A (hopefully) simple explanation to the question "What is a WoW-clone?"
WoW stands for World of Warcraft, the most popular MMORPG to date and of all time. A lot of people have tried and enjoyed it, a lot also tried and hated it.
The dictionary version: A group of organisms or cells produced asexually from one ancestor or stock, to which they are genetically identical.
The gaming version: A clone normally is a game that is very similar to the original done by companies who try and take a piece of the pie of the bigger game.
This is a term to describe games that try to be like World of Warcraft. To determine a WoW-clone works like determining a child is autistic. It's judgement passed by a doctor, or gamer in this case, based on criteria that may or may not be an exact science. So opinions may vary, but everyone agrees on extreme cases.
- The combat bar is at the bottom with the numbers 1 to = where the player may press skills to damage a selected enemy.
- The fights are static and involve repetitively hitting the same numbers.
- The player must gather quests and do them to get rewards, such as experience, gold and items
- Party play normally is constituted of tanks, healers and dps. A holy trinity.
- A player has to train skills at level up and uses a specialization tree to define his class better.
- The game progresses through the use of gear, often referred to as a "gear grind".
- There are two factions fighting each other for control. Sometimes, one of those factions is AI.
- Boss fights are often a well coordinated dance more than an actual battle.
- The game implements dubious real-life references.
- There is a global cooldown
- There are pvp and dungeon queues
- Question marks and exclamation marks as quest markers
Characteristics differ from symptoms as they are related to the way the managers behind the curtain act with the public. WoW clones may display the following behavior:
- Having an NDA
- Banning dissenting opinions, especially when they are accused a system is copied from WoW
- Defending decisions by using WoW as a reference.
- Claiming to listen to the public, with little to no interation with the public on their forum
- Defending features by claiming it is too late to change now
A WoW-clone can have one, any or all of the above symptoms and characteristics depending on the person giving his opinion, but it is usually conceded that the game is a WoW-clone if they have both one characteristic and two or more symptoms. However, the inverse is also true, someone defending the new pretty pixels a game offers will require proof that their game matches all characteristics and all symptoms and before proof is given, they will claim that it is not a clone.
Everyone is right when calling a game a WoW-clone or not a WoW-clone. Unlike the diagnostic of things like autism though, it will not ruin anyone's life. The general rule is that if someone is reminded of WoW by a game, then it most likely fits both characteristics and symptoms so to him, it is indeed a clone of sorts since in his view, the game is very similar to its predecessor.
You're right, no matter what you say.
Boycotting EA. Why? They suck, even moreso since 2008.