A “Next Gen” MMO like Blizzard “Titan” is a Duke Nukem Forever. There are many empty promises for years and then those evaporate and when the game or product is finally released it can not stand up to the Hype that occurred about it over the years.
So now with that understood lets look at what promises and hopefully implemented features will be needed or at least the hooks/stubs for them at launch.
1 – Sand-Park Play
What this means is some middle ground between the sandbox nature of EVE, Minecraft and Landmark and the highly controlled and IMO railroaded play that we have become use to in WoW, SWToR, Wildstar. I guess that ESO may come close to this but has many other system issues and I can’t stand the play perspective in Bethesda games anymore so have not given the game any time.
2 – Infinite Replay-ability
This is a new one for me but I have come to see that I much prefer the infinite grind-ability of Diablo 3 and Borderlands than the process in most MMOs. ArcheAge had an item upgrade system that at my basic understanding of how it works could also work better than the current gear and loot systems we find in most EQ/WoW clones.
3 – Player Driven Market and Crafting
This is one side of games that outside of ESO, ArcheAge and EVE is almost completely absent. WoW use to have a more vibrant market but that was killed over 2 expansions where the Gear and BoE items were a joke. Not to mention crafting locked behind the requirements of both leveling to near cap or cap and reputation grind fests. Crafting Alts are a legitimate form of play for those that like to craft to get gear than play DDR with a Raid Boss.
4 – Many Factions for Players to Belong to and Participate In
WoW has 2 factions, and almost every other clone thereof has 2. EVE starts with 4 but approaches infinity based upon Corporation and Alliance System. I would say 3 as the minimum odd number required but I think 5 or 7 PVE factions to start with for the basic leveling process would be a good place to start. Then in end game systems a Guild/Corp system with Alliances in certain Areas/Continents/Planets/Dimensions could greatly increase this area of the game’s complexity while also providing an initially safe leveling/learning area.
5 – Guild/Corporation Housing/Land and Eventually Player (Character/Account) Housing
More games are finally starting to get a hint and hopefully look as some of the research that has slowing come out about gaming and other social circles. While graphics, features, ability to lord over other players may initially bring players to your game, the key to retaining those players is getting them involved in some social group. The more stable that group the longer the members of said group will continue to play together and the game in a larger context. Having some visible, virtually tangible goal to work toward as in Guild Housing is one of the greatest ways to do such. Especially if guild/group achievements in other aspects of the game can be represented in the shared space.
6 – More on Markets, the Markets must be able to support both Buy and Sell orders.
I cannot stress enough how important this one is to goal 3 being viable. Gathers current in many games must guess what is needed now, a week from now and next patch. The demand and to what volume is a crap shoot but past predictors can be used to get a good guess. However with both Buy and Sell orders all you have to do is look at the Buy orders do your farming run and sell those focused targets. It is a win-win scenario while now it is a win-unknown scenario.
At this point in time I think the general MMO market has a reasonably good grasp on PvE and PvP needs in general. The only thing I will say is that exclusive rewards to a particular form and make up of said content should be cosmetic only. There should always be multiple ways to similar levels of power in gear even if it looks different.