Alright folks… I think it’s time we addressed this once and for all! There have been many mmorpgs out and about the last few years, mostly F2P, and the vast majority of them, regardless of their format or theme, end up getting labeled as “wowclones”. That is to say, copies of World of Warcraft. Now, let me preface all of this to say I really like wow, even if my attentions have been guided elsewhere as of late, and I’m not trying to bash it at all with this comic! Wow is a GREAT game and I had many fond years playing it! However, it seems that every new mmo gets instantly hit with this label. And I say we should put the kibosh on it asap!
So here’s the deal short and sweet… Games like swtor aren’t really “clones” in the way we think. More like cousins I’d wager… But just look at the whole chronology of mmo gaming; there have been wave after wave of new games that dominate the genre and each time improving a little, but at initial release were considered, you guessed it, clones! Heck, wow wasn’t the first mmorpg! There were a few before and stuff like EverQuest were some big grand daddies of em all. So when you look at it from a historic standpoint, it’s like that South Park episode where they kept saying “Simpsons did it!”, because really, it’s all been done before. I guess you could say ol Tolkien was the “inventor” of the modern fantasy set up, you know, elves, dwarves, etc… but more so the group of 5 setup (archer, warrior, magician, thief, and uh, the other one… dwarf? lol… you get the idea). But then, go back even further and I bet you can find someone who even did that! I mean, I always see those cave paintings of our ancestors hunting and I can’t help but wonder… was that retelling an account of an epic kill, a guide for young hunters to learn and grow, or just simply some stone age geeks role playing in their parents’ cave… idk, you be the judge! >)
Anyways, I think the larger problem here stems from the fact that wow is the big guy on the block. It’s not the oldest, but it certainly has had the most publicity and global spread; peaking at what, 12 million subscriptions? That’s a major feat for any game, let alone a multiplayer one! That being said, it’s probably the first, if not only, mmorpg that many people have played (purely speculative). So given the frame of reference, it would appear that anything new with similar features is just merely copying or riding the coattails of this massive giant.
And those features are not on accident. It isn’t so much copying the “wow-ness” of it, but rather, an evolutionary advance. What I mean is this, evolution happens even in gaming, certain things work and others don’t… the ones that don’t get naturally selected out of the circulation. So all those quests, party makeups, pvp, spells, classes, raids, environments, and even the UI are all things that have stood up to the test of time; been refined and honed over many years and games. Some games like wow have succeeded greatly and again, not an accident (well, kinda at first) because many of the features you are used to today have been ironed out extensively through development at Blizz and watching the ups and downs of their competitors. Blizzard did an amazing job of refining their game and it is to be expected that certain features will be mirrored in rival games, but this isn’t a mere copy cat, rather just a continuation of the processes of gaming evolution. Sure there’s a lot of room for innovation, but certain things work and will become standard, and the further down the road we get, the more we will see these features as permanent fixtures.
All in all I think it’s a good thing to kind of loosen up the monopoly a bit… It’s healthy to have a bit of competition! Especially if they offer something unique like say, a more sci-fi appeal, because that’s kind of dipping into an almost parallel market, so there’s no reason both can’t exist together without any bits of hostilities. >)
(and holy cow man, this took a crazy amount of time to draw! gosh!)