Let’s be honest… asking if any game is the killer of any other game is stupid. No game in MMO history has ever killed any other game, simply because very few of them are actually dead. And of the ones that are, most of them killed themselves by not being very good.
However, that said, it is possible that a game could, by releasing and being similar to an existing game but different enough to warrant another game, steal enough of the population of the original game that the original game might be declared dead on a technicality. And by that I mean that the numbers officially shrink to the “die hard fans of the game who will never ever leave until you wipe their hard drives with powerful magnets and rips their keyboards from their cold dead hands” population who will stay and new subscriptions will be few and far between, if any at all.
Warhammer Online, in that respect, is not, and will never be a World of Warcraft killer. As similar as the play styles of the game may be, through interfaces and other measures, the bulk “goal” of the games are different. In WoW, no matter how many arenas and battlegrounds they release, PvE raiding is the ultimate goal of the game. Not hardcore raiding necessarily, but with Wrath of the Lich King’s supposed focus on 10 man scaled instances allowing raid groups to play through the same content as a 25 man raid but with lesser difficulty (tuned for 10 instead of 25) and reward, it is clear that WoW is primarily a PvE game. WAR on the other hand, by all beta accounts, supports PvE fairly well, but the end game, the goal, is really the PvP/RvR aspects. That change of focus in the late stage game, from WoW’s PvE raiding to WAR’s RvR conflicts, will appeal to entirely different groups of people.
If WAR is going to kill anything, its going to be Dark Age of Camelot that it steps on. From all accounts, this game, WAR, is taking many of the best elements of WoW (UI ease of use, etc) and applying them to the best elements of DAoC (realm versus realm conflicts) and then throwing in a few new elements (Public Quests). Looking at the features list of WAR, and perusing the screenshots and videos and information pooring out after the NDA lifted, unless you are a die-hard fan of DAoC’s lore or have a PC that can’t run better than DAoC, there seems to be no reason not to ditch DAoC for WAR.
So… is WAR the DAoC killer?