Gamasutra has published an article titled "Why World of Warcraft Made It Big." The article was written by Michael Zenke, a member of the family here at Massively! Zenke argues that there's no one reason WoW was the game to explode into the mainstream in Western markets, instead of EverQuest II or City of Heroes. Accessibility, low system specs, polish, storytelling, fun factor, and yes, timing -- all of these had something to do with it. He also suggests that in the wake of The Burning Crusade, WoW is as strong today as it's ever been.
So, this begs the question -- and this is not one that's addressed in the post -- is there a game coming that will leave WoW in the dust just as WoW surpassed EverQuest? Or will Blizzard reign as kings throughout the foreseeable future? Maybe we'll see an industry like the one Corey Bridges of Multiverse described -- a place where democratization of the MMO development process creates hundreds or thousands of successful, user-generated experiences? As curious as we are, we're smart enough not to make blind predictions. So let's see what happens this year with the big releases like Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, as well as the democratizing experiments like MetaPlace.