As the gaming industry continues to grow and expand, it’s not unusual for producers to take inspiration from other games and brands. However, the newly released MMO Tarisland from Tencent has raised some eyebrows because of the uncanny resemblance between its graphic design and that of World of Warcraft.
Tarisland, which is characterised as a multiplayer fantasy MMORPG, has enormous locations and an action-based combat system. While the gameplay looks to be separate from World of Warcraft, it’s the overall design and finer features of Tarisland that have sparked worries. From the time the announcement video starts, it’s evident that Tencent has drawn influence from World of Warcraft. The first person displayed on-screen is a not-Sylvanas, with her purple complexion and burgundy cloak, and the conspicuous parts of her clothing, especially her shoulder pieces and gloves, also strike out as plainly inspired by World of Warcraft.
As the trailer progresses, it’s evident that the parallels don’t stop there. Characters, settings, and even scenes from World of Warcraft cinematics all seem to have been kidnapped and transplanted onto Tarisland. In one scenario, a dragon similar but not identical to Deathwing, lands on a castle parapet and bellows. This is a close one-to-one reproduction of a clip taken from World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’s cinematic trailer published 12 years ago. The legality of the analogy is an issue for the courts, but public opinion at the least is likely to wonder why Tarisland’s creators had to utilise World of Warcraft as a crutch.
It’s worth mentioning that the Chinese government’s attitude to IP rights and the complexity of international legal operations have resulted in infringements ranging from direct copies of games being distributed to more subtle design impacts. It’s unclear whether Tarisland comes under any legal ramifications, but it’s evident that Tencent has drawn inspiration from World of Warcraft in a manner that raises problems.
In conclusion, Tarisland appears like a sophisticated and intriguing MMO, yet it’s impossible to overlook the glaring parallels to World of Warcraft. It remains to be seen how this will play out legally and in the court of public opinion, but one thing is for certain, Tencent’s Tarisland is going to be compared to World of Warcraft for a long time to come.