World of Warcraft Killers?

By Chris Connor - Editor-in-Chief of

When Quake was the dominant first person shooter (FPS) many years ago there was constant talk about what the Quake killer would be. Now that World of Warcraft is the reigning king of MMORPGs, the question is what future MMORPG has the best chance to beat World of Warcraft. None of the current MMORPG crop has a real chance to beat WoW unless one makes a drastic change that helps to evolve the industry. If World of Warcraft is surpassed anytime soon, it will more likely be a new MMORPG that catches everybody's attention.  

World of Warcraft's Gigantic Lead 
WoW is on top of the MMORPG industry due to several key factors. These factors could also keep WoW on top for sometime unless the right MMORPG comes along.

  • 5 million worldwide subscribers.
  • Easy to learn.
  • In-depth enough for most hardcore gamers. 
  • Mainstream attention.
  • Ran by one of the best companies in gaming, Blizzard.
  • Was developed over many years.
  • Expansion of a well-known PC game franchise.

Keys for a Killer

Without a doubt, it will take a special MMO to dethrone World of Warcraft. For an MMO to have a chance against WoW, it needs to capitalize heavily on several of these factors.

  • Based on either a huge gaming or entertainment franchise.
  • Offers a tremendous end game (after you hit the level cap).
  • Cheap (well below the usual $15 per month) or free game play. 
  • Extensive PvP system that can satisfy hardcore gamers.
  • Easy enough to learn to attract casual gamers.
  • Great support.
  • Creates a new niche in the genre.
  • Should not be too hard or too easy to reach the level cap.
  • Community that makes players feel like they are part of the game. 
  • Simple interface.
  • Awesome 3D graphics.
  • The ability to maintain servers for millions of subscribers.

The Possible Killers
What upcoming MMORPGs stand the best chance of rivaling WoW? Several of the upcoming MMOs will look to innovate the genre in different ways. Here are a few of the front runners with what they can bring to a head-on collision with World of Warcraft. They are ranked by potential impact. 

Dungeons and Dragons Online  

Out of all the upcoming MMOs, Dungeons and Dragons Online stands the best chance of being able to go head-to-head with World of Warcraft. D&D is not just a popular franchise but it is the father of all RPGs, will actually provide stories, and will innovate the industry with extremely deep game play.

Lord of the Rings Online 

One of the best book and movie franchises ever. Needs to succeed where Stars Wars Galaxies failed by providing an experience similar to the movies and books at launch. Look for the game to easily surpass Star Wars Galaxies if it captures the magic of the franchise but it will probably not be a genre-buster like Dungeons and Dragons Online.  


Huxley stands the best chance of innovating the MMO genre since it will probably be the first real blockbuster MMOFPS. Will it have a chance against WoW? This game will probably turn a lot of heads when it comes out but it will have to prove that it can handle huge numbers of players at once with out any problems before it can be a true WoW killer. 


Although it has much eye candy as any upcoming MMORPG, SUN does not get as much as attention as most of the other MMOs on this list. That is a shame because this game will definitely be one to watch as it combines a single player RPG with a 3D multiplayer action game. 

Auto Assault


Should provide plenty of excitement and carve out a nice little nice as a car combat MMO. Like City of Heroes when it first came out, Auto Assault will need to be able to keep players excited with enough depth if it wants to be a major MMORPG.

RF Online

Sci-fi/fantasy MMO that is sure to turn heads when it is released due to the awesome looking robot battle units that you can control and jaw-dropping graphics. The blend of fantasy and sci-fi has a little bit of a Japanese cartoon feel to it that should set RF Online apart from other major games in the genre.

Pirates of the Burning Sea

Without question, a pirate MMO is a welcome change since  fantasy and sci-fi seem to be done to death these days. Who wouldn't want to sail the high seas looking for adventures, ship battles, and stealing booty. Look for this one to be a leader in the non-fantasy niche.

Age of Conan

Not only is Conan a large entertainment franchise, but it also should make a great MMO with its gritty and barbaric world. How brutal will the world be? You start out alone until you are strong enough to survive in the massive part of the game. Believe or not, but this game may actually do better than Lord of the Rings Online. In fact, Age of Conan has the second best chance of being a rival to WoW after D&D online. 

Possible Killers Ranked by Potential Impact

  1. Dungeons and Dragons Online
  2. Age of Conan
  3. Huxley
  4. RF Online
  5. Lord of the Rings Online
  6. Pirates of the Burning Sea
  7. Auto Assault
  8. SUN 

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