Blizzard's World of Warcraft is the touchstone on which BioWare measures its forthcoming Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic.
Speaking on the keynote panel today at the DICE Summit in Vegas, BioWare's Greg Zeschuk said that the company is following the rules established by Blizzard's subscription fantasy MMO.
"It is a touchstone. It has established standards, it's established how you play an MMO. Every MMO that comes out, I play and look at it. And if they break any of the WoW rules, in my book that's pretty dumb," Zeschuk told the audience.
"If you have established standards, WoW established them."
While topics in the panel included the rise and evolution of social gaming, Zeschuk said that big triple-A projects were still viable, and Warcraft was the perfect example of success in the blockbuster space.
"Bigger does work. Big has worked and frankly, WoW is the biggest. On a pure revenue basis it's probably the biggest game ever by a country mile. It generates so much revenue it's an incredible international business unto itself. How do we compete with that? It's an interesting challenge.
"In some ways they [Blizzard] cracked this market wide open. Obviously Star Wars is a very big licence and it's something that when done right - and it's something we did right with KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic) years ago - it's an incredible force multiplier on your efforts. We've added things so that anyone that plays it knows it's a BioWare game.
"It's not like we're actually going out there to beat anyone, we're going out to place. The audience will tell us if we have a place," he concluded.
Also on the panel was Blizzard's Mike Morhaime who said that Blizzard wants more quality MMOs in the market because poor titles could be putting off potential consumers in the genre.
"BioWare is a great developer and obviously Star Wars is a very strong licence. We think it's good for the MMO genre for additional MMOs to come out that are actually fun and good to play," he said.
"I don't know that it serves the genre very well when MMOs come out and have all sorts of problems and players leave in frustration.
"Hopefully, new players will come in, experience it for the first time and find out that maybe they're fans of the genre. If they get frustrated and leave maybe they won't give the genre a try at all.
"So, do a good job," he told Zeschuk.