There are lots of posts on MMO forums about a game's features. Interestingly enough, to many the inclusion or exclusion of a single feature can be what they call a "deal breaker" or reason enough for that person to not want to play the game.
In essence if the player found 9/10 features appealing but that final 10th feature was so unbearable to them as to be a deal breaker, they wouldn't play.
Does anyone else see this as alienating a vast number of potential players?
One of the biggest deal breakers I have seen posters mention is PvP.
It's either full FFA or it's a deal breaker. It's either consensual or a deal breaker. Full loot or a deal breaker.
So I ask the very obvious question:
Why not server types?
MMOs as far back as Ultima Online have offered choices. When they added Trammel, the PvP-free mirror of the world they also created the Siege Perilous shard, which had NO Trammel facet as well as additional "hardcore" features such as restrictions on the number of skill ups per time period and even offered "Red" healers to bring PK's back to life.
Look no further then the king of modern MMOs, World of Warcraft, and you see PvP servers versus normal servers, and also the role play equivalents.
One of the biggest games coming up soon in terms of hype and peak interest and especially forum activity is Aion.
This game is sold as a "PvPvE" game with elements of PvE and PvP mixed together to form the "end-game" of raids and RvR style conquest.
To many, the forced PvP the game system allows is a deal breaker. They want to peacefully level from 1 to 50 without engaging in PvP other then when they want to, and they want to participate in the large PvE raids and dungeon content without being forced to PvP the opposing faction.
You know what?
Offer an alternative server rule set. The PvPvE system as the "normal" or intended way to play the game, and servers where all PvP is 100% consensual through a flagging system.
Let players decide what they want to do. I garauntee you that you will see plenty of interest in both.
Again, look at World of Warcraft server selection. Fairly even split between PvP and PvE servers (at least in NA) and both kinds of realms are very popular.
Why alienate a potentially huge segment of the population that would potentially play your game with a feature considered by many to be such a deal breaker?
This isn't just true of Aion or World of Warcraft.
I ask, is it that hard to offer different server types?
Obviously, there are some technical or systematic considerations to make. For instance in Lord of the Rings Online you really couldn't have open PvP because the entire focus of the Lord of the Rings intellectual property is good versus evil, the fellowship versus the evil of One Ring, the free peoples of Middle Earth versus Sauron and his forces. etc.
You couldn't have FFA PvP in WoW or WAR or Aion because they are games built upon the idea of factions that are at war. But also there are systematic considerations in terms of content. You can't make Orcs and Undead at war with each other because you'd be cutting off a large portion of PvE content to either side by doing so, etc.
So what do you think?
If you could offer multiple server types to appeal to different kinds of players, and thus greatly increase your target audience and the draw of your game to these different demographics, wouldn't you?