@Tom Sloper - I thought the two threads were significantly different in content.
I'll respond to the Rock Game idea. I'm actually kind of anti-religious, but if I ignore that part the rest of the concept kind of catches my interest. I like "restarting after an apocalypse" settings, or "dropped into a different world with different rules" set-ups. The method of the apocalypse is actually not important to the concept, that's just a bit of cinematography. The main idea here is "Humans failed at an undefined task, so when they are accidentally destroyed the task-setter transforms them into golems for another attempt." The immediate question is, "Why golems? How are they different from humans? Do these differences give us a clue what the task was supposed to be?" It would certainly be possible to make an argument that mechanical bodies would be an improvement on biological ones. I dunno if these golems are supposed to be silicon life forms or what, but they don't seem too different from, say, being a Transformer; which would be a big step up from human, at least in terms of durability, traveling ability, and lifespan. If one were being optimistic, one could assume golems are less vulnerable to disease, less quick to suffer from lack of food/water/air, etc. Can they reproduce? If so, maybe they have more control over that than humans, eliminating unwanted pregnancies and such. (Disclaimer: sunandshadow probably reads too much transformers fanfiction.)
So, okay, golems. But why split into elements? (I'm gonna ignore the gem in the palm thing because I personally think it's tacky, just like when Elemental Gelade did it. I'd be way more awesome if their whole bodies were made of colored crystal anyway.) What do the elements represent? Personality type? The fact that no human being (or golem person) is complete in themselves or even with a single partner, instead it requires a group to really carry out the essential purpose of human society? When these people start fighting against each other, are the immediately heading down the path to failing at their task of they mysterious assigned task? Is this task something the player should care about trying to push their new species toward, and if so, how?
Also, that is an opening scenerio, not in fact a plot at all. You do not have plot holes, you simply don't have a plot yet. It's not a plot without some kind of overall goal, some way for the player to progress at mastering the world (including understanding the whys and how) and using that mastery to do meaningful things that eventually add up to the player "winning at life" somehow. MMOs (which this seems to be) are kinda weak on endings, but the player still needs to have a series of goals while playing (besides get an epic mithril horse mount or diamond eagle flying mount). Mastering one's class or faction abilities, for example, should represent being able to use that class or faction's philosophy to achieve victory over some of the world's problems (and I don't mean by bashing top-levels of different classes or factions over the head). So, basically I think you need to brainstorm some plot here and clarify your theme to take the next step in developing this idea.
Well, the "task-setter" (I love that term by the way) is not that at all. An omniscient creator that realized humans were programmed to fail their expectations and resurrected them from an unjust punishment. They leave the world from a realization that they are not all-knowing. The reason for golems is that since there needs to be a vessel for soul, the only reliable source IS earth as it can handle the multitude of an entire world population. The gems, well, in the opening scene magma is removed and the "transformeration"( ) caused a lot of pressure. This is what creates gems in the real world, an over simplified explanation but valid nonetheless. I do agree the palm thing felt a bit "meh".
Now I could use your idea and twist it a bit, to have gem ridden golems. I want to keep those matte tones which a pure crystal golem wouldn't allow and also they'd need to be inbetween rock as the creation OF said gems would not forego the rock body completely. Reasoning for the four elements is just a representation of the simplification within the world due to purity while division still exists. These rock creatures do harbor faint recollections of past, giving way to them separating into groups. Being abandoned by their creators, it IS up to them on how to continue and the direction of a new life is a high conflict point.
It's simply easier, I feel, to embody these groups with different elements. I also like the allusion to almost reverting back to the times of Aristotle, but with a heavy Islamic influence. Not to mention, kingdoms of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air are SOO cool (legend of Zelda style, not Avatar - not a fan of anime at all). The goal of the game is yet to be determined, DEFINITELY not an MMO - I would never seek to create that hassle. For now, I want all my games to be solid singleplayer, as I think MP is a different beast entirely. The placeholder goal is mastering spell craft within ones respective field.
This game would be classless, I'm a subscriber of affiliation and freedom progression, not locking the player into any one thing. I think limitation has it's place, but not within the character.
Thanks for the reply, it revealed a lot of issues and decisions to be made. Very constructive and very helpful, I always look forward to your posts, Sun.