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Player vs. Everything: The MMO clone wars

Via Massively: You can say a lot of things about a game you don't like. You can say that it sucks or that it's poorly balanced. You can say that the art direction is all wrong, or you can say that it's lacking in any number of features a good game should have. But sometimes a game takes flak for committing the most grievous sin of all: copying another game. One of the most commonly cited complaints about any given game is that they copied "feature X" from "game Y."

For some reason, MMOG players in particular just love to cite the classic "It's just a clone of (whatever)" when they're trying to challenge the very essence of a particular title. If a game is a copy (the reasoning goes) then clearly the designers are wholly uninspired, worthless, and incapable of creating anything interesting or original. It really seems to irk players who feel that their game is being somehow wronged when another game uses similar ideas. But is this really such a bad thing? Might cloning features, or even cloning games, actually be the best possible thing for the games industry?

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