Oh Goody, Another WoW Killer!

Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft walk into a bar...

WoW Killer - An overused cliche applied to every big-name MMO to hit the market since 2004.  A term guaranteed to generate hundreds of blog articles and thousands of hype-laden comments from everyone who insists that *this game* will be the one to dethrone World of Warcraft as the "King of all Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games".  

So you probably won't see this added to the Oxford English Dictionary anytime soon, but if I had a dollar for every time I've seen or heard this term, I'd have enough money to pay for the development of my very own MMO.  At the very least, I could buy the assets of 38 Studios and get the Kingdoms of Amalur MMO published.  Just for fun, let's have a look at the long and not-so-distinguished list of MMO releases that were hyped as our favorite cliche, shall we?

Aion - Hrm, buggy gameplay, derivative Asian-grinder-style game... Nope.  Having NCSoft backing you doesn't do much to make MMO players feel warm and fuzzy either.  Seriously, if they'll kill City of Heroes, how long of a leash do you think this game has?  Destined to the great ash-heap of Asian Grinder MMO Clones.  If you can explain the difference between this game, Lineage or Lineage II to someone who isn't an MMO player then you seriously need to go outside.

Warhammer 40,000 - Puh-leeze. "EA" and "MMOs" go together like "Kim Dotcom" and "Salad Bar".  While I understand that Games Workshop was first with the whole "Orcs vs Humans" thing, EA was a few years too late to market with this game.  It's like World of Warcraft without all of the "Massively Multiplayer" action.

Rift - It's a good game.  Seriously, as much as I'd love to snark on this game.  I can't.  It's really good.  Rift taught me that without your friends or "gaming buddies", MMOs are just single player games with a chat room full of people you wouldn't willingly associate with otherwise.

Lord of the Rings Online - Winner of the "As long as there are hardcore Tolkien fans, there will be players in this game" award.  The biggest no-brainer MMO release of all time.  Kudos to Turbine for taking the time to make a decent game anyway.  If you're a hardcore role player and you enjoy the world created by Tolkien, this is pretty much Nirvana for you.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - More proof that if EA were in charge of your life, you would meet a Swedish bikini team while hiking up a mountain of money, but, upon closer inspection, the bills would all be fake and the Swedish bikini team would have a scorching case of herpes.   (No, I'm not bitter at all, why do you ask?)  A Star Wars game that launched with space combat "on rails", every single race being some color of humanoid (No Wookiees, seriously?!?), and every bit of money put into voice acting and single-player quest lines and you'll find yourself with a dozen characters at max level and absolutely nothing to do.  I look forward to coming back in two years when they've added enough end game content to keep me from getting bored in a couple of weeks.

Tera - If you're a fan of the "Anime Aesthetic" then I'm sure you'll enjoy this game.  Of course, if you've seen an ACTUAL naked woman... Seriously, the "upskirt" point of view combined with a running animation that looks like the women of the world of Tera have fire extinguishers lodged securely in their nether regions makes this game a long term favorite of basement dwellers everywhere.  I don't want to come across as sexist so for those of you out there who prefer to look at brawny menfolk, I have good news.  They look just like brawny menfolk do in every other game out there.  Seriously, do an image search for "Tera"  and tell me how many pages you have to go through to find a picture of any character that isn't female or anthropomorphic.

Age of Conan - Another entry in the "I'm not bitter file".  I met a lot of the guys at Funcom during Dragon*Con and personal interest aside, it is one of the most beautiful, best sounding, innovative games I've ever seen.  The combat controls are unique and the game wasn't shy about profanity, nudity, or anything else that most game developers shy away from when trying to appeal to a mass audience.  That said, it had way too many levels for the amount of content that was available at game's launch.  It should have launched with the same amount of content and a level cap of 50.  Now that it is free to play, I highly recommend that you take a look.

and now... The Elder Scrolls Online.

As much as I love The Elder Scrolls games, I have no higher hopes than it will be a decent game that is fun to play for a while until the next big thing comes along.  Anything beyond that is a bonus.  The cold, hard truth is that World of Warcraft is a unique entity in the world of online gaming.  There are lots of games out there that are really good and cost nothing to check out.  Stop wasting your time looking for the next huge thing and find a game you enjoy and people you can enjoy it with.


Published Feb. 5th 2013
  • Morgan_8857
    The only thing that can kill WoW, is WoW.
  • Grimthorn F. Redbeard
    Featured Correspondent
    I could very easily dedicate an entire column to Guild Wars 2. In fact, I still might do so. (yes, that was a threat... Be nice.) I have not played the game, nor am I particularly anxious to do so because it is linked to NCSoft, with whom I will not do business if given a choice. (See CoH...)

    Joxef, you're right, I probably should refer to them as Korean MMOs, but Asian Grinder trips off the tongue a little better which is oh-so-vital when you're reading a column that does not require the use of a tongue whatsoever. (If you are using your tongue to read my column, I really don't want to know about it... ewwww... Unless you're a Swedish Bikini Model, in which case I want to know about it, but probably shouldn't because my wife would take offense.)

    Regarding Aion, I debated including this game in the article at all because it is pretty much a non-entity in the North American market. (I dunno, maybe it's HUGE in Ajijic, Mexico or something...)

    As for World of Warcraft being a unique entity, can you honestly imagine any MMO title out there ever capturing mindshare (I hate that word, I apologize) like WoW did? Can you think of any other MMO that will be made into an Episode of South Park? When I have to explain to the relatively clueless things like "What does the MMO track at Dragon*Con cover? Have you ever heard of World of Warcraft?" Can you imagine any other game that I would use to define a genre that would connect with a non-gamer in any way? Sure, many games have the same features that WoW has (in fact, it's one of my major beefs with SWTOR...) but before WoW came along, no game had those features. Additional kudos to WoW for borrowing liberally from the later innovations of their competitors in order to keep things fresh 8 years later...

    aaaaaand finally... How many of these games did I actually play? All but two, I confess. The two I did not play are probably obvious as they are the two games on this list that I have absolutely zero interest in from a design standpoint. (The "upskirt" bit? That was from a game developer video I saw during the pre-release hype cycle. My podcast co-host and I had a field day with that... It was enough for me to say "no thanks" to Tera.)

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't like the same things I like or that you are somehow wrong for liking whatever game it is that you like. In fact, I like a few of these games quite well. But will they dethrone WoW? Not a chance.
  • Joseph Rowe
    Featured Columnist
    As a basement dweller, I take offense to you insinuating that Tera is a favorite of mine. It's an alright game, but it's not up there with Hot Pockets 5 and Broken Heater: Winter's Lowest.

    Seriously, though, you should probably refer to them as Korean MMOs because 1) there's not that many MMORPGs released in Asia outside of Korea (Japan, maybe, but aside from PSO, FFXI and FFXIV most of those are Japanese IP addresses only. China might have a few, but I don't know a single one. And I'm pretty sure Viet Nam, Thailand, etc. haven't released any) and 2) Tera, Aion, and older MMOs like Maplestory and Fly For Fun are all Korean. It's like saying OH, THOSE NASTY NORTH AMERICAN MMORPGs when Canadian studios probably don't produce nearly as many MMOs as US studios and you probably can't even name a Mexican MMORPG.

    Also, seconding Ashley's opinion that it felt like you didn't even play most of these games or at least not for a substantial amount of time. Although, I will retract her Age of Conan sneer. I liked the bit of AoC I played.
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    >Seriously, if they'll kill City of Heroes, how long of a leash do you think this game has?

    Considering Aion has a fairly active playerbase and is about to get a huge overhaul via 4.0, I think it's got a long while before it goes under. It's sad that NCSoft ditched CoH (no other super hero MMO will be able to top it, in my opinion), but because Aion is:

    1) Receiving constant, content-adding updates.
    2) Is run by NCSoft in Korea and is one of the top MMOs over there (while being one of the biggest free to play ones over here).

    Not excusing the standard Korean MMO grind, but Aion's a lot like vanilla WoW with a giant free-flying PvP area. Vanilla WoW-ish in the sense that there is world PvP (not so much now in Aion thanks to the fast-track server) and that terrible grind where it takes you 10 to 30 days of in-game time to hit level cap.

    Why aren't you bashing on Guild Wars 2 anyway? You went out of your way to kick games that are already down. GW2 was toted, just as with the games you mentioned, as being a WoW-killer. Instead it turned out to be a casual gamer funhouse MMO with no real sense of progression outside of exploration. But hey, WoW players like that these days, right?

    Sorry to get snarky, but claiming World of Warcraft is a unique entity when all it did was combine many of the best features of other MMOs in its development time. What Blizzard has done right with WoW is keeping up with content updates over the years, while keeping a finger on the pulse of what the casual fanbase wants/needs in order to keep playing.

    Also it's very obvious that you haven't played the games you've mentioned in this article to any real extent based on the lack of evidence you present in each example. I would bet money that you never actually played TERA considering you claim that that the camera is from an upskirt POV. You never even mention the actual gameplay in any of the games you bring up.

    Recommending AoC is also laughable.

New Cache - article_comments_article_1065
More Elder Scrolls Online Content

Get Elder Scrolls Online news the moment it happens!

You have been successfully subscribed to this newsletter.