OK, so I had this idea last night. There is a great novel series called Dragon Rider of Pern By Anne McCaffery. If you are not familiar with the series and love fantasy you should be ashamed. It's a great series about dragons and humans who work together to stop the silver threads. There is a lot of lore to work with and you could base the MMO in the time of the first landing on the planet when they were creating dragons through genetic research. Before they lost the technology.
Anyways my idea for a co-op MMO is kind of odd and I am sure most people are going to think I am insane and it would never work. But since I am an idea guy I figure put it out here and see what everyone thinks. Now there are quite a lot of co-op games coming out for consoles and I am a big fan of it. I don't have enough friends to do it all the time though. So the idea is to make an MMO that uses co-op.
The idea is that you have two classes, dragons and riders. The system would be skill based not really class based since it is a co-op game though you will need to choose to be a dragon or a rider. During creation you fill out you character sheet. With some options of game play style, preferences for PVP and PVE or role playing. Your character then enters the world and embarks on a mission to find your partner. Now this may be a stretch on the lore since dragons bond with their riders at birth. But my idea is that the riders quest is to seek out their dragon. Once they find their dragon. Which will be a player who's character creation profile matched up with the riders they "bond" Through this bonding they become as if one unit. The dragon and rider can embark on co-op missions together, or they can work on improving their skills solo. But 70% of their skills are only available when they are together as rider and dragon.
Where I see the problem and everyone saying no way this wont work is what if you dragon decides to quit the game or never shows up to play. Then you have a system that would allow dragon or riders to abandon their partner but lose any shared traits or abilities with the old one and start new with a new one. But their individual skills and traits stay the same. I would imagine that when you find a new partner you have to complete a series of quests together in order to establish a new bond.
The other complaint I can see with this game is "What if you have 200 riders and 100 dragons?" You could possibly put some kind of system that monitors the number of each and limits creation based on balance. So you choose your character first then you choose your server. The system sees you want to make a rider and then shows you only servers that need more riders or vice versa for dragons.
The solo game play could allow for temporary pairings so you could group with a non bound dragon but you would not get certain bonuses. But allow people to group to complete missions when their partner is not online.
The game play would consists of PVP and PVE elements for PVP there are many different faction in the pern universe that could be used to fight each other. Or you could re-imagine some. That would allow for dragon battles in the air. This is when I explain how the co-op thing works. During co-op missions with your bound partner the rider gains certain abilities he can use against other dragons and riders. The dragons also gains abilities. The dragons control the flight and the riders perform most of the combat. Dragon abilities include flight maneuvers, blinking, and various other flight, speed, positional and of course dragon breath and melee attacks. The rider casts magic skills and use weapons to attack the opposing riders and dragons. Including melee with lances and swords and ranged attacks as well as magic depending on the skills you have advanced you can be mostly magic or mostly melee/ranged.
When together, either riding or just in range of each other. Each gains bonuses for magic, health and bond skill which the more things you do together increases. As the bond skill advances so do all the bonuses. If you abandon your bound partner in search of a new one you lose part of that skills value. You will then need to complete missions and tasks together to advance the bond skill again.
For PVE there are quite a few missions or events that could be triggered such as thread dropping and having dragons and riders fly out to protect their castles or towns, what would be really neat is depending on how well they do, the town could advance and improve and offer new gear and missions. However if the town is destroyed you lose the gear and special items until you rebuild the town doing solo and co-op quests.
This would in a sense create a dynamic world that would never run out of quests and work to be done. Guilds could establish their own settlements and as they build up their cities and protect them from raiding guilds and thread their cities prosper and they get access to quests only available to guild cities and special guild goods. And battle bonuses when defending. This would lend in some RTS elements such as paying for archers or other resources gathers to defend and build their city.
Now I know this idea is no way a mainstream MMO or designed to be a WoW killer. It's simply an original idea for a game play style to fit into MMO world. I come up with the ideas, either you like them or not. :0 )
For this to work you would need a community that enjoys co-op game play, a love for the lore and patience to work with other people to advance your own character in the world and enjoy everything the game has to offer. I do see where you could end up with a lot of LFD or LFR calls in global chat for those who just are hard to get along with or bad luck of partnering with someone who is.
But ultimately I think for those who love this kind for game play this would be a fun way to experience it in the MMO space.