Hi fellow gamers, I just wanted to put my two cents in on the whole "new direction." I'm incredibly excited about it.
One thing I've always liked about RPG was the idea of sandbox vs. theme park, however, one of my least favorite things about rpg's is the idea of "stat's". For example, in WoW, I didn't like the idea that I had to run these dungeons, pvp, or quest for better gear which while some looked awesome really just provided more str or int that I needed in order to move forward. Questing became-not a way to experience the story, but a series of text boxes to click next on so I can get the gear to experience the new area. I would want to pvp, but other peoples stats were higher, so I'd get beat on until I gave up, or afk'd in the battlegrounds just to get the honor for gear, so that I can actually pvp. Even then fights with those without the gear was bland, boring and predictable. In addition to that every week a patch would come out and instead of new content, we got "Stat balancing", the idea that a persons power directly correlated to how they could maximize on this stat instead of actually mastering some aspect of the class. Terrible.
In terms of general combat. Tera, the mass cries. I agree, get rid of tab targeting, and you get rid of dodge. you want a critical hit, hit a critical spot (that's where that came from you know?) players will adapt to a new environment, it's what they came to the world for!
What if how i played the game determined my "stats" or rather, how i played the game defined my character. For example, I'm billy the Ranger dude. I want to shoot my bow. When I first got the Bow of Tiny Twigs it shook as I aimed it, so I had to hold the reticule in the center. after doing that lame task about 20-50? times I can shoot just by hitting the hotkey. The longer I hold the hotkey, the farther my arrow goes, so I try to hit them from my max range (20 units?). After doing this often my range actually increases! To a cap of course. if I just hit the hotkey I can advance to a point where i'm just a spamming arrow machine! Now I've got my playstyle, and the character is the representation of how I play the game. But hey this bow has a max range on it, I mean how far can you pull it before the Bow of Tiny Twigs breaks? So I need a new bow. maybe the Steel bow of awesomeness or the Headshot bow of Sniping. Well the Steel bow mats can drop off this BA mob in the Verdent Glades, Have to kill a bunch of mobs to draw him out, may need some help, but then again I go for long shots so that quick firing bow isn't really for me. I'll go ahead and go after this other creature instead. This can apply to everything to runs, dashes, charges, how fast you swing your sword, how quickly you block an attack. how fast you climb, craft and how heavy the goods you can carry. I think a pvp environment that focuses on how I approach battle is more rewarding than how well Ive mastered math.
I would also like to touch on the environment. I can never climb trees, this saddens me that in all the worlds no race/class has ever conquered the Tree. and before you say "oh range classes will have the advantage", you can take my example above and apply balancing (keep the reticle in the center untill mastered, reset on bows from trees/mounted) on the flip side is it that unbeleivable that a warrior would learn to throw an axe up there, or master dodging and climbing to that point (perhaps an inherent bonus) in this, I fear "Balance" has been deified a bit too much. At what point does time investment, player ingenuity and dare I say skill become a factor. if it took months of Billy to climb trees learn the bow, relearn the bow to climb a tree, master balancing while in the tree and then fire on me, doesn't billy deserve that pride? Maybe billy taught me that I need to work on my dodges, axe throws, and maybe (crafting) I can just cut the MF'er down? falling from said tree is sure to ruin his day. my point is instead of making a flat environment we could leave it to the players to utilize the world we give them. Climb a rock or a tree for the high ground. hide underwater for an ambush, use the world! too many companies think the world is just a place for art designers to strut their stuff, I disagree. And sure, the animation may not look as smooth at first, but that's what you can patch and update. This approach isn't new, it's in FPS's. look at planetside. I know there's a sniper up there, I know I have to keep moving and I feel like a dynamic part of the environment
In the example I mentioned the drops from mobs and such. There is the question of "well if they aren't questing for gear why quest?" people aren't questing for loot, their questing because they want to, it's just the rewards are so lackluster that it doesn't seem to justify the death of 16 kobolds (think of the children). In the discussion I was having someone brought up dynamic worlds and AI mostly pertainging to aggro but I think it has a place here. The bad dude is bad, he has minions, lackeys, homies, cronies, and allies. why are they all sitting around doing nothing? The tech is there to make an AI bad guy, and have him actively affect the world. maybe he's amassing to take over Southrendron well look at the logistics. he's going to send scouts, and emissaries in that bad diplomacy jafar type stuff. (Your storyline/quest hubs) well maybe you ran into one who just attacked you for no reason! (the nerve!) you killed him. and for good measure you killed his crew, found a note brought it to lord farquad who pat you on the back. But wait, you've killed so much your names getting out there, assasin's are cropping up to take you out, soon your dealing with so much you have to band together with some sort of party thing. I mean the point is to make what I'm doing feel relevant to the world. At max level if I'm still killing poor animals I'm just going to form Peta guild and throw blood on other people.
My point is that we haven't even scratched the surface of how we can interact with these virtual worlds, It would be real dissapointing to find that we've pidgeon-holed ourselves into this.