Barely any video games remain relevant enough to see multiple generations of players playing them and being excited about them. This is particularly true in the modern times where it is more common for a title to start falling off after a few years than for it to remain popular for longer. If you think about which games have been popular in the last 15 years, you will probably think about a few games that lead the industry forward.
The leading titles in the last 10 to 15 years have been League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offense. You may put GTA V (alongside GTA Online) in there too. However, that is “only” 15 years, and two of those are both part of a popular series of which there have not been any new entries since. Those are GTA and Counter-Strike. When it comes to LoL and Fortnite, they are both a phenomenon because they revamped a whole genre and because they continue to evolve and upgrade.
Now, even before all of these games, in the seemingly ancient world of 2004 from today’s tech and IT standpoint, an already popular video game revolutionized a whole genre too. When the series of Warcraft stopped being real-time strategies and when World of Warcraft (WoW) came out, the industry we knew it changed forever.
Fast forward to 2023 and companies are still trying to mimic its success by releasing their own MMORPGs, failing in the process and realizing WoW is still king. But why is it so? How come something that is so old still dominates the market? More importantly, why are the gamers still in love with it and continue to play it? We talk about this phenomenon in this article and try to determine why gamers continue to play WoW and what makes it so special in the modern day and age.
Content and Features
MMORPG titles have some of the most diverse and interesting gameplay experiences in them. They do because it takes a lot to make a title of this genre and have it become successful. Other games are finite, they have a story campaign, or they are quick arena-based multiplayer matches where players to the same thing each time.
In a MMORPG, you first have to spend a dozen hours (at least) leveling up your character. Through the quests that NPCs give you, you learn about and explore the world, get to know the mechanics and the abilities of your race/class combination, and become familiar with the story and lore. The true content however arrives only when you hit max level, which in WoW is currently 60 after a fresh new revamp of the system. This is when you get to raid, complete Mythic+ dungeons, and battle against other players in Player Versus Player (PVP) modes.
Now, many of these are available while leveling too, if you want to relieve the old expansions and level up sooner. Speaking of leveling up and doing it quicker than you are able to in order to reach endgame content sooner, make sure to check out https://buy-boost.com/wow.
Constant Flow of Change
Over the 17-year history of WoW, there have been eight major expansions. An expansion in this sense is like a brand new title, a sequel if you will, both of story and lore elements and in terms of gameplay, features, patches, updates, and changes. The expansions kept WoW fresh and clean, with graphics and quality of life changes, fan-favorite features returning, and much more.
The Burning Crusade (TBC) was the first, in 2007. Arguably the best one to date saw light in 2008, The Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK). Here is where the story from the previous, strategy games concluded more or less and where WoW was on its own in terms of storytelling. Cataclysm (Cata) came in 2010, Mists of Pandaria (MoP) two years later in 2012. In 2014, Warlords of Draenor (WoD) came out, arguably the worst one in terms of content, or lack thereof, and player engagement. In 2016, Legion came and it built upon the TBC story. An instant classic, it captured the longtime fans. Battle for Azeroth (BfA) was released in 2018 with mixed success and popularity, and Shadowlands came in 2023 promising a restart of most systems and going back to core WoW elements.
A Familiar Fantasy Setting
Nostalgia and finding something you already love and care about in a new thing is how you attract the right fan base and keep the existing one engaged. Anything related to a fantasy settings is successful, but only if done right and developed in depth. Think about Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones. The Witcher is also successful, even Star Wars while being a fantasy sci-fi. By taking inspiration in LotR, HP, and SW, Blizzard developed a fascinating universe, not just a world. The main story does happen on a main planet where most of the lore is from and where most of the characters call home, but there is a whole universe that spans multiple planets, realities, and realms.
Getting lost in it all and saving them from extinction level threats is engaging and feels personal. And then there is the character selection and choosing who you want to be right down to the core. Do you want to be an Elf, Dwarf, Human, Goblin, Troll, Undead (zombie), Worgen (werewolf), a talking humanoid cow (Tauren) or a fox (Vulpera) perhaps? Would you like to be a Mage, Warrior, Hunter, Rogue, Priest, Warlock, Paladin, Monk, Shaman…?
No Real Competition for 17 Years
We mentioned already how dominant WoW has been and for how long. Regardless of the smart moves by Blizzard Entertainment and the changes they bring all the time, WoW is successful because there has never been a true “WoW Killer”. This term has been thrown around whenever a new MMORPGs is about to drop. As you now, there have not been any. At the peak of WoW’s life, in October of 2010, the game had 12 million active subscriptions. This has caused many to believe that MMORPG is the genre to be involved in, but they were wrong. This was the evidence of how successful WoW is, and it is more than just the genre it falls under.
World of Warcraft is a whole experience, a way of life for a gamer, a title that has changed the industry almost two decades ago and is still relevant. Players love a title for the above-mentioned reasons, but they have also never been able to try something on its level, and they probably never will. Modern MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XIV and New World have large fan bases, but not nearly enough traction and popularity like Blizzard Entertainment’s gem.