Good Lord, World Of Warcraft Is Old

In an industry where games barely even a month old are slashed in price then swiftly forgotten, World of Warcraft is an exceptional, well, exception.

The game, which turned seven yesterday, was first announced back in 2001. For it to be still played today isn't just mind-exploding, it's a testament to how addictive and successful it's been.

To give you an idea of just old it is, I thought it'd be fun to look at the games which launched alongside it back in the holiday season of 2004. Some of them were quite good, but none of them are still played by over 10 million people today.

World of Warcraft was released in North America (and Australia) on November 23, 2004. It was, and probably remains, the biggest holiday season of all time, in terms at least of the number of critically-acclaimed, blockbuster titles. And yet for all the millions of copies these games sold, they've nearly all been superseded by multiple entries in their respective series, and in some cases the platform they were released on doesn't even exist anymore.

World of Warcraft still exists, though, and has outlived the lot of 'em.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (October 26, 2004) - Without question the biggest game of the year, San Andreas went on to sell over 20 million copies, and remains to this day one of the top-selling video games of all time. I'd say it's the only game to have been played by a similar number of people overall to World of Warcraft, though it was essentially replaced in 2008 by Grand Theft Auto IV (and is even being revisited by the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V).

Counter-Strike: Source (November 1) - If San Andreas was the only game to match WoW in terms of players, this is the only one to match it in terms of significant longevity. The first, and so far only major upgrade to Valve's Counter-Strike series, it's still widely played today, and won't be superseded until the release of the upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Quite an achievement in of itself, then, but you don't get 10 million people playing Counter-Strike every month like they do World of Warcraft.

Killzone (November 2) - This isn't Killzone 2. It's the first Killzone, the disappointing series debut on the PS2. What was once hoped to be a Halo-killer ended up a slow, linear trawl through drab environments. People remember Killzone 2 for its presence selling the PS3's launch, Killzone's PSP outing as being surprisingly awesome and Killzone 3 for being surprisingly fun. They're lucky to remember the first Killzone at all.

EverQuest II (November 8) - Oh, fate. It's easy to forget that in 2004 World of Warcraft was launching into an MMO market dominated by the first EverQuest, and that this game was tipped by many to give WoW serious competition, if not crush it completely with its "superior" graphics. Which, yeah, no. To its credit the game is still played and even supported with expansions today, but it's lived so long in the shadow of WoW that it must think the sun simply up and left once 2005 rolled around.

Halo 2 (November 9) - Since Halo 2 was released, we've seen three more games in the series. The console it was exclusively released on, the Xbox, is no longer available. It's looked back on now as probably the worst game of the lot, but hey, in 2004, we weren't to know that. At least its trailer is still awesome. I'd say it's one of the most effective and popular in living memory, in fact.

Need for Speed: Underground 2 (November 15) - The franchise has well and truly lost its way in the years since, but for a few brief, shining seasons while it used the name "Underground", EA's racing series was a massive hit. Not massive enough to stop it from spending the next seven years in a maddening search for identity and purpose, however.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (November 17) - Few games on this list are able to better convey the passing of time than MGS3, which has not one, but two re-releases in the pipeline, one for the Nintendo 3DS and one for the PlayStation 3. The former of which hadn't even been imagined yet, the latter which hadn't been seen by the public.

Super Mario 64 DS (November 21) - In November 2004, Nintendo was re-releasing a Nintendo 64 title as its first must-have game for a new handheld system. In 2011...well, OK, some things never change.


    If we're talking Sequels, then this is a different story. Is a sequel not just a continuation of what the first game built on? (If its a good sequel)

    The GTA series is still around and kicking, the Killzone franchise might still continue on, Halo's still going, Need for speed is still going. Mario, Metal gear solid, Counterstrike.

    All still in the gaming conciousness.

    Now, had this been about other MMO's... well, I think you see where I'm going with this...

      I'm also really interested in how WoW will be remembered ten or fifteen years from now? Will it be remembered?

      From my experiances with it (An on again, off again relationship from 2004 till 2008-09, with a year or two missed in there somewhere) It did nothing but make me grind relentlessly to get to an end game where, you guessed it, I grinded some more.

      And the opinions I hear from gaming associates and other assorted riff-raff range from "I have a job, I didnt need another one playing wow" to "I had a great time from X till Y, but after Y it got stale" or "I still sink an hour or two on it a day"

        I don't understand the people that play for years then when the stop feel the need to hate on the game and proclaim their freedom from a horrible addiction, I was certainly addicted, but for good reason, I loved my time spent in azeroth. There were a few months before I stopped where I was in that middleground of only playing because I felt I had too, but surely if you play like that for the entire time the problem is with you and not the game.

        Most of the 4 or so years I spent in Azeroth was some of the most amazing times of my life, I met great people, we laughed, we cried, we played far longer than we should have mainly to continue enjoying each other's company, and at times we became a small army and killed dragons together.
        As a disclaimer, I started playing at release and the community was much less... ugh then, hell half of my friends back then were 30 something mothers >_> Also WoW was easily more about the social aspect than the game imo, I couldn't imagine playing as long as I did with out the awesome people.

          They don't hate the game, they just hate themselves for the time they spent on it, which could have been put to more productive use. I love the time I spent on WoW, and some of the more challenging raid achievements are some pretty epic events you had to be there to experience. But if I hit my /played tab, I would quietly weep. Since then, quit WoW and haven't looked back, I doubt I'd ever put as much effort into another game, you just can't recreate first love.

          It seems to me what you'll take away from the game is the experiences with friends not the actual game itself.

          Which is the point of MMO's in my opinion they are a social lubricant just like alcohol.

          It may be forced social behaviour because well playing any MMO solo gets boring pretty quickly.

          And that's where wow held the advantage not that it was a great game but the fact that it had such a large crowd.

          No matter how iregular your playtime or your personality with 10million other players you are almost guaranteed to find someone to play with

    *cough "Half Life 2 *cough

      This. I was wondering where Half Life 2 and Doom 3 were!

    Ill always remember NSFU2 for Brooke Burke <3

    To be fair, WoW is not 7 really years old... it has evolved, via patches and expansions. The latter changing the gameplay markedly on each occasion. The current Cataclysm experience is very different to that of vanilla WoW from 2004. Given gameplay and visual differences it might as well be a new game. Much akin to any of the releases in the article.

    Man Need For Speed 1 & 2 were soooo great, I will kill for a Underground 3 that had the same vibe as those 2, or even just a HD upgrade.

    I think the thing that is notable about WoW more so than the other games is the actual experience of the game, rather than the game itself.

    I remember having a big group of friends at school who used to play it during 2004-2005. Our conversations and interactions with each other were dominated by the top guild downing Ragnaros first, or that huge global PvP fight that lasted for 3 days in STV.

    We would all get together and play endlessly over the weekends, grouping up at a mates house with the phattest broadband pipes. We had such an GREAT time just chilling out, with WoW serving as the unifying focal point.

    It was not only a new game, a new genre, but it was actually a lifestyle. Most of us have moved on, and I'm probably the only one that stuck with it well over 4 years.

    But for me, and for so many others, it was a memorable moment in my life.

    There's very, VERY few games, let alone experiences that can hold a candle to that type of feeling.

    Halo 2 was as far as I know the first game to take console multiplayer online. If I'm right about that then it's huge. Calling it the weakest in the series is a little unfair.

    Halo 2, weak.........
    Tell me where u live now....

    'It’s looked back on now as probably the worst game of the lot, but hey, in 2004, we weren’t to know that.'

    Are you being serious? Halo 2 is seen by the Halo community as one of if not the best of all the Halo games...

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