I've been playing World of Warcraft for a while now and before that I had play city of Heroes, both are Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) and suffer from quite a few problem in my mind that keept them from being the "perfect" online game. The fact that many things keep me from "fully" enjoying the game (City of Heroes was the worse I got tired of it in less then 2 months!) made me think about what would be needed to have the "perfect" MMORPG.
1) Player driven instead of Environnement driven. Player should be the driving force being the MMORPG, they should be the heroes and the villain. Their should be many faction in the game but none should be based on moral ideas as to make sure no faction is the "good" or the "evil" one.
2) Everything should be fluid and react to the players action. Say the players kill a very large number of goblin in region x... well goblin become rarer spawn more rarely and eventually disapear replaced (or not) by something else. Or they could move to another region to plague another part of the world, or a goblin "heroes" could rise up and lead raids again the city and player making goblin more agressive. Everything to make the world computer environement to react to the players action. Also faction territory and holding should always be in a stade of flux, say for exemple their is a mine under one faction control and that somehow players from another faction manage to kill/drive off all opposing faction they should after a lenght of time gain control of the ressource (possibly making their faction richer and more powerfull)
3) The action of the NPCs should be as varied as possible, you should be able to commander troops in a siege situation, recruit your own troop by your prestige, tell an NPC to follow you, have them build new building or rebuild destroyed building. In short NPC should be more then seller, quest giver and decoractioin or cannon folder.
4) PvP (player vs player) should be promoted in a logical way. What I mean that the completly random killing of player from other faction should not be rewarding and probably should be penalised. However killing player defending places or attacking one of your base should be rewarded. You should also be able to get "missions" to kill the most succesfull player of your level of power in an opposing faction.
5) Action should also be heard about, say Bob the fighter killed the big bad dragon that was terorizing town x well then after a while town y should know about it and be able to refere to Bob as a dragon slayer or something like that.
6) The world should be huge, with thousan of NPC and fully detailed with stuff everywhere, there should be an hiden city in the montain, underwater caves and city, cloud city and fantasty city. Just exploring the world should take months of times and be full of oh my god moment.
7) The growth of player character should be unlimited, no level cap (in fact I'd prefer if there where no level).
8) Player equipement should be taken into account when considering the "level" of a character. the guy that use a second character to send better stuff to the first should be considered more power then the guy who doesn't. Just like the guy who gets very lucky.
9) Powers should be many, each class (if there is class) should have a whole lot of power, most of which should not be availlable from conventional trainer.
10) There should be many skills with many different effect and player should only be able to specialise in a very few.
11) Marchant's inventory should change to reflect what people sells to them.
12) Price should follow (even from NPC) the trend shown in the auction house. If thing A sells for 9 gold in the auction house marchant shouldn't sell it for 2 but only rarely
13) It's a RPG game it shouldn't be about who can click the best or faster but about the player and roleplaying. That doesn't mean player skill are not require just that they should not be the dominant faction
14) Player should have option in everything, they should be able to make pick up game of capture the flag, build themself a inn in the middle of no where, stuff like that. Options that what would make a game really great.
In fact I think the 14th point resume my thoughs on the perfect MMORPG perfectly give player options not restriction. Lets say you have a demon summoning class let them sell the character soul for more power, or bind demon into gem to prevent their evil from spreading across the world. Make the player able to build a new city in the cloud or to wage war again a underground dwarf city. Make a group of player able to hide stuff and them play a treasure hunt. Let a player forge excalibur and become the new king of Avalon and then other player work a revolution when he is found unfair by the populace. Make the populace defend the king if they find him just and dethrone him in a bloody revolte if he isn't. Let the megalomanic wizard player build a tower from where he will unleash legion of undead on the world be stoped by the young new character. Make most option not a matter of power but a matter of imagination.
Wouldn't that be a game that everyone would want to play?