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What If: WoW Never Existed?



  • OziiusOziius Baltimore, MDPosts: 1,398Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by pmiles
    Blizzard is not Apple... they did not invent the genre, they merely cloned it.  Being first to the market can sometimes yield supremacy over the market... as in Apple's case... but keep in mind, that even though millions of people will never part with their iPhone or iPad... they will also never entertain the idea of using a Mac as their home computer.  See the disconnect there?  How can a company that makes, in their eyes, the best phone of tablet on the market, not be capable of making a computer of equal quality?  Simply put... Microsoft beat them to the market, nothing more, nothing less.  For the same reasons that consumers will not part with their PCs, they will not part with their iPhones and iPads.   WoW made this genre what it is today... there is absolutely no denying that.  For good or bad, the landscape was forever changed.  The majority of the player base in WoW was made up mostly of non-gamers at the time... mothers and fathers, housewives and retirees, and yes even little kids who had no idea what MMORPGs were let alone video games.  Those massive subscription numbers weren't made up of die hard gamers looking for something new to play... they were made up of people who, until just a few days earlier, never even fired up their computers to play video games at all.  That was the revolution that took place... call it luck, call it kharma, in the end... NO ONE EXPECTED their Mom and Dad to do anything on the computer short of email and surfing the web.

    1. Apple did not invent the smartphone - They just made it prettier and easier to use for the public... just like Blizzard did with WoW. Blizzard did not "clone" anything. They already had a very established product and turned it into an MMO - Many folks like to say that they cloned EQ - this is just not so. Warcraft was a mixture of many concepts yes, but most can agree it's not EQ with a different skin. I was playing Eq when WoW came out and they are very different in play style IMO. 


    2. What you seem to be saying in your second paragraph is that the popularity of the iPhone/iPad has not carried over to Mac computers... which has little to do with anything other then "Microsoft beat them to the market, nothing more, nothing less"  - So... let me ask you this... 


    Palm, Windows Mobile and Blackberry ALL beat iOS and Android to the market... .Yet, Palm is basically gone.. blackberry is on life support and Windows Phone is just now starting to gain some steam (still very small percentage of the market) while Android and iOS own the market. By your logic... the former should be on top as they were first to the market? Correct? Yeah... no. 


    Back to the topic, if WoW never existed, I believe that someone would have taken the very same path. Like I said, things were headed there anyway. 

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 In cyberspaaaaaacePosts: 2,764Member Uncommon

    A lot more MMOs would have survived and fewer MMOs would be created. I'm not sure if my assumption is right but without a low investment but crazy high ROI such as WoW then investors wouldn't be so quick to pull out if they aren't making close to the same. MMOs would still slowly try to cater more for the mainstream but it wouldn't be as abrupt or detrimental (in SWG's case). The mainsteam need to make MMOs more accessible, rewarding, and fun was going to happen.

    I also think the over abundance of F2P would have been delayed had there been more players spread between the games, hence more financial stability.

  • JimmydeanJimmydean Ypsilanti, MIPosts: 1,270Member
    MMORPGs would not be so mainstream. MMORPGs would still be MMORPGs. FPS / RTS gamers would have stayed in their respective corners. MMORPG gamers would still have decent games being released to play. There would be less garbage MMORPGs being released every other month.
  • intrinscintrinsc EGG HARBOR CITY, NJPosts: 93Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by olepi
    I didn't play WoW much, but I did play a lot of DAOC before WoW came out. I'm not sure WoW had anything that DAOC didn't. I tend to think of "WoW clones" as "DAOC clones". Perhaps the biggest difference could be that WoW "dumbed down" the game to the point that kids could play it. Instead of a somewhat cerebral game of stats, tactics, and planning, WoW seems more like an arcade experience. Modern MMO"S certainly seem to have gone that route: towards a more shallow, simplistic, action oriented game.

    Nothing wrong with making great games more accessible. Look at Ferrari nowadays. They put so much computing behind their cars driving experience that they are nothing like they were before when if you drove one hard without skill you ended up on the side of the road. Many complain about this loss of the visceral feel, but Ferrari ain't complaining about continued and expanded success to more customers during a global recession. Technology and accessibility is good.

  • BetaguyBetaguy Halifax, NSPosts: 2,606Member Uncommon
    I only deal in absolutes, never what if's. WoW does exist so we can't imagine what it would be like without it or how it changed/ didn't change the market.  /shrug


  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 6,031Member Rare
    Originally posted by Betaguy
    I only deal in absolutes, never what if's. WoW does exist so we can't imagine what it would be like without it or how it changed/ didn't change the market.  /shrug

    That must make it difficult to plan your future.

  • DeivosDeivos Posts: 3,692Member Epic

    It's fairly apparent that WoW made a big splash that changed the way people looked at MMOs.


    It was not in a manner I consider good. Too many games try to take the moniker without the merit, and as others have noted the genre has shifted as a whole in order to become more accessible and popular.


    We might have fewer titles in the MMO market, but it seems like we would have retained more experimentation that got stuck on the back-burner by many publishers due to chasing numbers.


    Some dev groups/publishers like SOE would likely still be going along and releasing much the same stuff they already have. Perhaps a more concerted effort as the 'big fish' would have come from them with their titles too.


    As it stands it's also as others have said, simply speculation. Depending on your view of popular games at present and the trends, it's good or bad things in a mixed bag.

    "The knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendency whatever to make men good reasoners." - Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

  • ValkanisarValkanisar HomeTown, ONPosts: 494Member Common
    if wow did not exist...we would not have the pile of mmos we see today being made...i would say more then half of the mmos out now would not of been made at all...after wow..everyone and their grandma wanted to make a mmo just to try and get some of the wow customers to their games...
  • TorgrimTorgrim GothenburgPosts: 2,088Member

    Before WOW we had


    Ultima Online


    Acheron Call

    Dark Age of Camelot

    EVE Online

    Star Wars Galaxies

    Those games I have listed were not clones of one another they all had their own niche and gameplay.

    Then came WOW, what happend to games that came after WOW?, I think you guys can answer that one for yourself.

    If it's not broken, you are not innovating.

  • AkulasAkulas GoldcoastPosts: 1,924Member Uncommon

    Community would be smaller and be the little pale skinned basement dweller crowd from the 90's that MMORPGs used to attract. But now we became older and became people's bosses  and got employed.


    Could be worse. Could have became a brain surgeron or lawyer but atleast I can still be lazy but that would have happened anyway without WoW's help. Heh.

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member Uncommon

    I'm in the camp that feels the industry was already drifting in the themepark direction and that WoW just refined ideas that were already in the air and presented them to a large new audience.

    But what would have happened if Blizzard had taken a different direction for what sort of game to put in front of its large established fanbase?  What if, at it's foundation, WoW had been designed as a simulation of a slow-moving game of warcraft so that the game was more eve-like instead of everquest-like?

  • AxehiltAxehilt Posts: 10,504Member Rare
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I was thinking the performance of those MMOs that released right around WoW's time wouldn't change, it would just be the expectations of the developers and players that would change. Developers wouldn't expect multiple millions of people to play any given MMO, so when they got a population of 300k or so, they'd be happy.

    Yeah that's probably true.  And with MMORPGs expected to only have 10% of modern MMORPG expectations, the budget for MMORPGs would also be about 10% of modern MMORPGs, and fewer MMORPGs would have been made.

    "What is truly revealing is his implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true. [continue]" -John Oliver

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I was thinking the performance of those MMOs that released right around WoW's time wouldn't change, it would just be the expectations of the developers and players that would change. Developers wouldn't expect multiple millions of people to play any given MMO, so when they got a population of 300k or so, they'd be happy.

    Probably the biggest effect. Herd would not require 1M players to pass a "success/fail" binary check, either.

    Assuming the next game in the queue would directly benefit ...GW1? Ooh, THAT would tick some people off. No, wait, Vanguard?

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,533Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by pmiles
    If WoW never existed many of the games you mentioned would never have existed...
    ... what it did do is bring the genre to the masses and get it the kind of publicity if never had before.

    Both true. Wow's endless marketing strategy brought millions to the genre. Without it, the genre would still be small and 500k "Western" subs would be considered God Like.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • kDeviLkDeviL Coco Beach, FLPosts: 215Member Uncommon

    I wish this had happened with all my heart,  Many people believe that WoW was the salvation of the MMO genre, that it was the game that really made the genre what it is.  That's true to an extent but it also killed what the genre was, which imo was much, much better. Without WoW we would have had MUCH more diverse games to play out there, not an unbelievable amount of WoW clones which devs to this day still haven't realized we don't want.  Without WoW  we would have a ton of DAoC clones, Quite a few UO clones, some Conquer Online clones, some runescape clones, and some combinations of each.  Instead of looking at an MMO list in which 95% of the games could easily be considered WoW with a different skin I think it would have been much more assorted in choices.  I miss the way MMOs used to be and imo WoW destroyed their style.

    If WoW was released today even in its' entirety it would be f2p in 3 months.
    Why is it still such a big deal?

  • KoolVirusKoolVirus Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 5Member Common
    If wow never existed coh would still be alive.
  • AyulinAyulin Mt marion, NYPosts: 334Member
    Originally posted by MMOExposed
    if WoW didnt exist, the genre would still be the same since it was heading the WoW way anyway if you take note of the trending.   AC = Sandbox AC2 = Sandpark AC3 aka LoTRO = Themepark   the trend was heading that way.   EQ1----> EQ2   see the trending. this is before WoW.  

    AC to AC2 I can see, because Turbine's goal was to make AC2 more accessible to players, etc. However, it still maintained (and still does with the re-launch) many old-school elements that weren't "phased out" of MMO designs 'til after WoW came out of Left field, blew the genre's doors open and radically changed the way it would proceed.

    Incidentally, AC2 actually introduced a few things we consider "standard" now, which are often wrongly accredited to WoW. 

    LoTRO came after WoW, and was modeled a lot after it, with some notable inspiration taken from AC2, so I don't really think you can use that as a pure example of the progression.

    EQ2 was a much different game when it came out, and for the first month or so, until WoW launched and proceeded to wipe the floor with it. It was much more old-school than WoW was, and really not as much a step toward pure theme-park as, again, WoW was. It had the corpse run death penalty, similar to EQ1, much deeper roots in RP elements, a more involved character development system, etc. Much of that was simplified a lot after WoW launched and Smed decided he wanted in on that Blizzard pie. I actually preferred the old EQ2. If they could have had a better engine, and with a few minor tweaks, I think it was a much more interesting game than it became later when SOE started chasing WoW's coat-tails with it.

    I don't think it's quite so easy to connect those dots and say which way the genre would have gone or to what degree if WoW never entered the picture, or if it never took off the way it did. As much as EQ2 "evolved" over EQ1, and AC2 "evolved" over AC1, neither brought changes even remotely so drastic as WoW did to the way MMOs were designed. EQ1 was still the reigning king back then, even over EQ2. If not for WoW, the genre could have well remained more like AC2/EQ2 for a while.




  • sunshadow21sunshadow21 Omaha, NEPosts: 355Member Uncommon
    I think one big difference would have been a lot less homogenization almost overnight. With WoW, everyone else had a clear cut path to follow to make money, and as businesses will, that path was followed. Without WoW, it would likely have been much harder for someone to be the clear cut victor, and so, there would have been a lot more experimentation in the development of the games that were developed. There would certainly be less of them, as there would also be less of an open door to the mass market, and thus a smaller player base, but ultimately the diversity amongst the ones that got made would have been significantly higher, with each game building up it's own following and a larger part of the focus staying on long term play rather than immediate profits. The genre would still be here, and it would still have largely evolved to be more mass market friendly, but without a clear number 1 game backed by heavy marketing, the evolutions would have been slower, and the expectations of growth smaller, meaning that games like SWG would be more likely to be seen as successes in a small, but popular, niche rather than failures in what many have come to perceive as a main stream product. People often don't understand that WoW's success was not just in the technical production of the game itself, but it's ability to draw in gamers from other genres of games with it's IP and Blizzard's ability to market it's past success into WoW's success; that is what made WoW what it was as much as anything in the game itself, and without those factors, it would have been very difficult for anyone to replicate anything like what happened with WoW.
  • HomituHomitu Hometown, HIPosts: 2,030Member Uncommon
    But... but... WoW didn't innovate at all, right?  So it didn't add or change anything.  Nothing would be any different!
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,552Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Homitu
    But... but... WoW didn't innovate at all, right?  So it didn't add or change anything.  Nothing would be any different!

    WoW wasnt Original, but it did Innovate. dont confuse the two terms.


  • OlgarkOlgark BostonPosts: 341Member Uncommon
    There wouldn't be as many mmo's out there, but the ones we would have would of been far better than what has been produced.


  • daltaniousdaltanious waPosts: 2,299Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones
    What do you think the current landscape of MMOs would look like had WoW never released?


    Brrrr ... can not even immagine how it would be. :-))

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,694Member Uncommon
    To this day, I am still boggled by the RL people I find out play or have played WoW. I remember trying to explain what an MMO was before WoW. Now I just say "a game like WoW" and they know exactly what I mean.

  • severiusseverius sacramento, CAPosts: 1,512Member Uncommon

    If WoW had never existed moronic companies wouldn't have hired Guild Leaders as management.  People wouldn't have been spending their work hours tweaking builds and watching boss strats on youtube, staying up until 4 am raiding and then going to their jobs unrested, unshowered, and ill-prepared.

    Had wow never existed the market would not have collapsed and the world would be a better place.


  • DrakynnDrakynn The Pas, MBPosts: 2,030Member

    This question reminds me of the other popular what if "What if Hitler had never been born/died early".

    The easy knee jerk answer is everything would be different!!!!

    More thorough examination shows Hitler was a product of his time and the socio-economic situation in Germany at the time.Hitler didn't start the Nazi party or it's ideals he rose up through it via charisma but was not the only charismatic person in the party.

    Germany was hurting under the punishing economic reprisals of the Treaty of Versailles,the rise of Fascism was in response to skirmishes against communist Soviet forces on it's border,antisemitic feeling was rife in Germany  at the time.These amongst other factors would all of been true whether Hitler existed or not.

    So whilst Hitler not existing of the time may of changed things seems more likely that someone else would of just filled his place with only minor differences.

    So too was WoW a product of it's time so Whilst in it's absence things may of been very different it also seems likely something else would of taken it's place and there would be only minor differences in the long run.

    This is no way saying WoW is Hitler before anyone jumps on that just that it is a similar what ifs on different categories.

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