Friday, May 11, 2012


Other MMO's have undoubtedly had impacts on the creation of Guild Wars 2.  Whether it be DAoC for its 3 faction PvP or Warhammer for it's Public Questing system (as well as several other MMOs), the developers at ArenaNet have really learned from the benefits and mistakes of several big MMOs.  Guild Wars 2, albeit arguably, has really brought some existing or new concepts to the forefront of the AAA MMO spotlight.  Whether it be the lack of a holy trinity, overflow servers, or how the game encourages teamwork and cooperation among the community, there are many areas where Guild Wars 2 has broke new ground or brought an existing concept into the foreground.

It is traditionally less common for newer games to have impact on older games, Today, Blizzard has announced that for World of Warcraft there will be "Cross-Realm Zones" to be implemented in Mists of Pandaria.  What is surprisingly, is how strikingly similar some parts of this concept are to Guild Wars 2.

From a Developer Mists of Pandaria Q&A session:

Q. What about zones that are already overpopulated, like new race starting zones?
With this technology, we can also flag zones to allow for more than one copy of that zone per realm. Players on that realm will be split among those copies in order to alleviate problems due to overpopulation. Players won’t normally see or interact with those on a different instance of their zone, although joining a party will relocate all party members to a single instance of that zone.

It should be noted that Blizzard has actually advanced the concept of Overflows, and not just copied the idea.  Instead of only working on high population zones, the Cross-Realm Zone's will also be to help low population zones.  Low population zones will now merge multiple zones from different realms and put the entire population together.  For example: Realm A has 5 people in Darkshire, Realm B has 7 people there, and Realm C has 10 people there.  The Cross Realm Zone's will now seamlessly place all 22 of these people in the same zone. I think it should also be noted that that members of a party will be in the same instance of the zone regardless of population.  If they didn't have that in their design originally, they definitely added it due to feedback from GW2's first BWE.   Blizzard has assuredly been watching the field of competitors, all the while learning what is popular and what is not.  It's one of the many small reasons that Blizzard's games in general have enjoyed success.

The takeaway message is that successful companies need to look at the field around them.  In a year where more AAA MMOs are being launched than ever before, the field is becoming increasingly more competitive.     A game can not be successful just by copying the big, successful MMO, often referred to as a "WoW clone".  A game that will be sustainable over the long term will need to look at more than just WoW, and will need to take a look at the field around them.  Overtime it will be interesting to see which companies have learned this and which haven't.    

No comments:

Post a Comment