This is an idea i had, and i'm not gonna pursue it, so it is free to steal(F2S).
In the game, players form group and evolve/advance/ as group.
(There should probably be open groups for everyone to join/get to know the game, and make friends,
and closed/invite-only-groups for friends to join up and play focused. )
I suspect that players who like this kind of game have been less vocal and often ignored by game-makers.
I guess the main difference between this game and any other game is that characters die, but groups don't.
I 'm gonna keep it simple and describe it as a persistent browser game with action-points(APs) and little to no graphics.
As example i will pretend a character needs food & shelter, and they start building a civilisation, but keep in mind it realy is meant as example, their time can just as well be filled with slaying dragons and robbing goblins(and creating items/buildings/skills to help them do so) or they can be a traders/transporters group in an already existing civilisation.
A character is "born" and gathers some berries for food, he then builds himself a cabin,
as he got some building-skills he also builds a storage room.
In the meantime another character learns how to fish and puts some fish in the storage-room.
A third character gathers papyrus and the fishercharacter writes down on it how to fish.
At some point the characters start to die of old age and new characters are born,
these characters occupy the already-built cabins(hence they won't have to spend APs to build them)
One of them reads the papyrus and has an easy time learning the first level of fishing.
They can eat from the storage room and the new fisherman makes sure the storage room stays filled,
Another character starts crafting materials.
And the third (2nd-generation) character has +1 on his building-skill from the first generation and is thus capable of creating bigger buildings,
and builds a library where they can store all the knowledge that they scribble on papyrus
tl,dr; characters should get their "perks" from stats of the last generation, skills learned in the library and buildings the group possesses.
When a player starts a new character, he/she should always have the option of picking between multiple characters created by the last generation.
New characters could be just created by mixing the stats characters that died of old age, this could give the tribe the goal of keeping some of their members alive long enough to reproduce.
But some process with romance and taking care of offspring would be fun too, though i would let a group start off with better resources then(since raising kids is resource-intensive)
A hardcap on skills is easy(make sure there is plenty of opportunity of getting rid of skills)
but some kind of softcap could be more in-tune with the game; have each generation lose a lil' bit of the skills of the last generation,
so they'll need to keep on learning to keep their skills on the same level, this off course gets harder on higher skill-levels.
Groupsize should be hardcapped at ~30 i guess; as the player doesn't play for his own character but for the group, group-balance is of the utmost importance. There should also be a hardcap of # of buildings or special buildings a group can have.
This also brings me to content, a lot of the (non-grindy?) content should be some kind of competition between the groups,
be it all-out-war or trying to accomplism more quests/slay more dragons/... then the other group.
Preferably tribes could move or would be moved(aka their base with buildings) to keep the interaction with other tribes interesting,
some in-game excuse could be that they build their buildings on wheels and need to move to the next mating-ground so the next generation can be created.
If not i 'd definately make sure tribes need to move to an area that contains the resources they somehow need to level-up further.
There should probably be some kind merge-option for tribes, because at some point people tend to go inactive.