WoW Wednesday – WoW versus every game ever made
By Meredith Watson, OnRPG Journalist
You may have noticed that WoW is a bit dead right now. The realms aren’t their usual jam packed selves. The reason for this is twofold. Players are waiting for Mists of Pandaria and are bored of the current content and/or playing a different game-namely Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 is a perfect game for WoW players to try during this lull as you only have to buy the box unlike WoW which requires a subscription making the player feel as if they have to play. Guild Wars 2 is relatively guilt free. The problem is that when the vast majority of WoW players play other games such as Guild Wars 2 they constantly compare game X with WoW.
I saw a forum post the other day where the response was “Guild Wars 2 is great for the first two hours but I prefer WoW. It is more polished”. I had to laugh. Sure WoW is polished. It is almost eight years old and Blizzard has done enough tinkering around and using things from other games to make it what it is today. It wasn’t always this glossy and it certainly was never as easy as it is now. I can assure you forum poster that WoW was, at one point, anything but polished.
There is a lot of debate right now since the release of GW2 about it being better or worse than WoW or that it will or won’t be a WoW killer. I can settle this debate for everyone right now. Is Guild Wars 2 better than WoW? No, of course not. It is different than WoW. It is a different game, with different mechanics, different lore, different, well, everything. Yes, they are both fantasy MMORPGs but that is where the similarity ends. ArenaNet’s approach to the genre is so far removed from that of Blizzard that there isn’t a holy trinity or even traditional quests for that matter.
Graphically WoW and Guild Wars 2 couldn’t be more dissimilar. There isn’t any use of physics in WoW for starters. WoW uses elements of the proprietary graphics engine originally used in Warcraft III whereas Guild Wars 2 uses a highly modified Guild Wars engine and Havok physics engine. As far as art direction World of Warcraft is very cartoony while Guild Wars 2 veers towards realism. That is like comparing Renaissance art with abstract art. Comparing them cannot be done as both have their own merits and, more importantly, is subjective as to which is “better”. Art like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
There aren’t any similarities as far as combat is concerned either. The combat in WoW doesn’t allow for much movement aside from moving out of whatever has spawned on the ground or if you are like me and just like to jump around to keep things interesting. Guild Wars 2 combat is meant for movement while actively evading being hit. Wow combat is all about spamming of abilities and spells but in GW2 everything but auto attack has a cool down. Combat couldn’t be more different between the two if it tried.
It isn’t just Guild Wars 2 that World of Warcraft gets compared to. Most games since WoWs release have been heralded as the WoW Killer and will be scrutinized and measured against WoW. A prime example was Rift. When Rift came out general chat was chock full of WoW players lamenting how Rift was nothing but a knockoff of WoW. This is where I need to set things straight. Wow is not a unique and beautiful snowflake. What Blizzard has done with WoW over the years is take pieces from other games and incorporated them into WoW. For example and most recently, the guild finder. There was a guild finder in Everquest 2 long before there was one in WoW as well as a Looking for Group interface. Most WoW players now won’t know that because a) they have only just been introduced to MMOs through WoW, most likely during Wrath of the Lich King or b)they have been playing WoW since release and that is all they have ever played.
The WoW Killer is a term that is thrown around a lot especially at the release of a new game. Currently, it is Guild Wars 2 that may or may not be the WoW killer but before that it was Rift and before that it was something else and something else before that. Here is the deal people- there will never be one game that will kill WoW so you can stop with the surmising now. Do people honestly think 9 million subscribers are just going to up stakes and move to game x? Blizzard, time and multiple other games will eventually take their toll on WoW. Even then WoW won’t be killed. It seems very unlikely Blizzard is going to close down the servers anytime soon.
World of Warcraft is a great game with many fine features as is Guild Wars 2, Rift, and all the others games WoW is frequently compared to. It all boils down to preference as to which game is better so I fail to understand why this argument of WoW vs game X even exists. It serves no purpose. Games should be judged on their own merits versus those of another game.