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Ok, we may as well get this out of the way... I'm a grandpa gamer. I remember the good old days when you really only had a choice between UO and EQ until AC came along and made it an MMO threesome. I've gone back recently and replayed both EQ and AC and frankly, I really really enjoyed it. That being said there are issues with the games. They're clunky. The UI's are the gaming equivalent of medieval torture devices. The graphics, while nostalgic, are... well let's just leave it at nostalgic. The learning curves are steep because back when I was your age we were expected to figure it all out for ourselves.
Seriously though, there are some things about these old games that I think are great and would love to see incorporated into a modern MMO. Here is a list of a few of those things:
1. Light sources. Back in the day EQ was DARK. I loved that I needed to carry a torch (candle, wispstone, whatever) to light my way in dark caves. I loved that at night it got dark in an, "OMG I can't see anything!" kind of way (ok maybe Nektulos at night was overdoing it, but still). Yes, it's inconvenient. I know some people only want to play convenient games. Not me. Please Devs... use lighting to inconvenience me. Better yet, use it to add the feeling of danger to your dungeons. Use it to limit my vision in PVP. Use it to scare the crap out of me. No matter how you use it, please, use it.
2. Slower leveling curve. There is no such thing as an artifically slow leveling curve. All leveling curves are artificial regardless of speed. I don't want to rush to the "end game". I want to play a game that is worth lingering over like a good glass of scotch. I want a game I can sip, and every sip from beginning to end is just as wonderful as each of the others. Slower leveling curves make my short term actions feel like they matter more. With a slower leveling curve, that level 10 armor I just crafted might last me 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months rather than 2 hours. Slower leveling curves demand that the game be worth playing for itself rather than for the feeling I get when I level. If the content is compelling, if I'm excited by the prospect of simply playing the game, exploring, crafting, dungeon diving, seeking my next adventure, then a low leveling curve is a wonderful thing. I want a game I'm trying to play rather than a game I'm trying to finish.
3. Relevant crafting. As I mentioned above I think to some extent relevant crafting requires a slower leveling curve. If I craft a piece of level 10 armor and replace it 15 minutes later with a trash drop, that is NOT relevant crafting. If I have to put work into crafting that same piece of level 10 armor and it lasts me a week or two, that is far more relevant. If I can craft a light source to help me through a dark dungeon, that is relevant. If I can experience some kind of epic crafting experience that allows me to imbue an ability of real relevance into my favorite item, that is relevant. There are probably a lot of ways to make crafting relevant and that's all I'm really asking for here. I want to feel like what I just crafted matters. I do NOT want to make 213 steady hauberks of stamina in one sitting and then break them down to make 100 more so that I can get my armor crafting up the extra 50 points it takes to do the same thing with the super steady hauberk of mana retention. Crafting doesn't need to be grindy, it needs to be relevant.
This list comprises the big three for me. There are, of course, other things that I would like to see, like a robust classless character system and the ability for players to create their own quests (within certain parameters). All in all though I think the first 3 things would be a great start to an MMO that I could really enjoy playing for a long time.