GameSpy lists its top 25 PC games of the most recent decade, or in other words, the games we were playing from 2000-2009. Included are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic at #16, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind at #14, Diablo II at #7, Deus Ex at #3, BioShock at #2, and World of Warcraft at #1.
When all was said and done, only one choice made sense for our top spot: Blizzard's seminal massively multiplayer online role-playing game. World of Warcraft ushered in an era of MMOs that -- six years on -- it still thoroughly dominates (it's no coincidence that no other MMO made our list), and it's one of the most ambitious, expansive, and flat-out fun video games ever created.
We can chalk most of that up to Blizzard's commitment to quality -- this isn't a company that throws ship dates around like candy on Halloween, or follows the all-too-common "release it to fit our fiscal projections, and worry about the problems later" pattern that poisons most MMO development. Blizzard releases games when they're done... and by golly, they're always magnificent games. The video game industry could learn a lot from Blizzard's stellar (and obviously very successful) example.
But enough of that -- WoW is a watershed moment in MMOs and in gaming, the rare gem that combines mounds upon mounds of well-paced content, a vast and varied world, obsessively fine-tuned play mechanics, and clever (and often humorous) writing, and wraps it all in a unique and timeless art style that (and we know some of you will disagree) still looks great today. For our money, nothing compared to hearing that sweet level-up noise, getting our first riding mount, tackling our first 25-man dungeon raid, and going toe-to-toe with the opposing faction in player-versus-player battlegrounds. The fact that WoW features as much content as it does (now thee expansions' worth of stuff), has been going strong for as long as it has, and is still enjoyable to play says a lot about its status as one of the most important PC games ever released.