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World of Warcraft the #1 MMO officially still: 5 reasons why!
What do you think?
What's your favorite aspect of WoW?
What's going on? Why isn't it dying?
Many recent MMO's are probably asking the same question deep down. No matter how hard these competitors try, they can't get WoW subscribers to quit.
World of Warcraft was released on November 23, 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. Since that time there have been 4 expansions with a 5th on the way. It's been almost a decade for World of Warcraft, with a current 7.7 million subscribers roaming about the lands of Azeroth. It has survived a few so called "WoW killers", which claim that once released will literally destroy WoW's massive following. A bit of a pipe dream I'm afraid , because remember WoW has 7.7 million subscribers who are willing to shovel up $15 a month just to play WoW. This stares the other MMO's straight in the face who have chosen the F2P route. Let me stress this point: to get and keep 7 million players on average to keep paying and playing a game like World of Warcraft has never been accomplished by any other MMO. The EA Star Wars game,Knights of the Old Republic was a hopeful prospect and it boasted that it could kill WoW. If you look at the numbers however, SWoR only has about 2,500,000 players of which only 500,000 are actually subscribers. This looks like a case of the small dog barking at the large dog. While these other MMO's who claim to have the secret WoW killing antidote, WoW just keeps on trotting on.
5 Specific reasons
Now here are 5 specific reasons why I think World of Warcraft is so popular and successful. Why it can keep its millions of subscribers.
- It Doesn't get too serious: If you've ever played WoW, have you ever noticed the vibe that you get off of the game? Whenever you quest, raid, pvp or do dungeons it never feels so serious that the game feels like a ritual. Sometimes quests can be humorously entertaining. I've played other MMO's like Star Trek online and SWoR, and in those games there seems to be a lack of connection between the player and the game. I believe that there is an emotional connection to the game with a lot of players and that aspect keeps the game alive.
- First love syndrome: WoW is popular, because it was one of the first major MMO's to hit the market at that time. Many players flocked to the game and are unwilling to put down the game just because; that is what they know and they don't want to take the time to learn a new one. Many of the players that started on the launch date still play today.
- Excellent Customer Service: Every time I've run into a problem or had a question, Blizzard customer support has been excellent at answering my questions. Even though the queue times are longer these days, you still get the quality answers you need to solve many issues. Furthermore, they do it in a way that is professional and personable at the same time. As a customer this makes me want to come back, because I feel valued. I believe many players feel the same way. Minus the long wait times for a GM ticket
- Broad Player Appeal: One of the biggest reasons for WoW's success. Unlike many MMO's that I've played. World of Warcraft, appeals to the largest fan base in gaming history. How do they this? By creating content for every type of player out there. Most players I've met are very casual. They have a job, and are only able to play on the weekends of a few hours a night. Other players are WoW guru's who play their hearts out for hours upon hours. Then you have the newer players who are still trying to figure out the game. All in all, Blizzard takes the time to cover all its bases in their games, for their players! That is why they are such a successful gaming company as well.
- Good Story Telling: If there is one thing that keeps this franchise going, it is the story. World of Warcraft, when it first started had a plethora of story content to work with from Warcraft 3. Throughout out all the expansions, Blizzard has the most memorable and cohesive story telling I can think of. Virtual celebrities have spawned out of WoW's own Lore, making the game attractive. Who wouldn't like to fight alongside with the likes of Thrall, Arthas, Uther or some of the other major characters.
There are many other reasons why this game is where it is. Some, you can probably think of. These 5 however, I think are very important when it comes to making any game popular. World of Warcraft is for a long time, going to be an example of why certain MMO's are successful and why some are not. The ones that are successful, are ultimately the ones that cater to a broad base of customers, but can also still please the elite players at the same time. Or maybe they didn't spend enough time in alpha development, and then they lost their way when the customers started clashing in with their suggestions. Yes that can happen. Fortunately, WoW has not fallen into that trap completely. They've come close, but Blizzard put the hammer down when they needed to. Cheers to WoW!