Originally Posted by chamr
Surely you didn't mean to use the word "never".
I'm not claiming Blizzard was the first to come up with action-RPG's and RTS's. I'm asserting they were (prior to WoW) innovative in those genres. As you indicate in your post, "innovative" and "the first" are not necessarily the same thing.
Also, it's a bit of false analogy to devalue the pervasive "Diablo-clone" term in gaming literature just because a few hacks are using "WoW-clone" these days at the height of WoW mania. Check back in 9 or 10 years and see if every single MMORPG is referred to as a "WoW-clone" like every single action-RPG is referred to as a "Diablo-clone" today.
Diablo can trace a good deal of it's lasting success to Blizzard's innovations in the context of the genre. For instance, were they the first to come up with on-line multi-play? Of course not. But the way they implemented that feature and the fact they did it in an action-RPG was truly innovative. Battle.net was, arguably, the biggest factor in the franchise’s unprecedented longevity. So in this case, I would argue that success certainly was an indication of innovation.