Would you play an MMORPG with the following features? Why or why not?
Skills: The game has a huge list of skills that are leveled via use. Everything from cooking and house building to one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons, shield use etc. Think similar to Elder Scrolls system in terms of progressing skills. As time goes on, to help newer players catch up, earlier levels of the skill will level faster. This is to prevent an eve-type thing where new players are at such a disadvantage that it's nearly impossible to catch up. Without setting anything in stone, it'd be something like "When a player reaches 101 skill rating, level 1-2 goes 10% faster. When a Player reaches 102 skill rating, level 2-3 goes 10% faster." Etc. Don't say no purely on the numbers - it's guesstimates.
Small servers Each server can only host 2500(500? 1500? 5000? Not sure) players. Each account may only have 1 character per server with a maximum of 3 characters, so no need to worry about alts flooding the system. If a player does not log on for 1 month, he is removed from the server and put in to a floating pool where he may go to a new server, allowing newer players to enter the server.
No level system. You can't inspect other players skills. You can inspect their items/non-combat-strength-based achievements etc. Each player stands on his own legs and the reputation he builds within his server. Remember when WoW first came out and you saw that warrior in full tier 1 on an epic ground mount? Yeah.
A completely non-instanced world. While player houses and such can be deemed off-limits to other players, they are still within the main world. All dungeons are non-instanced.
To compliment #4, random events and dungeons can be generated within the world. One day, you're walking down a road that yesterday nothing was going on. Now, there's a war band of lizardmen marching down it, or a group of bandits with a boss mob ambushing you. A previously undiscovered cave has opened up for exploration. Think Diablo-style (not D3, but like d1/d2) dungeons generated.
Magic: Spells can be bound together to create interesting effects. Use a waterfall spell to get your opponent wet and then hurl lightning at him to electrocute him or use a frost spell to freeze him solid. Put the target to sleep and use a nightmare spell that can damage him while he's cc'd and you focus on other monsters. Hurl two spears at two separate opponents then cast a chain spell to link them together. If they break the chain, the spear is pulled out causing extra damage. Any number of combinations you can think of.
A thought is to have elements only as basic spells. Fire, for example. Then, combine fire with an orb modifier to create a fireball while earth would be a big stone fist. Combine water with a flow modifier to create a waterfall while fire with a flow modifier would be a slow moving torrent of fire. A lance modifier would create spear-like abilities, a rain modifier would make it an aoe thing from the sky or an earthquake, a trap modifier would make it a trap etc.
Non-magic: Physical combat has no auto attack. Instead, your abilities change based on the weapons that you're using. Dual wielding has its own combos that are vastly different than 1h/shield that are vastly different from 2h, with each subtype weapon available in the game using different combos. A mace can smash in enemies armor, reducing its effectiveness until repaired. A sword can weaken an opponent, making them slower as their blood gushes from their body. Polearms and spears have longer range and can be wielded like quarterstaffs for great defense and offense. There are no ranged weapons.
Support skills exist that can do minor heals and buffs and can do things like helping chain combos with their friends. However, no dedicated healing class exists. You are responsible for your own survival, through potions, items, or abilities.
Raids exist but share tags with all players, even those not in a raid group. However, for each player in combat with the boss, he scales accordingly. Bosses will have to be designed with the idea that there could be 10 people attacking them or 1000 attacking them. This would mostly be done with dynamic spawning of adds, high-damage aoe abilities that are avoidable (think Will's devastating combo), and other similar things. Raid leaders for their respective raids can set loot measures - if they want to get a huge loot list and assign them or have those pieces randomly distributed to the raid. If you are a small group or solo player who tagged along, it'd go LFR style-loot (except a much higher chance, due to the epicness of it).
A living, breathing world community will exist via player houses, guild territories, etc. Players can choose to clear entire fields or forests and create their own town. Elected mayors or governors can set weekly tax rates for gold that will be set in to server-held storage for further development of the city. Guilds can build massive castles that can then spawn monster attacks that siege the walls or dragons that fly in from above.
Players can be purely craftsman based - have hunter friends bring in materials from bosses in dungeons or raids and create weapons or go get them yourself if you want to mix it up. Become the one guy on the server that can do a specific design of pillar that a guild wants for its guild leader's mansion. Be the master weaponcrafter that can charge incredible fees for the items you make. Be the cook that everyone comes to because your items provide the best regeneration or buffs.
There would of course be PvE servers with only dueling, but PvP servers would allow full-scale PvP outside of the safe city zones.
What you gain from pvping: all of your opponents potions and other consumables such as teleport crystals below x gold cost. If the tag is split on the target, the items are split evenly. You loot 5% of the gold the target is carrying at the time. You gain skill rating from attacking your opponent but you may only gain so much skill on a single target per 72 hour period to prevent farming. In addition, for each unique person you kill in a 72 hour period, you may gain gold or have a rare chance at an item.
Neutral: If you are a major pvper, your name turns red and you have a slight red glow around your body to warn players you are not to be trifled with.
What you lose from dying in pvp: you lose all consumables. You are sent to closest town, player-built or not, that is friendly to you. Your items take a durability loss. You lose 5% of the gold you were carrying at the time.
EDIT: Here is a basic world background as requested by Narna.
It feels as if your soul has been freed. You look around and it seems like you've been sitting in Feldrar, the city of Civilization, and doing nothing your entire life. No one leaves the surrounding area. The worst fight in living memory was a 3-way drunken brawl at the Sheared Sheep, the local tavern. And now, all of a sudden, an urge to explore the world overwhelms you.
Feldrar only has a few surrounding square miles mapped. No one goes much past the Misty Forest to do some hunting or chop down a few trees for lumber or past the fields at the Wheat Plains to the north. You realize there is an entire world out there and yet not a single soul has ever left Feldrar to see it.
...Until now. Wanderlust has finally come to Feldrar. As you begin walking out of town, you realize that you are not the only one. Hundreds of others are walking the same path as you.