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we all know, role-playing in an MMORPG is somewhat problematic. There is not a single game, which really has an overall role-playing atmosphere. Usually role-playing is possible only within your own group of friends and even then one gets harrassed for role-playing.
What can be done about this? What do you think?
I think role-playing needs a different kind of game and the usual MMO is not a good place to role-play at all.
My idea includes the following features:
1. Not to many people per server (maybe 500 - 1000). If there are to many people, the atmosphere becomes anonymous. But there have to be enough people to trade with and all this. More then the usual 30 people on a NWN2-Shard but less then the 10 000 in an modern MMO would be good.
2. Of course many role-playing features like emotes, different kind of clothes (not only armour), player housing, crafting ...
3. No quests. What are quests good for? Players can create there own adventures, which then are not repetitive (killing the same monster a hundred times)
4. Completly different payment model. This is maybe the most important feature!
Role-playing was very good on the old UO-Freeshards. So I would make it possible for players to do exactly this - bring up their own shards. Of course legal ones, made possible by a different pricing model.
Instead of a monthly fee for playing on an official server, players would buy the game and the updates. Then groups of players can rent a server (technical - but only technical support included) for a decent price. Who pays for the server gets some administration tools. This way players could make their own rules for the server and invite other players to join them. With the server rent also comes space for a server-homepage and a link to this on the offical game-page.
Game developers would have nothing to do with server administration besides technical support and billing for the server rent. Of course the developers can bring up own servers also, but most servers would be player-administered.
New players can just decide wether they want to join an existing server-group, rent their own server or maybe just play on some normal servers administered by the provider (as they also exist in UO).
This way many different kind of shards would come to life. From strictly role-play to non-role-play, different kind of pvp-rules and all. I think anybody should be able to get what he/she is looking for this way. Because the game is not only interesting for role-players (there would be hardcore-pvp-shards too).
I think, people tend to identify with their shard. That´s why even after 10 years many people still play UO. So what I suggest is a modern 3D-UO with more (and payed) support for the player shards.
What do you think about this ideas?