slowly, a company will emerge and be able to unite both sandbox and theme park players, a game will  that will finally satisfied most of the players and once again brings this genre forward.

    Whether you like it of not, Blizzard did change this genre and definitely have a huge impact in mmorpg....

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    RIP Orc Choppa

  • BlackyceBlackyce Newnan, GAPosts: 1Member
    I would have to say the biggest negative WoW has brought to the MMO community is the fact that because WoW was the perfect storm and has had the most subscribers of any MMO, every dev team tries to emulate it.

    Think about the diversity of MMO's back in 2000. There was UO, EQ, AC and DAoC , all four were unique and popular. Now every MMO is pretty much a WoW clone because that's what investors want. WoW took away the diversity of MMO's as well as turning the genre into RPG's.
  • arctarusarctarus nilPosts: 2,570Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by agnostic4eve

    The positives...uhm... those did not come from WoW and WoW didn't make them main stream. Ask any Everquest player or DAoC player what Allakhazam's is(changed their name several years ago to Zam), I bet they still have a bookmark on their browser to it. Or Caster's Realm, or EQCrafters or EQUI or EQInterface or EQPlayers run by Sony on the EQ main page and last but not least Magelo.

    So instead of the four positives listed, you now have one remaining, Death and Loss. I have many bad things to say about how the lack of a death penalty made the mainstream MMO far less challenging but, that's my own opinion...

    All WoW really did was take the ideas of the the games before it, and pump a ton of advertising money into it with a dumbed down system, taking MMO's into more and more peoples houses. That's it, and while this is indeed a grand achievement, it's not nearly as "WoW Effect" as everyone thinks.

     

    How many players are there in EQ and DAOC?

    Players can have whatever sites in their bookmark, but i remember that Thottbot is the most popular.

    A game can spend millions in advertising ( War, SWTOR ) yet if the game itself doesnt hold on to the players, than its of no use.

    WoW subs keeps expanding till its peak at 12mil, this means something, and if there is any developers out there that still wants to create a themepark mmo, they jolly well go into in depth study of WoW

    So yes, its WoW effect...

    RIP Orc Choppa

  • gr0und3dgr0und3d Why, CAPosts: 113Member

    Originally posted by arctarusass so that you can progress, etc etc etc....

    This are simply not fun for alot of players! They play game for fun, not 2nd job!

    Blizzard makes WoW accessible to the target players of their game! There's no worng in that. If you find WoW is dump down, than its simply personal preference, this game is not for you, and there's other game out there that will suit your needs.

    But no game is perfect, and  i blame other devs for trying to copy WoW to make their game successful, not blaming Blizz.


     Dude, yes! 

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    Victor,  you are certainly taking on the role of DEVIL'S advocate well.

    Despite the fact, that I enjoyed my year and a half in WoW and don't really have anything bad to say about the game itself.... I will say that I don't think many of your positives are neccesarly all that positive....or at the least they are VERY, VERY double-edged swords.

    While I think WoW is (or at least was when I played it) a good game it's "legacy" for gaming is pretty darn crappy (IMO).

    I don't really blame Wow or Blizzard for this..... I blame all the droolers out there, including investors, developers and even many of it's "fans" for looking at it and saying "This is the one true way to make a good and successfull MMO."  The same moronic thinking if applied to the movie business would lead to "If we want to have a good and successfull movie it MUST star Adam Sandler and follow the same formulas his movies do."  While I loved "Waterboy" and thought it was a great movie, I also loved  "Lord of the Rings" and "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindlers List" and  "Old School" and "Office Space" and "Austin Powers" and even seeing "Shrek" & "Puss n' Boots" with my kid.

    Fact is there are ALOT of good and successfull movies out there and ALOT of different ways to make good and successfull movies......and some of those movies are as unlike the others as they can possibly be. If people would take thier blinders off, they would realize the same holds true for games (including MMO's). You no more need the same set of ingrediants in every single MMO and to follow the same formula then you need the same formula and set of ingrediants in every single dish regardless of cuisine. You just need to know what ingrediants work with each other and how to cook to get the specific result for the type of dish you are looking to make. Those ingrediants and formulas can be as unlike each other as humanly possible...and still be successfull and popular.

    People don't just like one type of food....the guy who's eating Steak and Patatoes one day may be just as happy eating Pad Thai the next, or baked Alaska, or Sushi,  or Lobster Bisque or maybe even Steak Tar Tar.  People need to be able to wrap thier heads around that in the context of gaming as well.... just because X maybe awesome...that doesn't meant that something that is the exact opposite of X can't be just as awesome, just suiting a different taste.....and heck yes, a single person MAY actualy even like BOTH of them.

  • arctarusarctarus nilPosts: 2,570Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Blackyce

    I would have to say the biggest negative WoW has brought to the MMO community is the fact that because WoW was the perfect storm and has had the most subscribers of any MMO, every dev team tries to emulate it.



    Think about the diversity of MMO's back in 2000. There was UO, EQ, AC and DAoC , all four were unique and popular. Now every MMO is pretty much a WoW clone because that's what investors want. WoW took away the diversity of MMO's as well as turning the genre into RPG's.

    But that is not WoW's fault.

    Being successful is never a person or company fault. Its the fault of the people or company that " TRY " to be like them and yet in their laziness, omit tons of contents, and ultimately leads to their failure.

    Mythic try to hype their War, promise the game will offer so much, no more killing of the same bears if you kills them while making your way to the quest giver,.... guess what? They lie!

    Removal of 4 cities saying they need to polish them, are they in game now???

    But look at Blizzard, cancel SC-Ghost because it didnt meets their demand. Their game will be ready when its ready...

    Its Blizz that sets the standard that now players have expected and companies have to follow, which in fact is a good thing for us players!

    No longer shall we pay for beta games, unfinish products, being lie to , we will leave these games and never looks back.

    So now companies must be very careful before they release their games, and be truthful in that...

     

     

    RIP Orc Choppa

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Blame people that buy pre-orders, life subs, collectors editions, and regular accounts of games that copy WoW.  Companies make what people will buy.  The market has shown people will shell out for these games even if they leave in a few months.  How many bought SWTOR...what makes you think another company will not copy with the pitch to investors that they can get the same sales, but their game will keep people.  If people never bought then investors would not invest in those games.

  • arctarusarctarus nilPosts: 2,570Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Horusra

    Blame people that buy pre-orders, life subs, collectors editions, and regular accounts of games that copy WoW.  Companies make what people will buy.  The market has shown people will shell out for these games even if they leave in a few months.  How many bought SWTOR...what makes you think another company will not copy with the pitch to investors that they can get the same sales, but their game will keep people.  If people never bought then investors would not invest in those games.

    Personally i believe that all investors will always look at the long term.

    Its the developers that cast a shroud over them and promise/hype so many things to the inverstors, especially with such a huge I.P.

    SWTOR, though now claiming 1.7mil subs, we shall see in their next report, if they are truthful, how many subs are left.

    Seriously, 2mil box sale is not alot. BW may have break even, but with the crying out for server merges in the official forums, its not looking good.

     

     

     

     

    RIP Orc Choppa

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    Originally posted by Horusra

    Blame people that buy pre-orders, life subs, collectors editions, and regular accounts of games that copy WoW.  Companies make what people will buy.  The market has shown people will shell out for these games even if they leave in a few months.  How many bought SWTOR...what makes you think another company will not copy with the pitch to investors that they can get the same sales, but their game will keep people.  If people never bought then investors would not invest in those games.


     

    In truth, though alot of these games may have gotten sub & sales numbers that outwardly seem impressive.... due to thier budgets and the time the money has to be sunk in the project before starting to see a return alot of the big recent ones are actualy UNDERPERFORMING as far as investments go.

    I be really interested to see if TOR doesn't start doing significantly better then it currently is trending...... what happens to the investment money for big budget themepark projects in future.

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