I’d like to start, if I may, with a list. In this case a list of all the game influences I noticed as I played. Also I’d like to note… I find this to be a good thing. I like design that gathers up disparate mechanics and recombines them into something better than the sum of their parts.
Some definite WoW love here. You could point to the art style which marginally apes it, or the quest system which comes eerily similar while still being better. Personally though, I’d have to say it’s the environment design and the camera angle which seem to be what really give the strong WoW flavoring here.
2. Thief Series
Seriously, someone should give the guys who worked at Looking Glass a medal. Pretty much everyone who has a stealth system has cribbed from them either directly or indirectly. Now KoA doesn’t seem use the exact thief system but it does seem to use a truncated version without the bread and butter light system*. It’s a good choice, the game’s strong action focus and well designed encounters mean you don’t spend much time missing it.
3. Fable 2/3
Might, Finesse, and… damn I forgot what they called it exactly, meh it’s magic. Point is the three tiered melee brute, skilled ranged/speedy fighter, and mage are a pretty clear grab here. They certainly use their own take on it with a unified leveling system rather than the “you are what you do” of the Fable games. They also have the ability to toggle whether or not you can attack NPCs. (killing quest givers for fun and catharsis…) You could make the argument that combat is based largely off of the Fable series, I think it’s certainly the closest analogue. However the combat system itself is too much of an amalgamation for me to point to any one game as having done more than inspire it.
4. Diablo 1/2
Oh yeah that leveling system, the one with points where you buy levels of bonuses and new abilities but in a very spread out non-tree kind of way… Yeah, that’s pretty Diablo.
5. Bethesda Games
Didn’t know which game to credit so their whole line-up, sans Brink, gets credit on this one. So there I was on a quest to kill a troll for a hunter woman to get a ring and she decides to join the fight. That was great, right up until she died and I failed the quest. Such a classic Bethesda moment, but alack, this is KoA. Also the world is open to exploration, but honestly it’s in a fashion far more reminiscent of WoW (go anywhere but through tightly enclosed spaces) than of Skyrim (go anywhere, no really).
6. Guild Wars
The big “omg it’s Guildwars” moment for me was when I used one of my abilities and it consumed some of my max mana pool to sustain the effect. It’s a small touch, but a rather cool one.
These are the ones I noticed, I’m curious if anyone else knows of any others. For instance I didn’t get into the crafting at all so I may have missed a few games in there.