I was engaging Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual this afternoon on a very old debate we have had about WoW-clones and specifically whether or not we should attribute the clone issue as the reason for Warhammer Online's failure.

My position has been and always will be that Warhammer Online failed not because it was a WoW-clone but because they had a very mediocre execution of a very flawed game.

Or as I wrote on Syncaine's blog:
WAR didn’t “fail” because it was a WoW clone. WAR failed because Tier 3 and Tier 4 weren’t as much fun. WAR failed because it couldn’t support the whole server converging on one hotspot for PvP action. WAR failed because a two-faction system allowed one side to grossly outnumber the other.

Those are all design decisions that have nothing to do with WoW. There are certainly a whole slew of other failures as well but those I listed above are the big ones.

ANYWAYS– We’ve had this debate several times and I still maintain the idea that the reason these games fail is that, at the end of the day, they just aren’t as good a game as Warcraft.

If they were, then more players would stick with the new game. Not everyone, mind you, but certainly far more than the desolate wasteland that these games become after 3 months.
But all that aside, here's my real problem with WAR's failure. It's now the world's greatest excuse by everyone as to why NOT to do things. Or as I commented a bit further down in the discussion:
WAR is my great disappointment because it’s become a great scapegoat for many people.

Those who dislike PVP can point to WAR as to why PVP can’t work in an MMO.

Those who hate WoW can point to WAR as the reason why MMOs should stay away from anything remotely WoW-like.

But the REAL reason WAR failed has nothing to do with either of those things.
That's what really gets my goat about the perception of WAR's failure. It didn't fail because it had PvP. It didn't fail because it was a WoW-clone.

It failed because it just wasn't good enough.

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