Sunday, January 4, 2009

The failure of World of Warcraft.

I have only played World of Warcraft for about 2.5 years. When I purchased my copy, the box had a shiny gold sticker that declared I was about to embark on a journey with 6.5 million other players.

A similar sticker today would read 11.5 million players.

Blizzard has been criticized for abysmally slow expansion releases for the World of Warcraft. Having only released two expansions in the past four years, Blizzard really does not have an argument, but they do argue that the slow releases are to ensure high quality product to keep World of Warcraft on top.

Other well-known (and somewhat tired) criticisms include: too much PVP, too much PVE, too many epics, lack-luster legendary loot experiences, too easy, too gear oriented, corporate greed...etc.

All of these complaints have led to an odd prediction for World of Warcraft.

Doomsayers declare that World of Warcraft is going to fail because of all of those complaints. Subscriptions are going to stop increasing and then the development staff will be cut as the numbers decline. This will lead to the inevitable shut-down of the World of Warcraft. The most popular MMORPG is doomed to failure.

No. World of Warcraft will never be a failure. Yes, it will someday be shut down. The shut-down will not be for lack of accomplishments but rather because the game's technology will one day simply be too old for most gamers to bother with.

Blizzard has already begun the process of creating a more advanced MMO in the form of the company's mysterious fourth project. Job openings seen on the Blizzard pages include next generation technology knowledge. This next-gen MMO is not in response to a failing World of Warcraft. It is in response to the obvious eventual progression of technology. Or maybe Blizzard simply felt like making another MMO since their current one is such a blast. Blizzard has also made assurances that the upcoming MMO will not be a World of Warcraft sequel and in fact, they intend for it to be a completely new product not based on any of their current franchises.

No, World of Warcraft will never be listed among the many failures in the genre. Sure, some dorks will be mad that they didn't get what they wanted out of the game and therefore it was failure enough for them, but in the grand scheme of things, it can never be considered a failure.

World of Warcraft will die of old age before it could ever die of failure. And considering the longevity of Runescape, who can honestly predict the future of World of Warcraft?

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