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AnimeWill MMO Reviews and Opinions

Whether you care what I think or not. Here is my view on the world of MMORPG's.

Author: gom276

Where do MMO's go from here?

Posted by gom276 Wednesday December 2 2009 at 7:49AM
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I saw some recent news that China is looking to take more than 50% of the MMO game market in the next year.  This is mostly due to the fact that a large portion of their population play MMO's on a daily basis and it doesn't hurt they also have one of the largest populations on the planet.

We are also seeing a large number of eastern MMO companies that starting to out pace western MMO companies in the frequency of their releases and the quality as well.  Games like AION, Blade & Soul, TERA and many others which have a much higher production quality as well as following the pay to play business model.  These companies are starting to make in roads into the western market and with the success (marginal or otherwise) of AION there is a very good possibility we may see more and more MMO games coming from eastern companies.

Could all of this signal a shift in development and investment to eastern game companies to develop for Asian market's first, and then release in western market later.   With the obvious gap between the graphics quality of eastern games and western titles becoming more and more apparent as titles like Champions, Star Wars: ToR which are choosing a more stylized art style that has been met with mixed reviews in the west and seems to have little appeal to the eastern market's where graphics play a much larger role in game play.  And where there is much more money to be had.  Could we see a shift where publishers start to push for western developers to focus on eastern markets primarily with the western market being an after thought.

With very few western companies dipping their toe's into the free to play MMO business model which is dominated by the eastern developers so far.  Can western Companies even compete or will they find themselves catering a niche market of western players.  As the eastern developers continue to improve the quality of the free to play games and the frequency of new content being delivered.  Can Western companies which have been focused so heavily on the lay to play model be losing out on a larger user base of casual game players who may not have enough money for a monthly fee but who may be willing to spend a few buck's here and there for some nice experience potions or a new fancy outfit.

Even Blizzard which has seen it's user base in Asia grow much larger than is western market has started to shift focus to asia.  Even going as far as beta testing new games like star craft 2 in Korea and China before launching to western markets.  With the biggest MMO player starting to shift focus to eastern markets and it's player base.  How long will it be before we sit idly by drooling over new titles that are already released in eastern market's while we wait for the western version.

Personally though I like the eastern art style a bit more than the cartoon or comic book stylized cell shading that has become almost standard for western games.  I prefer the hyper realism of eastern titles and with the improvements that are being made to bring eastern games to western markets I am more happy than worried.  But with the shift to eastern market's I am concerned that I may see eastern market's get the new games long before I can sink my teeth into them.  Could eastern market's response to MMO game play change the dynamic enough that western companies start to base game play decisions on eastern market focus groups and less on western player want's.

Here is hoping that as the eastern market keep's growing and outpaces western user base that us western players do not end up marginalized and treated as second class gamers.

Where do MMO's go from here?

Posted by gom276 Wednesday December 2 2009 at 7:49AM
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I saw some recent news that China is looking to take more than 50% of the MMO game market in the next year.  This is mostly due to the fact that a large portion of their population play MMO's on a daily basis and it doesn't hurt they also have one of the largest populations on the planet.

We are also seeing a large number of eastern MMO companies that starting to out pace western MMO companies in the frequency of their releases and the quality as well.  Games like AION, Blade & Soul, TERA and many others which have a much higher production quality as well as following the pay to play business model.  These companies are starting to make in roads into the western market and with the success (marginal or otherwise) of AION there is a very good possibility we may see more and more MMO games coming from eastern companies.

Could all of this signal a shift in development and investment to eastern game companies to develop for Asian market's first, and then release in western market later.   With the obvious gap between the graphics quality of eastern games and western titles becoming more and more apparent as titles like Champions, Star Wars: ToR which are choosing a more stylized art style that has been met with mixed reviews in the west and seems to have little appeal to the eastern market's where graphics play a much larger role in game play.  And where there is much more money to be had.  Could we see a shift where publishers start to push for western developers to focus on eastern markets primarily with the western market being an after thought.

With very few western companies dipping their toe's into the free to play MMO business model which is dominated by the eastern developers so far.  Can western Companies even compete or will they find themselves catering a niche market of western players.  As the eastern developers continue to improve the quality of the free to play games and the frequency of new content being delivered.  Can Western copanies which have been focused so heavily on the lay to play model be losing out on a larger user base of casual game players who may not have enough money for a monthly fee but who may be willing to spend a few buck's here and there for some nice experience potions or a new fancy outfit.

Even Blizzard which has seen it's user base in Asia grow much larger than is western market has started to shift focus to asia.  Even going as far as beta testing new games like star craft 2 in Korea and China before launching to western markets.  With the biggest MMO player starting to shift focus to eastern markets and it's player base.  How long will it be before we sit idly by drooling over new titles that are already released in eastern market's while we wait for the western version.

Personally though I like the eastern art style a bit more than the cartoon or comic book stylized cell shading that has become almost standard for western games.  I prefer the hyper realism of eastern titles and with the improvements that are being made to bring eastern games to western markets I am more happy than worried.  But with the shift to eastern market's I am concerned that I may see eastern market's get the new games long before I can sink my teeth into them.  Could eastern market's response to MMO game play change the dynamic enough that western companies start to base game play decisions on eastern market focus groups and less on western player want's.

Here is hoping that as the eastern market keep's growing and outpaces western user base that us western players do not end up marginalized and treated as second class gamers.

What is a "true" sandbox MMO?

Posted by gom276 Sunday January 25 2009 at 8:42PM
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As the title says. What does a sandbox game mean to you?

The closest I have come to the idea of what a true sandbox MMO would look like and function like was a MMO I played a while back called Ryzom. When I think of sandbox MMO this is what I think of. Which is a world where nearly all players could create their own quests and share them with the world. It was all done through instancing and event planning tools. But the game allowed users to create unique quest lines and guild based lore questing.

This to me is true sandbox. Unless a MMO gives you the tools to create your own quests and lore it will never be considered a sandbox MMO. Until I see a MOO with a Halo 3 FORGE based system that lets me create a instanced dungeon or overland quest with mob spawns and quest givers and unique rewards. I will never consider it a sandbox MMO. Instead today's genre of so called sandbox MMO's are more fitting of the title of "museum" MMO's.

Instead of "sandbox" MMO's like Darkfall should be called museum style games where while you can explore and make your own path there is not really much to do. Quests are still instituted and controlled by the game creators and users are forced to use archaic systems like private chat to setup guild events or player events using message boards. It's weak and tired to call anything that is simply an open world a sandbox.

Unless you can shape the world and create your own unique story and share it with everyone.  It's still just a boring old "museum" or "theme park" MMORPG.

Here's hoping the gaming industry try's it's hand at opening up the world to more true sandbox MMO's with free and open use by gamers for creating user generated content to build upon the developers created world.

Warhammer as it stands today.

Posted by gom276 Wednesday October 29 2008 at 11:46AM
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So warhammer was not as much of a let down as AoC, however it does seem to have a curve that simply makes the game feel boring as you go.  I find myself not making time to play it.  And when I do have time I tend to gravitate to more thought provoking or challenging games.  Scenarios were fun at because they were new but as each side has learned tactics for guaranteed wins.  It's just not that interesting.  The PVE elements which i warned were not up to snuff never came about.  The story and lore elements were fluff and nothing more.  They spent so much time perfect balance and PvP they forgot to make the game meaningful.  Most people are not leaving due to a lack of content or lack of quality its a lack of purpose and replayability.  With AoC people left because they were angry that a good game was poorly managed.  With warhammer they are leaving cause they are simply bored.

While I have not left and still level my characters its more of a "what the hell I got nothing better to do." moment then a "sorry honey go to bed without me I want to stay up and play a little more."  If there was something anything that put some meaning behind anything you do it would feel like I am accomplishing something.  As is you gain a level go to the next area and grind that area and so on.  The world is so linear its almost suffocating.  I want to explore and go to places far off the beaten trail.  But if you try you end up finding invisible walls and water that apparently can steal your breath and kill you in seconds.  Whats the point of creating a virtual world that forces you along a set path.  There is nothing story wise to push me to the next tier or to go to and explore other zones the only motivating factor is to reach the level cap.

I wanted more of a story this is a great IP and deserves better attention to the lore.  The PvP is to repetitive and often you feel like it's all pointless.  Perhaps if they set the keeps to become challenged on a timer that once captured its yours for 9 hours or something then the other faction has a chnace to cap it again.  But as is you log off after fighting back the order and decide it's time to go to bed.  Only to wake up and find you have to do it all over again.  That gets really old really quickly.

Anyways that's my peace said.  Lets hope for AoC and War to improve and become the games they should have been from the start.

T4 and general WAR beta journal

Posted by gom276 Sunday August 24 2008 at 12:09PM
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I started playing WAR beta back during closed beta a few weeks ago when they opened up tier 4 for us to play in.  Now I started in T4 with a template that put me at 31 with some blue and green gear.  But since I was brand new I had a massive learning curve.  But I was eventually able to figure out a few classes and play.  My concern is that at this stage the PvE end game is severely lacking.   They expect everyone will be PVP by this point and have little to no PvE end game content.  The T4 zones are small and pretty much force you into PVP areas.  Now I can PvP with the semi-best but I am more of a quest reader and lore lover.  PVP offers little to none of that.

The PVP end game looks interesting and I did participate in some of the huge siege events.  The comments on the forums about concerns related to guilds ruling all PVP content was absolutely correct.  There is no possible way for PUG to jump in and participate effectively in end game PvP.  And guild's are going to need to be massive due to the size and complexity of end game PvP events.  Scenarios will be farmed and owned by the best guilds and I expect this will lead to huge amounts of crying and pouting by lesser guilds begging for a chance or ranking system to allow them a fair shot at content.

as for PQ's they are a great new addition that is tantamount to a public raid.  The mechanic is easy to understand if you can read the pop-ups quickly enough before they disappear.  But you are ranked on contribution.  Meaning damage or healing done.  This rates you as gold, silver or bronze.  Depending on your standing you get a bonus to your roll for a bag from the giant glowing chest.  Depending on your roll also depends what kind of bag you get.  Some PQ's have as few as 3 bags other have 5 or more.  This limits the opportunity for loot as a participant.  And offers a bit of an advantage for healers and high dps classes.  But then the random aspect can also let the yahoo that just walked in during the end of the second phase to get a fair shot at the loot also.

This system will lead the massive amounts of whining and crying about fairness and when the guilds start forming and farming these PQ's there will be even more whining and crying.  And lots of bad blood between guilds as they fight for the content.  Especially at end game when there are fewer choices and better drops.

For the solo player this game will be horribly difficult to play.  The good news is the open group mechanic if used by the multitudes will be nice for most.  It allows anyone in the area to join your group just by opening a little ui interface that lists all the open groups and what they are doing with a join button next to it.  Click and bam your in the group.  This will make PUG's a staple of WAR with it's ease of use and intuitive design.

While the UI is not revolutionary and you will recognize a lot of things from your favorite other games, it borrows only some of the more popular and welcome ones.  There is next to nothing bad to say about the UI and its ability to be customized and fine tuned.  UI modders are going to love the ease with which they are able to integrate their ideas.  Not that you will need the mods, as the UI itself is very intuitive and puts just about everything you could want right there for you.

The advancement system is also nothing new borrowing from other games of this genre there are the traits and tree's to choose from as you level you unlock points to put into different trees to power up your abilities and unlock new ones.  There are epic feats you can unlock using your renown points from PVP to further expand your abilities.  It seems that most of the end game will be spent grinding to unlock all the feats and abilities available for your class and race.

The gear of WAR is kind of bland with the mediocre (as of beta worse than WoW) graphics, most of the stats are geared towards PvP even from questing.  There is very little difference in the look and design of gear until you start getting PvP gear and then most PvP gear looks the same for your class.  Now I am sure this is mostly due to lore constraints not having certain classes look to diff then what lore would allow.  and to offset this WAR has a dye function that will allow you to dye your gear to offer some semblance of individuality.  Think a lot like gears of war with everyone having the best PvP gear and simply dying it many different shades and colors.

For the most part the PvP system is as close to perfect as any game on the market, it offers a little of something for everyone with RvR and scenarios with even open world PvP in certain zones.  To limit ganking in these zones they even have a fail safe that will turn anyone entering these zones and stays long enough, a chicken.  With next to no health they will become easy targets.  I expect to see many movies of the chicken run through these zones.

For all that is great and polished on the PvP side there are so many unfinished and omissions in PvE, as many have stated PvE feels slapped on as an after thought which if your making a PvP game does not seem to unrealistic.  As an option to replace WoW I think not.  The PvE feels so unfinished that many coming from other games to try something new and not for the PvP. (Which for you PvP'ers are the majority of the player base of MMO's.)  Will not find enough polished content to keep you there long.  I am sure they will fall back to other games to get their PvE fix. 

to sum up while WAR is not the second coming of WoW it will be a great game for PvP'ers there is a lot of great PvP content and it is engaging enough to keep them satisfied for a long time.  The PvE side is unpolished and often slapped together as a way station to end game PvP.  The game often makes you feel pushed to PvP and limits your options for PvE to encourage you to do so.

The game may convert some non-PvP players to start but for the lore and PvE crowd you wont find your fix here.

Osmosis Jones MMO???

Posted by gom276 Monday April 28 2008 at 7:33AM
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Another idea for the public domain, that I thought was worthy of posting in hopes someone picks it up if they haven't already.

  The idea I was having is why haven't we seen an biology MMO, OK here is the premise.  Think, "Osmosis Jones"  meets MMO.  In other words.  And MMO that takes place in the human body.  Imagine the game based on the systems and functions of the body.  Opposing factions virus and bacteria Vs. the many bodily systems.  Heck what if the viruses could actually cause the body to die.  Or the bodily systems force the viruses out completely.  Think of bodies parts as realms and pvp war happening in them.  With a rolling number of realms.  Each time the viruses win that number dwindles and the viruses gain an advantage the more realms the body system force the viruses out a new realm is created.  Once all the realms are destroyed the body dies.

When it dies the bodily system faction receives a penalty and the viruses gain a bonus.  And they start anew with the next human.  Heck you could even base it on a family that all the systems must work together to protect.  So say you have a husband and wife, with a few kids.  The viruses and bacteria can wipe out the whole family if they are strong enough.

Then you move on to neighbors and so forth until you have a full blown plague on your hands.  Mwahaha!!  Oh wait sorry.  I mean kill those nasty bugs, you white blood cells!

which leads me to classes... You could have body systems be everything from white blood cells, red cells, histamine and other immune type components.  Pardon my lack of biological awareness.  But I do know there are enough things going on in us that if your creative you could create a whole class system.  Such as kidney cells could be your crowd control, while white blood cells would be your tank obviously.  Red blood cells could be your crowd control, of course brain cells your mage type class.  And bowel cells your rogue class.  LOL...  that would be classic.  But you get the idea.

For viruses you could have common cold be your tank class, back up with many of the other deadly viruses.  The combat system could be creative using anti-bodies and enzymes as your ammunition or spell type casting.  For melee combat you could have physical transformation such as creating sword and shields out of hands.  As you grow and develop you gains strength and learn new ways to protect or destroy the body you live in currently.

For the PVE side I would imagine each cells starting in their respective body system and adventuring across the whole body.  If you can imagine the kidneys as massive maps and such.  You could have epic raids for both factions as well as faction specific raids.  Imagine fighting an Ebola infection in the bowels.  Or viruses fighting a flu shot.  I can imagine the whole story line, you could maybe even start this out as the body is a baby.  And as she/he continue to grow and change so does the game world.  And the epic PVP battles shape the way he/she grows up.  Maybe instead of killing the body you could just end up in the hospital with that organs PVE self being now accessible by the opposing faction.  Gaining access to raids and PVE content.  So in essence you could lose the kidneys to infection.  And kidney cells would be left without a home.  And new kidney cells would be forced to start somewhere else.

Anyways that's the general idea.  I sure hope someone picks this up.  I just think as we are all tired of playing the same type games why not something completely original?  What do we think?  Good idea? Or crap?... that's an aspect of the game that should be interesting.

Let me know what you think.

When will we get the "World" we were promised?

Posted by gom276 Saturday April 26 2008 at 11:04AM
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I don't know about you but for me I am still waiting for a true virtual world.  We have lots of "maps" but nothing that I would consider a whole world.  I want something on a planetary scale.  Meaning I want something that can take me months to traverse in game.  I want something that requires player expansion and development.  I want to explore lands unknown to other players and find hidden quests and slay unique beasts before anyone else.  Discover lost ruins and dig to find new treasures.  I want to tame beasts and use them to help me carry my loots.  I want to discover new villages and tribes yet to be found by anyone.  I want my actions and interactions to change how they treat anyone else who finds them.  I want a world where my actions and exploration affect the way the world develops.  I want a massive world, a world that could take years to explore and discover every secret.  And as the world develops I want opportunities to explore new worlds through space exploration.  I want to defend earth's space fleets from alien attacks and make first contact with alien races not yet discovered.  I want all of this.  And I wanted it yesterday.

I think we as gamers have become complacent.  We have been promised these things so many times and have been disappointed just as many along the way.  We no longer dream for a dream knowing we will never get what we truly want.  Because the MMO world has become commercialized.  WoW's success and the flood of Asian titled games has burdened the market to such a point that the idea of catering to a select hardcore group of gamers is simply. "Not as profitable." so we are tossed aside and told just go with the flow. 

I am tired of playing kiddie games that are about expanding consumer base than about creating a lasting product and gamer confidence.  I am tired of playing games that are poor ports of Asian titles.  Trying to flood a new market.  Since their market was already to flooded.

I want companies to care what I think, and developers who fight for what they believe.  I want publishing companies to leave development houses to create the game they want.  I want all these things... and yet I know I may never get it.  WoW's success has doomed all games to mediocrity as a standard.  Forever will it be about the number of subscribers instead of about the most dedicated.

I have a dream and it is all those things and so much more.  I hope many of you share my dream then, maybe someday it will come true.

Until then "Anyone wanna raid Sunwell... Again?"

Sociology of MMO Players And Those Who Wish To Stop Us.

Posted by gom276 Friday April 18 2008 at 6:26PM
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As a gamer I must say I am sick and tired of special groups, political figures and media outlets of trying to paint gamers as a sociology experiment.  Why do we play?  What drives us to play?  Why are we drawn to violent and demeaning games?  Does playing them make us demean and be violent with others?  All these ridiculous questions take away from us our sense of joy from playing games that allow us to simply enjoy interacting with our imaginations.   Truly gaming is nothing more than medium that allows us gamers to simply live out our imaginations. 

We dream of running through ancient forests slaying monsters, rescuing the maiden or ruling the world.  If players desire somewhere in their psyche to steal cars and beat up hookers, or join with 24 friends to bring down the evil ruler of the underworld.  Why do we have to answer for something as personal as our imaginations and fantasies.  No one questions what books we read or movies we watch and why we do so.  It's a personal decision based on a personal desires and creative outlets. 

So why do we as gamers get picked on the most.  I think it is because unlike generations before us who could only read or watch their fantasies in a book or in a movie.  Today we can live out those dreams and fantasies like never before.  We are not watching James Dean be a rebel instead we can log into our favorite MMO and be a rebel.  Running around "ganking" people just because we can. 

For those generations who did not have this ability.  They feel it is too self indulgent.  And that we can not understand how it will affect us and our children.  Just as their parents felt about books and movies of their generation.  In this age of increased realism and the endeavour to garner more of the market share of the now billion dollar gaming industry that is larger and pulls in more money than Hollywood.  Publishers must reach deeper into our psyches and pull out some of the most controversial fantasies and imaginative ideas to create controversial products to get their piece of that money pie.

And any opportunity for us to live out a new dream or fantasy through new realism, beautiful art styles and great graphics, brings us back to play again and again.  They wonder why people become addicted to something as simple as a dream or fantasy.  It's common sense provide someone the ability to live inside their fantasy why would they want to come back to real life.

So does this make it wrong.  Of course not.  Games are nothing more than a new form of media, no different than book, movies or TV.  It is a way to live out our fantasies and dreams and interact with our imaginations, the same way books and TV have done for many generations before us.  Games have done for us and will do for many generations after us.

I think that is why MMO's especially have garnered so much attention since everyone wants to control or limit new forms of media.  From governments to religions and crazy over zealous attorneys with too much time on their hands.  These people are no different then the book burners of old.  And should be treated as such.  They seek to limit your choices and restrict your ability to dream and live out your imaginations in unprecedented ways.  That would never be acceptable in today's world of open media and free expression.  So we need to log out occasionally to make sure they don't get their way or one day we may find our servers shut down and our dreams gone.

Get involved in the groups out to protect our rights and support them.  Don't let the Hillary Clinton's and Jack Thompson's of the world limit your ability to express your self.

Terminator MMO???

Posted by gom276 Wednesday April 16 2008 at 10:13AM
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I know,  "didn't this guy just post another blog a little while ago?"  But when the ideas come I just have to type them out.  So Terminator, one of the best sci-fi titles of all time.  It defined post apocalyptic robot controlled future.  And has the potential to become the sci-fi MMO to rule them all.  So why hasn't anyone made it?  I know SOE back in 2002 had expressed interest in getting right to make the game but I have not heard anything since.  And to be honest I pray they didn't get them since most likely SOE would f*** it up.


So where is it?  I searched the web and only found vague references to people hearing about SOE looking to do it.  Am I the only one that has been waiting for A sci-fi MMO done right.  Tabula Rasa was supposed to fill that void but it is kind of its own class of MMO.  But could you not imagine a terminator MMO, based on post apocalyptic robot controlled planet with humans fighting the machines.


The two factions are machines vs humans, with open world pvp and pve action.  People could play as the robots or the humans.  With humans trying to infiltrate sky net and destroy it.  While robots try to infiltrate human underground and kill its leaders.  I just think if your going to do this you have to have robots faction fighting.  The challenge is machine end game what would they fight?   Raids against human outposts to kill leaders maybe.  While it's obvious who humans are going to raid.


game play could be similar to tabula rasa in third person shooter, or go straight for FPS.  I would expect the game is skill based and not class based.  But it could go either way.  Class based system would also work well.  The franchise has elements of a class based system anyways.  Including pet classes using dogs to fight or control remote machines.


I read the comic books growing up and they were ripe with ideas on how to make this work.  I hope someone out there. (not SOE) decides to pick this up and produce it.  I would imagine if done right with PVP action and ripe PVE game this could be the WOW of sci-fi MMO's.


You could also possibly have terminator units that have been "reprogrammed" by the Resistance as units you could choose.  would be lots of fun I imagine.  however I would hate to be the dev's trying to balance this and still keep it real.  I mean the robots in the movies and comic books were super over powered.  But hey that's half the fun playing as a human.


Now I would say that the franchise lends itself to a more human PVE game but I know that unless there is some kind of PVP half the MMO populations Will condemn it much like they did Tabula Rasa, when it was announced.  Since we should learn from their lessons it would make sense to offer machine play.  Or risk losing appeal to the much wider audience. Plus I just want to play as some bad ass robot.  Bent on wiping out all humanity.

So what do you think?  Doesn't this franchise just scream MMO?

Dragon Riders of Pern - CO-OP MMO

Posted by gom276 Tuesday April 15 2008 at 10:07AM
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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.