1. World of Warcraft (PC, 2004)
Five years after its initial release, Blizzard's massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has attracted as many as 11 million monthly subscribers, according to the last public count, all of whom are captivated by the expansive world of Azeroth.
Mario Garcia, Mercury Steam: "Reasons? Effectiveness of his design, huge infrastructure, big money
spent, number of players, net hours of play, mixed demographics, social
Also, for me raised serious questions about the responsibility of
developers in how his games affect people's life and the ethics of
using game design technics to keep players spending time in the game. I
feel this is going to be a big deal in the coming decades."
Justin Wingard, Timegate Studios: "It proved that the MMO market didn't have to be limited to the hardcore
gamers. The game has completely changed the standards and expectations
for a MMORPG and has considerably changed our perception of an MMO.
"This, of course, says nothing for the fact that it has made more money
than any other game this decade by an enormous margin and continues to
be absurdly profitable for Activision / Blizzard."
Christopher Plummer: "This is not even a fair competition. World of Warcraft has been around
for 5 of the last 10 years and continues to draw more and more fans to
it. It has a wide variety of gameplay within it from traditional RPG
elements, to co-op elements, to Competitive deathmatch/sporting
"The design elements have been ripped off by almost every game
created in the last couple of years.
I can't play this game anymore for a variety of reasons, but in its
original two years it was the greatest game ever. The expansions were
good too, but they were not the original. I don't think we'll see
something that good in a long time."
Joe Woynillowicz: "Blizzard came out with an extremely polished MMO and have brought the
genre into the mainstream of gaming. It has led the genre for five
years now and does not look like it will be giving up that lead anytime
soon, and they are a heavy influence on the current and next generation
of MMO games."
Carl Chavez: "It brought a lot of new players into the PC platform, made up a sizable
percentage of revenue for the game industry over the past few years,
proved subscription-based gaming was profitable, brought forward social
gaming to the masses (more than Everquest, DaoC, and other MMOs),
permeated pop culture so much that even Mr. T. is co-branding with it,
influenced game design (who doesn't play Dragon Age: Origins and think
of WoW?) and indirectly caused its players to try out other MMOs on
both PCs and consoles, which further affected the industry.
even like WoW! However, I can see how big its impact has been. People
who make a big deal about Modern Warfare 2's first-month sales seem to
forget that WoW probably makes the same amount of cash from
subscriptions every few months, and with much less development cost."
Matt Allmer: "As developers, we envy those who are a part of it. As gamers, we are
fully engaged in its addictive gameplay. As critics, we marvel at its
level of polish, game progression and design aesthetics. As industry
experts we still monitor its shelf life and ever-growing list of
"It crosses gender boundaries, age boundaries, geographic
boundaries and sets the bar for online social interaction.
It is a symbol of popular culture. It is widely popular without selling
out to cheap promotional tricks or marketing bulls#@!. It is a clear
milestone in the history this young medium and has even claimed hours
of playtime from the president of the United States.
"Above all else, it
is the only game my dad has enlisted me to return to, and play again.
From where I stand, nothing says 'Game of the Decade' more than that."
David Delanty: "It doesn't take a WoW player to understand the sheer scope of the
game's influence. It is one of the few games in history to dramatically
change the face of society itself, creating a subset of gamers so
massive they might as well be considered their own separate
"The gargantuan user base isn't the only striking feature of WoW, but a
comparatively large game world that is as dynamic as it is deep. WoW
set the bar for online gaming, and created a series of goals and
objectives for the player that many other titles seek to duplicate, and
in doing so, have also redefined the way in which game designers tackle
their online Multiplayer features.
"No longer is it good enough to get
the highest kill count in a shooter, or overwhelm an opposing general
in a strategy game. Multiplayer needs to implement systems of leveling,
perks, and prestige that were originally reserved strictly for the MMO
crowd, but were executed so seamlessly in WoW that its design is now a
standard example for contemporary AAA titles.
"World of Warcraft can be attributed to many things, not all of them
benevolent. The game is so in-depth, gamers frequently forget to take
care of themselves. There isn't a lot of media out there (outside of
illegal substance abuse) where a participant can be so into their fix
that they starve to death.
"World of Warcraft has been the crutch for
many divorces, violent crime, Online scammers, and morbid obesity. I've
seen several classmates fail out of college to supplement their WoW
addiction, and while one would expect a 'lesson learned' scenario, the
truth is, WoW has such a magnetic hook the junkies keep coming back for
Good, bad, or ugly, World of Warcraft revolutionized the online gaming
platform so dramatically it would easily be considered one of the most
defining titles of the 2000's."
Eric Hardman: "It is the biggest game changer of the decade. It's not necessarily the
best game, nor my personal favorite, but it is certainly the one by
which I will remember the aughts. It's cultural, economic, and industry
impact are unsurpassed, and it's the only single game to have that kind
of clout, across platforms and genres.
"Along those lines, a case could
be made for the Wii, but which single game? Wii Sports? Hardly. This
isn't an award for controllers. XBLA could be considered a contender,
due to the proliferation of indie and downloadable content -- certainly
a game changer and decade-long theme. But which single game? A personal
note here, is that my favorite games of the decade were from the Total
War series, with Guild Wars a close second. But Game of the Decade?
Michael Kelly: "In terms of a game that really was a mark for the 2000s, there's really
nothing bigger than World of Warcraft. Massive popularity (to the point
of being a wider cultural phenomenon), excellent game design that is
still being polished, and really the final culmination of the way that
MMOs have been developing since Everquest.
"And the gameplay innovations
used in WoW have affected even offline games (eg. Dragon Age) Not to
say something new might arise, but WoW really seems like the most fully
realized MMO to ever come along."
Kevin Lim: "In terms of significant cultural impact, nothing can beat World of
Warcraft. No one can deny that anyone who has a computer(which is by
now almost everyone in the States) has at least heard of this game.
Possibly amongst the single most-played games (barring games that are
bundled with the computer such as solitaire and the such), it has had a
serious influence and changed the MMORPG scene for better or worse."
John Hay: "WoW managed to become the identity for an entire genre against which
all other MMOs are compared. It also penetrated the main stream lexicon
in a way no other game has done perhaps since Quake. As a result, the
entire games industry has benefitted from the non-gamers it has
Pablo Dopico: "I don't think it even needs to be justified. This has revolutionized
the way people play videogames. It's the most successful videogame of
the decade, and it consolidated subscription-based role playing gaming
on persistent universes.
You might love it or hate it, but WoW has changed the world of computer
entertainment software, it's accessible to everyone, and it offers an
engaging, long-lasting, multi-faceted appeal.
"Additionally, it has been
key to keeping the PC alive as a commercially viable gaming platform,
key to the incorporation of women in PC gaming, and key to consolidate
Blizzard (and now Activision / Blizzard) as one of the major actors in
the industry. But of course, everyone knows that, because WoW is the
most successful game of the decade, without a single trace of a doubt."