Let's forget about the presidential election for a second and take a look back to Decision 2004 when gamers were deciding between World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 along with Kerry vs. Bush.
As the then preview mentions:
*400,000 players, the count the original Everquest had at the time was considered massive.
*EQ was the "one to beat" and the "front runner" as none of the other games came close. Just like WoW now, people wonder who would be the "EQ killer"
The writer compared 5 areas, PvP, Challenge, Combat, Game world and Game mechanics.
EQ2 at the time didn't offer any kind of PvP, so WoW won that round. Funny now considering some PvPers consider WoW lacking and flocked to Warhammer.
As far as challenge the write gives point to EQ2. At the time no one really knew what WoW's endgame would be like so he was basing it on leveling. WoW definitely went the easy route. But in the end "challenge" (if you go by subscription numbers) was not what most wanted.
Combat: Heroic opportunities in EQ2, mimicked in LotRO I think gave EQ2 the edge. I'd say they were about the same, although its been a long time since I've played EQ2 but I can't remember complaining about combat like I do with LotRO and WAR.
Game world. Writer said it was too close to call. From what I've read, EQ has a larger world and I assume EQ2 would as well. But I never got to max level to know for sure. I've felt WoW's world was small.
Game Mechanics. Writer said it was up to the player. I think WoW took existing mechanics and improved upon them. I personally think WoW won that round.
Tradeskills. EQ2 had "depth and utility". But if you'd taken part in it, you realize sometimes too much is too much. WoW's professions are pretty simplistic and could use a boost, but not to the extent that EQ2 took it.
Solo playability. Writer said it perfectly "WoW allows for that experience to be a lot less painful". Arguably though, that same solo playability has made wow a less social game and perhaps that's a bigger loss to this genre than talked about.
Quests. The author gives WoW the win on this one. Did wow originate the symbol over and npc's head to let you know whether there is a quest or not? I don't know but there is no going back.
And Community. The author said this remains to be decided. A smaller community can be more close-knit. But the last time I went back to EQ2 it was so dead. Small doesn't always equal good. WoW's reputation isn't the best if you base it on General forums, Barrens chat and Trade chat. But when a new game comes out and someone goes back to wow they usually say it was because of their friends and guild.
The article ends saying the final result is too close to call, but 4 years later WoW won overall no contest.
One of the reader's comments unwittingly foreshadowed WoW's success: "The game is fundamentally flawed for anything but casual people with very little time on their hands."
3 hours ago