So every time I see a new mmo announced, I can't help but think "oh look, it's this again". Actually, with every new game that comes out it seems that developers are going further away from what (I feel) an mmorpg should be. So I decided to make a list of features that I feel would be ideal in an mmo I would want to play. The biggest issue I have with mmorpgs is immersion, so many of the features I'll propose will be tedious and based on reality, but I feel they will vastly increase immersion. Some of the systems are inspired (or copied directly) from pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons. With that in mind, here goes:
-Removal of character levels
While it's nice to see a number that represents the strength of your character, I feel like it's something that has some drawbacks. Let's use WoW as an example. Currently the max level is 90. I'll use an orc warrior called Grom as an example. Grom starts out at level 1, doing around 2dps, and by the time he reaches 90 he's doing around 50k. This really bugs me, because I can't find a logical explanation for one character being 25,000 times stronger than another one. So simply remove character levels.
"But how will we have character progression?" you'll ask. "It's a major part of the roleplaying game". And you're right, but there are much better ways to progress than simply leveling up and getting stronger automatically every time you hit a certain XP threshold.
-Attributes that increase/decrease depending on your actions
For example, Grom swings his axe around all day, so his Strength gradually increases. A mage that practices magic all day or discovers lore might increase his Intelligence. There would also be situations that could temporarily or even permanently lower an attribute.
Similar to the attribute system of Dungeons and Dragons, let’s say your average person has a strength of 8, that would give him a -1 modifier to damage etc. Doing actions that increase strength, could raise the stat to something like a cap of 20 giving a +5 modifier. Each point increase would be harder to raise and take longer. Basically, instead of leveling your character as a whole, you individually level each Attribute.
-A logical equipment system
Removal of character levels would obviously also effect level based gear.
Ordinary armor no longer has +stats on it. The difference between a naked Warrior and one wearing full plate armor will simply be protection, and encumbrance, rather than also increasing your health pool and suddenly making you hit stuff harder. Heavy armor = slows you down, offers more protection. Light armor = less protection, more mobility.
Damage will be based on the weapon you're using (for physical classes), or the individual spells for casters.
There will be magically imbued equipment, with up to +10 in certain stats (with the more powerful stuff being increasingly rare or difficult to craft), but it won't make such a difference as it does in most MMORPGS. A fully equipped character with +10 gear equipped in every slot will only be around 10% stronger than one wearing ordinary mundane gear.
-Evolving skill system
Simply put, your skills will level up with use, becoming more powerful. Combos and more efficient attacks become unlocked over time. Skills will be limited to special attacks, with the majority of combat being based around swinging your weapon as in action games (think Dark Souls, or Skyrim). No more cooldown based priority system action bar button mashing nonsense.
Action based, free targeting combat system (again, think Dark Souls, or Skyrim). Not much more to say here. Active dodging/blocking/parrying, line of sight, character collision, and all that good stuff. If you want to hit that monster you better not try to shoot your arrow through the guy in front of you. "Tanks" will be able to intercept ranged/melee attacks aimed at other players simply by moving between them, etc.
Gameplay and Features (ie. things to do)
-Structured PvP (battlegrounds, arenas) are purely for fun, and take place in cities for entertainment. Players can either watch from the stands or participate. Vanity prizes for high rankings or whatever.
-World PvP that matters. Fighting over resources and map control that has direct influence on the game world. Controlling major towns/quest hubs, trade routes, etc.
-Player controlled structures. Buy a plot of land, build on it. Can make a house, a shop, smithy, bar, etc. Similarly, larger structures can be made by guilds, ranging from small outposts, to full sized castles. Naturally, these can be destroyed by players as well. Hirable NPC guards for when you need to log out or go out in the world.
-Reputation with player factions. Similar to EVE online, you would be able to allow other players to use facilities you, or your guild owns or controls.
-Dungeons/Raids as usual.
-Day/Night cycle that matters. NPCs and monsters that only appear during certain times of the day, sneaking being more effective in the dark, shops closing during the night. Stuff like that. Something like 2 irl hours for 1 ingame day to accommodate time zone differences and people that play during different times of the day
-Hunger/Thirst/Fatigue. Might be a bit too “hardcore” but I feel like it could be implemented somehow.
-A world you actually live in. Removal of character levels means no more outleveleling zones. The whole world is always relevant for exploration and adventuring. Move on when you get bored, not when the stuff you’re fighting no longer give XP.
-More realistic inventory and carrying capacity. Carrying a lot of stuff slows you down. No more carrying 3 suits of armor, an arsenal of weapons, and a small zoo of mounts. If you’re going to hoard items, you keep them in your stash back at home or in the bank. This brings me to…
-No Teleporting and Flight paths! Traveling and relocating requires effort. This combined with player owned structures means that there towns and outposts owned entirely by players will pop up around high resource areas and areas of interest. Don’t like the city life? You can go live alone in the wilderness. Pack mules, wagons, and caravans for when you need to move a lot of stuff.
Crafting and Economy
-NPCs only sell basic equipment. Almost everything can be crafted by players.
-No mailing of equipment. This ties into world pvp because of trade routes. If you see something on the auction house that you want, you need to go physically pick it up from the location of sale, or hire someone to bring it to you. Couriers don’t actually carry the item in their inventory and they pay a collateral for accepting the deal (so they can’t steal it themselves), but someone else can kill them and take your stuff. This means each town will have its own economy for people to take advantage of.
-No cross server shenanigans. In fact, idealy there wouldn't be separate servers at all, just one big one. If you want to be a bandit, you have to live with the reputation you get on your server. PvP and PvE community. It’s an MMORPG ffs. A living breathing virtual world, not some lobby game to queue for dungeons and battlegrounds.