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Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:15AM HiroProtagonist7 said

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I don't know that WoW is a decent representative of the genera. A lot of the mainstream players just see it as another game with a giant chatroom, not a virtual world. Its success has more to do with timing - acceptance of fantasy as an acceptable genera had reached a tipping point, the bulk of the population was finally coming to terms with the internet and the first generation of kids raised with D&D, computers and computer games were fully embedded in the real world.

Being a market leader isn't a gauge of game quality, just game popularity which has more to do with marketing than anything else. Use MySpace as a point of reference.

The fact that other companies are more focused on 'WoW money' than building a quality world is unfortunate but doesn't reflect an industry trend - Industry trends are defined by the buyer, not the seller. WoW unquestioningly has the most sales, but does it belong in the same box as Xsyon, Wurm, Darkfall, Mortal Online etc? The only similarities between WoW and these games are the fact that there are a lot of people playing at once.

I think the key difference in these games is the ability to affect or change the world. In most theme-park games you can't affect the world in a way that other players can see past changing your outfit. Sure, you could re-arrange items in the guild bank to form some sort of patterns, but that is it.

Anyways, to bring it back around, I don't think you can define an industry trend based on WoW. The games that have housing and allow persistent changes that can be seen by all players are a completely different genera that suffer from the association with WoW, but only have population as as a common feature with WoW.

If you separate out the Themeparks from the Virtual worlds what does the trending look like?

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:20AM Scuffles said

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Two features that are essentially mandatory are the Auction house and in game Mail system. There is really no excuse not to have them.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:23AM PaperSpeaks said

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Marriage.

It's a must, I just can't do without virtual marriages with anonymous people.

I need to fill the void.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:28AM DarkWalker said

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Caveat: in games where it's impossible to get one of the features below without paying real money, I treat the feature as if it didn't exist.

For me, in the "absolutely essential, won't play without" category:
- Unlimited respecs that are fairly easy to get. Except if there aren't really specs, like in FreeRealms, or if there is no real limit to how many skills the player can have and how high they can get, like EVE.
- Fairly fast travel options. If' I'm forced to spend over 10 minutes of (uneventful) travel time in a conventional 60 minutes play session, or if I ever have to take 10 or more minutes of travel to do whatever I want to do, I'm most likely on my way out of the game.
- Soloable to max level, and enough end game solo activities to keep me entertained. While I like group play, at the same time I don't like depending on other players to be able to play. If I start needing to schedule my play sessions with other players in order to have something to do, I'm on my way out. Caveat: a matching system like WoW's LFD can supply the end game solo content, as long as I like the content, and both queue and the content are fast enough I can get something actually done in a 30-minutes gaming stop.
- Very low death penalty. I like being reckless when playing solo in games.

In the "I prefer games that have it" category:
- Flexibility in how we can play our characters. For example, the only two classes I ever considered for my main in WoW were Paladins and Druids, the two classes that could be specced to fulfill any role. I won't play a "pure" class in the end game, ever.
- Fast changing between roles, preferably with either plenty of pre-recorded specs (like Rift, with it's 5 stored specs) or free-form respeccing on the fly.
- Control over the character's appearance, including gear, without sacrificing player performance to do it. Dyes, appearance tabs, barber shops, everything contributes.
- Good group forming tools, actually used by the player base. If the only way to get into groups within a reasonable time frame is to shout in chat, I won't get into groups.
- A way to avoid all forms of non-consensual PvP.
- Some kind of PvP where no one gets significant advantages, so I won't be at a disadvantage for showing up in full PvE gear and spec. DCUO's Legend PvP is like this, due to pre-made characters (and, incidentally, it's the only MMO PvP I ever liked playing).
- Ways to enable any willing players to actually play together. This involves group composition and size flexibility, mentoring/sidekicking to let players of different levels play together, some way of intentionally grouping with players from other servers (or a game with just a single shard), etc. If there are different rulesets (PvP, PvE), a way for players from different rulesets to play together.
- Customizable enough UI, preferably one that allows UI addons.
- A crafting system that can be soloed to max proficiency. One of the reasons I often play plenty of alts is because I don't want to depend on other players for my crafting needs.

There are probably things I couldn't remember, though :)

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 10:32AM Lenn said

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@DarkWalker Very good list.
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Posted: Jun 20th 2011 12:19PM Ratham said

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@DarkWalker You want to be equal to somebody in pvp with your pve gear on? Sorry bud, while you're off killing scripted mobs, other people are out there earning their pvp gear.

Thats like me saying if i earn my pvp gear i should get to come take your raid position in your guild.
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Posted: Jun 20th 2011 1:30PM DarkWalker said

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@Ratham

I would be totally for a MMO where gear didn't matter, both in PvP and in PvE; one where skill was really the only thing that made a difference. So yeah, I would love to see a game where a PvPer who never tried to get PvE gear could actually compete with me for a raid spot.

While I don't think gear inequality is so big a flaw for PvE due to it's very nature of man versus scripted AI, I simply will not play PvP modes where the better geared character has an advantage, no matter how good/praised/innovative/whatever they might be. And, given that I already have a lifetime sub on a game with a PvP mode I actually like (DCUO with it's Legend PvP), I don't care at all about not playing PvP in other games.
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Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:41AM (Unverified) said

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EQ2 spoiled me as well. Player Housing, Well developed crafting, Collections; those are 3 huge ones for me. Also, interesting lore, and the ability to explore to keep things fresh. And can anyone make a game that is interesting enough to not need some silly PvP capture the flag game to keep our interest? What happened to creativity?

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:48AM DarkWalker said

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@Puremallace
Agree with stress-free crafting and fast looting. I love being able to keep playing without having to stop to loot in DCUO, which also features area looting :)
I don't classify those as must haves, though; I prefer games that have those, but won't refrain from playing a game just because it does not feature them.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 9:58AM Mikkhail said

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Third faction is not a must for me ... but definately is a "hole" in most modern MMO's and one of the primary reasons I am keeping a close eye on TSW and Prime.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 10:07AM Arkanaloth said

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what features do I consider mandatory: Fun

Fun leveling game...
Fun end-game...

I don't ask for much, but you'd be amazed at how many games mess up one or the other.. or both.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 10:38AM Tom in VA said

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Soloability.

I enjoy grouping occasionally, but the extent to which I can complete and enjoy game content on my own at times when my friends are not online is pretty critical for me, as I often play during "off hours" or when few others are online. I don't want to be held back just because a server (or region's) population is low.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 10:55AM cored said

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Necessary:

Fun combat
Some PvP
No microtransactions

Will get me to try it out:

Full, FFA, world PvP
Player housing
Less hand-holding than the current norm

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 11:02AM Zyrusticae said

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Many MMO developers consider deep character customization to be "optional" and "unnecessary".

I do not.

Being able to connect with my avatar is my #1 concern above all else. I don't care what else they have, how revolutionary the gameplay is, how awesome the graphics are, or any such claptrap if I CANNOT appreciate my avatar.

It just boggles my mind that apparently so many people are perfectly fine with looking like cookie-cutter clones of one another. Absolutely boggles my mind. I am just glad companies like NCSoft are pushing the envelope in that area...

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 11:37AM Tezcatli said

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I think I've been playing WoW too long. Because I can't think of any. Everything in WoW just seems like it should be the standard. I mean, features like cross server dungeons, cross server BGs, and other nifty features.

I haven't really dabbled in player housing or appearance changing clothing. What I would like to see though is player created House/castles/territory. I LIKE traveling through zones fast. But the World, in World of Warcraft, seems pointless as we zip by everything without even looking around. It would be interesting to see in-game player businesses. Battles for territory and other things that made the world matter.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 11:44AM Jorev said

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I have one word for you. Crafting.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 11:55AM Palebane said

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Grouping for XP.

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 12:08PM Demeter said

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I've played all sorts of games, so I think I'm pretty liberal. Just have 2 needs if the game wants me coming back lots.

Crafting, preferably easy to understand and jump in to.

Mounts, don't care if I have to work for them, or attain a certain lvl. But they need to be there (part of why FFXIV is off for me).

Posted: Jun 20th 2011 1:39PM Link064 said

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That's a great point, and something that should be looked into in the future. As a player, you spend X many levels exploring, doing quests, casually obtaining new gear, and completing other objectives. Then, suddenly, after you hit max level, you are no longer doing any of those things but instead repeatedly running dungeons and raids in order to max out your maxed-out character. Perhaps if more games would include multiple level-capped zones with quests, "extreme" exploration (maybe even group exploration), and alternative ways to obtain gear, they could give the illusion of a continuing game (instead of out-rightly embracing the gear grind).
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Posted: Jun 20th 2011 1:39PM Link064 said

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@Link064
Wow, super comment fail. This was supposed to be a reply to Irem in my original thread.
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