I never did get this speculation column off the ground, but I’ve chewed on this particular topic quite a bit over the years. What if Guild Wars and EQ2 didn’t have to compete with WoW in 2004, but had more time to establish themselves — not that they did poorly in the first place? What if the industry didn’t have to react to WoW for another year — what games might have come out in that time period, and what older systems might have seen continued life?
Today I’m kicking off a new, somewhat irregular column here at Bio Break entitled “What If?” In it, I’ll be engaging in speculation of the highest order to conjecture how MMO history might be different if something went a different way. Consider it alternate gaming history, if you will. It’s just for fun anyway.
So today’s What If? is one I’ve really wondered: What if World of Warcraft didn’t launch in 2004, but instead was delayed until late 2005?
It’s not terribly hard to imagine how and why this may have occurred. After all, Blizzard was and is the king of “when it’s done” releases, and the development for WoW took years and years. After spending $60 million on the project, they may have gotten jitters at some point in 2004, worried that they were lacking suitable end game content, and a bit jittery at the upcoming release of EverQuest 2. So, after a long and heated board meeting, the powers that be at Blizzard decide to delay for one more year, to add more of that distinctive Blizzard polish and work on adding more end game locales and dungeons.