Reasons for WoW's success

Terra Nova has an article up discussing the opinions of some of the designers on why World of Warcraft has been such a success.

I'll address them in the order they're given, as I have some comments on each.

1. Polish - I definitely agree. World of Warcraft's quality is in strong contrast to many other MMOs at release, and indeed, many single-player games.

2. Soloability - Again, a very important part of the game. The fact that I know it's hard to solo through Everquest and EVE keeps me from picking up those games. EVE particularly, actually, because I really like the game otherwise.

3. Differentiated classes - I'm not so convinced. I suppose that for initial use, the classes work well, but I'm developing a very strong liking for skills-based systems. I'd like to see what could be done for end-game content, particularly WoW's five-man dungeons, if you could effectively buld your own classes.

4. Rewards and pacing - this isn't as smooth as I think WoW's developers think it is. There are nasty slow bits in the 30s and 40s, when it really seems like the next level is months away. Wormson spent ages at level 47.

5. Low system requirements - Barely. My machine is now two years old, and I need to shut down everything else to run WoW. It was never a top of the line machine, but I'm not convinced at all that WoW's system requirements are as low as they might be. Particularly considering the system lag as I try to pass through Orgrimmar or Ironforge.

6. Bite-size chunks - So very important, and lacking in the end-game. I've taken to playing alts, rather than face the long-drawn-out quests at level 60.

7. Combat works - it does, but... crafting works too. SWG introduced dance as a similar element. There isn't enough non-combat material in WoW, in my opinion, and this ties in to point 9 as well.

8. Fantasy has wide appeal - agreed, although I'm not convinced that that has a whole lot to do with the game being successful. At this point, it's momentum and word of mouth.

9. Game-y games provide the fun - yes, but. I'd love WoW much more if I could create content. That's the aspect of EVE which most attracts me; the prospect of trading and allying my way to part-ownership and administration of a space station. If a guild could found a town in WoW, imagine how well that would hold interest!

Posted by Drew Shiel at September 10, 2006 3:10 PM

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Regarding point 5, I found that moving from 512MB RAM to 1GB made Ironforge on my server (Hellscream-EU) have absolutely no lag, whereas before I needed a minute or two to just get more than one frame per second.

Regarding crafting, I remember fondly my early Ultima Online days, where I would just create and sell furniture(!)...

Posted by: Tassos Bassoukos at September 12, 2006 9:46 AM