I've never quite understood the notion that complicated = fun.
To me, complicated = frustrating.
Say things like:
looking for a "challenging" MMO or a MMO with "depth" instead of "complicated."
But asking for a complicated MMO to me means asking for a MMO that is:
2. not user-friendly / accessable
3. not well designed
To me "complicated" means advanced mathmatics... not fun.
Having depth and being challenging? That's fun.
The challenge and depth should be in the fun and the gameplay, not in the accessibility, user-friendliness, and tedium.
Things people say make a MMO "hardcore" or "complicated" that I personally feel are actually just tedius and made to further your subscription time:
1. Harsh death penalties
2. Longer travel times
3. Slow leveling rates
To me, a challenging game would be easy to learn and difficult to master. But what does that mean?
Crafting that requires a massive investment of time and resources is not more skillful, it's more tedius. Give crafting mini-games! I'm REALLY surprised no one has done this yet. Yes, I've played EQ2 and old SWG, I know what that crafting is like. I hear Vanguard is similar... but seriously, mini-games that require skill make crafting more challenging, don't just add more complication and call it "challenge."
I'd say a crafting system where you had only 1 easy to find ingrediant for EVERYTHING you could craft, but a difficult mini-game system for the actual crafting would be more challenging and "hardcore" then simply piling on the time and resource requirements.
Depth does NOT equal adding more resource / time requirements. To me, depth means radial expansion rather then linear. Don't make crafting a table cost 45,000 units of 10,000 different resources, but give me 10,000 different styles of tables to craft. THAT is depth.
Combat that is multi-layered and dependant upon various triggers and situations, not piling on numbers and adding 10,000 different abilities you couldn't possible manage. Give me stances and states and counters and triggers and procs and timing, not +10,000 spell damage.
Slow travel times? What does that add? It's a time sink, that's about it. Spend less time playing and having fun, more time waiting. It's like driving to an amusement park. Would you say that the further you have to drive to get there the more hardcore the experience is going to be? No, it's the same park. Why not get their faster, have more time for fun instead of wasting your whole day in the car?
High death penalties? This is a touchy issue. I know I personally get pissed off when I die, and I get pissed off having to do long corpse runs, so even if I lose nothing, no experience or items or anything, isn't that death punishment enough for me? Throw in item decay / damage from death and that's enough of a death penalty for me.
In MMORPGs, we are paying for time. To put it simply. Any time we spend not enjoying ourselves, is time we are paying to not enjoy ourselves. That is motivation enough for me to want to really stay alive as much as possible.
Slower leveling rates? Another tricky issue. If you can provide enough content to keep me busy while still slowing doing the rate of progression? Awesome, I'm all for it.
Make the progression slower but don't offer any more content then any other game? Welcome to what we like to call "the grind."
Depth and challenge do NOT equal complication and tedium. There is nothing hardcore about waiting and/or being frustrated.
If anything it shows you have patience. Which, is indeed a virtue.