In prior posts I've outlined some of what a perfect 24/7 offline advancement sandbox MMORPG would contain. Two essential commodities were discussed; character and guild progression. One of the interesting ramifications of having offline character and guild advancement is that "how much time a player can be online" becomes a very small consideration when it comes to looking for guild members, since guildies can advance whether the player is live or not, and thus their characters can develop in-game requirements ncessary for the guild to advance.
One can easily see that this changes the dynamic of how members are cultivated by guilds; the question no longer becomes how much time can the player spend in live guild activities (for most guilds) but rather how much of their 24/7 advancement time are they willing to commit towards guild goals?
This brings up a very pertinent issue: how many characters should the player be able to have advancing at the same time? In Alganon, for example, you can only have one of your characters advancing offline at a time. My question is: why? If it is fun to have one character advancing offline, wouldn't it be even more fun to have two or three?
Of course, some limit needs to be set or a player could simply form their own super-mega guild just by inviting all of his or her own characters and setting their advancements in accordance with the goals of the guild. I suggest that a limit of three characters would be a good balance; it makes decisions about what to do with each character very meaningful, but still allows for some great diversification. When joining a guild, a player can bring all three of his characters to contribute, or just one or two, while perhaps joining another guild with his remaining characters.
This makes every player, no matter how casually they play, a valuable member for any guild. This can give the player the satisfying sense that they are contributing not only to their personal character advancement, but also to the advancement of the guild they have become a part of, even when they are offline, resolving the conflict between having a full real life, but wanting to advance and contribute in the MMORPG world. One of the problems I faced as a casual gamer was that I didn't feel like a valuable member of any guild because I couldn't really contribute much in the way of gameplay; with offline advancement that is also tied to guild advancement, this problem is solved.
So, consider the fun and joy of being able to not only manage the 24/7 advancement of one character, but of three, and being able to meaningfully contribute to the advancment of any guild you become a member of. Or, even if being in a guild isn't your thing, imagine the potential strategy involved in coordinating the advancements of three characters towards your overall in-game goals.