Has World of Warcraft’s reputation hurt the Warcraft brand?

I was just thinking about the games that I used to play when I was younger, and some games such as Warcraft 2 came to mind. Remember how crazy people were over the first two Warcrafts? And then the third game came along and it was pretty much hailed as the best RTS around and was critically acclaimed by, well, pretty much the entire planet.

Afterwards came World of Warcraft. Back in 2004, it was just a tiny MMORPG that was well received by many and was hoping to make a difference in the market. WoW seemed harmless enough back then, and playing it was actually encouraged by most gamers, as well as Warcraft fans who wanted to see the franchise reach new audiences.

It’s interesting what only a few years can do.

Despite the graphical limitations of World of Warcraft today, it continues to push the envelope and constantly redefines what MMORPGs are and how they should be played. Despite the game looking and playing better than ever before, it is no longer looked upon kindly by most people. Yes it does still have millions of active subscribers, but for every subscriber there are several people who condemn the game and say that they will never touch it. A lot of WoW players even admit to being afraid to tell others that they play WoW, because they do not want to be embarrassed by them.

I look at how beloved Warcraft used to be in the hearts of PC gamers and then at how the franchise is treated today, solely due to World of Warcraft. With so much anti-WoW hate circling the internet these days, it makes me wonder…. If Warcraft 4 ever sees the light of day, will the WoW naysayers, some who are former Warcraft fans themselves, embrace the new RTS? Or will they dismiss it solely because it has “Warcraft” in it’s name, and they do not want to associate with anything that is even vaguely similar to World of Warcraft?

In 2004 and 2005, it used to be cool to play WoW. In 2009 and 2010, it is cool to hate it. Could this hate affect how people view any future Warcraft product that does not tie into WoW, or is the general public smarter than this?

Given how influential we are as a people and how easily our opinions can be swayed due to silly reasons, I’m leaning towards believing that the Warcraft name itself has probably been permanently damaged and a Warcraft 4, even if it is the most advanced and impressive RTS game of all time, will not win back any ex-Warcraft fans easily. Some would surely come back, but how many? And how long would it take the naysayers to not lump this game in with WoW just for sake of wanting to further enhance it’s bad image?

Return to December 2010 Articles


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