Keen has a well written post about his return to WoW and what the game is all about now. Read it made me realize the difference between some people in the real world, one that also seems to apply to the MMO genre, and one which is somewhat related to my post below.
Playing WoW is like taking your family vacation to Disney World every year, or going to Paris and eating at McDonalds. For most people change is something to fear rather than embrace, and for those people WoW caters to them perfectly. The safety of a daily quest is the same safety McDonalds in Paris provides. You can ignore the unknown French food and feel safe knowing that your Big Mac in Paris is going to be just like your Big Mac in the USA. Going to Disney World every year (often at the same time every year) is a far more guaranteed experience than going to a new country and seeing something different. You know Space Mountain is going to be the same ride every year, while you might not like everything about some new country you are visiting.
Now I’d rather be punched in the face than visit Disney World every year, and I’d much rather try something new and local than visit a McDonalds in a foreign country (even if it’s only to discover that I hate French food), but I accept that I’m in the minority here. Disney World is packed every year, McDonalds is global, and WoW has X million players. The good news is that just like the real world has vacation spots with small local restaurants available around the globe, the MMO genre now has successful niche titles surviving (and in some cases thriving) as well.