I was looking for a new MMORPG to play recently and I realized something terrible.
All the good ones either wanted you to pay a monthly fee or to dish out a lot of money in order to function even a little.
Now, I’m willing to pay money for a MMORPG. But a monthly fee to have access to the game, or money to make my character have a different hue hair color? No thank you.
So, here’s what I’m looking for in an MMORPG:
It’s Free. No dishing out money monthly to pay or download it, no one time fee. By all means, have extras like special pets, special steeds, or interesting clothing. But fighting well in the game should rely purely on stats from the character, armor, steeds, and pets.
Customization should be expansive. If I want to make a fat blue-skinned elf, I should be able to. If I want to give my character pink hair, I should be able to. Take a hint from Perfect World on this one. Customization is a wonderful and good thing. It allows the player to get into character.
Great graphics are demanded. I don’t care if this is a 2D MMORPG or a 3D MMORPG, I want good graphics. I don’t want to stare at poorly modeled figures. I either want to stare at something cartoony (Fiesta Online, Mabinogi, MapleStory, WonderKing) or something realistic (Perfect World).
Multiple races to keep up variety. By all means, make the only choices Human, Elf, and Troll. I’d be fine with that. But I want various races. I should be able to customize my character, my toon, as much as I feel I want to. If I want to be a troll cleric, human archer, or elf fighter, those should be choices available to me.
Character stats should adhere to a specific system. What I mean by this is that Humans, Elves, and Trolls should all have a different range of base stats (trolls having 7 – 10 strength, humans having 5 – 7 strength, elves having 3 – 5 strength, so on and so forth). However, you should be given X number of “free stats” to distribute as you please BEFORE you get into the game. Once in the game, at every level you should be able to decide where to put extra “free stats”. These stats should help decide your physical attack, magical attack, physical defense, magical defense, attack speed, character speed on land, character speed in water, character speed in flight, character speed in climbing, and character speed in performing material-making tasks.
Monsters around your level shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to kill. Everyone wants to reach a high level and get a sense of accomplishment. If you think I’m going to grind for what feels like an infinity to gain a single level before I even get my first advancement, you have another thing coming (a problem with Flyff that I had, but oddly, not Fiesta Online!).
Land, Sea, and Sky. On land, you should be able to run, climb, and jump. In the water, you should be able to swim. In the air, you should be able to ascend, descend, or keep level. A good MMORPG will cover all of these.
An interesting, tiered class system. In my opinion, all MMORPGs should include at least Mages, Fighters, Archers, and Clerics, or a variant thereof. I am still searching for an MMORPG that incorporates all four of these in a way that is unique and different, such as maybe starting out as a mage and then being able to decide between cleric and druid.
A varied production skill class. Everyone should have the ability to choose a production skill which they can use to make either potions, armor, weapons, or materials. Limiting one production skill per player creates an environment where people can socialize and make friendships in order to advance.
Pets are great! Everyone should have the ability to get a pet in game without spending real money. If there is a druid class or a nature-based class, they should have the ability to create or summon a pet to their side free of cost aside perhaps mana. Pets should have three life stages, baby, adolescent, and adult. The food you feed your pet should affect the way your pet looks. Pets should be able to gain experience and level, and they should be able to attack mobs. Cooler looking pets (I mean, who doesn’t want a sphinx for a pet!?) should cost real money.
Want to be speedy? Get a steed. I don’t care what other games do, but like pets, steeds should be available to people without a credit card. Make them insanely priced for faster speeds with in-game currency. Make cooler, even faster steeds cost real money. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay money to ride around on a tiger or a pegasus!
Multiple venues for experience. Word counters should be included within a game so that people who are social and prefer to hold conversations can gain experience from doing so. If not that, there should be something in place so that if you talk to your friends on your friends list that are online at the same time as you, if they’ve been online for longer than five minutes, you get an experience boost. Also allow there to be experience gained from using production skills, as time is both money and experience wasted in most all games. Also, allow there to be an experience boost for those who have traveled multiple maps in 24 hours. That way, everyone can be catered to.
Built in video systems. Needing Fraps or similar software in order to catch hackers in the act of hacking is no good. Also, being able to video your experiences in the game and post them on the net creates more of a community and advertises for the game at the same time.
Report Systems! There needs to be a great report system in any worthwhile MMORPG. I don’t want to spend an hour screaming at my computer because some jerk is KSing (that’s KillStealing) me and I can’t do anything about it. While KSing may or may not be against your game’s rules (it should certainly be discouraged), you should be able to right click the person you need to and hit the report button to report them.
Effective Anti-Hacking software. Everyone is tired of seeing hackers unless they themselves are hackers. In conjunction with a good reporting system, there should be effective anti-hacking software to keep the hackers out in the first place. The game being server-sided would help to discourage hacking.
A compelling story. This is something many games lack. Fiesta Online actually has a very interesting story, it’s a shame that it’s overrun with bots and that it costs money to customize yourself. You should have a compelling story in order to hook people into the game. Make me want to play the game. Make me want to do quests. I have yet to see a game aside from Dream Of Mirror Online that has roleplay to it, that has a great story to it.
If you’re making a MMORPG or are thinking of doing so, take what I’ve said into account, please, in order to assure your success with at least one customer. I’ll see you all in game!