Can WoW Be Beaten? - 11.2.2007

The question as to if WoW can be beaten or not seems often too difficult to discuss. I always wonder why though. For me, at least, the answer seems so simple. The answer is that no, World of Warcraft can not and will not be beaten.

I honestly do not think that WoW will ever be out-populated by another subscription-based MMO - ever. Just look at what games we see on the horizon that are worth mentioning: Tabula Rasa (released today), Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Star Trek Online, The Agency, etc.

Let's analyze the small list I provided. I bolded the names of possible competitors of WoW and italicized the games that don't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as WoW.

*Tabula Rasa: Tabula Rasa was released today, so I still included it on the list. Let me sum up the TR beta with one, excuse me, two words. Utter crap. The game play was not smooth AT ALL, and to be quite honest, that was my only huge problem with it. However, it was a BIG problem.
*Warhammer Online: "...And in other news, EA's Mythic Entertainment decided to delay WAR once more - they say this is the last time - to polish it a bit more." I hope they don't polish it so much that the paint begins to wear.
*Age of Conan: I really want this game to be great. I've been watching it for almost two years now - hell, I even did a podcast about it for awhile. However, because of it's M rating and it's low-fantasy setting, I don't think that Age of Conan will come close to beating WoW. I do believe, however, that it can and will be a healthy competitor.
*Pirates of the Burning Sea: Sony Online Entertainment. Well there are other reasons why my love for this game diminished as well, but I thought I'd just simply point out "the SOE reason".
*Star Trek Online: Finally, the Trekkies have a promising game to look forward to. Will Star Trek Online beat WoW's number? Well, because it's a Sci-Fi MMO, no, I don't think it will. Will it come close? Yes. I believe that Star Trek online will be the only MMO to come anywhere close to WoW's numbers.
*The Agency: Sony Online Entertainment... Wait... An SOE game that I'm actually checking out?! Oh my God! Well, while this game is promising many revolutionary things right now, I don't know if it can carry those out or not. Also, being a Sci-Fi MMO hurts itself against its competition.

Notice that I didn't include Guild Wars 2 in the above list. This is because NCSoft has stated that it will be a free-to-play persistent world. If it remains that way, Guild Wars 2 could very likely beat WoW's numbers, but let's just see how long that lasts... When they finally decide to add a subscription-based fee, I won't be able to consider them as any competition.

So, there you have it. The only games on the horizon that I really believe in are Age of Conan and Star Trek Online. Now, don't assume that I'll be in there with the Trekkies, because I sure as hell won't be.

P.S. - You might say that I'm being "stupid" because I'm just taking into account the MMO's on the horizon. Well, I believe that in a year or two we will have reached the high point of MMO's.

-Matt Graham


nucleokinesis said...

You're an idiot. WoW, not being beaten, EVER? MMOs peaking in one or two years?

MMOs are an emerging genre. WoW is just the first MMO with some appeal beyond nerds. As the player base ages and diversifies MMOs will evolve.

Saying WoW is never going to be beaten and that the MMO genre will decline in the near future is like someone in 1985 saying the same thing about Super Mario Brothers. WoW is a huge step forward in accessibility and elegance, but this is nothing compared to where it will lead.

If you have so little imagination you should not be blogging.

Star Trek Online will get no more than 5% of WoW's sales because the theme is boring and it will attract the super-nerdy cosplay crowd. The game is basically a massive quest grind with no competitive play.

Warhammer is a crappy game and a 100% PvP MMO is non-viable.

Matt Graham said...

I'm sorry I have offended you so much. I must have struck a vein.

P.S. - I didn't say that the genre will decline in a few years, I said that it will reach its peak in a few years. Very different things.

Meg said...

WoW will definately be beaten! But not soon.

Anonymous said...

Of course it will be beaten... in time. This might be the next Bliz game, it might not be, but it will be beaten.

One comment already stated that this is an emerging genre of entertainment.

Some MMO in some point in the future will have 10 to 25 million players.

That will be a game that emerges and captures a larger audience and crosses boundaries.

It will happen.

nucleokinesis said...

(I don't know if my original post went through, purge this if it did.)

I wasn't offended at all by the blogger's post. I simply think it's remarkably unimaginative.

Console games have only recently matured after 20 years as a mass-marketed product, following the awkward pre-NES stage. How long did it take pagers/cellphones, radio, TVs, the Internet, to reach maturity, and yet are still changing? I can't think of a single technological innovation that fully matured within a "few years" of changing from a niche product to something popular with the general population.

A "few years" is an extremely short timeframe. MMOs will continue to dramatically grow and change for at least a few decades.

Will WoW be beaten? I personally think this is the wrong question. You might as well ask, has any game ever been "beaten"? I would say no.

WoW will simply decline in popularity as people find other things to do, but it will continue to appeal to a niche market and make money long after its prime passes. It will never be "beaten" by a new product, though it will someday certainly be overtaken by others in terms of subscribership and popularity.

Fugazi said...

Will WoW be beaten? Yes.
Will WoW be beaten anytime soon? No.

WoW will be beaten by one of two:
1) WAR - if it will be top AAA+ quality, then it can match WoW numbers in few years.
2) Another Blizzard MMO - again not from start but after a while it will surely reign supreme.

AoC? StarTrek? No way...

nucleokinesis: WAR will NOT be 100% PvP, it will be like WoW but with more focus on PvP instead of PvE.

Imagine WoW where instead of another raid instance for <5% population you get new battleground, arena maps, revamp of world PvP etc.