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I have been a long time fan of PnP games. I own a lot of them, including Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Legend of the Five Rings, and even Steve Jackson's TOON as well as some other minor ones (like Outbreak Undead: a Zombie Survival Simulation). I have also enjoyed some of D&D based games like Neverwinter Nights which I feel captured some of the better elements of PnP (Character Creation). However, I do not often play PnP games due to the fact it is very difficult to get a good group together, takes an enormous amount of time to play each session, some games can get bogged down very easily in overly complex rules or dice rollling, the fun is mostly based on the people you're with, and preparing a session or story as a DM is an incredible task that requires a lot of responsibility which is often completely in vain due to the alternative paths the players take the storyline.
PnP games are nowhere near as easy to play or prepare for than a video game. Granted that there are increased difficulties in MMO or online video gaming. Getting a good group together or avoiding people who ruin the games is infinitely more difficult online among trolls and children (or man-childs). Many believe that it is a feature of DDO to ruin quests for new players (or new rogues specialized in perception) by declaring where any and all traps are- on a perceptionless mage or fighter. It wasn't uncommon for someone like myself to find the best entertainment in Everquest 1 by training a large group of mobs to a heavily populated entrance, to zone out and back in to see all the grief and corpses created.
Still... Everquest 1 is often argued as a game which brought a "PnP feel" to video games. DDO does a nice job with some quests and the DM's narrative. While the fun of it all is arguable, I believe that the "adventure" of Everquest 1 and the "small story" in the DDO quests are good attempts at bringing in a PnP feel to video games. I certainly love the character creation and "adventure" in PnP games. The freedom, the "dynamic content", the fun of it all. Yet I despise a significant more number of responsibilities PnP create which video games instantly solve for everyone.
If you don't care for PnP games, then take my definition of "PnP 'feel'" as something closer to "adventure". The fun of THE HOBBIT- a small adventure of a small group of people, as opposed to LOTR which is an epic adventure of armies fighting massive battles (pointless MMO PvP anyone?). Perhaps the focus less on the battles of Middle Earth and the more on the small adventure of Frodo & Sam or Merry & Pippin. "Adventure" from books, as opposed to repetitive grinding and treadmill advancement in MMORPGs.
The question remains... how would YOU implement PnP adventure, or a PnP "feel" to a video game?
MMO or simply multiplayer- it doesn't matter. Turn based, real time, WoW-like, UO/NWN isometric view- it is up to you. What "features", what type of gameplay, what style of game design, would encourage more "adventure" and less "grind"?
I would prefer to stay away from suggesting player-created content, unless the game was designed to include a very hefty content creation toolset or encouraged content construction (as opposed to content creation) similar to that of making your on dungeons in DUNGEON KEEPER, instead of making your entire own MOD in "Half Life". The reason I want to stay away from user generated content, is because it tends to be crappily made content or unfinished content with very little quality content. The discussion is geared more towards the developer providing the content, even if in a dynamic way (or not).