So you remember Mike Morhaime’s kind of nonsensical comments that treated “social” as the equivalent to “forced grouping” from a couple days ago, yes? Well, it turns out that Greg Street, AKA Ghostcrawler, the former lead systems designer on World of Warcraft, opted to weigh in on the same comments with a small Twitter thread that is… uh… actually, it’s kind of baffling, although it ultimately seems to come down on the side of a wistful glance and a statement that it was a different time. But, well…
People forget sometimes that when WoW became popular, things like instant messaging didn’t really exist, let alone having social features in every game….
For those of you keeping track at home, we’ll save you a trip to Wikipedia: AOL Instant Messenger launched in 1997, ICQ launched in 1996, and IRC was originally developed in 1988. All of these dates are substantially prior to the launch of WoW. It is, ultimately, kind of a baffling thread featuring other arguments like the idea that no one had played MMOs before WoW while also praising the social systems present in WoW which were, in fact, fairly common in other MMOs. It’s kind of weird.
I have been asked a bunch about Mike Morhaime's chat with Seth Schiesel. While WoW did a lot of things right, some of its greatest contributions were social….
— Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) April 29, 2020