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This is purely my opinion; but I am about to list the features from other games that I would like to see in my ideal mmo. These are the features that I think are the best I have seen in the genre: -
For me WOW vanilla had the levelling arc just right. That said I like that GW1 could be played for huge periods of time at the level cap without the enjoyment diminishing one iota. In reality my preference would probably be for a skill based system like Eve/ TSW.
I also want to see alternative advancement (outside of traditional levels) which imo has never been utilised as fully as it could be; but examples would include elites skills/ exploration/ aesthetic items as per GW1 and vehicle races/ time trials etc. as per Defiance.
No mmo's have really got this right for me. I would like to see something like Skyrim; large, open and persistent (as far as the tech will allow). EQ 2 and WOW vanilla probably came closest to creating a populated open world.
I dislike excessive use of fast travel as it gives me a real feeling of disconnect with the world.
DDO hands down for this. Dungeons with traps/ secret areas/ puzzles.
Defiance got a lot wrong but the combat is superb. Failing that something a little like DCUO.
In terms of skill trees I think that PoE and TSW got this bang on; they both had plenty of options. However, I also liked the hotbar limitations in GW1. I also think that some form of specialization (whether the trinity or another alternative) is necessary; people need a purpose within a group rather than everyone being a Jack-of-all, master-of-none.
In terms of character aesthetics I simply want plenty of options and cosmetic slots. I dislike any game that heavily limits my character's appearance or clothing.
I am more interested in having a world to play in than a trail of breadcrumbs to follow through a strictly prescribed series of cutscenes. Again, no mmo has really got this right for me. Scripted stories are necessary but the removal of any freedom in terms of the order in which a player experiences a game is detrimental. Again I would like to see something akin to Skyrim.
In terms of lore/ setting I dislike the excessive use of magic prevalent in most mmo's; it is lazy game design as it is too often used as a substitute for any intelligent exposition.
That's it for the moment. Any thoughts?