Faceroll 1-9 is our typical MMO hotkey layout and until duel mouse capability is realized hotkeys will continue to be how we manage combat in MMO's. (Aside from the niche market that will be all single mouse controlled combat, those poor souls).
Anyway, hear me out...
In games today we buy our ability, or it's given to us, or we find it either way I'm going to stick with generalizations to make this less wordy.
We buy Slash from our trainer for 5cp. In 5 or 6 level's we get to buy Slash II for 10cp. so on and so forth for the rest of the game.
The only way we are better than every other Slash player on the server is if we get better gear than them. After such amount of time everyone will have that better gear and there really is no saying who's better.
But what if, we can train to be better than others? What if the work we put in actually amounts to us being rewarded with showing that we are better because we worked to be better?
EQ2 went the route of Journeymen, Adept, Expert and Master abilities. However these could, again, all be bought so in reality everyone eventually was going to have all Master level abilities.
WoW, from what I know is even less ambitious, as you get your ability, you wait 5 levels for #2
of that ability so on and so forth.
All games seem to be a form of this one way or another.
But...what if at level 1 you get Slash for 5cp. But you can train Slash.
Slash goes on our hotbar 1. We hit it, we do 5-7 slashing damage. (No gear stats included)
But if we train Slash by either paying currency or paying experience points to the NPC trainer we can get better at it.
(Well, then everyone just pays and we're all the same again, noob) Yes, but we don't just give money/experience/whatever for the a stronger ability, we give it so we (the human behind the wheel) can actually train the ability.
Base Slash will always do it's base damage. So if you don't want to spend the time and/or money to try and make it better you are no worse off. But if you train at it you can make it better....IF....you are better.
You buy Slash, it goes to Hotbar 1, you then tell the trainer "I want to train at making Slash better". "Ok, it's going to cost you 100 exp points / or 10cp for the first session, and you only get three tries."
Deal - I lose 100 exp point.
I then am instructed to engage in combat with the training dummy. When I engage in combat in the middle of my screen pops up a large 6 inch by .25 inch line (hince slash) and I'm told the session lasts for 30 seconds. Countdown timer 3...2...1... Begin!
During those 30 seconds I need to trace the line on my screen as perfectly as possible. I get those entire 30 seconds to do it as many times as possible. The closer I get to tracing it perfectly with a quicker speed the higher my base attack of slash becomes.
So, during that training session the best you could do is 65% base improvement. Ehh...
I return to the trainer and tell him I want to train again. He says Ok, cost doubles, I pay it and I engage in combat. This time the line is 4 inches by .5 inces. Since I've spent more to train (money or exp) I now have a better chance of scoring better. (hence the line being easier to trace) This time I get 80% base improvement, but I'm rich so I want to try again.
He charges me an arm and a leg but this time the line is only 2 inces long and almost an inch wide. Since I've spent the exp training, I'm now rewarded with an additional attempt at getting really good at this ability. I finish my 30 seconds and I now have Slash at a 95% base improvement.
It cost me experience, or money, but I'm better than others and can prove it. Yet, there might be someone out there than can get to 100% improvement. But still, the opportunity is there. And it's not just "given" to everyone.
Now, when I go out and engage in combat, I hit 1 on my hotbar and my Slash is almost twice as good as Noob #2
standing next to me.