World of Warcraft is the most successful pay-to-play MMO out there, so it stands to reason that other developers would want to imitate Blizzard's cash cow in hopes of dethroning the MMO giant. The trend, thus far, seems to be cloning.
Well, that's really not going to work, according to Blizzard. Lead producer Shane Dabiri took it upon himself to clear up this misconception in a recent interview:
"There are a lot of people that try to emulate World of Warcraft - and as flattering as that is our end it's definitely not the right move. I know that World of Warcraft is very successful, and so people think if they were to make another game just like it they could somehow capture that audience. However, I don't think that's what players are looking for.
"Players that have invested time in WOW don't just want to do the same thing in other game - they want to try something completely new and different."
Instead of just copying what works and hoping for the best, Dabiri explains developers should try their hand at "innovative new MMOs" that try something, such as City of Heroes, which he notes isn't just another fantasy game. Then again, going the non-fantasy route doesn't guarantee success -- Tabula Rasa, anyone?