MMO Rant #4: Please Don’t Clone WoW (It’s Not Perfect!)

No, this is not a request for developers to stop trying to “beat” World of Warcraft, or even to stop making games that are a lot like WoW. Sure, I like seeing originality in games, and I don’t just want a prettier version of WoW, but there’s nothing wrong with improving upon what’s out there (see: World of Warcraft made a high quality, streamlined version of EverQuest). What I’m complaining about is the assumption that Blizzard has done just about everything right with WoW, simply because they have really impressive numbers.

Let me clue you in on something: They’ve done a lot of things wrong. Given, they’ve done a lot of things right, but there are a lot of little things that were done rather poorly in World of Warcraft that could easily be remedied. I complain about this more as a gamer than a developer, because I’ve been playing my fair share of WoW lately.

A couple of little bits about WoW that piss me off, and shouldn’t be cloned by other developers: First up, inventory management. It’s horrid. Don’t make me sacrifice half of my inventory space so I can embark upon a few freaking quests. Give me a quest satchel, or make those items I pick up poof into my quest journal so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.

The UI. Oh, it’s great. It’s solid and functional, mostly. But I have to download mods in order to do a lot of things I take for granted in other MMOs. Don’t make me do that. Let me move my mother-effing windows to the locations I want them. You are not smarter than me!

Looting. Uh, why can’t I auto-loot everything on the corpse when that’s what I do 90% of the time? Give me a button that says “Loot All” like the other games do. Don’t make me move my mouse way up to the corner and click four times to get all the items from the corpse.

The last one I’ll mention (and there are a lot more that I surely could mention) is queues. You get 1.3 billion dollars a year from subscriptions. Um, please don’t make me wait for 20 minutes every night when I want to play. I’m not even going to use the “I pay you for it” excuse. Instead, I’ll use the “I’m enthused to play until I have to wait for 20 minutes and don’t even feel like playing anymore” excuse.

In summary, World of Warcraft is not perfect. It is far from perfect. So don’t make a game exactly like WoW under the assumption that they do everything right, because they don’t.

Edit: Note to self, never make a title that actually has very little to do with the article, or you will be called on it and will therefore look like an idiot. The point of this article has nothing to do with asking people not to outright clone WoW. Instead, it’s an article requesting that you don’t take World of Warcraft as the end-all-be-all glorious piece of perfection, and make the same mistakes they did.

The intent was to point out that the game does indeed have flaws, so it’s not an ultimate reference point for making your game great as a whole (you need to take the pertinent points of its success, such as making a polished title and being a good company so you have a great reputation, etc.).

Summary: I should rename this article “WoW Is Not Perfect!”

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