Successful MMO design corrupts new ideas, says Warhammer dev

Mythic director discourages team from playing World of Warcraft

The creative director of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, has said that successful design in MMO's like World of Warcraft has had a corrupting effect on the way games designers think.

Paul Barnett of Mythic Entertainment has discouraged his team from playing Blizzard's market-leading online game for fear it will influence their design decisions too strongly, reports

"I believe WOW is a work of flawed genius," Barnett said during the Develop Online conference in Brighton.

"When you dismantle [these works] you can never be sure whether you get genius or flaw. The reason I don't play other online games is that they're corrupting, they are cancerous, they change the way you think."

He gave an example of a change in quest structure in Warhammer Online, away from the standard set by World of Warcraft.

"That one change took three months of meetings, because the people I was up against were corrupted by the gaming experiences they'd had.

"They weren't capable of thinking sideways because they knew the answer, and it worked, and resulted in a game that is very successful."

And emulation of the market leader isn't a wise tactic either, according to Barnett.

"You can't be the Beatles. If you try and be the Beatles, you'll end up as the Monkees," he joked.

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