wow-killers killer

I know I’m not the only person that thinks labelling a game as a “WOW-killer” is anything but hype-mongering, but I’ve being wondering if these claims are having other effects.

Naturally game companies aren’t using the term, they can be found in articles that feel MMOs should all be judged in a similar way and what better method than comparing it against the market leader.

These questions have been floating around my head for a while now:

  • With the vast numbers playing Warcraft, who would really want their game to be measured against that yardstick?
  • Is a single unreleased game likely to poach a large number of players from World of Warcraft (permanently) at launch?
  • Is this branding poisoning the game it is labelled against, doing more harm than good for a game?

Back in my days playing SOE’s Planetside there was very little room for other games , I was a loyal player through and through. Every now and again a title would appear labelled “Planetside 2” or “Planetside-ish”, Huxley was one of these and I recall at the time rubbishing the game straight away, based on the blurbs on their site and the fact that my game was threatened.
You see by naming a game an equivalent or successor of “my” current favourite game instantly made me dislike it instantly, without even seeing any gameplay.

A similar thing is going around in my head regarding Champions Online (City of heroes 2 /all the things that were missing from CoH), comparing yourselves against a game I’ve invested over two years on isn’t the way to get me to leave one for the other.
I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there that will switch games when the game launches, but claims and statements such as these combined with the fact of the game being more action focused, don’t do much to promote the game to the prime demographic.

So then next time you see a big named MMO project labelled as a WOW-killer the likelihood of that becoming reality has possibly been hampered by that very term.