Monday, July 10, 2006

Potential WoW Killers

Its a slow day in the MMO world and nothing new seems to be happening. Probably all the developers are still hung over from that company 4th of July picnic and we're just lucky that the servers are still up. Anyways I decided to take a cue from the professional media outlets and do what they do on a slow news day. Make stuff up! Ummmm ... I mean explore a small news story and then pump it up with exaggeration and personal opinions until its almost interesting.

Thus the topic of my exaggeration today shall be the rare and much talked about MMO that doesn't really exist. This MMO game seamlessly blends Player versus Player combat with Player versus Environment combat. All abilities for classes and races are balanced so that anyone with skill and a bit of intelligence can be successful in the game. A player can play as little or as long as they want in a time span and still see upgrades to their character. Also healing classes are fun to play and are among the most popular classes. If you haven't caught on yet I am describing the mythical WoW-killer.

A small but vocal group of players have been predicting this game since World of Warcraft became the giant of the MMOG industry. Their many gripes with WoW have been listed and they eagerly await the chosen one to disperse the numbers from this horrible game which has around seven million people. Obviously the game must be destroyed because it is detracting from the amount of people they can show up in their game of choice. Ignoring the complete arrogance or such thinking I decided to search the internet and many a review of E3 to list the potential WoW-Killers that will be coming out in the near future.

The Most Likely Contenders

Warhammer: Online
The macdaddy of the potential WoW-Killers. This game has been developed by Mythic Entertainment for the last 10 months and is already showing good game mechanics and graphics. The style of art is very similar to World of warcraft and most of the same races are also present. The real difference between the two will be decided by Mythic's experience in massive PvP battles. The Warhammer world seems to be able to deliver a fuller war environment between players. Something which WoW has been unable to fully realize. On a sad note Mythic did just get bought out by Electronic Arts but hey its not like they have a reputation for gutting game studios.

WoW-Killer Attributes
*Promises fair and epic PvP
*Delivers the same style of graphics and environment as WoW
*Being developed by MMOG pros

Age of Conan
This game has promising graphics which are not a direct legacy of the WoW style of animation. Promises have been made that player housing and towns will be included which have been lacking in WoW and often earn a banning when mentioned in the forums. More exact information on play mechanics and combat it still up in the air but the one thing people agree with is "thank god it ain't all cartoony."

WoW-Killer Attributes
*Promises fair and epic PvP
*Player Towns/Houses
*More Realistic Graphics

Tabula Rasa
The brain child of one of the original UO developers, no not Ralp Koster he just writes poetry now. This MMOG is being published under NCSoft with Richard Garriot being the head honcho of development. The game seems to be an unholy combination of a First Person Shooter with a RPG. The Sci-Fi setting will alienate some players but a lot of twitch gamers should pick up the slack. The only problem I see with this game is that Planetside proved mixing First Person Shooters with a persistent MMO world is probably not a good idea. However Richard is a genius slash madman who lives in a real castle. Perhaps he might be able to pull it off so that its persistent enough to entertain RPG fans without being boring to the FPS crowd.

WoW-Killer Attributes
*FPS/RPG Action - Check out Planetside to see how well it works
*Promises short game play with most missions/quests taking only an hour
*Sci-Fi environment which EVE Online proves can work

Lord of the Rings Online
The hobbits are here and they brought all of their friends from the movies to help claim a share of the MMOG market. The graphics should be on par with the console games and the use of the actor's likeness will probably bring in some fans. Yet I can't help but think that this is just a merchandising license hiding behind a game. I am sure it won't be as bad as the Matrix Online or Star Wars Galaxy but people need to learn that licenses do not create good games. Good games have to exist first then they can wear a license like a dress suit.

WoW-Killer Attribute
*Major Fantasy license - the forefather of all medieval fantasy
*Hobbits - gnomes mysteriously absent, genocide suspected
*Series of surprisingly good console games to build on

Not a standard MMO game but I thought to include because it seems to be gaining a lot of fans. Spore is the brainchild of Will Wright the original creator of Sim City and the The Sims. The game basically allows you to evolve a species and design every aspect of its intelligence, body, and society. The game qualifies as massive multiplayer since everyone's species and their home planet is distributed to other players through a internet conenction. Thus if your species is advanced enough to have space flight they will be competing with other player's creations.

WoW-Killer Attribute
*Forget choose your race, try make your own race
*Specilization and Customization to a degree unheard of
*PVP by interspecies warfare - good god it sounds cool as hell