In my ideal MMORPG the fights would be like the cave troll fight in the Lord of the Rings film. The question is how.
I think you have to have collision detection on when fighting, switched on automatically when the fight starts and then off after it's over. I think you also need to get away from the tank and spank paradigm to one where a tank can only hold one mob, there's less crowd control available, and the AI cycles through player targets rather than all go for the nearest.
So option A)
Group enters cave, tank pulls,three orcs attack the tank, some CC, DPS attack the mob the tank has targeted, healer heals--blurgh. It's ok and was fun for a long time but nowadays--blurgh.
Group enters cave, three warriors form a line near cave entrance and toughest one pulls somehow, the orc AI cycles through with the toughest one first, toughest one targets and charges the first warrior, 2nd orc goes for one of the flank warriors, 3rd orc goes for the third warrior. Rogue/Ranger slips round the side of the fighting looking to get a rear hit. Cleric focuses on some buff chant to help the warriors. Wizard stands at the back holding the torch.
I'd like the fights to be more melee centric. I'd like there to be far fewer fights but each one to last longer and be more tense and complex. I don't want to see stats that say 20,000 goblins killed. I'd like it if managing to kill three goblins without dying was pretty cool. No hitpoints. It would all revolve around not getting hit so blocking, parrying and dodging would be easier than hitting. If you did get hit you'd then have to get through the armour but armour could be broken. Any kind of wound would be bad news. Stamina would be involved so these longer, slower fights would gradually eat up your stamina. A lot of the fighting would revolve around group tactics.
Most games now have tactics when you fight in the sense that each class has a set of hotkeyed skills/spells and there's choice in how you select them plus it gives a bit more engagement than just hitting auto attack. Personally though I find this means you end up spending the whole fight staring at your hotbar. Somehow your attack choices need to show up in the centre of the screen around the mob you're fighting. Currently I'm thinking along the lines of an attack bar above the mob's head that fills depending on the speed of your weapon and when it's full there's a kind of circle of options displayed around the centre of the mob, one of which you click. A newbie char would maybe only have one option, "strike", while a higher skilled char would have a bunch. Having to click the option would keep you a bit more engaged with the fight while at the same time you'd actually be looking at the mob not at your hotbar. You could have these options only flash on briefly if you wanted a more twitchy game. Similarly when the mob's attack bar filled out they'd use one of their attacks and you'd get a circle of defensive options displayed around the mob to choose from. You'd have to click the defensive option quite fast. Ideally the skill choices would be such that there'd be strategy element in your choice.
Both players and mobs would be "locked on" i.e if a mob charges you they're locked on and you can't move normally except to turn a bit and back up slowly. You have to break the lock to move normally e.g with a shield bash skill or a flash of light spell. Similarly the Ranger seeing an orc heading to the cleric rushes it and locks it. Basically neither a player or a mob can ignore something trying to kill them at close range.
If you got three on you you could back into a corner where only two could attack.
Trying to parry or block an ogre's attack would be pointless, anything that big would just send you flying through the air into the nearest wall. With anything that big it's dodge or die.
AOE damage would effect the party as well.
Range would near a clear path so a wizard *could* stand in the front line with their newbie fireball spell but that would have lots of sharp and pointy downsides so alternatively they could stand at the back holding the torch and powering a flame buff on the sword of one of the warriors.
No healing during the fight. Only afterwards. Or at least the wounded one needs to be sitting / lying and not doing anything while the healer tries to fix them up. In a long fight that might actually be more fun as the healer desperately tries to patch up a fighter to go back into the line.
Writing this has reminded me of playing table top D&D years ago witth the little miniatures so I guess that's sort of what I want in a MMORPG but real-time and with AI mobs. It should feel more physical.