Who really likes the traditional formula of auto attack, special, wait, special, wait, special, special, next? It's all just math, my attack vs their defense, and vice versa. Whoever's better at addition wins. I mean, it'll do. I'll admit it's not my biggest problem with MMOs today, but why settle for alright, when better is just as simple.
Part 1: Combat.
If you've played mount and blade, just skim this. The basic idea is that holding the left mouse button charges the melee attack (releasing fires the attack), and holding the right mouse button hold up your block. The direction you're moving will give you an attacking direction. Blocking with a shield, and parrying with a weapon are very different affairs, and they have their up's and downs. With a shield, you will block from any direction, and making a successful block will not lower your guard. Additionally, the act of blocking in itself costs less stamina, but it costs extra stamina to both raise your guard, and hold your guard up. Parrying on the other hand, is very stamina efficient, but every time you successfully block an attack, or are hit, your guard goes down, but just for a second. Also, in order to parry successfully, you must initiate your parry after the attacker pulls back his weapon to swing, and before he hits you. Parrying is faster, and costs very little stamina to pull up your guard, but it costs a fair amount of stamina every time you successfully parry an attack.
To bunnyhoppers: Just as a countermeasure, there will be a stamina drain while running in combat. And also, natural movement will be switched to walking. Press shift to run in combat. Simple as that. But you will gain a damage buff for attacking while running.
Armor: Armor will, instead of reducing damage, act as a kind of automatic shield. Blocking an attack with armor will hurt stamina more than health. Instead of a plain armor rating, it will have a few stats. Armor coverage, Armor protection, and Protection type. Armor coverage is how likely your armor is to block oncoming damage, for simplicity's sake, this is just added together with all your other equipment to make one general pool of coverage. Protection type is what kind of damage your armor covers, chain covers slashing, quilted leather covers peircing, plate covers everything, etc. Chainmail will offer minimum protection against archers, but is great in hand to hand combat. Armor protection, is how much your armor will protect you against it's protected damage type. This, again, is pooled together with all peices of armor of the same type. Also, all armor will offer a fraction of it's protection against foreign damage types.
Weapons: Weapons will also be more complex than usual. Primarily, there will be a major difference between weapon types. Damage from one type of weapon will not be the same as damage from another type. Swords will be faster at countering, and will have decent damage in both slashing and peircing. Daggers will be unable to parry, but will be very fast at attacking, and will have decent damage. Axes will be good at dealing damage through armor. Polearms will have a very long reach, and will be able to attack with the sheild up with proper skill, but are slow, ineffective in closer range, and cost a fair amount of stamina. Wrapping up the melee weapons are the clubs, they will be very good at dealing damage through armor, and will cost the enemy's stamina greatly.
Combat Stances: One you train a combat skill over level 50/100 you will gain a specialized combat stance specifically for that skill. Each stance will have a set of abilities that can be used while in that stance. It is important to note, that you cannot use an ability unless you are in the correct stance. You will be able to select any two abilities that are available for your stance as Active Abilities. While you are in your combat stance, pressing "E" will trigger the first Selected Skill, and holding it will ready you for your second Selected Skill.
Mage Spells: Magic will be broken down between schools. Fire Magic, Earth Magic, etc. These schools will act somewhat like a combat stance. Each school will hold a plethora of spells, of which 2 will be chosen as Active Spells. One strong Active Spell, and one basic Active Spell. Just like in the game TESIV: Oblivion, "C" will be the button that does all of the casting. If you tap the casting button, you will cast the basic spell, and if you hold it, you will charge up the powerful spell. For example, you might have Fire Magic activated with you basic spell being a fireball, and your powerful spell being a cone of fire. The basic spell will be faster, and drain less mana than the faster one, but will have a smaller effect. Schools can be changed in a fight, but the Active Spells cannot.
Priest Spells: Priest spells are used identically to Mage spells, and only differ in their function. Pretty simple.
Now that the functioning of combat, and the use of abilities is done, I propose that we move on to the integration/obtaining of abilities, and the customization of them. Assuming that there are no significant objections then... This bit is more important than it may seem, because of the leveling system I have implemented. For a very brief summary: a player class will be created by the guild, and all guild members will become a part of said class. As such, every player within the same guild will, obviously, be the same class. Since you're average player will often group with members of their own guild, there has to be a way to stand out substantially from the other members of your guild. Any skills below the non-guild cap do not need any customization, and as such, all of this will take place after the non-guild cap has been breached.
Obtaining Abilities/Spells: Once a player passes their non-guild cap on any skill that offers abilities, an ability tree will become available. This tree will be somewhat similar to the weapon customization trees in Dead Space, but larger (And clearly it has abilities as well on it). For those of you that haven't played Dead Space, it's a pretty simple mechanic: There is a branching tree that is composed of slots, most of the slots are blank, but some of the them have upgrades (in this case abilities) that you obtain by reaching them. Every time a player increases his skill in that field, he is able to fill in one slot. Spells and abilities are gained the same. (The purpose of this is to make sure that not everyone uses the same abilities).
Customizing Abilities/Spells: (Again, abilities and spells work the same, it's just easier to say ability than Ability/Spell/Whatnot every time) Once a player obtains an ability, a customization screen will become available for it. Abilities are customized by increasing it's power in a number of fields. When an ability is used, it will gain levels. Every time a level is gained in an ability, the player will receive a point they can spend on one of it's customization fields. Abilities have a maximum level though, and will only be able to fill just over a quarter of their available slots. For example: a player is customizing their Fireball spell, There are 4 fields in which they can advance their spell, Damage, Duration, Range, and Mana Cost. If each field is out of 100, then the spell will be able to gain a maximum of 150 levels. (This is important to further distinguish players within the same guild)