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I resolved not to renew my premier gold membership for Runescape this year. I probably won't be spending much period on it. I will still be playing occasionally (been on it for 14 years so I am not about to quit now. And, I still enjoy the game, just not enough to pay for it consistently anymore). That is just to say that I will have in the fast approaching new year, some extra money to put into a new game. And, that Runescape need not be amongst the suggestions. Another game That can be dropped from possible suggestions would be EVE Online (have played it for a few months and it bores me out of my skull. I don't feel like taking two years to hit the actual entry level play).
So, that said, here are my criterion:
Graphical Fidelity and Visual Aesthetic:
I have no real preference here (photo realistic, anime, cell shaded, 16bit etc. all fine). Just as long as my machine can run it with reasonably good performance most of the time. And, so long as what ever the choices made for this were, they were implemented well within the scope of it.
With that in mind here are my relevant specs;
OS - Windows 7 (64bit)
Processor - Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4130 CPU @ 3.40GHz (a Quad core)
Memory - 8.00 DDR3 RAM
Connection: 100mbps Hardline (ethernet, through Cable Internet).
Graphics: On board for the moment (and given a 350 max output at 12v 16amp from my core and how small my shell is I am not even sure what i could reasonably drop in it GPU wise). Intel(R) HD Graphics 4400.
Any mix, so long as it's full scale. And, at least half way not instanced.
I prefer open world and something of a sandpark (some sandbox elements with overarching themepark mechanics, features and tone). I don't like heavily on-rails play. I'd prefer no class system or a non-restrictive (build into an archetype) class system. Decent crafting would be good and at least some ability to make money playing the market. No decidedly pay to win (cash shops are fine as long as it's mostly cosmetic and where it isn't there is some in-world answer or the purchasable game improvement items are tradeable in world). Not a fan of pay gates (like unlocking what should reasonably be default content, such as the ability to have money over certain amount or even to speak/use shout, hold a friends list or join a faction/guilds/clans.
I like to quest. When it's worth doing. I like voice acting (good voice acting). Good storyline (even if it is generic I like when it is told well). I do like it when a game doesn't provide for my character through the quest line (such as giving me all the gear I need).
Things I hate (any one thing is not an automatic disqualifier but if the game has all of them count it out):
Starting out ship Wrecked on a beach.
Dead LFG System (at least at entry level).