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As you all know, I have a love/hate relationship towards WoW.
However, I have played almost every MMORPG released since 1998, and was playing WoW at initial release.
After all these years, I can tell you that the major reason WoW is still the King of the Hill is due to the following.
Because WoW came out way before all of the existing MMOs except EQ1, many many players over the years have developed characters and in some cases several characters all the way from level 1 to level 90. There is a huge time investment. Thus, even though players like myself, who really wish a ground breaking MMO would come out, all the new MMO's always are in some way shape or form a WoW clone to one degree or another.
This causes several things to happen:
1) Long time WoW players experience nothing new or different in a significant way to cause them to give up WoW for the new MMORPG. Although, these WoW players usually do not renew their subscription with WoW while playing the new MMO, most veteran WoW players do not usually renew at more than a month to 3 months anyway, as there is just not enough for a well versed level 90 to do except run the same raids over and over again grinding for gear, same for PvP. Despite that, they see the new MMO as nothing different. Thus, the new MMO is abandoned after a month or 2 as same old same old and no reason to abandon or play your level 90 WoW toons less.
2) The subscription for WoW becomes a plus for Blizzard....for not only is there a time investment, but a money investment for WoW players. For WoW Players are loathe to abandon the WoW investment of time and money for any MMO that does not blow them away. In teh end, the new MMO makes money off initial release, a month or 2 of sub time, and if F2P maybe some cash shop purchase profit, but in the end its not much. Also, the fact that if you decide to play WoW along with another MMO, that WoW sub hangs over your head...and if you do not play WoW enough during the same time you are trying out other MMOs, you kind of...feel guilty? Your money spent and not being used?
3) The power of the WoW clone defeats all new MMO's to some degree. I call this the "Fonzie Factor"...Back in the mid 1970's a sitcom came out that broke the sitcom genre, it was called "Happy Days" and was loosely based on a great movie that had come out previously called 'American Graffiti". Well, there was a character named 'Fonzie" that started out as a cameo character and not a main character, i.e. did not appear in every episode. The combination of his flair andthe fact that he was not in every episode created fans to eagerly anticipate his next appearence. Unfortunately, as with everything on network TV, the producers recognizing Fonzies popularity made him a regular character, then increased the number of time he would appear in each episode, then increased the amount of time he was in each episode, then making entire episodes revolve around him, and eventually, the whole series revolved around him. By then, fans were "Fonzie Saturated" and the series failed. THIS, is what developers and producers of MMOs do every single time they release a new MMO...they clone WoW over and over again, to the point where we are WoW saturated...just like Fonzie. The BEST example of this is "Wild Star".....as despite even to myself as being new and unique...its still the same old same old WoW formula.
In conclusion, there really is no reason for the large WoW player base to leave WoW 100% for another MMO, or moreover even share WoW time with another MMO. As long as game studios continue to base their MMO designs on WoW to some degree or another, they just dig their own holes. Where is the imagination? Where is the creativity or ingenuity?
I can easily see in some cases where great Devs come up with non WoW clones, only to have some high mucky mucky poo poo their ideas because "WoW is the mose successful MMO, they obviously are doing whats right, therefore we must do the same, and of course do it better, which will make players come to our game and make us king of the hill"....
Please Devs and Prods...stop the madness!