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For me a good MMORPG would be a world that was rich and dynamic. I do not keep up with these things and am only recording my thoughts here as I was inspired to think on this by a certain thread. It is likely that what I say has already been suggested and argued over. I am interested in those cases. But here is my idea:

It is key to place the power in an MMORPG into the hands of the player. At the moment, MMORPGS are centered around NPCs and their quests. Leave NPCs but make them more complex in their interactions. They are important only as seeds. NPCs do not give quests. It is vital to Drop quests as the focus point of MMORPGs and instead have the players create their own histories and world.

The first step already taken but has need of furthering is the requirement is the ability to exist in a setting with some element of mundanity. A flaw with MMORPGs is that everyone is a hero. Although it is important that everyone feel special there must be some introduction which makes the emphasis of hero a bit less or rather, draws attention away from it. The answer is twofold and the combination of which would result in a enrichening of the player's experience.

The first suggestion already exists in some form in most MGs, the ability to own property and maintain a job. I do not know however, that this is done to full potential. Suppose every player could choose what town, city or village they were born in and suppose everyone had the option to choose to have a house there, then a simple mundane aspect is introduced. It is open whether towns should have a capacity, with maximum preallocated player spaces . Creating a tie, one might expect that as certain cities grow in notoriety, fame and history, newcomers may know exactly where they wish to enter from. The option to be a wanderer must exist. Player vs player is a necessity but is remedied by having a hometown or other loyalties. It is hoped that complex interactions reduce meaninglyss killings to be results of loser road bandits and such. Some method of politics, whereby one might be able to rise to rule a town may be feasible. This is sketched at briefly next. Key is the ability for players to form societies and groups that are recognized by the game. A furthering of the guild concept.

For example an Academy of Mages and Scholars initially centered in cities but certainly foundable anywhere by enough people. These may be seeded by NPCs whose positions are then ursurped by players as they become powerful enough. Then researches (spells), agendas (what to do, who to remove from power?), criteria (how to get in to guild) etc could be set by the players. Positions could be lost in death, to be regained from scratch; reating an interesting form of intrigue. One imagines that a player who rises to lord of a town might find help from assasins, mages etc. who in turn may require a favour sometime in the future. The lord could manage, through some interface/mini-game the day to day affairs as trade, tax? or choose to have it automated.

The ability to set forth and build new towns should exist. The concepts of jobs could be improved by replacing silly stat modifieing with a set of minigames whose advancing through allows one to produce better and better wares to become rich. Thus one need not even become a hero, or grind away at monsters to gain affluence. The ability to start chains? Buy larger houses? Bribe each other and maintain influence by funding?

The existance of fan based fiction, FAQs, Wikis and guides shows that players are willing and indeed enjoy writing about their experiences. Thus one might suggest that the taks of some academics would be to write a sort of wiki similar peer reviewed history of their world. Housed in book items with original copies in digital libraries housed in academies. The game might be able to recognize major events?

The game might have tragedies rather than quests. Infestations of undead, harrasment by dragons. Uncharted lands. Player Society Conflicts. In fact it might be worthwhile to purposefully have spells that fail and release demons and similar such.

What happens when all the quests are taken, since when a quest is done its gone for good, for all? I dunno. Whatever. Make new ones? A bad stuff generator using logic should not be so hard. But the emphasis should not lie there but with the player to player powerplays.

An example might be that some player with some help, was able to obtain a powerful relic that allowed him and his cronies to subjugate his opponents. An unbalance? So? That is fun, let the downtrodden be creative and figure someway out. Find another relic (while keeping the search secret and if found avoiding or racing agaisnt the enemy to it) ? Assasinate, inflitrate the other socities? Who knows. Another scenario might be that some fellow summoned a powerful creature. With each total as players succesive cast a probability for a demon to appear or a rift to tear occurs and the land is overriden? Cities can be destroyed and rebuilt? I could go on.

But the key is to have a few simple set of rich rules which in total combine for a highly complex system. In fact...I just realized that one could create and represent MMORPG theory in the language of mathematics where one could predict stuff and analyze complicated concepts more simply... I do not know that I will attempt such, my plate is already overladden.

And that is my take. I know it is overly idealistic since it depends on people but to me this seems as if it would be fun.
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I like your ideas very much (but since we are at war, i will deny saying this lol). What I would like to see is something more of a fantasy game along the lines of star wars galaxies but not so futuristic at the start anyway. For instance, start with a clean slate, no items, no buildings, no guilds, etc. only have land with minerals and water and food areas, you know resource stuff. Then, I would like to see people start building things at points in the map where resources are prevalent (make some years dry, but don't change the overall resource deposits map). Cities that start out in good areas will also be more likely to grow.

Also, I would like to see a non-xp type game were everyone is normal. I'd rather like to see an equipment based MMORPG. The more time you put into creating items the better the items will be. In order to make certain items you may need to search for certain rare minerals where there is only a few existing in the world. This way good equipment is held in check and not everyone can be a hero and there will be true heros in the game. But heroes will not be invulnerable, they just have better equipment and if they run away from protecting the city, will they be considered heroes? Also, to save the city, maybe a hero would have to sacrifice his/her great weapon or armor to save the city. The ring comes to mind. This increases the story value of an MMORPG IMO. Everyone will remember heroes like that..."remember the time Tyvar saved us from the goblin horde when he tossed his helm into the Icy Lake of Godshire." Especially, if the threat is real and the town could be destroyed.

Monsters should be a real danger. They should come down and attack and people should try to defend cities (build walls, etc.)
And walls should not appear in a matter of minutes, but days and days of hard work, people working together making mortar, bricks, etc. Also, in an attack a militia may need to be formed where ordinary cities such as shopkeepers must help defend the city by going on patrols, etc.

Adventure should play a big part as well, some cities may have need of resources and caravans should have to travel great distances to reach the destination (e.g. another city, a resource deposit) and you may have to hire other people to help make your way safe. Along the way you could find a cave? Should you enter? I wonder what's lurking down there... OMG.. RUN! Survivors could run back and tell the tale and let others know this cave exists and a large group of people can go and search the cave. I'm a great believer that exploration is very errr.. stimulating... and important places should not be marked on a map immediately.

Also, I would like to see where the actual skill of a person comes into play (not some silly stat). Where one would have to control a forge temperature while making items, refine resources using some contraption he/she made (again if the contraption stinks, the refined resources stink, etc.) and swinging a sword with skill doesn't come automatically and the player must time things correctly or evade, duck, etc.

One of the things that make MMORPGs fail is that buddies can grow distant once the levels tend to grow too far from one another. Not everyone has the same time to play the game and it should be fun everytime someone comes to play. XP systems are really screwy in this respect I think. Anyway, just some rambling ideas.

To summarize:

- Threats should be "real" (like monsters destroying a village)
- Equipment should be valued, not character levels.
- Adventure! Searching! Exploring!
- No xp level system.
- Actual skill of player is required.

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I agree, although I feel that some freedom into implementation should be left (some people like xp) beyond the core set of rules that are required.

In argument of xp I feel the social aspect where you obtain/retain power through your money and connections based on those you helped (from a powerbase built perhaps from merchanting etc. you might have done). Although only level 1 you would still be powerful in the game world. That implementation would have a true concept of power (magic, strength and affluence), hero and influence.

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