With the release of a new World of Warcraft expansion on the close horizon, some players are asking the question, will there ever be a sequel to World of Warcraft? Not just an expansion, but a whole new game, essentially giving players a clean slate. What would this mean for the franchise? Why would Blizzard do it, and would it even be worth it?
World of Warcraft is an ancient game, in terms of MMORPGs, yet it is still the most popular. However, many players are seeing these new MMOs coming up, that may not have the popularity of WoW, yet look so much better, simply because the graphics are half a decade newer. So, why doesn’t Blizzard make a new game, using better graphics, and call it World of Warcraft 2, instead of just releasing expansions? Simply, in my opinion, they do not need it. WoW has built up such a huge player base with a love for the franchise, that players do not care that the graphics are subpar. This means that Blizzard will be spending a lot of time and money on improving graphics, when bluntly they do not need to be improved. Finally, if it gets to the point when graphics truly are a problem, they can just upgrade them in an expansion, no need for a completely new game.
Blizzard would need to do something revolutionary to create and WoW 2, or any other MMO (*cough cough* Titan). Similar to how Guild Wars 2 has tried to change the questing experience, Blizzard would need to do something just as, if not more revolutionary for the MMO genre. Why? Just like how people will not leave WoW even though it is extremely outdated graphically by new MMOs, players may stick to World of Warcraft even if Blizzard as another MMO out. Unless this new MMO offers something radically different then every other MMO ever made, players may just stick to the World of Warcraft that they know and love.
In conclusion, World of Warcraft does not need a sequel right now, nor will it probably ever. The franchise has simply built up such a player base that, it may lose some subscribers, even millions, to newer MMOs, but it will still be a successful MMO as long as the story and world stays so enriching. This does not mean, however, that Blizzard’s giant MMO will always be the outdated grandfather of the MMO genre. They could possibly completely revamp the graphics or gameplay in a future expansion without having to create a whole new game. However, this does mean that Blizzard will have to think outside of the box in and create something that completely changes the MMO industry, if they hope to create another MMORPG that is nearly as successful as World of Warcraft.