In the last six years, many have tried to take down the kingdom Blizzard has built known as World of Warcraft. Yet all the games that went up against the glorious monster have failed, because they have all lacked in something. World of Warcraft succeeded for a few main reasons, and if anyone wants to take down this empire of eleven million-strong, they must lack nothing.
If you’re going up against Goliath, first and foremost you need to pick up the right stones; for one, you need to have a strong fan base. Blizzard gained the trust of its fans in 1994, when the Warcraft series was introduced; this guaranteed those players were going to transfer over to World of Warcraft. As a result, Blizzard was also able to advertise the game in a unique way: word of mouth. Warcraft players and fans alike enjoyed the game so much that they told all of their friends.
Blizzard has mastered another element that has made the game such a success: a story. Throughout the decade Blizzard was working on Warcraft, the company was able to develop an awesome story to captivate its audience. Blizzard developed the legendary story of the alliance against the horde. Blizzard knew that the story would help keep players intrigued. Other than the perfect story line, the computer gaming giant also knew the gameplay had to be just as good. For this reason Blizzard introduced a variety of races (Orc, Undead, Tauren, Blood Elf, Troll, Human, Dwarf, Night Elves, Gnomes, Draenei) and classes (Druids, Shaman, Mages, Priest, Warriors, Hunter,Warlocks, Paladins, Rogues, Death Knights). Furthermore, players had the ability to have each class customizable to their likings. For example: if you preferred to heal you would be a Holy Priest, but if you felt like doing damage, you would be a Shadow Priest. Having this option allows the players to personalize themselves with the characters. Obversely, To take down WoW, there are two other in-game experiences that need to be added: dungeons (dungeons are designated areas where you and your team mates collectively defeat mobs and a variety of bosses) and PVP (player vs. player). Dungeons and PVP are absolute musts! Dungeons provide entertainment for those who have interest in the story of the game and enjoy working as a team. PVP brings entertainment for those who want to adventure solo and for those who don’t have much time. Aside from all this, they have also introduced a lot of other small features to make the game even more entrancing. For instance, they added varieties of different gear and weaponry, and the more time you spend on the game, the better the gear your character will have. They have also incorporated achievements, and you can earn those achievements by completing a fairly difficult task, like the milestone of reaching level 80.
As a result of the major success of WoW, many Massively Multiplayer Online games have been released and have not succeeded in taking down WoW. In 2008, Mythic Entertainment released Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and I had high expectations for it! Unfortunately, they weren’t met: Warhammer mainly focused on the PVP portion of MMOs and left a lot out. Although I did not play the game for very long, there was not much development as to what the individual character’s purpose was in the game.
Many games have failed, but all hope is not lost. In October of 2008, LucasArts and BioWare announced Star Wars: The Old Republic. Even though we cannot be certain on the game’s final outcome, The Old Republic it is very promising. Being that this game is about Star Wars, LucasArts and BioWare have a fan base we wouldn’t even be able to imagine. Why is it that Star Wars has this fantastic fan base? Plain and simple: the epic conflict between the Jedi and Sith. LucasArts and BioWare haven’t mentioned much regarding the PVP and dungeons, but sources have confirmed their inclusion in the game. After three years in the making, I am certain they won’t let us down. The developers have also added a new aspect to the game, something that World of Warcraft has yet to implement. They have added the freedom of choice in the game, and the choices you make will affect the way your character is developed. This means if you are a member of the Sith, your decisions in the game could lead to becoming a part of The Jedi Order. Taking into consideration this long-awaited MMO, Blizzard is upping the ante with the new WoW expansion “Cataclysm.” Will this be enough? Will Goliath finally fall?