Saturday, March 28, 2015

Guild Wars 2: Inching Along



I spent quite a bit of time this evening in yet another area of the Wayfarer Foot Hills.  I'll be done with this area soon, because I came upon a portal leading to an interesting looking level 17ish area and I've done most of the quests in the area. 

My xp did not seem to be accumulating at any great rate, I was watching it. I did get to "effective level 12" and actual level 22.

Happiness is gathering resources in the landscape.  I found copper, fruits, vegetables, trees.  It just adds that little treasure hunting zing to find things as you whack your way through the landscape.

At the end of my session I went back to the large major city whose name I forget.  I've decided to take up Armorsmithing after all.  An NPC let me buy a couple of recipes from him out in the foothills, and I could learn them, though I haven't trained in anything.  Most interesting.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Bit of Warcraft

Yay, I ran all five of my 90+ characters through all of their garrison paces tonight.  Everyone had a full garrison stash.

This is a bad thing because most of them are forever teetering at 10,000 resources.  I have to take as many missions as I can to get the number to drop a tiny bit.  I don't take any of the resource follower missions.

I have been taking the Follower missions that give money or relics for the most part.  I totally am not into the Follower upgrades, but when I get them I toss them all on my best girl and favorite Follower Fiona.

 
 
I've decided my favorite Followers are:
 
Fiona
Shelly Hamby
Bruma Swiftstone

Vindicator Onaala
Rulkan

I'm not remotely attached to any others.


I spent a pleasant bit of time rearranging a couple of bank tabs.  That's living.


The set of quests for the Garrison Jukebox were really fun.  I liked searching for them in the various areas of Draenor.



I hoped the little NPC would give me leads so I go could out into the larger world to find even more tunes for my jukebox, but he had nothing for me.

Apparently there are more to be had, though many are in dungeons.  I may see how many I can get.

Here is Wowhead's guide with nice clickable music bits so you know if you want the scroll or not.

http://www.wowhead.com/news=246359/garrison-jukebox-and-music-roll-guide-ethereal-apexis-items-in-6-1-iron-docks-6-#getting-your-music-rolls


Although I'm working mostly on Atherne's quest log (which was full last Darkmoon Faire), I am also occasionally playing my Rogue and Warrior and my Hunter. 

I'm having my Hunter work to do every quest in Outland, something I have never managed to do.   She's in Zangarmarsh, an area I've always liked for some reason.  You know the quest where you accept a ride and fly over most of the marsh to see what oddities are happening?



Somehow my gryphon went missing but I still sailed along.  I've never seen a bug of this type in Warcraft before.  It wasn't just me, while fishing a nice pool on another day, I saw another person go sailing by just the same way.

Here is my character's selfie shot, which I would caption "Is that Your Face, Or the Moon?"

Throwback Thursday: Something That Will Bug You

This is pretty el cheapo as a throwback, but be glad I'm not posting the longer poem I scrawled on the same page.



My first pet was a Kreetle
He scuttled after me
Following my sandy steps
over hill and valley.
 
One day I lost my Kreetle
I didn't know what to do
I looked for him everywhere
and found him squashed beneath my shoe.

Liebstered: I Wouldn't Read This If I Were You

I've seen the Liebster's making the blog rounds and thought I was safe here in my corner of the virtual universe.  Time and tide wait for no bozo.

The wondrous Ravalation is passing the baton, so who am I to be an ungracious rotter, we ask?


11 Random Things About Me You Wish You Didn’t Know!
 
 

I’m the only green eyed child in a family of eight otherwise blue eyed children.

I can’t type, which makes every post I write take forever.  To make things worse, my mind speeds ahead of my fingers and if you see my posts with sentences that don’t quite add up, it is because I didn’t see the problem right off, but I always go back and edit.

I’ve become addicted to Bubblegum.  So odd.

I enjoy creating things even though I have zero artistic talent. 

I love digging in the dirt though I’m horrified by bugs.  I have been known to toss large beetles over the fence into my neighbor’s yard. Bad dog.

For a long time I liked dogs better than cats. Now I love them equally.

I read science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries.

After many years of wanting to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons, I got a chance at it and oops, it was too mathematical for me.

I have the best gaming PC in the house. Ha ha.

Someday I would like to go to either Gencon or Pax Prime.

I was always disappointed that Lord of the Rings Online didn’t have their own mini-convention somewhere.
 
 
 
Ravalation's Pointy Questions and My Pointy Answers
 
 
 
 
·         What made you decide to start blogging?  I think I hoped to have virtual conversations with other people who liked games, since in real life, I didn’t know a soul who played.
·         How did your blogging pseudonym come into being?  If I may use the word, it is a bastardization of the real character name I wanted to use and didn’t get on Blackwater Raiders.
·         What makes you feel happy about a blog post you've written?  I’m happy if I like the way it is written, and if I think it is funny, better yet.
·         What skills do you admire in other bloggers that you wish you had yourself?  I think that those who can be more precise in their writing than I am, are most admirable.
·         What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you in an MMO? And what moment will you never forget?  Perhaps becoming a mayor of a city in Star Wars Galaxies and having people I had never heard of before calling on me and sort of feeling out where I fit into the power structure of the server.  Wut? Power? Is that why we’re here?  Sillies.  On the plus side, our town architect made statues of myself and some other “prominent” citizens and it was fun to put those up.
·         On a scale from 1 to 10, how do you rate Mountain Dew?  Zero. Way gross.
·         Have you ever felt being treated differently in-game because of your gender?  When I play people assume I’m a guy.  However, in Lord of the Rings Online and Warhammer, there was Voice and Ventrilo and there would be dead silence for a moment as they realized I was not a guy.  Then it’s all ohh ahh, such a different tone.  Awkward.
·         Did you ever delete a character? And if so: is it tough for you to do so?   I do delete characters, and I should do it more.  I often see my as yet unplayed characters as “waiting in the wings” for their chance to show what they can do.
·         Do you identify as a gamer? And if you do: when did you start doing so? Did any game or games have a particularly big influence on that?   I am a gamer if anyone ever was J  Board games, card games, tic tac toe, online games, single player, you name it, I love to play.
·         What's the greatest TV series of all time and why is it Firefly?   Sorry, I’ve seen the Firefly Movie but not the series.  I could not get Nathan Fillion’s nasty preacher character from Buffy out of my head for a very long time.  Creepy.  At this time The Walking Dead is on top of my list.
·         And last but not least: Aragorn or Legolas?   Aragorn!  I have a life sized Standee of him.

 
11 Nosy Gamer Questions For You To Ponder
Should a game let you have a character slot for every class in the game?
If you purchase items from in game stores, what sorts of things do you buy?
Do you prefer ranged or melee combat?
In a Dungeon Pick Up Group, what does it take to make you leave the group?  Do you say anything before you go or just drop out?
How do you feel about quest lines that are solable till the end of the chain, then you must group for the last part?
If you play World of Warcraft and PvP, why do you think the Horde wins the day most frequently?  Or do you find the Alliance prevails?
Have you been a guild leader in an MMO? If so, what was the single biggest challenge?
Do you prefer that a game come right out and says of their factions that one is Evil and one is Good or do you prefer to decide that for yourself?
If you have played a class in a game that has a pet that fights with you/for you, which pet has been your favorite?
Suggest a Science Fictional universe from books or film that would be a great MMO setting.
If you have used game editing toolkits for games such as those that came with Morrowind or even something like Landmark, does getting down to the very pixelated basics of creating a world change how you see the world ever after? 

I think from my blogroll everyone in the bloggerverse has been given the award and even now they sit polishing it, cherishing it.   Let's reach for the sky and not look back!  My heroes :)




http://eliot-lefebvre.com/


http://stylishcorpse.com/


https://ardwulfslair.wordpress.com/


http://www.raphkoster.com/


http://www.heartlessgamer.com/

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: A Comic Con Souvenir

We had a once in a lifetime (because you can't get tickets, people) trip to San Diego Comic Con.  Despite the hours of waiting in lines I'd go again if we could get Friday/Saturday tickets.  The atmosphere there is like nothing at any convention I've ever been at.  I swear every single person there was dying of excitement just to be there.

One of the panels was on Epic Mickey and featured Warren Spector.  I've long admired him and had the utter boldness (for me) to work my way into the front row after sitting through several other panels.

He was great, he was brilliant, it was The Happiest Panel On Earth.

While I have zero boldness, my husband specializes in bold.  He went up after the panel and talked to Warren Spector and came back with his autographed name tag! Ahhhh!!!!!!  Talk about treasures.

 
 
 
3/20/15    From deep in the archives, pictures from the panel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, March 13, 2015

Guild Wars 2: Effective Level 8

 I'm enjoying playing my Norn Warrior.  She actually had a one year birthday recently, for which I got a nice in game email and some in game rewards such as extra xp.  I created the character and didn't play her, but now Guild Wars 2 is in my pleasant MMO rotation so I'm advancing the character, though slowly.

Character Level

I have many questions about the game, the top one being what the heck is my character's actual level.  Her character sheet says she is Level 21, Effective Level 8.  I keep seeing her Health amount going up and down and I'm assuming that is just putting me at the same level as other players in the area working on the same Public Events stuff.




Crafting

I found the bank in Hoelbrak and stuffed all of my crafting ingredients in it.  I can't decide which crafts to pick up and haven't found an online guide yet that tells me what each requires and suggests good choices for each class.

The obvious thought for a Warrior would be Weaponsmithing or Armorsmithing, but I find that in many games, by the time I get the ingredients needed to make anything useful in these two tradeskills, I've leveled past the helpfulness of what I can make.


Which Weapon?

I understand that your skills are dependent on the weapon you use, and researching Warrior, it seems Two Handed Sword is best, right? But I have a Two Handed Hammer that does considerably more DPS so, shouldn't I just equip that instead?  I haven't done any dungeons or groups with this character, nor do I plan to, really, so perhaps the guides I've seen are aimed at group effectiveness, and I should just pull out that Hammer and WHOMP stuff.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday Desirable Features In An MMORPG From The MMO Roundtable

I used to love reading the IGN MMO Roundtables on various topics. They had a topic and a variety of Game Developers answered the questions.  Unfortunately, they aren't all available anymore, but you may still find a few.  I'm sure I copied this one in my big "what makes the perfect MMO phase".  Usually they would say at the beginning who was on the roundtable, but I don't have that for some reason.  I searched but did not find the original, alas.  Some names are in the text, some not.







Desirable features in an mmorpg from the mmo roundtable:

 

Lets see, 10 idea things, in no particular order...

*An item creation system allowing essentially every item to be modified and transformed, and pretty much every non-quest item to be created.

*A system that allows players to affect their world in some way on at least a weekly basis

*A land/home ownership system allowing characters to use their land for whatever they wanted. Plant a garden and harvest raw things. Actually have to build a house (or have it built) the way you want and live in it.

*A political system allowing players to be as involved in game-politics as they want, from not at all (completely ignoring it) to running for and being elected to a position in a city's or kingdom's government (and having to serve the duties of that).

*The ability to have a bunch of smaller game-worlds that were all interconnected, yet different, and explained in some way (thought example: a game of parallel universes that folks can switch between with some difficulty that have a small max population -- say 1000 active (logged-in within last 30 days) characters per universe).

Lets see, that's five...

*The ability to create completely new things, and receive credit for it (IE, an invention system).

*The ability to make/place signs and books/notes with custom text. (Example, UO).

*The ability for players to create and run methods of travel. If I buy 4 horses and a carriage, I should be able to transport some folks for a fee (and they don't have to do anything, they can go AFK or whatever).

*The ability to write notes that are saved and accessible later... and notate anything from an item, to a quest, to just having a "notes" spot.




10 Things if I Were an MMO God and people had to play my game and I had no bottom line and coding were as easy as Hamburger Helper!

1) Your character will eventually die but will be succeeded by offspring and no longer be available to play on that shard. Not right away, but once you reach top level, the clock starts ticking until you get a no_res and no_respawn flag, and you don't know for sure when it's coming because there is a bit of a random factor to it. Not terribly short, but shortened with each resurrectable/respawnable death after you hit top level. You can turn it on sooner if you like if you're tired of that character or something, but say not before level 30 outta 50 and then only if you have an heir (see below). You can't have a kid at level 2 and then suicide. No kids having kids!

Once the no-res hits you, you are told: your next death will be your last.

So, be a wuss and play it safe, try to increase your kid's inheritance with safe PvE and let him mature a few more (auto) levels? Or stay at top level minus one, always suffer a moderate but significant disadvantage in PvP, and never get to use the top level type items like the Uber Katana of Ginsu Potter but otherwise kind of live forever? Probably have to have a limited amount of time you could spend at level top minus 1, say, 50 days played in game or something really long, but you die if you don't level by the end.

Or, go out and charge the enemy shouting 'Follow me!' or like the Sioux (I think) fix your sash to the ground with a spear and shout "Here I stand! Here I die!" and create an epic moment for yourself and those around you.

It's up to you.

Even Odysseus came home after 10 years at Troy and 10 years wandering to kick major butt, take names, fight side by side with Telemachus, and we never hear about him again because presumably the rest was boring as an infomercial on aging in the greek world. More likely, with his diet of roasted chines of suckling pig and wine and lotus eating and stuff, he croaked soon after he got home.

But in this MMO you get to write the sequel, and the sequel to the sequel. And a some billing cycles down the line (just 'cause I don't worry 'bout the bottom line don't mean all your 13.95 a month US dollars are not belong to us), you could say, this is my character Nerfherder. His father stormed the beaches of Normandy. His grandmother infiltrated the enemy town and slew the lord of the keep but was caught. His great grandfather helped build the great castle of White and fought with the Hundred Heroes Guild (who only had 43 members, actually). And it would be true, not an RP background you made up. You could have family trees. Family Crests? But more invested with each successive character than simply I went through the grind for the 5th time, you know how hard it is to make myself do it a 5th time?

Some people want to play the same toon forever. They can. See below.

2) Your character can have children/heirs, whether an expensive clone (pay the priest a pretty penny to pray for a divine gift of another bawling knee biter that looks just like you with baby stats within 5-10% of your current character as a lowbie), adopt an orphan with limited knowledge of 'attributes,' (finder's fee, but get a degree of choice in stats) or chose a player partner and roll the biological dice (Doctor's fee? Random stats and choose class later based on it?).

This opens a can of worms, same sex partners? Ogres mating with elves? Maybe a bad idea. Perhaps avoid that part and decide the world will be somewhat Spartan, you pick up a kid from the baby creche to call your own or get yourself cloned.

Once your current active character dies, the kid becomes your active, say, at medium or low level. Depends on how early you had the kid. He/She could start out at say, age 18 levels outta 50 instead of 2, but will inherit a lot less. Raising a kid costs money. You don't think the kid was drinking rainwater and foraging while you were off adventuring and fighting wars did you? He had training equipment. He totaled his warhorse. He had tutors and schools and trainers. He blew plat after adena after credit on barmaids and at the orc track and now that mommy or daddy have gone to Valhalla the bookies want what's theirs. You can't have the kid too early though. No dying and ending up with a level 45 outta 50. The kid's max 'starting' level once the parent dies will have some sort of reasonable max cap, maybe 1/2 of max or something.

Have him too late, and you end up with a level 3 kid with a buncha money and equipment he can't use (no twinkies). You can play the kid toon till the parent 'dies' but only on a social/RP level. And time passes for both parent and kid while you do that, just as when you are playing the parent.

3) You can play the 'dead' parent character on another shard, or perhaps some sort of afterworld zone, Valhalla, Hell, Elysium, or a combination, and fight your way back to the land of the living. But it would be a PvE grind and harder than taking your 'living' descendant up to max level. Remember that old old D&D map from like 1983 Dungeon Master's Guide showing all the different alternate planes and how they connect? Would be limited to encourage people to play in the 'main' world. Once the child shows up in the afterlife, he or his predecessor become available in a social only zone. The other is stays in the afterlife and you can work towards resurrection. But in the meantime, the honored dead could quest or fight mobs or fight old enemies also now dead for what, the chance to send a small gift to the living, a charm that allows them to make a ghostly visitation to the main world, other neat loot that are in many ways intangible but would be important to the dead.

When the current incarnation of the world nears it's end (see below), players could call upon their dead ancestors to aid them in their hour of need. That is to say, if your side is nearly lost, and down to defending their last stronghold, you and your allies can whip out grandpa uber level 50 mega arch mage just one, last time to fight in your stead and see if he can whup ass for a timer of 15 minutes or so, if he's earned enough in the afterworld to get that ability. But if you push the enemy back and then a month later the barbarians are once again at your gates about to end this world cycle and reset the map...Grandpa, he's off chillin' with Shatner somewhere.

4) To prevent massive wealth building, there would be a heavy inheritance tax. Also, the parent will be able to bring some small proportion of belongings with them into the afterlife. More, if the child pays for a proper funeral (burial with items, burn the boat with items like the Norse, something, anyway, you gotta pay an NPC for it). But, with some conservation, over time you could build wealth from a poor day 1 level 1 with a quilt shirt, no pants, no AC adding shoes, and a sword that barely manages to piss off a rodent to a kid who starts off fairly comfortably well off.

Your kid would have to pay a cost of being raised/inheritance tax, based in part upon how much money the parent had and how old the kid is at the time he/she switches from NPC to PC. I'm no economist, but for this to work you would have to come up with a fairly complex economic system to drain off some of that money to prevent inflation.

5) A cycle of death and renewal for the world as well. Things that were built by players in this incarnation will be there in some form in the next incarnation of the world, either as existing cities (winning faction), or ruins. If the Dark players win, the next world is blighted and ugly, a red sky, but in a way Goth pretty, like the Gilgamesh anime. Light wins, sunshine, flowers, someone buys all the newbies a Coke and a smile and somehow it's oppressive in its own way, like the Moorlocks are about to sound the raid siren and you're gonna be what's for dinner. Or something like that. Urban/modern vs classical/traditional, tastes great vs less filling.

6) PvP matters. There is an end. You win the map, it doesn't just reset. It changes. The top alliance (not guild) gets to pick where they start on the next map, and get some benefit from being the lords of that area. If you lose, you're stuck. If you win, you may find your guild on the side of the losers this time around, even though the rest of the alliance you once had a part of now sits in that big old fortress town on the heights. If the margin was small, maybe a small guild will be forced to change. If large, the biggest, or a number of guilds may be forced to change. You could ask for volunteers. In WWIIOnline, after winning several maps, some axis teams switched to allies to even things out and for the challenge. I admire that, and they had fun too.

But the basic principles of the map changes
1) Glory is fleeting
2) You will never, ever get to rest on your laurels. Even if your alliance comes out top dog, it'll have to fight tooth and nail the next map to keep that position. Welcome to the next level. Lost the last map? Revenge.
3) Yeah, you're great. I see the ruins of your big town there. But that was the last map. What have you done lately?.

7) You can switch sides with each map cycle, but not in the middle, if you could find someone wanting to switch from the other side. There would be auto-balancing as well, random, but not of individuals. Maybe a tower of Babel divides the peoples of the world anew each map.

8 ) No special drops close to home. Monsters drop money or raw materials. Merchants sell great items for lowbies, mediocre to poor for top levels. To get better, you find a good crafter, but these things will be expensive and will wear out eventually (No Uber Vorpal Lighthsaber of Drano to pass on for 99 generations). Or, go adventuring close to the enemy, and take the risk of death, for some phat lewt and face permadeath earlier if you die a lot trying.

9) Occasional (once or twice a year) significant events. Cataclysms. Defections of guilds from one side to another (to balance sides). Cats and dogs, living together. Major story events nobody saw coming unless they were really, really paying attention, but would get everyone running back into the game.

10) A better justice system. A way to deal with other players who mistreat you (invade your camp, steal your loot, train mobs into you, whatever) without complaining to their GM or a CS representative, or all out PvP anywhere anytime against anyone. A trial by combat system? This one, I have no clue.

11) No 'stealth' mode. But, you can infiltrate the other side. You can 'dress' like the other side (by looting other player's bodies of "clothing," but not their special items so that they can corpse recover them or I as MMO god may have to listen to too much whining). If you die, you also have a no weight set of clothes you don't see or can drop, but enemy players can loot off of you. Great. Put on the stolen disguise. You don't see it and the enemy doesn't see it either, it doesn't actually change your character's appearance. But wearing it changes your name tag to look like theirs instead of just "Enemy" or no tag. If you die you lose that suit and have to kill to get another or buy one from a high level crafter. But while you wear it, your name tag looks like a friendly to them. And an enemy to your own folks, unless you take the clothes off, and your own side can kill you, while you wear it.

Put on the clothes. Move at will in the enemy town. Until you open your mouth and all they hear is "Ooga booga mum mum ha ba shi?" Unless you trained specifically in 'enemy language' and your intelligence is high. Then you have a better chance you sound like them. But not perfect.

Then you're toast. They could just randomly go hit everyone they see all the time to find suspected spies but that gets the guards on them and they get fined, even though they couldn't really kill their own realm/side mates. 1, then 5, then 10 then 20% of the cash value of what you own, maybe, so you really wouldn't want to do that as a routine method of spy detection, though if you waited long enough you would go back down to 1% for hitting someone on your side, say, a few days in game to let the heat off.

So you can spy. You can get close to an enemy guild leader and unleash the uber throat-slitter power move and hope his no-res-no-respawn flag is kicked in, and if not, you get some XP if he dies or something. You can invest in those skills. You can go around the enemy town saying nothing more complex than 'Yeah' and 'I need gold' but if someone gets too suspicious, they hit ya and surprise, you bleed.

But no button to push for stealth. The spy/assassin should be one of the hardest roles to play in the game.

12) There would be a no-clip vs enemies, but allies could pass through. You and your friends can try to hold the door, but you can't grief your side by blocking them from getting into the keep. Rather than pure zerg, you could hold doors, block passes, even perhaps try formations in the field. Have to figure a way to allow spies/assassins some chance to get past though. If 10 try, 2-3 might slip past, kind of thing. But the real goal of this is to give tanks a true role in protecting the ranged and the healers as well as fighting on the line. I'd like a game where lines of tanks grind against one another in melee, with healers and casters/ranged in the rear, disguised (but not invisible, and quite vulnerable) assassins causing havoc in the rear, with commanders trying flanking moves and wedges to push through the enemy lines. You would need commanders and sub commanders who actually grasped tactics, not just the zerg or attrition.




Since we're in "I want a pony" land, my 10 points:

I can look at the instruction manual, pick what I want to do (caravan guard, miner, trader, potter, whatever), enter the world, and begin doing it

As I do stuff, the game realizes I'm doing it and has the world react appropriately (even something as simple as NPCs realizing I guard a caravan or throw pots)

I can communicate what I'm doing to anybody else in the game so they can look and, at a glance, decide whether we can help each other

I can team up with any intelligent player at any time and the relationship will be mutually beneficial.

Equipment is not a permanent addition to my character. It is ammunition for my character's abilities.

Anyone can build their own space to socialize in and invite other people to come look. People cooperating can build enormous spaces.

I can always do something that's challenging and engaging. I don't have to read a book while my character goes through hour 5 of 10 of skillups until "the good part".

The world has three dimensions, and I can move through and build in all of them.

A GM staff with power to change the "common environment" regularly does so, either on their own or after interaction with players.

The game actually works as intended.

1 - NOT Fantasy.
seriously, enough with the magic crap. I'm cool with escapism, but magic and superhuman abilities make things dull.

2 - the OPPOSITE of classes, skills, and ANY form of grinding them.

3 through 10 - As much Realism and Meaningfulness as you can cram into a Living, Breathing fully functional, yet ever so fragile World.

1 - Robust economic system. I want to have a large store with effectively unlimited storage; no merchant should be destroying/vendoring items because he ran out of space in his bank. Give me plenty of space to make a ton of money, whether to actually spend it or simply hoard it like the miser that I am. I want to pick things up and sell them; get monster loot; steal things; make useful items that people will actually buy; invest in cooperative ventures, or do simple banking. The more real-world financial topics you can bring in, the happier I’ll be.

2 - A class-based system with an interesting division of classes; but not too many. Too much choice (aka 24 classes in EQ2) is not good; especially when combined with the likely restriction on number of characters per account. Probably 6, or 12, is a good number of classes. Go class based because you can not only balance the game better for a better gamer experience, but any skills-based system runs into the same phenomenon of too many choices. Skills also degrade into the “what build do I create” scenario which kind of defeats the purpose of skills in the first place.

3- Soloing is a choice allowing you to experience the entire game less the unavoidable grouping items. You can’t solo your way through a raid; but you can buy that raid loot if someone is willing to sell it. Some tier of gear should be the “Soloist Elite” level, whatever the actual name given is. Create dual dungeons for both solists and groups - or, alternatively, for even more divisions - with different populations.

4 - Quests are great. They give people a bit more direction in the gaming experience than just handing them a sword and saying “Go!”. Include as many as you can, but written well, with interesting and engaging storylines, and a plethora of possible steps in each quest. Basically duplicate EQ2’s system, since I can’t imagine a better system existing.

5 - What will achiever players achieve in the game ? Give them levels and loot, of course, but also leaderboards on various items. The more the better, allowing a determined player the chance for fame on whatever statistic they like the best - or on the largest number of them. And don’t limit the total of things tracked, aka, don’t stop tracking at 10000 items.

6 - Find a way to keep guilds limited, and yet meaningful. Here’s a tall order to be sure, but there it is. You want to accomodate the determined player who wants to have his own pocket guild for a couple people and all their characters; at the same time, if guilds are to be meaningful they need to be collections of people congregated online at similar times, and every guild I’ve ever been a part of is mostly offline when I am on. I’m thinking of a set of categories to which a guild must subscribe, divided by time zones, and limiting the number of them allowed. Raid guilds, soloer guilds, chatty guilds, and no more than X allowed to exist. You get the idea.

7 - If I manage to defeat something (heroic) that almost killed me, make sure I get a reward. The current grey-no-chest system works except in these instances. It might not be a big deal if you carefully design the quests such that soloists can complete most of them at the recommended levels; the problem being, grey killing is often the only way available to advance a quest. In fact its so frequent that whenever I actually get a chest fighting an eligible mob it’s a real surprise !

8 - Optimize the graphics for speed, not beauty. Immersiveness really comes from a high frame rate, so don’t try and do too much for pretty pictures. My guess on the state of the PC industry is speed isn’t going to increase that fast anymore; Moore’s Law is finished. This should make developing to that expectation easier. All this said, graphics are important - the pendulum has just gone way too far on the level of pretty versus performance.

9 - Design your crafting system in such a way that the reward from participating in it is profit - not levels, skills, or some kind of status. No experience gets rewarded at all. Instead, perhaps recipes are available for purchase from NPC’s for the more common items and rare recipes are drops from monsters or quest rewards. Provide the crafter a way to determine what people want to buy, which he then makes; a reverse broker system would be one method.

10 - Let the players know how the game works. EQ2, nobody understands how the rules work. Instead players back into rules based on observed behavior, and the occasional quick tidbit thrown our way by a dev. It would be much more interesting to play if I knew that a level 1 fighter swinging a sword at a level 1 creature has a 50% base chance to hit; modified by skills based on (2x skill / max skill); et cetera et cetera. Versus the current system, wherein I walk my level 1 fighter up to the mob and see what happens.

I’m a little ambivalent on the last one. I never expected to play EQ and EQ2 long because this feature simply doesn’t exist. Diablo2, now, there was a game that was well documented.

Then again, I’m the longest and most active EQ blogger at the moment, which suggests that knowing isn’t that important. Documenting this stuff would be difficult to be sure; and yet with all that said, once I actually knew the rules I might be more interested in my character sheet and all his stats, versus just looking at his level and intuiting things.

I'll try and keep my answers short and succinct. This is what I'm hoping to see from a Truly next gen game. I'd be happy to design it and even help code it.

1. A dynamic world that is fluid and changing. The Holy Grail. No static content.

2. Permadeath. Characters would not respawn. Death is the end and meaningful. This would be for PCs, NPCs, and all living things in the world.

3. A civilization style advancement system within the world, where things change, and advancements happen. No mudflation, just real growth and different things occuring.

4. A skill based system built on a curve system from how a character is played and how the world recognizes him/her. Skills would allow advancements, but not godlike growth that is current in the MMO class systems.

5. The real ability to build cities, kingdoms, and countries with advanced political AI, legal systems, and religious and ethnic strife.

6. A large, seamless, zonefree world such as EVE uses, but for a Medieval/Rennaisance type environment

7. Advanced, adult themes and indepth graphics that are lifelike and allow for a truly immersive game experience.

8. An ingame voice communication system that allows for one to 'assume' the role of the character. If one is a Hill Giant, their voice in the Mic sounds like a Hill Giant. Or an Elf. etc

9. An Alignment system based on a persons ingame actions that will build reputation and notoriety. If a person kills 100 guards from the city state of Urr, the guards should recognize said person and be hunting them.

10. Merge the best of the current crop of AIs into an extensible XML one that is simple to use and allows for advanced functionality, but without Macros or any method of dumbing down gameplay.

1.) No level cap, and getting a new level would never take more than 3 hours of hardcore play. People need goals that aren't "unattainable".

2.) With no level cap, there will also be no super-rare items for the end game we don't have.

3.) Crafted items will be no better or worse than dropped or sold items. They will be some of the best items in terms of artwork.

4.) Crafters will be able to make temporary buffs, and enchant resists and minor stats onto any item.

5.) Most items will be "bind on equip". This removes items from the economy like item decay would, it's just less painful.

6.) Items would get their power from the people who wield them. It's the character's level that determines how much damage is done, and what levels of enchants could be supported.

7.) The "open world" would be geared toward solo-play for levels up to 60. Post 60, the challenges would come from instances. These instances could be solo'd, grouped or raided.

8.) The experience from soloing, grouping and raiding should be roughly equal. One playstyle shall not have all the rewards.

9.) PvP will be in mission based team instances. It should be realm vs realm to make it easier to get a "match" going.

10.) There should be lots of web based scoreboards, ranking the top players and guilds in various categories. Most of these stats would come from your performance in the PVE instances and PVP, instead of the limited "open world".

) A Dynamic world that is influenced by the players actions. A static world is doomed to ultimately fail.

2)PvP that is meaningful, receiving points to buy equipment, is by itself unacceptable. In other words the world needs to be influenced by the results of PvP missions/battles.

3)An end game that isn't a endless hunt for uber gear. Rather the end game is were players truly begin to influence the world (I.E.: Creating cities, changing the tide of a war, etc...).

4) True item customization. Were the player can go into an item modification tool similar to CoH/CoV's costume creator. This would do wonders to kill the clown armor effect. This would also be a part of the crafters item creation scheme.

5) Instances that are truly different then what you would experience in all the other sections of the game world. (I.E: WoW's Zul Ferrak were your attacked by an army of trolls at the top of a temple/prison, is a fav of mine). Also death in instances should be different then the norm since it can add flair to an otherwise dull experience

6) Having uber gear should never be the deciding factor in a PvP. Although it is realistic its just not fun.

7) Classes need to have skill options that drastically change the gaming experience (note: Quality is better then quantity when it comes to this).

8.)The need for huge raid groups should be reduced to an absolute minimum, having to depend on a large groups leaves to much chance that human stupidity (deliberate or not) will ruin my gaming experience. This is a recipe for disaster

9)The difference in the races needs to be more influential. A texture change is not an acceptable difference.(note: Quality is better then quantity when it comes to this).

10)Add speed bumps to the grinding path. The best I have seen so far is CoV's mayhem mission's. The speed bumps are what would make the grind enjoyable.

kohs wrote:

1 - NOT Fantasy.
seriously, enough with the magic crap. I'm cool with escapism, but magic and superhuman abilities make things dull.

2 - the OPPOSITE of classes, skills, and ANY form of grinding them.

3 through 10 - As much Realism and Meaningfulness as you can cram into a Living, Breathing fully functional, yet ever so fragile World.
So... you want a game where you have a job, go to work, try to meet people, maybe buy a house, or build one if you train to be a builder, vote, run for office if you don't like your options, drive cars, run the risk of accidents, when you can afford to take off from your profession you can travel and explore the world... is that the non-fantasy realistic world you are looking for?

I mean, if you don't want fantasy (Sci-Fi is also fantasy, its just impossible spaceships instead of impossible magic) and you want realism and meaningfulness, I'm not sure why you are looking for it in a game.
_________________



Raging Newie wrote:

1) A Dynamic world that is influenced by the players actions. A static world is doomed to ultimately fail.
I can't argue this one. It's very difficult and might even be a bad idea in some cases, but I agree with it.



Raging Newie wrote:

2)PvP that is meaningful, receiving points to buy equipment, is by itself unacceptable. In other words the world needs to be influenced by the results of PvP missions/battles.
Everyone knows I'm a proponent of meaningful and interesting PvP.



Raging Newie wrote:

3)An end game that isn't a endless hunt for uber gear. Rather the end game is were players truly begin to influence the world (I.E.: Creating cities, changing the tide of a war, etc...).
I'm going to agree here too.



Raging Newie wrote:

4) True item customization. Were the player can go into an item modification tool similar to CoH/CoV's costume creator. This would do wonders to kill the clown armor effect. This would also be a part of the crafters item creation scheme.
I'm going to disagree here not on principle, but because it's a technically bad idea. Allowing for infinite item naming, customization, etc. means impossible to deal with database loads after a period of time. See: SWG and its system that used to allow this, until it became far too expensive to allow it to remain.



Raging Newie wrote:

5) Instances that are truly different then what you would experience in all the other sections of the game world. (I.E: WoW's Zul Ferrak were your attacked by an army of trolls at the top of a temple/prison, is a fav of mine). Also death in instances should be different then the norm since it can add flair to an otherwise dull experience
I'll half agree here. Yes on instances being used primarily (and in my opinion, exclusively) for directed experiences that differ from the norm. No on death in instances being different. I am against making death different in different situations, because it becomes difficult to communicate and is illogical in the first place.



Raging Newie wrote:

6) Having uber gear should never be the deciding factor in a PvP. Although it is realistic its just not fun.
Hence why I put itemcentricity on notice recently.



Raging Newie wrote:

7) Classes need to have skill options that drastically change the gaming experience (note: Quality is better then quantity when it comes to this).
Maybe. Balancing drastic differences is almost impossible, though. Say you have 10 classes and 50 levels, and give players 3 meaningful sets of choices along the way (and allow them to choose from 3 options each time). Now, you are balancing the following choice sets for EVERY class (a total of 270 combinations):

1, 1, 1
1, 1, 2
1, 1, 3
1, 2, 1
1, 2, 2
1, 2, 3
1, 3, 1
1, 3, 2
1, 3, 3

2, 1, 1
2, 1, 2
2, 1, 3
2, 2, 1
2, 2, 2
2, 2, 3
2, 3, 1
2, 3, 2
2, 3, 3

3, 1, 1
3, 1, 2
3, 1, 3
3, 2, 1
3, 2, 2
3, 2, 3
3, 3, 1
3, 3, 2
3, 3, 3

If you have 10 classes and have 2 meaningful sets of choices with 3 options, that's still 90 distinct choices you have to balance.

1, 1
1, 2
1, 3
2, 1
2, 2
2, 3
3, 1
3, 2
3, 3

If you have 10 classes and 1 meaningful set of choices with 3 options, that's only 30 and may be halfway reasonable.



Raging Newie wrote:

8.)The need for huge raid groups should be reduced to an absolute minimum, having to depend on a large groups leaves to much chance that human stupidity (deliberate or not) will ruin my gaming experience. This is a recipe for disaster
What's a huge raid group? Some games, like EQII, will cap raid sizes to about 4 groups.



Raging Newie wrote:

9)The difference in the races needs to be more influential. A texture change is not an acceptable difference.(note: Quality is better then quantity when it comes to this).
I tend to agree here as a min/max player, but it limits roleplay options and can make players less happy with their character overall (dramatically, in some cases). If you love Rogues, and you love Humans, you may make a Human Rogue.

Well, what if CatRace01 starts off with 20 more Dex and has a natural boost to sneak? If those differences influence the character to a great degree, you HAVE to pick that race or you are gimping yourself. Nobody likes playing a crappy character, so they'll usually pick CatRace01. The problem is that I don't like CatRace01, and I don't enjoy my character as much, so I end up quitting the game sooner than I would have otherwise.



Raging Newie wrote:

10)Add speed bumps to the grinding path. The best i have seen so far is CoV's mayhem mission's. The speed bumps are what would make the grind enjoyable.
I don't get it. Mayhem Missions in CoV are just cool missions that take 10-30 minutes instead of 5, they don't stop you from gaining a level do they? They may bar you from going on the quest path, but most games don't limit you to a single quest path.
_________________
Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder
Grouchy Gnome, Nerfbat

TheeNickster wrote:

1.) No level cap, and getting a new level would never take more than 3 hours of hardcore play. People need goals that aren't "unattainable".
What's the benefit for gaining a level? Also, bad bad bad ont he 3 hours of hardcore play. You would need to implement diminishing returns eventually so gaining another level would just be a huge pain in the butt for almost no return.



TheeNickster wrote:

2.) With no level cap, there will also be no super-rare items for the end game we don't have.

3.) Crafted items will be no better or worse than dropped or sold items. They will be some of the best items in terms of artwork.
Then why do you adventure if not for items?



TheeNickster wrote:

4.) Crafters will be able to make temporary buffs, and enchant resists and minor stats onto any item.

5.) Most items will be "bind on equip". This removes items from the economy like item decay would, it's just less painful.

6.) Items would get their power from the people who wield them. It's the character's level that determines how much damage is done, and what levels of enchants could be supported.
In an infinite level system, this also can't work. Not to mention there's no way to make creatures infinitely difficult unless the entire game takes place in scaled instances, which is boring.



TheeNickster wrote:

7.) The "open world" would be geared toward solo-play for levels up to 60. Post 60, the challenges would come from instances. These instances could be solo'd, grouped or raided.
Looks like you thought of those instances, but I reiterate that playing in instances is boring as sin after a while. You are removed from the world. You're playing a single player game over the internet in co-op mode instead of adventuring in a virtual world.



TheeNickster wrote:

8.) The experience from soloing, grouping and raiding should be roughly equal. One playstyle shall not have all the rewards.
I'm assuming this means you'll have several types of creatures designated as Solo, Heroic, and Raid. Otherwise you'll have groups taking out all the mobs in an area quickly while a solo player has to struggle to attempt to keep up.



TheeNickster wrote:

9.) PvP will be in mission based team instances. It should be realm vs realm to make it easier to get a "match" going.

10.) There should be lots of web based scoreboards, ranking the top players and guilds in various categories. Most of these stats would come from your performance in the PVE instances and PVP, instead of the limited "open world".
Some good ideas, but I wanted to bang on the ones I think can't work or get more info from you on some of them.
_________________
Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder
Grouchy Gnome, Nerfbat

Wow, it's really hard to stay with just ten, but here are mine. I tried to stay brief, so there's context missing, and I apologize for that. They are numbered, but not ordered.

1.      Mechanics transparency
Within reason, every game mechanic that can be calculated or reasonably inferred by the players would be available explicitly in some form. They might be hidden by default to keep from overwhelming the new player, but would never be unavailable to those that want them.

2.      Every level is meaningful
Every progression step would come with enough "benefits" to make the level desirable. It's OK to make the player do additional work for some of them, but the player would always be looking forward to each particular level for what it gets them.

3.      Content is "researchable"
There would be no content for which the only learning process is to throw oneself upon it (and usually dying) until the "trick" of the encounter is figured out.

4.      No artificial boundaries
I know level design is hard, but it's been a profession for 10+ years now. Isn't it about time to quit running into mysterious rings of unscalable mountains, impenetrable forest, and invisible walls?

5.      Quest mechanics recognize past achievements
One would never be required to have a quest in their quest log in order to receive credit for progressing along the quest.

6.      Quests are all "important"
There would be essentially no "kill ten rat" quests. Although certainly fewer in number, all quests available would be fairly involved and rewarding.

7.      "Uniquified" tradeskills/quests
Where possible, tradeskills and quests would be designed with a "uniqifier", requiring the player to put in some of their own effort rather than simply reading from a spoiler site. Some examples might be randomized ingredients (or quantity thereof)or quests having a random quest giver.

8.      All items are tradeskillable
Everything has a recipe. After all, someone made it.

9.      "Everything" is soloable, groupable and raidable
There would probably be exceptions, but little content should be unavailable to the determined and patient soloer. However, the benefits of group and raid play should be both clear and desirable, encouraging the player to join rather than requiring it.

10.  "All" content is available to one character
Anything doable by a series of "alts" would also be doable by a single character. They might have to go into a "changing room" or jump through some minor hoop for balance reasons, but logging into another character would never be required.

Blackguard wrote:

TheeNickster wrote:

1.) No level cap, and getting a new level would never take more than 3 hours of hardcore play. People need goals that aren't "unattainable".
What's the benefit for gaining a level? Also, bad bad bad ont he 3 hours of hardcore play. You would need to implement diminishing returns eventually so gaining another level would just be a huge pain in the butt for almost no return.

Level caps and diminishing returns serve to balance my players against the mobs in the highest level "open zones". Of course, things like AA and better gear are already breaking that balance in current games. Eastern plaguelands mobs would be destroyed en-masse by tier 3 gear wearers.

Despite the large numbers of tier 3 players in WoW though, EP is not heavily hunted, so it turns out that there's no issue with just letting the players overwhelm the "open world". The key is there should not be incentive for a level 200 player to hog all the level 60 mobs. When it's time for a level 200 to hunt, he should want to be in a level 200 instance.



Blackguard wrote:

TheeNickster wrote:

2.) With no level cap, there will also be no super-rare items for the end game we don't have.

3.) Crafted items will be no better or worse than dropped or sold items. They will be some of the best items in terms of artwork.
Then why do you adventure if not for items?

Why did you go after the items? They increased your power! We're taking the power out of the items and tying it directly to your exp bar. We're counting on peer pressure from your guildies, and the desire to see your name on the scoreboard to keep you interested in increasing your power.



Blackguard wrote:

TheeNickster wrote:

4.) Crafters will be able to make temporary buffs, and enchant resists and minor stats onto any item.

5.) Most items will be "bind on equip". This removes items from the economy like item decay would, it's just less painful.

6.) Items would get their power from the people who wield them. It's the character's level that determines how much damage is done, and what levels of enchants could be supported.In an infinite level system, this also can't work. Not to mention there's no way to make creatures infinitely difficult unless the entire game takes place in scaled instances, which is boring.

People redo raid instances over and over again, my "boring instances" couldn't be any worse than another MC run! Keep in mind that PvP would provide experience just like any other instance. Also the missions would be different between solo, groups and raid to provide more variety.



Blackguard wrote:

TheeNickster wrote:

7.) The "open world" would be geared toward solo-play for levels up to 60. Post 60, the challenges would come from instances. These instances could be solo'd, grouped or raided.
Looks like you thought of those instances, but I reiterate that playing in instances is boring as sin after a while. You are removed from the world. You're playing a single player game over the internet in co-op mode instead of adventuring in a virtual world.

The only alternative to instances at the "end game" is contested mobs. Remember what an ungodly mess that was? I sure do. The "single player co-op mode" we've got going on today sure beats the pants off of killstealing Ragefire and AoW.



Blackguard wrote:

TheeNickster wrote:

8.) The experience from soloing, grouping and raiding should be roughly equal. One playstyle shall not have all the rewards.
I'm assuming this means you'll have several types of creatures designated as Solo, Heroic, and Raid. Otherwise you'll have groups taking out all the mobs in an area quickly while a solo player has to struggle to attempt to keep up.

It's true that mobs will scale to how many people you bring. It's also true that group and raid mobs would only exist in instances. Instances would be available from level 1 so you can group right off if you want. The "open world" mobs would always be solo, and would be cruddy exp for a group.




Blackguard wrote:

TheeNickster wrote:

9.) PvP will be in mission based team instances. It should be realm vs realm to make it easier to get a "match" going.

10.) There should be lots of web based scoreboards, ranking the top players and guilds in various categories. Most of these stats would come from your performance in the PVE instances and PVP, instead of the limited "open world".
Some good ideas, but I wanted to bang on the ones I think can't work or get more info from you on some of them.

These ideas may seem radical, but they attack some core problems in today's MMO's. Things like gold farming and the casual vs hardcore end-game debate. To paraphrase an old Jedi Master:




jason wrote:

kohs wrote:

1 - NOT Fantasy.
seriously, enough with the magic crap. i'm cool with escapism, but magic and superhuman abilities make things dull.

2 - the OPPOSITE of classes, skills, and ANY form of grinding them.

3 through 10 - As much Realism and Meaningfulness as you can cram into a Living, Breathing fully functional, yet ever so fragile World.
So... you want a game where you have a job, go to work, try to meet people, maybe buy a house, or build one if you train to be a builder, vote, run for office if you don't like your options, drive cars, run the risk of accidents, when you can afford to take off from your profession you can travel and explore the world... is that the non-fantasy realistic world you are looking for?

I mean, if you don't want fantasy (Sci-Fi is also fantasy, its just impossible spaceships instead of impossible magic) and you want realism and meaningfulness, I'm not sure why you are looking for it in a game.

firstly, who said anything about Sci-Fi?
I'm just sick of elves, platemail armor, magic wands, ect...
imagine if all they showed on Television was one type of show... oh wait, they already do that with "reality TV"
seriously though. D&D and LotR may have been awesome, but really the MMO genre is WAY oversaturated with Fantasy.

secondly, Sci-Fi is not Fantasy. they're both under the realm of "speculative-fiction" but two different flavors in my opinion.
i happen to enjoy both flavors. but there's a whole fridge full of all different types of food as well. (it's 3am, forgive me if i make somewhat-nonsensical analogies)

and lastly, yes. sorta.
I'm looking for escapism that i can identify with.
why am I looking for it in a game?
why do people born after 1945 read books set in WWII? why do people watch movies set in ancient Greece?
I like games, and I believe that the interactive, massively-multiplayer, virtual-world experience which NOTHING besides and MMO can offer is the perfect media through which to convey alternate realities in which one may immerse oneself.

do I want a virtual job in a virtual cubicle, and to pay a virtual mortgage and raise virtual kids?
notsomuch.
but I do want to maybe be a blacksmith in the era of American Frontier Western Expansion. or perhaps a Lyre player in Tuscany during the fall of the Roman Republic.
or even a mercenary on a warship in a distant solar-system.

do I want every little worry and detail there? nah.
but I do want the world around me to make sense. and I'd like the game mechanics to detract from that "making sense" as little as possible.

I don't want to be that mercenary, getting ready to raid a space station fortress, and have to stop and think "hmm, did i make sure to buff my health regen stats?... when the attack begins, I've gotta make sure to spam their Snipers with AOE dazes. who's gonna heal? we don't have a Medic in the group, just some noob with heal-packs."
I'm not sure if that make sense, but that seems to be the types of things that most current MMOs make people think.

that Nick Yee fella just made a post about how most MMO gamers spend 1/3rd of their time outside of the 4th wall. why can't MMOs be designed so that you never have to break through the 4th wall? or at least to you don't have to do it quite so much?

I do want to be that blacksmith, getting a letter in the mail which says there's a man in Reno who needs 15 horses shoed by noon tomorrow, and is willing to pay top dollar. but at the same time I realize I had an appointment to visit Carson City to install the new holding cells at the sheriff's office. Reno's a good 8-hour ride by wagon, but Carson City's only 2 hours away, in the opposite direction.
the Mayor of Carson City ain't paying very much, but the new holding cells mean that the sheriff might be more effective in his campaign to curb the increasing criminal acts occurring there.
so which job do I take? do I stiff the good folks of Carson City, and hit the jackpot with this city slicker's bountiful offering? or do I stick to my original plan and potentially lose a wealthy potential repeat customer?

that's the type of thing I want to worry about in an MMO.
not whether I'm a level 36 Blacksmith yet, because at that level I get the "Horse Shoeing" ability.
does that make sense?
it does to me. I dunno... I'm an idealist. not everyone's on the same page as me.
hell, some die-hard MMO players aren't even in the same library

Blackguard wrote:

kohs wrote:

1 - NOT Fantasy.
seriously, enough with the magic crap. i'm cool with escapism, but magic and superhuman abilities make things dull.

2 - the OPPOSITE of classes, skills, and ANY form of grinding them.

3 through 10 - As much Realism and Meaningfulness as you can cram into a Living, Breathing fully functional, yet ever so fragile World.
I'm going to play the ignorant developer here: What is the opposite of classes, skills, and any form of grinding them? Would that mean that characters wouldn't be able to advance at all? Would that mean that you would have pre-defined character builds that players could just swap to on a whim without achieving anything?

hehe.
well, naturally, the opposite of classes, skills, and any form of grinding them would be the lack of those three things

no, not pre-defined character builds. that still entails classes or skills.
and as for your character not being able to advance at all.
well, yes. sorta.
I'm of the opinion that more should be left up to the player. i know that flies in the face of the "RPG", but whatever. i just want an immersive experience, and if "RPGs" don't offer that, then i'm looking for something else I guess.

your character wouldn't advance in the sense that his Hitpoints would go up, or he'd get a new skill which would do double damage when used in combination with another skill, or some BS...

hmm...

you ever played X-wing vs. TIE-Fighter?
there's no classes, skills, or grinding in that game. it's just you and the cockpit controls.
the cockpit is visually represented on the screen and it provides feedback, like the amount of charge in your weapons, the state of your shield and hull, etc.. and you control your ship through various keys and a joystick.
if you need to shunt all shields to the rear, you just do it.
no need to be a level 20 Pilot, or to have grinded for 3 hours, killing 73 Black Sun fighters to get the proper skill-box.

you just jump in the cockpit and fly.
naturally some people would be more adept at it than others. some could become more adept with practice. but some would always be better than others.
that's just the way Worlds work.
no "character crutches".

hope that helps to give an idea of how the lack of classes, skills, and grinding would work in an MMO.

This started off short … honest …

Summary: A MMORPG that stresses player interaction (both collaborative and competitive) and the development of shared story (that is, it stress the ‘RPG’ aspects). Game mechanics aim to reduce the importance of character stats, skills and items and stress participation in the game.

Some of the description implies a fantasy or medieval setting. This is used only for color. I personally have no preference.

1. Land Control

Players join guilds and lay claim to land by destroying existing fortifications then building and staffing their own. In one mechanic this encompasses both freeform collaboration and competition between players. The world is dynamic, driven by the players.

Guilds may subdivide controlled land into hierarchies of government of varying depth and title, thereby permitting multiple players to participate in micro-managing the land. For example, guild leaders might grant Duchies to key guild members. The Dukes might then grant Counties to others.

Land may be ceded or given between guilds, and guilds may join to form a greater unit. For example, a guild might cede land to another to ensure peace. Or two friendly guilds might join to form one greater Kingdom.

The value of a land is the taxes on economic activity and the resources within its borders. Taxation is the role of each level of government. Resource extraction, refinement and crafting are the role of individual players (which may then be taxed).

Title for use of land (without actually transferring governmental control) may be given or sold to individual players (for example, a lot may be purchased for the establishment of a house, crafting facility or store).

2. Natural Resources & Trade

Some resources may be common to all land, while others might be unique to specific areas. Some resources may have a finite supply (thought must be given to the reclamation of used resources) while others may be renewable (so long as judiciously managed).

The variations in resource availability combined with variations in skills and facilities to process those raw resources should give rise to a need and opportunity for regional trade (and enjoyable activity for certain play types). Because of the differences in resource availability from place to place, prices should also fluctuate.

Guilds that make war on all their neighbors may find themselves short of valuable resources normally brought by trade. Of course, they may decide simply to try and take resources. Corollary: interrupting the transport of resources should become a key strategy to weaken an opponent prior to invasion.

3. Hirable NPC’s

NPC’s may be hired to conduct most aspects of the game that might be considered drudgery or that requires a constant online presence. Examples include defending fortifications; patrolling borders; mining; crafting or transportation of goods. NPC’s must be directed (or they do nothing) and must be paid (or they seek employment elsewhere).

The game is balanced such that defeating an NPC is not a trivial task (certainly no more trivial that defeating a reasonably skilled player character). This makes NPC’s a useful means of defending land.

Guilds and players will hire NPC’s to gather and mine natural resources, process those resources into usable components, to build fortifications and civic structures and to defend lands.

NPC’s crafting produces ‘average’ quality output. The drudgery of crafting is removed (for those that find is a bore) while saving a niche for players that enjoy it.

NPC’s may also be hired to transport goods over long distances or to act as merchants, saving players from this drudgery while allowing players the fun of managing the economic activity of their employees.

Since hirable NPC’s are a form of limited renewable resources determined by the degree of safety and development in an area, a guild must take care to balance their constructive and destructive activities. In areas with low safety and development, NPC’s must be hired elsewhere and transported.

4. Fortification & City Building

Players fund and direct the building of fortifications and civic structures. Any structure that may be built can be destroyed (destruction permitted when defending NPC’s and players in the area are dispatched).

Care must be taken to balance both construction and destruction such that if it takes a week to build, it takes a week to destroy.

Fortifications are used to defend a guild’s claim on land. Civic structures include simple player housing, crafting stations (forges, etc), merchant stores and other ‘color’ structures (taverns, churches).

Structure building is a game in and of itself, requiring the ordering of a series of activities: sourcing raw materials; organizing the processing of raw materials into components; securing labor for construction.

Some structures may be suitable for individuals or very small groups. The largest fortifications will require large-scale collaboration among players.

5. Legal System

A system of legal contracts permits agreements between players or guilds within a particular region. The goal of the legal system is to foster interesting inter-player activity (both competitive and collaborative).

Type I: Inter Guild Contracts: Non-Aggression; Attack on Third Party; Payment of Tribute; Union.

Type I contracts allow guilds to order their affairs with respect to other guilds. There is no automatic enforcement. Each type of contract would specify remediation for a breach. In the event of a breach, so long as the offending Guild complies with the remediation clause, the contract stands.

For example, two guilds may have an agreement of non-aggression. Individual members of the guild may choose to ignore this. The guild of the offending players will have some set period of time to excommunicate and imprison or kill the offending characters. If successful, the treaty stands: otherwise, the other party has the option of ending the treaty. More interesting still, two guilds may have an agreement of non-aggression, but one guild might secretly encourage its members to disobey.

Type II: Intra Guild Laws: Prohibition against stealing; prohibition against killing or attack; prohibition against certain types of trade; taxes; etc.

These contracts allow guilds to set and enforce laws on their lands (if they choose). There is no automatic enforcement. Players are free to disobey laws, however, upon doing so they automatically become fugitives within the area. NPC’s hired to enforce laws (if any) will attempt to apprehend such characters (or bounties may automatically be placed, etc).

Some guilds may choose to establish lawful societies and will reap the benefits of the resulting economic activity. Others guilds may choose lawless societies whose only source of income is what can be stolen from neighbors.

Type II: Inter Player Contracts: Contract for apprehension; contract for delivery; contract for crafting.

Individual players may contract for goods or services. Examples might include a quantity of goods of specific quality at a specific price by a specific date, up to and including murder for hire or protection of a merchant caravan. Contracts should always specify the parties to the contract, what (from among pre-set list), payment (cash or good from among pre-set list), date, and failure penalty (cash or good from among pre-set list).

Variations on this type of contract may permit ‘first to complete’ type contracts (where the name of the second party isn’t specified in advance). The contract completion mechanism automatically extracts payment.

6. Unrestricted PvP

Any player may attack any other player (even allies) or NPC at any time. Nothing in the game prevents this. Only laws (and the corresponding threat of consequence) and the desire for co-operation prevents one player from killing another.

The shallow character and item progression in the game ensures that there’s always a chance that a mean-spirited ganker may be defeated. Depending upon the laws of land, the ganker may also find themselves sought by NPC and PC authorities.

The goal here is to permit absolute freedom of activity for players. It’s only when players have such freedom that they will choose to establish ordered societies.

7. Death

Defeat doesn’t always mean death. On the occasion that a player does die, it is permanent.

A defeated character, or NPC, is first unconscious for a brief period. During this time, they may be bound and subsequently transported for imprisonment. Recall, all structures may be destroyed, so it’s possible to rescue someone from prison. Alternately, unconscious players may be permanently killed. Of course, depending on the laws of the land, killing may carry consequences.

Typically, NPC’s will choose to bind players and imprison them for ransom or payment of damages.

8. Character Progression: Skill Based; Shallow; Not Item Centric

Character progression occurs in a skill based hierarchy: that is, aside from prerequisite skills, there’s no prohibition against a player choosing any line of progression.

Players begin with a low level of skill and progress by using that skill. All skill attempts are difficulty modified and experience is only granted when a skill barely succeeds. For example, when attacking an inferior opponent, most skill use rolls succeed by a wide margin (and no experience is granted).

I’m very tempted to suggest progression limits over time. Why reward players who simply want to grind a shallow system as fast as they can.

A player may not master all skills, but must allocate a preset number of points. Players are free to drop skills and progress in a new area. The goal is to ensure freedom of choice in building a character.

The difference in skill (especially for combat) between the lowest level and the highest level is not very great. All skills permit a form of collaboration such that some number (say 5) players with the lowest skill are equivalent to a player with the highest skill. In combat, even those with great prowess may succumb to a swarm of low level players.

In keeping with the shallow-skill-based character advancement, the game is not heavily item-centric. Gear is required (swords, armor, etc), and some player crafters are able to make superior items, but no individual item is better than another by a tremendous margin.

The goal is manifold: to minimize grind; to focus players on the game of collaborating and competing for land; to minimize the sting of death.

9. A Big World

Since the game focuses on the control of land, a large game world may be required. Permitting fast travel between distant points (teleportation, bind points, very fast modes of travel) would cause problems for land control game mechanics. For example, if you can teleport past the defensive structures and attack a city directly, what’s the point of defensive structures?

A fast travel mode (appropriate to the back-story) is permitted only between points within guild controlled land or between two guilds that have an agreement of non-aggression.

10. Many Characters / Unattended Play

Travel is time consuming and arduous. Keeping up with friends or reaching new destinations becomes a boring activity. Permadeath may separate players who commonly group together.

Players each have a ‘family’ of characters. Many character slots, each set with a different purpose, each somewhat disposable, all a member of one family, sharing wealth and assets.

A player’s characters may be set to continue specific activities while offline (much like a hired NPC): crafting, traveling to a preset destination, following a group of players (much like a combat pet), or guarding an area.

Some characters may be sent on long distance trading missions. A player might never choose to take direct control of a character in this circumstance, but simply await the result.

Some characters might remain in your guilds major town, crafting and available for those times when you don’t feel like combat or when your guild-mates are simply hanging out chatting.

Some characters may be joined up with your usual group. When you are able to play with that group, you take control; otherwise, your characters follow the group as a pet.

In the event that a player’s last character in a group is killed, they may roll a new character to join the group mid-mission. For immersion purposes, this could be implemented as assuming control of an existing nearby un-hired NPC.

This would permit (without introducing game-or-immersion-breaking mechanics):
- remaining with a group of friends when play schedules do not always overlap;
- remaining with a group of friends after your character is killed;
- avoiding activities that certain (but not all) individuals might find boring;
- guarding key resources or locations during off hours;
- traveling to a remote location without the drudgery.