Following the topic "If I ran the MMo company" - my two cents.
So, I have some money. Not too much, maybe 10 billion USD. I hire the best coders, artists, I have thousand alpha-beta/whatever testers, voice-over actors.
First of all, I wait. Wait untill "give uz all PvP, fool loot, da perma death" crowd leaves only few hardcore PvP games around, Kickstarters fail and all that remains on PvE are some MMos with either extremely low population or severe restrictions. Good, guys, you have done most job for me: left my MMo without competitors.
Then i start my MMO. It's low-fantasy PvE only, tab-targeting, free to play model.
Low-fantasy:your standard elves, humans, dwarves...
PvE means that player cannot be attacked by other player. Maybe there would be one arena to combat player versus player, just without looting anything from defeated player and playing/winning does not mean you lose/gain something.
Free to play: Lotro+Istaria model. Paying players gain all benefits, including all future updates (as long they pay standard 15$/month). Free players have minor restrictions - most regions purchasable by Grind Points (kill 25 rats, receive 5 points...region costs from 300 to 4000 points). There could be also osme other removable restrictions (like Lotro's inventory space, aucton house slots...).
Cash shop: yes, it does exist. Selling only vanity items. If item gives/may give any advantage in combat, it won't appear in the shop. All other things - exists. Nice cloaks, hats, mounts etc - every kind of cosmetics you may think of. And all for real cash.
RNG, this curse of game industry, is almost entirely removed. Where it exists, the game would clearly tell, like "Big Token of Dead Rat: drop from NN dungeon end-boss Da Rat Gang Leader. Chance of this to drop in tier 1 dungeon - 20%, chance to drop in tier 2 dungeon - 40%". However, my RNG system is smart: it scans every single player in group. If you have won that Rat Token before AND if there is a player who participates for the very first time - you won't get it, newbie would. If you have not won these tokens recently and there is no newbie - you are most likely to get them. If dungeon rewards specific armour and you already have al of it - you are most likely not to receive. If loot is some Nice Crystal and you have tons of gold to buy it on auction - you are most likely not ro receive. Well, if you have 1 piece of armour, everyone else has more pieces -you are most likely to receive missing piece of armour.
Quests:this is where my MMO would out-shione any other. I would ask to introduce tens of thousands of quests. Standard "kill da rats". Fedex "Deliver this trash to Trash-master". Guard "escort lame NPC to location". My main thing would be: make every single choice matter. Examples:
1. Peasant asks to exterminate rats. You may offer peasant help and kill rats. You may offer help, buy some dead rats and tell you killed. You may lie you killed rats. Response from peasant would be different, all other peasants would change opinion about you...as well as nobles, merchants etc. This lowbie knight kills rats? Oh, gross - nobles despise you, peasants like you. You cheat peasant - what a cool guy, trade NPC think and you may get a discount. You do not kill rats? Oh, superb - nobles are happy. You choose 1 from 3, no turning back. You befriend peasant, you are disliked by nobles. You befriend traders, you are disliked by peasants and nobles.
2. Dragon asks to hoard valuable stuff in some sacred place. You may bury it. You may take it. And you may tell whatever you like. Depending on the answer you may be loved or hated.
3. You start as race A. race A are cool warriors and good miners. A pity, race B despides you because of yoru warlike nature. Race B is an idealistic race, race of philosophers, liked by half other races, hated by Race A and Race C. race C are necromancers-warriors, the best in combat, they would stop at nothing to achieve victory. A pity everyone hates them, only Race A has some softer attitude.
Also, I won't forget starter territories. At the end game, NPCs there would remember about that ancient threat burried beneath old ruins that needs to be discovered and fought.
Realism: yet another feature to outshine my MMO. Everything would come at cost. Holy trinity - yes, but if you are heave-armour dps, you won't be able to heal. Are you a healer? So nice and pity you are lame at melee combat. Do you wear heavy armour? Good, it would greatly protect at the cost of movement (you move very slowly), unable to swim and losing some visibility. You switched to light armour? Good, you move fast, you can evade better, can swim, have all visibility...but have little protection. You use that Great two-handed sword? Very nice, it delivers mortal blows to enemy, but weapon attack speed is slow. You are using two swords? yes, very frequent attacks, you may even block incoming attack with one weapon...but you are likely to miss some blows. If you use bow, you are ok for ranged attacks...beware of melee ones.
There would be weather changes, seasons and all of this would affect player. If you go through snow, you cannot run quickly. If you see footsteps, you may track your enemy...and so can it track you. Forest in summer is nice to hide from that monster...but monster may wait in ambush for you. Got struck with lightining? Well, you are dead no matter how heavy equipped you are.
Fighting would be tab-targetted. My game would please both solo and group players. Each quest can be soloed, one way or another. There would be as ltitle mazes and riddles as possible. If you need to go and kill, you may go straight and kill. Or you may take that little way through mountains and sharpshoot from safety. Or maybe hire some mercenaries to go, kill and die. Each dungeon would be clearly defined: this is group-only content, monsters are really hard. If you are in group, you receive more xp. The harder, the more xp, the better rewards. Hard to kill monster means nice reward/loot.
Crafting: all the good equipment is crafted by players, not looted/bartered. Some recipes are purchasable from trainers, other may be looted 9with really realistic chance of getting it). Each item is customizable to change status. Dislike +1 might and want +1 Vitality? ok, use ingredients A, B, Z, X to change. Auction house would have special function to make orders. You pick an item, enter desired number and amount you are willing to pay - other player gives item, receives coin.
Housing: another good topic. Free players rend houses (Lotro model). You rend plot of land, you get either standard house or blueprints of it. If you choose blueprints - ok, you may build it solo or allocate some coin for other crafters to get xp and coin. If you build, you may get some patterns to change your house. Paying customers may purchase land and buold almost anything they wish - once again, solo or not. House has enough "hooks" to show your shinies or add crafting facilities or just make a 5-floor maze.Of course, game shops offers lots of nice housing items (for the low 1.99$...).
That ends my ranting.