As you might imagine, we here at WoW Insider love World of Warcraft. It's the greatest thing to come along since at least Diablo. Blizzard is a great company, and when it comes to computer gaming, you could solidly make the argument that nobody does it better than they do.
But when PC World announced their "Most Important People on the Web" list today, I was surprised to see, right there in between the inventor of Bittorrent and Jimbo Wales of Wikipedia, Mike Morhaime, President of Blizzard Entertainment as the 4th Most Important Person on the Internet (a big jump up from a previous list). PC World cites WoW's huge player base and Blizzard's profits of $1.5 billion a year (not to mention all the money floating around WoW's black market services), but does the president of a videogame company really deserve to be two slots down from Steve Jobs, in between the man who basically created an anonymous peer-to-peer sharing system and the man who's developing the definitive online collection of knowledge?
Call me cynical, but I say no. WoW may have influence over a lot of people, but Blizzard is using that influence to nerf druids and tweak raid bosses, not affect the Internet population. Then again, the guy did appear in animated form on South Park, and Jimbo Wales has never done that. We should all know by now that these lists are just a cheap way of encouraging discussion (and attention), but Morhaime's inclusion on the list means that WoW's ascent into our culture isn't done yet.