As I still wait for Wildstar to download…zzzz I’m thinking what am I looking for in an MMO that would make or break my being interested in playing beyond a beta? What I’m looking for has changed over time quite a bit. Here’s a rough sketch:
Varied abilities, the more the merrier. Let me try all of them. Games with four classes or less are too boring.
I don’t mind a trainer who you pay for new skills. I don’t mind if they just pop up.
Character Creation and Beginner Areas
Hair styles with variation, long, short, length, color.
Wide variation of skin tone.
Facial choices though not necessarily with sliders which can quickly alter your cutie into a mutant.
Height, Weight choices. Tiny races I like to make as tiny as possible. I don’t want to be stuck weight wise with a rear that looks like a shield wall.
Let me have a first name and a last name.
If you have “good” guys and “bad” guys, go for it, don’t try to pretend the bad guys just look a bit creepier. Give them a reason for being bad. Set it up right away so there is a choice between sides in an ongoing world conflict.
Have a brief intro to the world and lore whether it be a cutscene or a tutorial area. Make it possible to skip the dang thing after the first time you go through. Don’t trap people in areas like the Worgen or Pandaren starter areas forever, let them get out there and play as soon as possible.
Playing the Game
Have plenty of travel options. I’m all for discovery of travel points before you can go there after the first visit, but make travel point to point be quick after that. No meandering ten minute ride over/through the landscape.
World Size Yes size really does matter. The bigger the world, the more to explore, the better. Make areas as different in look and feel and tone as possible.
Introduce crafting early on. Allow there to be a market for newbie crafters who can make things other newbies can really use. Don’t require 80 pieces of wool to make a single pair of pants, ye gods. Let there be customization options. Let us name our products, have a maker’s mark as they used to say on items so we know who made them. Allow dyes and other coloring options, allow experimentation so that depending on materials used you can make a good or very excellent version of your item.
Stop with the stoopid bag limits of 6 item bags good grief.
If you have Dungeons let there be a really good dungeon finder, so people know how long they may need to wait.
Encourage group content with public events and world events. Do not have a solo quest chain end in a group only quest. Grrr! Give us reasons to group, such as better xp while in a group.
Alternate ways to advance Make it so you can quest, gather, do daily quests, group adventures, dungeons, exploration and anything else that may help you tick tick tick that xp meter upwards without feeling like you’re in quicksand.
Squash the bugs!
My worst beta was Star Trek Online where there was much to like about the game but the bugs and whole systems that did not work as they went live were just an embarrassment.
The Gold Standard for betas was Lord of the Rings Online which went live with even typos squashed. I compare everything new to them. I get the impression that they are no longer so sharp about things from what I read, but they went live in super mode. Best development staff and community support staff ever going in.