Oh Vajuras, where would I be without you. I was reading his blog post... I was skimming his blog post, when I came across him saying something about Perma-Death. Like usual, I didn't have the fortitude to read more that every other word or so through all the creative juices. But, like whenever I read one of his posts, I end up thinking up a new entry for my blog thing. So here's my Idea, this one is actually not that big.
To start off with, I'll break it to you nice and quick without beating around the bush too much. You know, like I'm doing now. And right there too. Now to avoid some sort of life destroying paradox, I'm gonna stop right there. Perma death is the death system for my ideal MMORPG, but you probably guessed that already. Normally I don't like perma death, but I think I found a way around most of the negatives. Which I guess is gonna make this a two or three parter. To start, you need to give the people some sort of compensation for leveling up their guy. Otherwise there'd be no real drive to do good even if you know that you're going to die, and so that you have a real reason to level your guy up. For said compensation, I'd choose a bonus for new characters in their starting experience. Also, leveling can't be that big of a deal. The difference between levels should be absolutely minimal, but you should be able to level up for lots of levels. Like WoW's 1-70 grind would be the kind of top level. To ease up the world for it, there would only be zones for up to around level 20 in their WoW equivalent, after that it would be PvP leveling, with the occasional boss monster. A way to resurrect would be absolutely necessary, but to stop everyone from being able to do so the game would have to be relatively class based. I'm still a believer in skill based so I'd probably stick to my hybrid idea, which I've either already talked about, or is a hint at an upcoming post.
Halfway breakdown: Perma-Death, Little distance between levels, Far advancement (length of leveling would be like the 1-70 of WoW, distance between a max level and a new char being about WoW's 1-20), Monsters would only be up to a certain point (WoW lengthwise: lvl 30, strengthwise: 10), Limited but possible resurrection, and a skill/class hybrid leveling system.
Now for the second half. Since we have all the stuff that it would we would have to do out of the way (I think), let's start on what it would let us do). Larger, emptier worlds for larger battles. Since the system is going to bring up a lot of animosity, and joining a guild will be a must for protection reasons, the players are going to be in clumps (mostly fighting for power thus adding to the animosity), this means that guild battle's will be huge and thus require more room. This then let's us put in more adept guild cities, since player will need protection, they'll need cities, and if you're going to need anything that badly, you should be able to make it worth spending your time protecting, and easier to protect. So, add more buildings, more building spots, and stuff outside that you would want to fight over. And all that other stuff from my first "my ideal mmorpg" post. Also, like Vajuras mentioned, it would allow you to make a bounty system that would be harder to exploit. It would also enhance the use of activities that a guild may partake in, since they are so much more important. Naval trading route's, and the like could be introduced because of the enhanced guild usage. I knew there would be something I'd forget to add. As for starting areas, I guess that you would have to be able to chose where you want to start to avoid griefers. Back on track then, if you are going to have a character that is able to kick some serious ass, then you may as well implement magic in it's full glory. Having a necromancer that can summon hordes of minions, or a sorcerer who can spring up walls of fire strong enough to kill dozens of lesser soldiers. This though, means that you would also need some freaking black knight sort's of characters, no big deal though. Individual balancing would be less important though, group balancing would be important on the other hand. Meaning that priests don't need the ability to kill to much, because they can heal and resurrect. Now that's priceless.
Second Half Breakdown: Bigger and more empty world, my first ideal mmo post but with lots more regions, detailed and important cities, have to have fun in your cities, cities need to be strong, a bounty system, Outside of guild activities such as having trade routes and government policies, pick a starting area, enhanced classes, cooler more deadly spells, balancing by group.
Just for good measure, I'm going to throw in a third half. Mostly to one up those 110%ers. I'm going to go into a little more detail on that crazy spell stuff I was talking about. I think that mages should kick ass at the higher levels, but kind of suck at the lower ones, whereas melee classes should start out good and work their way to kickass. Since I've got reason out of my way, let's get into detail about those spells. Firstly, I think that spells should be relatively customizable. Not quite like Morrowind/Oblivion, but more along the lines of taking a spell and increasing the potency of a certain effect. Such as having a necromancer be able to bump up a spell to being able to reanimate someone as a minion with 150% of their normal stats, instead of say 50%. That being a huge F'ing increase, something special would have to be done to achieve that advancement, and needless to say somebodies gotta die. I was thinking that some sort of large monster that would take ten or so people to kill, would be guarding it in some remote mountain somewhere. There would obviously be more that one place to get it, plenty of different monsters to slay, all for the same chance for enhancement, you wouldn't need to actually kill that monster, you could just buy one from someone that has (or someone who killed him). But the idea is that that would be the extent to which PvE raids would be, just that one monster that could kill 10 or so higher level guys, or like 40 new characters. The focus should always remain on the player, and how the players intertwine.
In the words of the Tragically Hip, but then to be butchered into talking about the generic form that MMOs have taken:
"Bring on a brand new renaissance
Cause I think I'm ready"