Inspired by Yeebo's post on MMO innovation and WoW and a wonderfully predictive article from Lost Garden from 2005. This is also a continuation of the discussion from yesterday's post. (Once again commenting on others' posts. When am I going to feel inspired enough to finish my own stories?)
As far as who is the Nintendo of MMOs? Hard to say, because despite variations in story content, MMOs are a single genre themselves, as opposed to a platform/brand like Nintendo. I certainly would not say Farmville, it is an innovation in casual play, but has its roots in the RTS genre, not RPGs.
I am not sure how innovative I personally need a new game to be. I have said it before, story drives my games. Obviously gameplay needs to be enjoyable but that is highly subjective. Maybe I should say "Lore" instead of "Story." I like the feel of a real persistent world with a history. But even I am finicky, I dismissed LOTRO as being too similar to WoW, in an "uncanny valley" sort of way. Even now, I struggle to like AoC, but I thoroughly enjoy STO. I am looking forward to SWTOR and even GW2 is intriguing.
The funny thing is that "hardcore" in the Lost Garden article seems to be different than how self-described hardcore gamers would identify themselves, since they are the ones complaining loudest about how "dumbed down" WOW has become, and in comparison to EQ, for example. So what do hardcore MMO players play, exactly, in the sense of Halo, Call of Duty, and GTA, what have you? Is it EVE? Or Warhammer? Maybe Guild Wars? Because if they're still playing WotLK, all the while bitching about WoW is dumb and too easy, I may have to smack somebody.
On a side note, apparently Google has decided to mess with Blogger's picture uploader. Very annoying. Hah! I may have just answered my own question about my tolerance for innovation.