Azeroth really does seem to exert a hold over people. Despite all the much publicised WoW-hate within the MMO blogging community (and sometimes within the WoW blogging community itself) it's still a phenomenally successful game whether you agree with the game tweaks and the numbers or not. I've never tried another MMO. Most of the people I know in-game (which isn't huge number admittedly, but is a fair few) haven't either (I'm not counting CoD as an MMO by the way...) Some have flirts, one night stands, or short flings with other games, but return to WoW. In my experience, people quit playing for a load of different reasons, but I don't think (and I'm racking my brains here) that I know anyone who's stopped playing because they've been lured away by another MMO.
The game Himself has been playing (dire intro aside - really, WTB decent voice actors???!) seemed to be to be kinda ok. It looked like WoW, but then I'm led to believe that a lot of games do, and that WoW's interface came from Everquest or whatever anyway. (There is nothing new in the world. Le sigh again. Oh ennui, why doest thou hound me?) It certainly was pretty. Pretty and shiny. Which, interestingly, didn't hold much appeal for Himself. He likes WoW graphics - the fact that they are slightly... cartoon-like... isn't quite the phrase I'm looking for, but it'll have to do. I liked the game he was experimenting with because the graphics were more... realistic. Again, not the right phrase. Bah. My daughters, plugged in via boy mates to CoD and the like, roll their (heavily mascara'd) eyes at WoW for many reasons, but one of the things that bugs them are the graphics. To them, they're clunky and old fashioned. We explain server-loading to them in vain - they just think it's like sooooo whatever... God, play a modern game Mum... Which is fascinating, because when I started playing WoW I couldn't believe the lack of load screens and the detail in the graphics. How things change in 5 (or so) years.
I don't pretend to be plugged into the MMO world - I get rumblings through blogs that are more MMO orientated and less about just WoW tso that even I know that every so often a game comes along that's talked up as 'the one' that will finish off WoW. The one that will lure away the huge subscription base. Whether it's Aion, Rift or the Star Wars thing, they will all cause the death of WoW. Or, y'know, maybe they won't. Don't get me wrong here, I accept that eventually WoW will falter and stumble but I'm not sure it's demise will be because of a similar fantasy MMO. Surely people who want to play fantasy MMOs and who already play WoW will, in all likelihood, continue to play it? Because of the investment we have made into our characters? Possibly. Because of our social networks? Possibly. Because basically it's a solid, bug-free (in the main) game? Possibly. Because of the breadth of the game? Possibly. Because of a combination of the above? Very likely.
That last point, by the way, was one that Kam made. She said: "I don't even have enough time for everything I want to do in WoW, let alone any other MMO! Perhaps it's a difference between wanting a depth of MMO experience -- exploring all the different aspects of one particular game, such as WoW versus wanting a breadth of MMO experience -- exploring all the different aspects of the MMO genre as a whole by dabbling in a variety of MMO games." And that's a GOOD point. If you made a list of everything you can do in WoW; alt levelling, all the classes and races, the RP aspects, professions (primary and secondary), achievements, instances and raids, playing the AH and getting to gold cap, PvP (battlegrounds and arena), guild levelling, and more than I can't think of right now, you've got a HUGE game. And, leaving aside the people who really play a skewed (i.e. massive) amount of time per day, who really has time to fully experience all those things? I understand that some bits are more appealing and more attractive to individuals than others, but isn't it great to have a game that covers so many bases? And I know from experience that what you 'want' can change. I used to be a srsbznz raider and really struggle with levelling. I think we have seen that that has now... changed. Himself plays the AH game and whilst it doesn't appeal to me, I can't deny that he's good at it. I get madly addicted to professions (I never used to bother with First Aid - and now all my characters appear to have it - go figure...) and have power-levelled fishing and cooking on too many characters to comfortably count. The sheer variety of stuff to do is incredible. And I don't think, in the midst of all the post-expansion blues and the WoW-hate, that we're that good at sitting back and looking at what we do have.
So thanks Blizz - I know you get a fair amount of stick, but all in all, I like WoW. Don't go changing (to try and please them)... That said, what would an MMO have to do/have to lure you away from WoW? I'd be interested in your thoughts!