Everquest was the same way in its time. The success of Everquest led to the success of WoW, and the success of WoW will lead to more games like it. This is fine, don't get me wrong. WoW's a great game. It's just not the only game worth noticing.
When a game sells really well, its features will be emulated by games that also want to sell well. When a game doesn't sell as well, its features fade into obscurity - even the great ones.
One quick exampleShadowbane was released in 2003, and it never got above 50,000 or so subscribers. A lot of people talk about what a shame it is that the territory control mechanics, player cities, and seige warfare from that game didn't become more popular, but those are all fairly controversial ideas that not every MMO player necessarily enjoys.
However, their incredible UI customization is not a controversial feature at all. Show any MMO player in the world the following video, and I'll bet you a dollar that they say they wish it was this easy in whatever game they're currently playing:
If more people had played Shadowbane, this degree of native UI customization would be considered a basic requirement of every game released. WoW set an impressively high standard of UI customization through mods, but it's not nearly as easy as Shadowbane's system. Despite that, games that come out next year will be held to WoW's standard, not Shadowbane's.
We need to keep track of good ideas from all games, not just from the games that sell the most copies. I'll be posting about more great-but-overlooked features here in the future.