Before I start I just wanted to say that this list isn't in any special order and there are tons of things I'd also want in my ideal MMO that are not on the list. Lastly... I hate writing sober :\ here we go!
Bring in the RPG
It is the age of the “MMO” where the emphasis is on just being able to play with a people, actions and decisions of player’s rarely if at all affect other players and they definitely don’t affect the environment, NPC’s, landscapes(Terrain, weather etc…) or the overall story. I would like to interact with my environment, including other players, in a meaningful way not just teaming up to raid or complete quests. This isn’t necessarily a “sandbox” only element; RPG’ness could be introduced into “theme park” games by simply increasing the number of available options. Increasing the number of fun activities, crafting options, housing generally all the things they already offer, just multiply them a few times. I do think it’s hard to have RPG elements without a degree of sandboxing but it’s doable, immersion isn’t specific to a genre.
NPC Servants and Slaves
I don’t think slavery IRL is a good idea or morally acceptable but in an MMO… YES, ABSOLUETELY! All these NPC’s are standing around, virtually all of them are unkillable, most of them are unlikeable and since we haven’t invented true A.I. none of them have personalities. My point is, let’s start making them useful and help enhance our gameplay experience, enslave them! In most MMO’s I become decently wealthy, it’s much easier then in real life. Anyhow, bar giving away my gold or spending it on stuff I never actually want I’d love to buy some NPC slaves or hire servants, mercenaries, guards, whatever whoever, let’s just put them to work! How many times to you wish that your rank / heroic title came with some of the perks, like being able to just roll up on an NPC and start giving orders or getting special treatment.
It is highly underrated and usually never done right but I’d like to see them get it right. Possibly mutilation could accompany this feature for the more brave of heart. It’s usually from 1 extreme to another, you die when your health hits 0 and that’s it, or the process is so difficult to achieve it’s never actually a threat. Somewhere in the middle of that lies the answer.. I suspect
Animated Adult Entertainment
Seriously, you can get married in a ton of MMO’s but you can never get it on, then again, even if you could most MMO’s don’t have the polygon count for it. Personally I’d probably never get around to using this feature, I just go get my gf and get it on, but still I’d like to know it’s possible. Walking into a tavern and seeing a NPC bar wench or a player “romancing” another player would add to immersion, that and “real” alcohol effects. Your character is going at it in combat and BOOM! Your sword flies out of your hand because you’re wasted. Anyway this feature combined with request number 2 could really make for an morally deprived MMO setting… :D
Mostly we get a fantasy setting so I’ll start with that first. In fantasy we get mounts and magic. Player Airships are a super rarity, a functional blink is absent and teleporting is a pretty lame loading screen. The closest I’ve seen to a working teleport and decent flying / levitate is in City of Heroes and it left something to be desired. What I’d love to see are better teleporting abilities with more options and control, 1 and 2 way portals that can be made permanent but can also be dispelled. Levitating and flying are not options that can be used in combat if at all, so having that actually work would be cool. Different mounts are basically different skins on the same creature, it would be awesome for different mounts to be… different. Aion had wings but those were so limited and aerial combat was the same as underwater combat in other games, it wasn’t actually designed for the air. The trend here is that I’d just like to see more with more options. In sci-fi games my biggest gripe is the lack of surface to air to orbit to space travel. If you have spaceships in a game, you can bet your ass the ground portion of the game will be lacking, or vice versa, or worse both suck! I’d like to be able to hop inside my ship without becoming my ship, I’d like to walk around and press buttons, sit in the fancy captain’s chair tell my crew to beam up a special rock for study then fly the ship out of orbit into hyperspace and all without having to go into third person view of my ship. Is it too much to ask for a multi-passenger vehicle that doesn’t glue people into the seats but functions like an actual vehicle? Oh yea almost forgot, travelling between alternate planes of existence would be fun too!
Tab targeting is taking a lot of heat, especially since the demo of GW2 but I don’t think tab or twitch makes much of a difference. Really you’re just substituting one set of redundancies for another. Either way combat from a 3rd person observer’s perspective skill looks just as lame, one set of characters beating on another set continuously, or some stun lock happens and you have a one-sided battle. A possible solution is to make parry, counterstrike / counterspell, evasion and grapple part of combat. Making them toggle or even passive combat maneuvers would add some fun to combat, even if it’s only visual and stat based. Mindlessly tapping my keyboard for hours is certainly getting old. Also, alternative combat scenarios would be cool, something like using rope and tying someone up in order to kidnap them, sounds fun right?
Creation & Destruction
I just wanna be able to blow something up for real, and rebuild it if I choose. I’m not picky about it, I’ll take “building” stuff in the form of just having a few placement options. Give me 10 types of walls and I place the one I like wherever I like. Let me modify stuff that exists in the world, let me cut down a tree, let me use actual debris to psychically throw at someone instead of fake rocks / spaceship parts, yes that was a jab at swtor. Not really a complicated desire, I just wanna use my lego’s!
Maybe that’s the most expensive thing to add, it must be, otherwise so many of the animations wouldn’t be identical for different moves. I think it might add quite a bit to immersion because too few animations certainly take away from it. Every time you mount a creature or slash with your weapon or wave goodbye it looks identical. The best example is jump. Jump has to be the lamest ugliest, silliest, least useful, worse animated move in the history of MMO’s. In most MMO’s even IF jump is present it looks retarded, no, it looks atrocious! If someone would add some more animations and fix the major fail that is MMO jump we’d be on our way to at least liking what we see on screen, even if we’re too busy performing our rotations to enjoy it.
Exploration & Weather Effects
Weather is hardly ever a factor in gameplay, most likely because things like exploration have been completely abandoned. I’m not talking about stepping in lava and taking damage, though that should not be forgotten though I’m not sure if people should just be allowed to walk through lava like that lol. It would be nice to have things like wind speed and snow / sleet affect radar and what not, again this only makes a little sense in a game that has a little exploration. Exploration could be a very fun activity, getting and finding equipment, rationing supplies, using a damn torch in a dark underground tomb, all things I would find entertaining. Just some general elements to make immersive environments, it would certainly make mounts a little more useful then most situations. Right now the primary function of a mount is to specifically get you from one quest or raid to another and back to town. I would enjoy riding my mount (properly animated) just looking for nothing, or something, just exploring, climbing a mountain range and using my horse as a pack mule, I dunno damn it!
The last but not list on a long list of things that I decided to make a top 10 of, yep customization. I like to make my rich characters look fancy, at the very very least I don’t want to look like everyone else who has the same class as me. It would be great if I could get further customization, like my weapon and its abilities or the color of my horse or the length of my cape. I feel the more customization the better, this is highly dependent on the world / setting I’m playing in but at this point I just want more then 5 faces to choose from, and maybe some proportional body types, unlike, for instance, World of Warcraft.
I refuse to believe my very small list is outrageous and when MMO budgets start to exceed 200million dollars and comprise of hundreds of people I expect half of this list to be implemented. This isn’t even the hard stuff to figure out like, non-linear leveling aka no more fucking gear grind. I’m not even asking for player generated quests… or am I? Well, someone has a fancy chart with the progression of TV’s over the past years, I’d like MMO’s to progress at that rate too, but for now I’ll settle for a few new clothing items and a servant to dress me.