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Combining elements... text based to anscii based rpg, graphical layouts to step/turn based 3d world, 3d engines to persistent world, intellectual property carry-overs to "niche" titles.
Now we have more graphic improvements, a few twists within old parameters... we're starting to go backwards.
The next mmo "hit" will be a new fusion of mmorpg and the Sims. Each toon would have his own veritable workshop, or store, or hide-out, populated with bot-toons. While they're not adventuring types; they add a new dimension to the "stillness" of city streets, on delivery missions or some social function for the master's current quest. Bot-toons will require maintenance, as the character's propensity to level is mitigated if they're ignored.
Stop paying for "going backwards".