Several games have come out in the last few years that people thought would be the WoW killer and none have succeeded and some even say that WoW has managed to kill these wanabes. So far nothing has even come close to denting the giant. But that will change and it will change in the next 2 years.
The player base of WoW is just waiting for something to come out. They are growing tired of the slow content releases, the lore, and the forced grouping for the endgame that is now required to play. The original player base of WoW is now 5 years older and has less time to play than they did when they started.
Wow is a very solo friendly game and that is what originally gets people hooked they get all the way to the upper levels of the game and then are forced to group to actually progress much farther. While people are doing this I do not think that they are enjoying the game as much as they did when they first started. But because of the lack of any serious competition they stick with it and log in to do a few raids and log out. But forced grouping is just one of the reasons that WoW is going to start seeing a decline this year.
The game is just getting old and updates are to slow to come. I think people are just getting tired of the world that they are playing in and are looking for something that is as good as WoW but different.
The “WoW Killer” will not have a subscription fee. It will thrive on micro transactions and box sales of expansions. The subscription payment model is entering its final years and will soon be in the minority. This will open up the game to a whole new segment of players that refuse to pay a monthly fee to play the game.
There are a lot of games that are currently following this model but they are doing one thing very wrong. They are trying to copy WoW they even go as far as copying the art style and the whole feel of WoW. This is a fatal mistake because people do not want to play a bad copy they want something entirely new.
The “Wow Killer” will be mostly a persistent living world. It will be a place that will be fun to just explore and they will be able to really get into the world. It will have dynamic spawns that will change depending on what players do. It will use instances to tell a story and the story will be a big theme in the game and it will be epic and solo.
Grouping will be done automatically they will take the PQs that were started with WAR and build on them and make them much better. Grouping will happen without people even noticing. It will be a very dynamic experience that will change depending on what players do.
The game will not be based on an already established and well documented IP. Basing a game on an IP holds it to strict rules that have already been set and limits the developer’s freedom to do as they wish. Basing mmos on existing IPs is probably the reason that no game has come out that has killed wow. When you base it on an existing IP people already know if they like it or not and that hurts the game.
The game that I believe will be the wow killer is Guild Wars 2. They have learned from their mistakes in the original and are going to build a great game. They have the talent and expertise to pull it off. It will have enough marketing and brand recognition to get people to try it.
I do not believe that it will suffer the same “WoW Tourist” effect that a lot of other games have had and even if it does with it being free once they buy it they can jump back in at any time and try it again. I think this will make it grow slowly and eventually over take WoW. It will not take most of it subscribers from current games but like WoW did before it they will come from new people entering the market.