WoW's "worthy competitors"

The Houston Chronicle has a short piece up about what they call WoW's two competitors: Lord of the Rings Online and Guild Wars. Interesting choices -- LotRO is, obviously, an MMO based on Tolkien's famous books, and Guild Wars is actually not an MMO in the traditional sense at all -- there's no monthly fee, and the whole thing works a lot more like does, where you can play a hero both in a solo game and in an online environment (not surprising, considering the developers used to work for Blizzard).

While both games are reviewed well, neither of them quite matches up to our favorite game. But as I'm sure lots of you know (I'm guessing that most of you have played either one or both-- I've only played Guild Wars), each game does have some elements that could give WoW a run for its money. Most interesting, LotRO is planning to put player housing in a future patch, and Guild Wars, on its latest product page, advertises "no loot stealing, spawn camping, and endless travel."

So while these aren't really "competitors" in the grander sense of player numbers (I'd say WoW's biggest competitor this holiday season might actually be Halo 3), they are definitely biting at WoW's heels in terms of features, and specifically targeting WoW's players with promises of what we've wanted for a long time. Other game companies are clearly getting better at figuring out how to attract the audience that World of Warcraft did, so it seems Blizzard's biggest challenge, from patch 2.2 to Wrath of the Lich King, will be to try and stay ahead of the curve of newer games and their new features.

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This article was originally published on WoW Insider.