And because I've been playing it more than ever, I've come up with several ideas on how to make a "next generation" game. I'd like to share these ideas with you now, in the comfort of your cozy chair, in front of the display of choice.
First of all, kudos to the guys that made and are updating Age of Conan. The game has a common sense quality that I really like. In most MMO's you are always just craving to "win". It's why I normally develop burn out. You get tired of "grinding" to the end game. Age of Conan has a good story and it's presented in a very good way. Just this week I was playing and I realized that two people can mine at the same time. WoW (World of Warcraft) doesn't allow you to do this. When you are grouping with a buddy, you have to take turns "hitting it".
But, when I play MMO's, I am all about exploring. A lot of times you'll come to something you want to explore but can't because you are unable to survive solo. How come MMO's can't give you a tavern where you can go recruit NPC's (non-player characters) to come with you? Age of Conan already does this to some extent. There is an NPC that comes to help with one of the villa quests. But, I'd like to be able to go and pick and choose 1 or more NPC's to accompany me on my travels. Granted, you wouldn't get all the experience, but at least you'd get to see everything.
This situation would be doubly nice if you could use characters you've already created. What if I could borrow my other characters to go with me into a dungeon? Then they'd all get experience. I would be in control of the group.
Another thing that has irritated me with all MMO's and I don't know why someone hasn't already fixed it is the idea of a server in its current incarnation. It would be nice if I could buy a game that would allow me to make a set number of characters. Each of those characters could have a "mode". A mode would be something like play style (PvP, culture PvP, PvE, RP PVE, RP PVP, etc.). PvP is Player vs Player. PvE is Player vs Environment. RP is roleplaying. A player brought up in a PvE environment can't switch over to a PvP environment. It's not fair to the hardcore PvP'ers.
Each time I log in with my character, I could choose which world I wanted to play on based on population and mode. Do I want to play on a sparsely populated world (because I just want to do some solo questing) or do I want to play highly populated world because I want to see lots of people. However, all the "worlds" would have access to all the other worlds for things like auctions, group searches and battlegrounds.
Someone on another world could see that you are looking for a group and invite you to their world for purposes of the group. It would make the necessity for server merges and population problems go completely away. Sure there would be people with the same name, but in this day and age, there are so many options for a character that they will still all be unique. When you are looking for a character named Arturus, you'll see "Arturus the Cimmerian Ranger", "Arturus the Aquilonian Assassin", etc. Most of the time it doesn't matter anyway. Quit enforcing the unique name policy.