I’m playing my dream MMO in bits and pieces. I’d take the substantial lore and beautiful world of Guild Wars 2 to start. I’d replace their storytelling with the weightier themes of The Secret World. I’d remove levels from the game or cap them at 20. Access to more powerful abilities would be awarded via gameplay and would not take terribly long to accomplish; the focus would be on learning to use them in different situations. We’d have WildStar housing for good measure and we’d combine it with the building capabilities of Minecraft and/or Trove.
The notion of classes is where things get a bit muddled. I’d like to have a game in which one has the option of creating their own style of play such as in The Elder Scrolls Online. I’d also like to have certain look-and-feel presets like what you’d find in Marvel Heroes. Group content would offer players experiences that do not require designated roles and adventures which call for explicitly designated group roles. Rewards for completing both styles of group content would be equivalent; the difference would be in the names of the achievements that are unlocked, I suppose.
Group experiences would be as open-ended as possible. I’d revive the open-world dungeons of Vanguard and sprinkle them liberally throughout the landscape so people can just jump in and start GW2-zerging them. (I realize that this would cause some scaling issues. Keep in mind we’re talking about a dream MMO, though. Not everything has to be lucid.) Rewards would be per character in the form of some type of Lich King-era generic currency that would allow players to improve their source of statistics and add to their stash of consumables and gizmos.
Statistics would be granted by accessories alone (TSW). The costumes and armor suits and whatnot that are seen by other players would be entirely cosmetic. High-level accessories would be available to everyone via the aforementioned currency that is earned by participating in any game mode. Players who PvP would earn as much currency as those who do not.
Costumes are account-wide skin unlocks that can be freely swapped from the character screen for a currency fee (WildStar, GW2). Additional account unlocks can be earned which expand the range of looks and statistic combinations that your character has access to. Housing items are similar with the caveat that you need to unlock quantities: if you want four chairs, you have to earn four of them.
Crafting is treated just as combat roles are. It’s EQ2 meets Final Fantasy 14. Crafting group content exists and can be completed with or without designated roles. See that hundred-foot-tall statue in the player housing district? That’s the result of a successful crafting “raid” except we don’t call it that. It grants crafting bonuses to the entire district.
World resources are per-character unless we’re in a designated player combat zone. Player combat is always consensual and requires you to specifically select it. We’d do something like Crowfall. There would also be a limited rotation of “battleground” (WoW), “conquest” (GW2), and “objective” (every MOBA ever) maps for those who don’t want to jump into persistent worlds. Every game mode rewards track progress that gives you currency, track-unique items, and ability progression.
I realize I’m talking about the same old stuff that everyone’s been doing forever, so let’s give players the option to create their own landscapes, housing items, music, and other things and sell them on the auction house / trading post / marketplace / whatever we’re going to call it. Logging in and doing nothing but creation will be a legitimate way of playing the game.
Well, I’m about done talking. There’s plenty more there. The thoughts are a bit nebulous, though. Basically we just throw off the outdated tropes of yesteryear and make progress the side effect of playing a game in which participation, socialization, and skillful play are rewarded in equal measure. Sound good? Great. Back to my fragmented dreams.