World of Warcraft is perhaps the most popular MMORPG in existence. Shocking news, we know. But if WoW sits atop the highest rung of the playerbase ladder, then sitting not-so-far below is Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV. And it has now emerged that WoW played a significant part in pulling them up there.
Upon launch, FFXIV was not the fan-favourite it has now blossomed into. As the second MMORPG in the franchise’s long, long history, it wasn’t as if Square Enix were noobs to the genre, either. In fact, FFXI was met with largely positive reviews upon release. Aside from the criticisms levied against its complicated installation process and the soul-crushing grind that was admittedly part of the territory with early MMORPGs, its inherent charm saw it become the standard-bearer for innovation in a historically copy/paste franchise. Then FFXIV took that standard, tripped and fell face-first into the mud.
Dealing with its initial flop was why we received A Realm Reborn. A befitting title if ever we saw one. Following a complete overhaul of the development team, Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida (AKA Yoshi-P) was largely credited with creating the proverbial phoenix that was A Realm Reborn. And, as it turns out, he could not have done it without WoW.
In an interview with PCGamesN, Yoshida spoke of how the re-development team put aside their personal preferences and drew inspiration from the Big Dog itself.
‘If there was no World of Warcraft – which is a game we look to as a great ‘mentor’ of sorts, and respect deeply – FFXIV’s strong recovery wouldn’t have been possible.’ Said Yoshida.
‘When taking the lead to relaunch a failed project, I don’t think you can afford to have the type of game you’d like to create in mind as your motivation. But I was playing WoW, and used that as a form of study. I deployed what I’d learned through the various teams and together we used that in development. We really didn’t have the luxury of bringing our own ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’.
It goes without saying that there are many **WoW-**inspired MMORPGs doing the rounds. For all its foibles, its gargantuan success speaks for itself. And until we see that fabled 'WoW-killer', we can only expect to see more. As the saying goes: 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. And Blizzard certainly ain't broke.
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