The Daily Grind: What’s a neat MMO mechanic that nobody’s trying anymore?

    
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A few weeks back, I was thinking about classic Star Wars Galaxies and the game’s training system. While you could gain experience by doing a skill, you had to purchase training to actually unlock it and proceed to the next skill tier – or you could seek out another player with the skill to train you for free (or for tips). There was something special in it for the trainer player too: mastery points, which the trainer needed to unlock master tier skills.

I wound up being the first Master Image Designer on my original server (I roleplayed a smuggler and master of disguises back then!), so I had people flocking to me from all over the server in search of cheap training. That definitely made all the “make me look like neo” requests from dudes who wanted pale skin and goofy hair to go with their early aughts trenchcoat worth the eyerolls.

Still, I loved that symbiotic skill training system; it created loops of players with similar interests, some of whom stayed on my real-life friends list long beyond the game itself. Today’s MMO gamers, I suspect, would rebel at the idea of seeking out living, breathing mentors, but it was a wonderful organic system for the sandbox that encouraged social interaction.

What’s another neat MMO mechanic that nobody’s trying anymore? P.S., I will not be making you “look like neo.”

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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memitim

Tons of classes and they are all different, today’s MMO’s have boring ass classes and far too few of them.

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alane0314

I for one, loved the investigation missions in TSW.

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Christian Stober

Unpopular Opinion: Grindy quests. There’s just something about them…

I remember Lineage 2 (my first MMO) had unrealistically grindy quests from the jump. For example, Orc starter zone had you kill 80-some-odd wolves…because reasons I guess. It may not have contributed to the lore but it felt beyond rewarding (and oddly therapeutic) to buckle up and beat on wolves for a half hour.

You might say quests today are complex and well thought out, and you’d be correct, but I’m fed up with the overused layout (as follows):

Quests:
1. Collect X items
2. Kill X mobs
3. Kill X boss

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memitim

Pretty much every objective in any game boils down to those 3 things, it’s how you dress it up that counts, personally I prefer either lots of dressing so I forget I’m just doing that stuff or none at all so its just “go forth and grind”. Even though I’d happily sit in a spot grinding wolves with a group, getting a quest to kill 80 would probably just demoralize me completely.

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Dean Greenhoe

There are many things, in many games, I loved and at the time thought this should be in all new mmo’s. But the one thing still missing from them all is the realism that comes from change. Mobs should migrate, seasons change, towns grow, NPC’s move / die and so forth. Another good idea is to have starter areas relevant or necessary throughout a characters life to keep the feel of a living world.

Make everything in the game important and something that a player can gain from. Lets tahe farming for example. The more a player farms the better the crops they get. An extremely experienced farmer using their latest generation of cross bread seed should be able grow the most valuable and beneficial product much like the evperienced armor smiths armor.

I cant say what the future holds but if nothing else it has to be far smarter and immersive.

kjempff
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kjempff

Eq2 crafting as it was at launch. Heavy dependency between different crafting (connecting players) as in requiring subcomponents from other types of crafting. Also crafted items and subcomponents having a quality value (player skill, not character skill, decides quality outcome), and if you make a final product with subpar components it would have decresed stats…meaning a “perfect” crafted products was rareand hard to make.

On top of that, add something hardly any mmo uses anymore, crafting components from enemy drops, all the way up to rares and ultrarare raid drops.

Top that up with co-op crafting… Aka crafting recipes that are so complex that it requires several crafters working together in a timed minigame.

kjempff
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kjempff

Day/Night cycles with real changes, npc schedules on certain time of day, npc that are just there to create living breathing world, complex faction systems, npc visibly showing what they will drop as loot, rare and random npc spawn, shops with opening/closing hours and shopowners who go home or to the tavern after working hours, quest npc without ! and ? marks, quest drops that are not automatically marked as quest and no-sell but that you *gasp* have to figure out yourself, non tiered content including not showing the tier as visible information to the player.
Freedom of choice and not stuffing options in your face as dialog choose option 1 choose option 2 , but players actually having to think and be proactive about their choices – All about freedom, even if it is an illusion of freedom, the fact that the players feel they actively seek and choose their choices is absolute key.

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Iridescence

I love DDO’s reincarnation system. Which other games would allow you to reincarnate your characters with bonuses and try a different build rather than just grinding endgame.

I love EVE’s economic and manufacturing system. No other MMO I’ve played comes close to it.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

If we wanted to go back to socializing people, make interacting with other people ‘required’, but in a good way…like say, your character can’t level up without helping other people, and I don’t mean ‘Go help this NPC character…kill something.’…I mean stuff where you actually have to help each-other/work as a team to succeed in the game environment…

(For example…I just recently ran into a area on SWTOR where they’d required teamwork to open a locked door…two people HAD to both be there on different sides of the room to unlock a door that led to…if I remember correctly a datacron which gives a permanent stat boost to one specific skill. I remember having to find people to do it way back…because you literally couldn’t tag one/run across and hit the other in time before the first shut off.)

Of course, I say this, and then think of multi-boxers and how easy it is to get around mechanics like that…so you’d have to make it more involved without scaring away your customers…

I say this as someone who avoids humans nowadays because of how horrid they usually are… :P

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NecrococoPlays

I have so many good memories of SWG and the sandbox spirit of the game. I started out a dancer, and was going to be the “best-goddamned dancer in the galaxy” – so I would travel between planets and spread news of raids, travel out to buff raiding parties at camp sites, etc. But, it was once I joined a player city, and started decorating my own houses that people started paying me to decorate theirs, as well as the guild cantinas, and so on. The career wasn’t even in the game, but it was how I made my money – and I haven’t experienced anything like it in any other games.

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Sorenthaz

RIFT’s zone events/invasions when they could actually take over quest hub spots which required you to actually defend towns.

In general MMO devs these days seem to be too scared to put in anything that has real consequences.

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Robert Mann

Including Rift, sadly, as they nerfed it to oblivion based on people who felt it was too hard/harsh. :(

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Sorenthaz

Yeah, that’s why I said “when they could actually take over quest hub spots which required you to actually defend towns”, lol.

I miss those days. It’s part of why I’m hopeful for Ashes of Creation’s node system, and hope that they can see that to fruition.

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Robert Mann

Yeah, the nerf was a painful death of something that actually felt interesting, and the Rift idea never really recovered, instead turning more to the same old stuff that always was. :(

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Bryan Correll

Can you make me look like John Wick?