Many good people in this thread have said, “I don’t think anyone can truly know” or something along those lines. I agree. There are so many variables and differences possible in an mmo that it’s impossible to say overall. In hindsight I could have worded the title a little different. I guess what would make the greatest mmo, to you.
There will never be an MMO that could be called the greatest ever, as MMO players, as a collective, can not agree on what would make an MMO the greatest ever.
Just as an example, in my opinion, SWG: An Empire Divided became the greatest MMORPG ever when they added the Jump to Lightspeed expansion.
Not everyone who frequents this site, never mind everyone that plays MMOs, would agree.
I have been thinking about this for a number of years as I continue to enjoyably design an mmo. It seems to be greed is one of the big issues, IMO. Not the only one but businesses need to make money, just some seem to be going too far. Unfortnetly it’s seems designers and investors are just there for the money first, quick cash or return. Reeling in the whales in this age of F2P > P2W.
The greatest MMO, sandbox, whatever, is out there currently but just can’t get enough traction due to upfront costs it seems. Then getting that money means more voices tainting the final product, unfortunately.
Crowdfunding seems to be the way but then all of the people investing get impatient. That is understandable because hard earned money has been spent and they/we want something to play. I just think the greatest game, mmo is yet to come. There is a chance it will reach fruition.
Okay, a lot of good points so far. I have tried to research just about every aspect of games, what makes games fun, why games have failed etc. A couple people mentioned market research/data and I agree there completely. That is a juggernaut of a task but personally I find that exhilarating because I’m learning and adding to my design.
KEY THINGS so far.
I feel are needed, no particular order.
1. Sense of accomplishment.
Feeling like you did something worthwhile and enjoyed what you did. Whether playing for 10min or 10hours.
2. Variety that makes (in game) sense.
Multiple activities and tasks that aren’t simply smashed into the game to fill it out. Things that naturally interact and work with each other. (Farmer gathers high quality worms and can sell to players who fish > Then fishers trade their catch to a chef > Lumberjack consumes cooked fish meal to increase endurance when chopping wood > Crafter makes fishing pole from wood for that fisher.)
3. Unforced PvP
Open world is all PvE, with the environment providing the challenge. PvP could happen if players want to duel, also in Arenas.
4. (Crazy idea) No Global Chat (At least easily turned off chat channel). My original thought was that doing this would foster a sort of camaraderie by localizing play. Upon further reflection just simply doing this is not the best idea but I’ll revisit it.