I'm just going to go out on a limb here, and say that everyone here probably plays MMOs. Now I don't care what flavor of MMO you play, be it EVE or WoW or EQ or what-have-you; but I'm going to assume that you're also human. Being that, you are a creative being. Being that, as you grind through your fifty boar/pirate/rogue slain, you've undoubtedly come to the conclusion that there is just something wrong with this game, that needs to be fixed.
This thread is where we talk about this. This is where we talk about our dreams - How we would fix the MMO genre with our own creations. So go ahead and share your own ideas for your own 'WoW-killer' - your little idea that would become the next AAA title.
You can ignore everything else I write. It's pretty rambly.
I'll start with my own. I call it Isolation Day.
In my theoretical game, I attempt to solve the many problems that plague MMOs; the stagnation of end-game content, boring and stale combat, and the false sense of progression that surrounds typical character development.
First, lets deal with character progression. As things are now, we're treated as such. Imagine you are a dog in a cage. You are starved for many days, only being given a few scraps to survive off of. You walk around all day with a stick tied to your back, which supports a hot dog attached to a string, which dangles just in front of your nose.
God that hot dog sounds delicious.
In every MMO I see these days, you start out with crap boring skills, and are constantly told that if you just keep pushing forward a bit more, you'll finally reach what it is you want. Only like the dog, you never get it. There's always that one thing that will increases your DPS by that little amount, which makes all the difference in the world.
INDIVIDUAL PROGRESSION should be treated as such: Every character starts out at a baseline. No character ever truly becomes more powerful than any other character residing on that baseline. Characters can only become more specialized.
In order to become better at doing one thing, you have to become worse at doing some other thing. So in order to become better at firing a rifle, you have to forget what it means to throw a grenade.
To be a better player, you have to have more skill - in lieu of simply having leveled up more.
Specialization is the key thing to remember.
Next, lets solve the problem of combat. Obviously, the select and auto-attack system that many MMOs rely on today can't be used forever. It's largely regarded as non-interactive - it results in a boring tedium that separates itself from any sort of influence of a player's skill, as combat breaks down into a series of repetitive sequences, which rely entirely too much on dice rolls for their chance of success.
The logical conclusion is that we switch to a more shooter type system of combat. A player should have to aim each individual action - this makes it unmistakable that a player's chance of success of failure resides wholly, or at least mostly, in their own hands. You could thrust the player into a first person perspective to achieve this, however I think this goes too far: MMO players aren't out for a game of counter-strike.
I believe it would be optimal for my game to be played as a 2d, camera overhead (think birds-eye view), shooter. Think arcadey-like games (like the camera angle of Defender, only with terrain and a larger environment).
This serves a dual purpose:
The player now has to worry less about environment awareness. You don't have to worry so much about what's sneaking up behind you when you have a birds-eye view of the situation.
It puts somewhat less emphasis on 'twitch' gaming, as you're only aiming in two dimensions, instead of three.
Your avatar stays centered on the screen with few exceptions, and an player adjusts their aiming or facing with their cursor.
PvP and PvE need to be seamlessly melded together. Hell, the classifications need to be done away with all together - the fact that they are regarded as separate entities reveals a huge flaw within the genre.
How do you do this? Consider the Eon of Strife type games (Think DOTA from WC3). In these games, you typically had 5v5 match ups, in which the objective was to destroy the other's base. It was wholly impossible to assault the other players base with just the five players on your team - the static defense combined with an intelligent team's reaction to an attack made an assault impossible.
Thus, players relied on the support of much weaker, computer controlled soldiers to make up the bulk of the assaulting/defending force. It was the players which would tip the scales on either side, and lead one to victory.
This is the same role that players should have in MMOs. They should be thrust into a war between nations with no end in sight. The players are the one who should tip the scales of their respective side to their favor.
You obviously can't have an MMO which has to calculate hitboxes and a somewhat competent AI all take place on a single, persistent server housing a thousand or more players. I say it's unnecessary. This sort of game would fair better to be played on a multitude of separate servers, all of which hosted by the community, much like any multiplayer FPS is. The progression of characters and the victories won by either side would be fed to a central server.
It's not so important that every instance of the game takes place in one server, what is important is that the effects of each player affect the game world as a whole, and that the game world continues to change regardless of a single players interaction. The fact that current game design requires that MMOs house their entire game on a single server (or small collection thereof) is really holding up the genre.
Lastly, the stagnation of end-game content. It is my belief, that every GOOD game needs a clearly defined beginning and an end - clearly defined WIN or LOSS conditions.
One side must win, and one side must lose. And then everything gets reset. Everything. Your characters, your inventory (of which my game has none), your guild/clan progress. All gone. Start anew.
And this should happen often. I say twice a month.
This really isn't a bad thing. When you don't start off beings as powerful as you can be(when you start off on a baseline and never get any stronger), it's really just a fresh start. People love fresh starts. Just look at how every time Blizzard opens a new server for WoW, it gets flooded with new characters. Well, until they all leave, because they remember just how badly the early-game sucks.
Done. Could go more in depth, to what makes a game sound fun, but that doesn't lend itself to discussion.