The phrase "WoW clone" has become so ubiquitous in gaming discussions that it fills its own tag over at our sister publication Massively. The scornful use of the phrase by many players is somewhat puzzling to me, considering that the cloned aspects they deride are simply conventions of current MMOs -– UI elements, game mechanics, and design choices that are common to today's games and not necessarily things that WoW itself first created. As one Massively reader pointed out, it's "sort of like saying a themepark MMO is very 'World of Warcraft-ish.'" Well ... yes. That's what WoW is.
Since we're all WoW fans here, it only makes sense that we might enjoy trying out a new twist on our favorite game. When you hear about a new game that's being described as a WoW clone, do you pick up or download a copy and give it a whirl? Would you consider that game more of a good thing? Or do you avoid MMOs that feel very similar to World of Warcraft, cleaving to WoW based on your social connections there, your character's history and achievements over time, or another reason?