Multi layered MMOs, its something that has been on my mind for quite some time. Currently we have mostly MMO with different sections. A good example is Gw2, where there is almost no synergy between the different parts (PVE, WvWvW, competitive PvP, dungeons, minigames, etc etc).
In my vision the future of the MMO is a world consisting of multiple layers that all have impact on each other.
It starts all out with basic PvE adventuring, but these adventures and quests give players choices, and based on all these actual choices, players build NPC factions. Part of the PvE world becomes friendly to them, and part of the world turns against them.
There are not only PvE factions, but also PvP factions ( much more then 3) which players can join based on their actions in PvE. Actions in PvP also have impact on the PvE factions of your game These PvP factions are pre created but they are player ruled.
The PvP factions are ruled by players, there is a political system in place, political actions have roots in both PvE and PvP. Members of a PvP faction can for example do quests and such and with those quests they gain alliance with PvE factions. based on that alliance they can call on those factions if there is need in a PvP setting..
The PvP world is huge, much larger then cyrodill currently in ESO, and all PvP factions fight with some of the PvE factions for control of an area... The leaders of a PvP faction have access to the macro game, in which they control their factions NPCs much like you would control an RTS game. Other players would be part of that area as normal players with normal actions. The combination of these three parts should make for some very interesting player generated content..
Next to that there should be a creation tool, that allows players to create their own content, they could add simple things like dungeons to their alliance PvP factions, housing, but also entire adventuring zones and dungeons for PvE.
The housing system should be the base of the social interaction, there should be reasons for players to visit other players homes. Which could be as simple as a mini game, or a dungeon below a house, or just a dance party or a local shop. Houses could grow into castles with lots and lots of NPCs, these NPCs would be the people you met on your adventures. The houses would be in a neutral area, without PvP. But, people could challenge others for a PvP fight, which would place the houses of all the challengers in 2 little villages (or more) in an instanced area and they could fight each other and each others NPC,s in a PvP setting.. Until there is a winner..
By now you must have the idea.... Multiple layers, all influencing each other. Still a large quest based PvE part, where adventuring pays off... But also a more open world with players creating their own content... And a deep social experience with much of the stuff we know from 2ndlife... And all these different layers are somehow interconnected with each other. If i take an action in place A, it has consequences elsewhere..
Its time, they start building worlds instead of games... Still an MMORPG, but with enough to give everyone his own flavor, and enough strings for players to pull to have an actual impact on the world.
(Please refrain from shooting me for my my bad English grammar, but i am not natively speaking)