The Daily Grind: What makes an MMO a 'WoW clone'?

Star Wars

Eminent MMO designer Raph Koster inspired today's Daily Grind with his recent article titled When is a Clone, in which he discusses the difference between clones, reskins, variants, families, genres, and other words that gamers often use interchangeably when debating the merits of their favorite games. Specifically, he lays out a "recipe" for inventing a new game as opposed to just cloning one; for example, he suggests that developers might model a new scenario mathematically or alter the physical dimensions or major goals of an existing ruleset.

But the truth is that gamers, especially MMO players, will probably never stop using the word clone when we mean iteration. We wield the word as a curse, knowing that a game isn't a literal clone but choosing to employ hyperbole to make a point about the sameyness of so many MMOs that slap a fresh coat of paint on World of Warcraft and expect praise.

Today, we're asking you: What, exactly, makes an MMO a WoW clone?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!