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The gaming industry has used the same basic methods for abstracting conflict resolution for so long now that the fundamental gaming aspect has gotten stale. Weapon damage is resolved by random numbers and spell damage with bigger random numbers each whittling away on a target's (both mobs and players) pool of increasing silly HPs. Healers (and potions and regeneration effects) rapidly try to replenish that pool of HPs before the pool reaches 0. Additionally, there are all too many games that bestow Hit Points from items, further increasing the totals of characters and is a root cause of mudflation. At some point, this abstraction will need to evolve; hit points can't be the best (and only) way to simulate the human body.
Hit points abstract a person's ability to continue fighting coupled with defenses. It doesn't abstract pain, nor bruises, nor broken bones, nor cut tissue, nor pulled muscles, nor internal injuries or any other side effect of one object hitting flesh and bone. Hit points are not very good at dealing with lasting effects such as burns or poisons or lack of use. Try throwing a ball with a broken wrist, or kicking a ball with a twisted ankle, you might be able to accomplish the task, but it will not be as sharp or accurate as an unhindered effort. The basic hit point system is now dated and MMORPGs need another way to abstract the human's ability to retain life.
Hit points were used to create a single number in a dice-driven pen-and-paper gaming environment. But with computers, is there really a need to boil everything down to a single number anymore? Why not an alive/dead abstraction with separate pain tolerance levels (abstractions) for each area of the body? Or various, constant pools of health points associated with each hit location? Or fatality percentages for each hit location?
Changes to this basic Hit Point abstraction has ripple effects throughout the entire game system. Combat, natural healing, magical healing, combat magics and other affects use or manipulate these values within the game world. I've tried making several non-HP-based systems. I've not gotten it good enough to be satisfied with, and I've been trying for almost 25 years now.
It's not an easy mechanism to replace, but I think it is time that MMORPGs break its reliance on this RP tradition. And I believe that the next big challenge for MMORPGs is to find a better model for the human body than the Hit Point model.
Your ideas and opinions are welcome.
Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.