# 1% idea, 99% execution? [closed]

I keep reading in the game development community that the idea of a game is 1% and the execution of the game is 99%.

Do you believe that to be true? Not necessary in those percentages..

I always thought that a great idea is invaluable and it makes a game successful even though the execution is simplistic.

• It is invaluable! Invaluable to the point you can't sell it, trade it, eat it, in fact, you can't use it for anything other than for its execution :) such a literal example of "invaluable" isn't it? – Pablo Ariel Sep 25 '11 at 10:02
• sivers.org/multiply How much to charge for an idea vs execution – Peter Ølsted Sep 25 '11 at 12:36
• I'd add that without good marketing even the best ideas and implementations have a good chance of not being successful. – Adam Sep 25 '11 at 15:03
• Try to sell just your idea to any publisher or developer, you'll quickly find out just how "valuable" just an idea is. Which is to say that when the week is over you'll be one envelope and postage stamp poorer. – Patrick Hughes Sep 25 '11 at 20:29
• Like every gross generalization, this does not work. – gd1 Sep 25 '11 at 20:33

### Why Your Game Idea Sucks

Your game idea sucks. That's the bad news. The good news is everyone's game ideas suck, so you're not alone. And hey, now that you know, you can stop wasting your time worrying about it and actually sit down to make a game...

Also, there's a difference in simplistic and badly done. Pacman was simplistic, and BattleCruiser3K was horribly done (I actually once bought a copy - the cursor movement on the screen, rarely matched the mouse movement). The game's idea was fairly cool, but implemented in a way that was unplayable.

For another excellent example of why execution matters more than the initial idea, consider the history of Quake:

The earliest information released described Quake as focusing on a Thor-like character who wields a giant hammer, and is able to knock away enemies by throwing the hammer (complete with real-time inverse kinematics). At the start, the levels were supposed to be designed in an Aztec style, but the choice was dropped some months into the project. Early screenshots then showed medieval environments and dragons. The plan was for the game to have more RPG-style elements.
[...]
Eventually, the whole id team began to think that the original concept may not have been as wise a choice as they first believed. Thus, the final game was very stripped down from its original intentions, and instead featured gameplay similar to Doom and its sequel, although levels and enemies were closer to medieval RPG style rather than science-fiction.

What made Quake a great game was not the initial ideas, which changed frequently, but that id Software had a great programming team, including people like John Carmack and Tom Hall. They didn't depend on an idea that sounded great - they built it, and tested it. And when it didn't work as intended, made changes. They evolved the game over time, to something that wasn't even close to the original concept.

Update - Just ran across a great article (source DaringFireball) which explains that Ideas are just a multiplier of execution - nicely explained, using dollar values for ideas. (Since the link is now dead, pasting in the original short text:)

It’s so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.) To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

Explanation:

AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20

NO EXECUTION = $1 WEAK EXECUTION =$1000
SO-SO- EXECUTION = $10,000 GOOD EXECUTION =$100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000 BRILLIANT EXECUTION =$10,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two.

The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth$20,000,000.

That’s why I don’t want to hear people’s ideas. I’m not interested until I see their execution.

Update 2 - the question seems to have re-surfaced, so here's another data point that comes to mind: The Aristocrats. This is a DVD of 100 comedians telling jokes - and they're all telling the same joke (a very old, very dirty joke called the Aristocrats). But of course, they're all telling it differently - the joke is the same, but their execution is totally different.

Of course, to apply it to games, we'd have to get 100 game developers to all make their own version of some well-known game (like Minecraft) - then we could compare the results.

• To be fair though, id Software kinda coped out on that one. It would be like the Bionic Commando team playing with a few levels built around the arm mechanic, then went, "You know what? This isn't fun. Rather than finding a way to make it fun, we'll just rip the arm stuff out and let you jump like any other platformer." And that's why Quake isn't remembered for its gameplay so much as its technology. – Nicol Bolas Sep 26 '11 at 0:44
• Quake is an old example, today's game industry has nothing in common with the one at the time quake came out. 3D is easy, and with computer power now, ideas are more empowered than 10 or 20 years ago. And it will continue. That's why indie games are keeping up. – jokoon Sep 26 '11 at 13:09
• @jokoon, I disagree that age totally discounts the Quake example (and not just because I was born before Quake came out :) . However, I agree with your comment to the main post about ideas, design, and execution becoming more integrated - you might want to consider promoting that comment to an Answer. And Nicol, yeah, I almost put a line in my post, about id's original idea not being bad because they changed it, and it's possible they could have made it work. But the post was long enough, and it wasn't really relevant to the point, that execution matters more than the idea. – Cyclops Sep 26 '11 at 13:23
• Well look at Rage, they totally implemented other kind of stuff because they have more computer power, put aside graphics. Plus you can't really consider id games as good examples for implementing ideas, they focus on action; world of warcraft for example is a brilliant example of achieving lots and lots of gameplay, only allowed by large server power and low network latency for users. – jokoon Sep 26 '11 at 18:19
• Certainly when it comes to both FPS level design and multiplayer, Quake is remembered very positively for ambitious ideas as well as its execution. – user744 Sep 26 '11 at 18:51

I always thought that a great idea is invaluable and it makes a game successful even though the execution is simplistic.

I've never seen a great game that is great solely because of a novel idea. Even in the old days, how well you executed an idea mattered more than the idea itself.

Take SpaceChem, for example. This is a game that has a good idea: use "chemistry" as a means for essentially circuit diagramming and programming. However, that idea could very, very easily fail if it isn't executed well. If the game had poor level design, nobody would have bothered. If the circuit pieces were not well designed, reuseable, and interesting from a gameplay perspective, nobody would have cared.

For an older example, look at Super Mario Bros. This game had a number of novel ideas in it. But it wasn't great based solely on ideas; level design was what made the game work. Anyone could have put those ideas into a game. But without the proper level design, you would have gotten a forgettable mess.

I'd say one of the best examples of an old game with a novel idea and impeccable execution was the original SNES StarFox. The first polygon-based console game. But it did not look like a first effort at all. There was detail everywhere, from robots that moved to robots that carried buildings, the behavior of enemies, etc.

Bionic Commando had a novel idea, but if the level design was crap, nobody would have cared. If the level design did not exercise the swinging mechanic properly, it would never have been what it became. I can keep going, but I think my point is clear.

I honestly don't know about a 99/1 split, and it doesn't really matter. It's not like you can quantify that sort of thing anyway. What matters is that yes: execution of an idea is far more important than the idea itself. An idea might get your game played, but it won't make your game stand the test of time.

• Also, the Mario platformers had excellent controls, which helps make them great. Terrible controls for a platformer essentially ruins a game, even if the idea is amazing. – thedaian Sep 25 '11 at 12:07
• Wing Commander, 1990 – bobobobo Dec 1 '12 at 19:48

To build on Nicol's answer, consider a more recent game, Achron. It has a very novel implementation of time travel. To quote the review I linked to above,

Forget about simple time-travel gimmicks like Command and Conquer’s Chronospheres that were really just teleporters. Achron offers the real deal. Throughout a battle, you have a timeline at the bottom of the screen that shows you key events. By clicking on different points, you snap your viewpoint into the past or the future, where events play out either as they did, or as a simulation of what’s likely to happen. The first twist is that you can give orders at any point, with time ripples updating the present on a regular basis. The second twist is that everyone can do this

Unfortunately, as original as that was, the basic execution of the game is bad - the graphics are bad (which is ok), but it's also incredibly hard to distinguish between units which is basically the point of graphics in the first place; all the time traveling in the word won't help you if your units have terrible pathfinding and so on.

A good idea can be a major selling point, but it can't be the only one. Consider indie company ACE Team. Their second game, Rock of Ages, has a completely crazy premise (you play a rock rolling around) but because the implementation isn't just right, it's not as successful as their first game, Zeno Clash (which is basically first-person Mortal Kombat, but with an excellent art style and a very "meaty" execution of the actual fighting).

I could go on; the point is that there are countless games with a good idea that are marred with a bad execution, just like there's a lot of games with a simple idea but excellent implementation that are successful (again, Nicol's answer has a list of those).

I always thought that a great idea is invaluable and it makes a game successful even though the execution is simplistic.

We have no idea how many amazing ideas never got made because of problems during the implementation. There might be millions. So it's hard to judge. And if there are millions of good ideas that came to nothing, that would imply that good ideas are still not worth much on their own.

On the other hand, we know of many successful games which came from rather mediocre ideas, and the only reason they were successful was because they got implemented adequately.

We also know that ideas, no matter how good they are, require much less effort to create than the implementation of that same idea. So, given that you always need both, the implementation is more highly valued.

And we know that ideas themselves are impossible to judge for quality. "Be a soldier during World War 2"? Trite. "Control a space marine as humanity fights off aliens"? Hasn't this been done a thousand times yet? "Play an Italian plumber who rescues princesses and jumps from one platform to another"? Ridiculous. Yet these games sell millions each year.

A good idea can be worth a lot. But ideas in general are worth, on average, almost zero.

• I disagree: Most games which came from rather mediocre ideas and that have been done a thousand times actually have a very nice idea behind them. Not one that (re)defines a genre of game, but one that changes the game enough for it to be essentially different from another, even tough they are still largely similar. FPS games are all essentially the same, but still it's extremely rare to find a single successful one that does not have something distinctively different; The idea was not the whole game, but that distinctive characteristic. – XenoRo Oct 1 '12 at 18:45

I believe it to be true. Your counter-example, that a great idea can make a great game even if the execution is simplistic just shows that simplistic execution is not inherently bad and often optimum.

We used to say that ideas are a dime a dozen. Now we say ideas are a dollar a bale in thousand idea bales.

I think what happens is that you look at a truly great game that also had a novel idea, say Pac Man or Tetris, and you think the idea is what made it great. But if you think about it, it's pretty clear that those same ideas could have been implemented in dozens of games and never made a great game.

Consider the game Burnout Legends. On PSP it's pretty good. On NDS it is laughably awful. Really really bad. So implementing the idea seems important.

Consider the game Rise of the Robots. It seemed like it'd be a brilliant game (Robots! Fighting! Fighting Robots!!) but it was (on every platform) terrible. Implementing the idea failed horribly.

I have very many ideas for games. I think they're awesome ideas. But I do not code; I cannot program. So these ideas are worthless.

Your question is one of valuation.

In some ways, comparing ideas with execution is apples vs oranges. Fortunately, we have a system tailor made for that: economics. And the valuation we assign is termed "money".

But in order to do that, we need a more concrete understanding of the term "idea". Let's consider a treatment, a textual description of a few paragraphs. Something that could take a few minutes, at most a few hours, to write. By comparison, the work of implementing a game takes months or years, if not hundreds of person-years.

All right, maybe that's not a sufficient description of an "idea". A good idea should also be considered a product of all the bad ideas that came first, and were rejected. Maybe it takes months of thinking about ideas, considering them, evaluating them, tweaking them. So then the disparity is not as extreme.

But even then, if all you are left with is a splendidly inspiring paragraph, you're still at a significant disadvantage, vis a vis implementation. How do you evaluate it? Assuming the idea is 1 in a million, how do you convince people of that? Is it obvious to anyone reading it that the idea is valuable? No. So you need to make a case for its value.

You need to solicit opinions. The problem is, to increase your certainty of the valuation, you have to ask more people their opinion. But then you have to share the idea. And that means your idea is going to leak. At which point, it will no longer be scarce, so whatever significance it had as being "original" or "unique" will have evaporated. Asking people to sign an NDA to read your treatment will probably not work.

Now, if you expand your idea of "idea" beyond treatment into a full-fledged design document, say a twenty-thousand word treatise describing setting, characters, story, mechanics, and complete with illustrations and charts and graphs, you're into a different territory. At that point, the ability to copy such an idea is no longer trivial (and is easier to protect legally). It's real work that required a significant investment. That is more in line with a completed script for a movie.

A script is not a movie, but good scripts are valued highly, because they include the essence of the story. A game design document that successfully captures the essence of a game is also worth a lot (although I don't know if there will ever be a time when it becomes normal to sell game treatments to studios a la scripts).

The trick is, they are no longer just "ideas". In both cases, they are actually part of the implementation. But they are both reasonable challenges from the point of view of a single person (writer or game designer). As artifacts, they can be sufficiently well-formed to be considered and effectively judged, and from there can be produced into a real product (movie or game). A poor implementation would still fail, but that wouldn't necessarily diminish the quality of the design/writing work.

So if you want to prove your "idea" is worthy of implementation, write a design document.

It is true but it isn't really a bad thing. As everyone here will tell you, an idea isn't worth anything if its executed poorly. How are you going to bring your idea to life, how are you going to translate it into game elements and mechanics, that is execution and that is 99% of the work and effort.

In my opinion, both the idea and it's execution are equally important.

Execution:

Execution is what gives physical form to an idea. Yes, an idea. Without an idea first, any execution, if existing, is completely worthless and pointless.

If you pay attention, many of the answers here are actually labeling the good execution of good ideas as just "good execution (of possibly nothingness)".

I'll use a different perspective on the Infinite Monkey Theorem here: Execution without ideas is like you having an infinite amount of monkeys randomly typing text, but without any idea of what to do. Chances are they will give you a centillion (10^303) worthless papers before you get your first "William Shakespeare's work".

You can make the most advanced, reliable, visually appealing chess game ever made; You will still not rise much higher than any other professional chess game currently on market. The reason is, even tough the execution could hardly be any better, the project's goal, the idea, is terrible if you consider how many professional chess games are out there and how much the execution costs compare to those.

Idea:

Much like execution is nonexistent (or otherwise waste of resources) without an idea behind it, ideas that are never executed are also worthless; If they never turn real, they are a waste of thought and time.

Execution is what gives physical form to any idea. In a sense, the execution is an idea's body. Some people will hate me for giving this example in this way, but, an idea without a good execution is like Stephen Hawking: "Brilliant indeed, but still looks retarded."

Finally, in today's market for games or whatever software really, you will need both to be good in order to be successful. Too many people in too many places have too many ideas and/or too much time and money to work on them. And finding something that has not yet been done (and done well), although still not too hard, is not a simple task.

[Additional section] The devil's lawyer (Idea's defense):

I don't know if this is true for all successful games, but every single successful game I know about has an excellent idea behind it!

Many fellow answers here give examples of "why execution is far more important than the ideas behind them", that are missing a very important point:

There is a difference between general-concept ideas, and ideas for distinctive characteristics.

Most (if not every) successful games have distinctive characteristics that make them essentially different from other games of the same genre.

For example, even tough many FPS games have the same "soldier in WW2" concept, successful ones that do not have a distinctive characteristic are extremely rare, in case any even exists.

The idea that makes a game successful is usually not that of it's top-level general-concept, but those of it's characteristics and smaller concepts that make it different.

Take the multi-player gameplay of Counter-Strike: Source and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare (1), for example; Both of them are First-Person-Shooters of quite the classic essentials; They are not very different from a shooter's perspective.

Essentially, you have modern guns, a scenario to use, and enemies to shoot, in both games. But can you call them the same? Far from that, right? Well, take graphics, physics and even sound out of the equation; Are they still different? Sure are, aren't they? So here is the golden question: What exactly makes them actually different to the players?

Well, the answer to that is: "Mostly, the way you acquire your weapons, and the way you respawn".

• In CS:S, weapons are acquired per-match with currency acquired per-round; and spawning is round-based (obeys a "hardcore" style), and dying in a round means you will only re-spawn at the start of the next.
• In COD:MW, weapons are player-based and unlocked to player's accounts as they gain experience points and advance in "ranks"; Spawn depends on match mode, but is, on the default game mode of "Team Deathmatch", only delayed for 15 seconds.

The top-level concept of both games is practically the same, and both games have good execution, but the ideas that brought the different characteristics plays a critical role in both's successes, as otherwise, with similar concept, characteristics and execution, either the older would be abandoned in favor of the newer, or the newer wouldn't be popularized because the older exists.

Thus, good ideas are critical to a game's success.
And good execution, to successfully implement those ideas, is also critical.

• If they are equally important then it should be fair that the idea guy get's 50% and the people making the game have to split the last 50% among them. Right? I'd say no.. – Matsemann Oct 2 '12 at 11:34
• You are mistaking importance to the success of a project to that of it's development processes. Idea and Production are equally important for the project to reach a successful result, but they do not have the same value on the development process. Development has costs, and those costs are counter-balanced by giving the production-team a higher percentage of the profit. Development-wise, yes, ideas are worth "5%" and production is worth "95%", but only because production will likely have "90%" worth of development costs that it has to back-pay in order to have any profit. They balance out. – XenoRo Oct 2 '12 at 16:29
• [Clarification and simplification] Basically, the idea behind a game is critically important the same as is the idea behind any other software. If it has already been successfully done before, and you don't add anything unique, chances are you will never succeed, regardless of how good your production is. That value refers to the project's success (& profit) chances, and should not be mistaken with a project's monetary value, with is balanced according to the project's production costs. – XenoRo Oct 2 '12 at 17:14

I don't know about 99/1 but there is a reason I set my desktop background to the slogan "Ideas are easy, Implementation is hard"

I think that your instinct is sound.

I see three contexts in which this question might be asked. First: planning for developing a new game, with a meaningful studio and budget. Second: wondering whether an idea can be sold to a game company, and if so, how much it can command. Third: a lone wolf wondering how to direct his energies, in creating a new game.

## Development with a studio

Here and in general, within the limits of sanity, idea is more important than execution.

The limits of sanity are that the game must (1) implement gameplay expressing the idea in question, and (2) work. If you don't have what you want to have, you aren't done with development yet; if you have a great game that occasionally suffers from crippling bugs, consider the fate of Black Isle after Fallout 2.

Within these limits, a game is about its premise, not its implementation. The difference between Angry Birds and various other Scorched Earth derivatives is that in Angry Birds, you're shooting at pigs with robins, not at tanks with other tanks. The Sims and its franchise have made a horrifying amount of money, but I wonder whether the original took more than a year to develop. Deer Hunter was an extremely crude game, but it made more than enough money to horrify the gaming mainstream.

There's a fashion in game development for ideas that are self-consciously ideas. The independent game development community, in particular, seems to think that if you're not making a WWII shooter or a Tolkien ripoff, you're making World of Goo, Splosion Man, or anything by Tim Schafer.

If you absolutely must limit yourself to these two categories of ideas, well, at least being yet another game about shooting Nazi elves won't actively damage your sales. But if you can come up with a premise that interests a significant number of people, it will be an enormous force-multiplier. The mass market is capable of understanding much more complex games than you think they are; it's just that they don't have a reason to.

## Selling an idea

This is impossible for two reasons.

First, every game company has a long list of their own ideas, which they'd want to work with first. If your idea is not good enough to be self-evidently superior to everything they've done so far, they won't be interested; if it is good enough that they would be willing to buy it, you should be developing it yourself.

Second, at least in the United States, to pitch an idea to a company puts you and them in sufficiently dangerous legal waters that no IP lawyer in his right mind would permit the company to listen to your pitch unless they've purchased your concept sight-unseen -- which they won't do unless you're a member of a category of maybe twenty people, most of whom you can probably name.

## As a lone wolf (or founder of a new team)

Have an idea that you can implement in a finite amount of time, but that's interesting enough to keep you motivated and attract an audience. It will take time to reach this point, but keep experimenting with different ideas and you'll get there.

Once there, make it happen. The days of successful garage game programmers have returned -- and this time you don't need to do rotoscoping in your backyard in order to potentially succeed.

Everyone is focusing on how important the execution is, which I suppose is natural in a forum full of developers/engineers (myself included). And execution is important, but I think the idea is being discredited a little too much. I think the reason Angry Birds is so much more popular than thousands of other apps is because, even though it could have been executed in a number of ways, its a relatively simple, but ingenious idea. It has been re-implemented on many platforms and maintains its popularity. But part of the idea is how its delivered. It's a game you can enjoy quickly and easily among other things. But that combined with dozens of other ideas that are combined into this game (make the characters cute and funny, etc) are what make this game so successful.

In short, execution is of little value without a good idea too. It's very hard to put a value on an idea, but when a particular application or game is orders of magnitude more successful than the alternatives, I would attribute that mostly to the idea. Another way to put it: A game can fail because of bad execution, but it can succeed because of a good idea.

Edit: Succeed isn't really the right word. I think excel is a more appropriate word. No matter how good the execution, a game can't excel with a boring idea, but it can still succeed. But a great idea can be responsible for a huge success (when paired with good execution).

• On the contrary, Angry Birds is a great example of how little idea matters compared to execution. Compare the success of Crush the Castle (which was itself extremely well-executed) to Angry Birds. A slightly better execution paid off with success orders of magnitude greater. – user744 Sep 26 '11 at 11:54
• Crush the Castle does not appear to be the same idea. It doesn't use the same cute and funny characters. That's part of the essense of the idea of Angry Birds that makes it successful. As is the delivery platform. The idea that people want quick and simple games on their portable devices (and games that integrate so fundamentally with the touch interface) is part of what's valuable here. Crush the Castle did not build on those ideas. – BlueMonkMN Sep 26 '11 at 12:59
• "In short, execution is of little value without a good idea too." The problem is, a "good" idea can be something completely uninspiring like "Be a soldier and shoot people" and still the game does well. It would seem to be more of a case that as long as the idea isn't awful, good execution will be sufficient. – Kylotan Sep 26 '11 at 14:21
• That's why I say execution is responsible for whether a game fails or not, but the idea is responsible for whether it "succeeds". What I need is a better word than succeeds. Really I mean excels. A perfectly executed mundane idea will not be a huge success even if it is not a failure. But a perfectly executed great idea will blow away the competition. – BlueMonkMN Sep 26 '11 at 14:29
• I've played tenfold of games like Angry Birds before Angry Birds was released. Clearly, "shooting stuff with different weapons" is a success not because of the basic idea. An idea many people had before and not worth much then. – Matsemann Oct 2 '12 at 11:36

It truly depends on how you form ideas, what you define an idea as, etc.

When I create an idea that I believe is considered a "Game Design Idea" it is extremely well formed, thought out, flaw-tested in my mind, and highly executed with thousands of practical variables to create a set of fault-finding methods.

Usually my ideas of this nature are attempted (eventually) by a real game developer who releases a full product. The ideas implemented in games sometimes work well, sometimes are obvious failures, but often are less than satisfactory (IMO at least) because the developer didn't use the same fault-finding methods as I did. Sometimes these developers patch their games, and fix the problem making the idea as I had originally came up with.

Because of this and my experience in game design and my constant watch of people's implementation of features which can be difficult to pull off successfully (ex. permadeath) I believe that an idea is everything, and execution is nothing more than a test to see if the idea is practical.

Idea is more than 99% of the game, and execution is the rest.

Ideas don't give you errors, ideas don't leak memory, ideas have no security issues. They are imponderables: a player won't say he doesn't like the idea of the game - he will say the game is boring!

Maybe idea is only a 1%, but it is the most important percent in your entire game. Idea is a foundation. You can build hundreds of houses (games) every year, and after a year or two they will collapse (be forgotten). You can also dig up to the ground, make a solid foundation and see your tower not only stands the test of time, but also grows, being upgraded by next generations, because the tower's foundation is so durable (ingeniously universal) that it just lets them to do so!

One may ask - why do games without ideas or with weak ideas turn out to be quite fun, then, or at least don't 'die' instantly? Because each of them has an idea, and it is a great one. Let's say you make a board game. It's not just a board game, it is the board game, a descendant of great Chess. What if you make a platform game - it may be really weak, but it's still a great idea of a character having an adventure in a two-dimensional world, jumping onto platforms and facing enemies with either, still beautiful in it's minimalism, jump-on-their-heads technique, or by something more sophisticated like RPG mechanisms. We don't create ideas, we change them and, just like in object inheritance, always base them on older ideas, even if the idea is only a "game" (like an "object" in inheritance). So while you can't make a tower without digging a little yourself, you probably can build a palace without foundations, because what was once swamp, now became dense sand of millions of ideas from game development past.

Why it is so hard to sell an idea then? Because you can easily steal (borrow) an idea. In game development everyone borrows from everyone, and while we all know Torchlight (1) took a lot of ideas from Diablo 3, still no Blizzard employee will dare to call it stealing. What you want to do - go to Electronic Arts, present them your ingenious idea and expect them to be honorable and either buy it from you or not use it? If two companies were about to make a game, one spending 90% of budget on inventing a new idea, and second waiting for the first to finish, steal it's idea and execute it with 10 times more money, which of these two games would you buy? There was a mod to Warcraft 3, called Defense of the Ancients. It got popular quickly, but the true success was achieved by RIOT company, who took the idea and executed it pretty well as League of Legends game.

Before Diablo III was released, it's lead designer Jay Wilson said in an interview that execution is more important than innovation: