Now Who’s Cloning Who?June 8, 2008
I think it’d be very, very easy for this blog to turn into a non-stop rant against WoW and Blizzard, especially in contrast to my hopes and anticipation when it comes to Warhammer Online. And that should never happen — WoW isn’t the focus of WAAAGH!, and WAAAGH! does not hate WoW. We just feel as if its day is passed, and a new dawn approaches.
[Cue angelic choruses against a night sky]
I really have to ask you guys, just so I don’t feel like I’m going crazy here — is World of Warcraft trying to head off WAR by copying it? A preemptive strike on creativity?
Now of course, WAR doesn’t have a monopoly on the whole “achievements” aspect, as City of Heroes, XBox Live and LOTRO has already pioneered the way. But WAR does seem on the verge of revolutionizing the achievement system with the Tome of Knowledge — something far more vast, detailed, interactive and rewarding than any achievement system we’ve ever seen. Along with RvR, Public Quests and City Sieges, it’s one of the cornerstones of the game.
So — if this report is accurate and not just a mild screenshot-molesting hoax — why is WoW just now throwing in an achievement system into the next expansion? It seems odd we haven’t heard of this beforehand, but it does look like it’s still in primitive development. On the internet, it’s easy to see corporate conspiracies in every nook and corner, but sometimes coincidences do add up into real evidence.
Here’s what I see so far: (1) Blizzard would be absolutely stupid not to see WAR as the first legitimate contender in the MMO playing field in quite some time. WAR has the backing of a major publisher, it’s not being rushed to completion, and it has incredibly good buzz and press. (2) Blizzard announced that an entire zone in the next expansion will be all-PvP, a la Warhammer Online, complete with cooperative quests and siege equipment and vehicles. (3) Blizz might, might be sneaking in an achievement system as well.
Would it be alarmist to speculate that Blizzard is deliberately trying to steal WAR’s thunder any way they can? It is possible and probable all of these factors are just coincidences — after all, the MMO field moves in the same direction like a school of fish — and the achievement system in WoW is purely bunk. But a nasty little part of my mind envisions Blizzard this fall saying, “Why do you want to try WAR, when we now have everything they have, and all of the content they don’t?”