I believe the first MMORPG I ever played was “Star Wars Galaxies”, I was there on day one. I have played allot since, EQII, WOW,LOTROL,DDO and a few others I tried a free play of and didn't like. There are things I liked about each and I wish I could take those things and ball them up into a Uber game... Bur alas I can’t.
With “Galaxies” I would bring the Crafting and the Player housing. It was cool to be able to drop and furnish a house on some secluded mountain top that you could retreat to and drop your stuff. As for the crafting, in “Galaxies” player crafting was everything, any cool item was produced by a player and sold on his vender or one of the vender terminals on one of the many planets, Health stims, uber weapons and super cool clothes all made by player craftsmen from.
From DDO, I would definitely bring the Character playability, and Dungeon experience, To me it is one of the best Dungeoning games out there... it was everything else it missed the boat on. Thieves could disarm traps, pick locks and stealth ahead while wizards dropped walls of fire in door ways to prevent enemies from coming through and warriors... well... did the whole war thing. In the dungeons, you solved puzzles, climbed walls of pipes and located secret doors... everything a dungeon should be.
WOW and EQII have something I strongly believe in for a MMORPG, A whole world concept. You could ride from one end of the continent to the other, unlike DDO or some other games. I love a sense of world exploration, climbing mountains and finding hidden stuff that designers have gone out of their way to spice up the “world”.
One of my pet peeves are games that don’t have a mechanic for opening a Gord Dram Door!! In my opinion, if there is a building, the door should be able to be opened and I should be able to go inside... even if the toon there in only says “get out!” or “Please don’t kill me!” I should be able to do that. The idea of a huge city, that consists of hundreds of buildings I cant interact with is a waist.
We recently took part in Two Beta’s for the new game “Rift”, there is allot I like about the game but some things I don’t. On a Clockwinder scale of 0 to 5, I give it a 3.5. The whole concept of the Rifts, that open up and spew out enemies is actually cool as you fight them and receive special awards but It does suffer from the “cant go in there” thing, as there are countless doors that can not be opened.
We decided to try a Dungeon, just to experience one. There were 3 players, we were significantly higher level as dungeons are meant to be handled by large groups. We went into a Fae Dungeon and I was a little disappointed as it seemed that the only thing we were doing was walking through a shrubbery maze hacking down enemies. No secret doors, no traps nothing to really challenge anything but your ability to click a button on your mouse... until
The saving grace for this dungeon was the final section... the “Winter” area on top of the mountain. Seldom have I come across so neat a scene in a game. as you ascended snow started blowing across the path then you entered a blinding blizzard... the further away a party member went the more obscured he became. The last shrine to be cleansed was a huge giants sword thrust into a rock outcropping... very dramatic. This whole last part saved the Dungeon for me.
Rifts also has some hidden away gems, like the Burial mound located at the top of a secluded mountain... that actually had a amazing weapon in it. It has a continuity of world that I enjoyed and some neat creatures to fight (Rift born and wondering).
Rift allows you to play Guardians or Defiant, We played Guardians in Beta so when we switch to Defiant for “Go Live” the game still holds some surprises for us. It allows a moderate amount of Character modification and each side gets to chose from 3 “normalish” looking races. The real Gem is the Character system, you chose from Warior, Mage, Rouge and Cleric, but within each of those you get a number of “souls that enables you to modify your character countless ways, for instance I was a Rouge... within rouge I had Marksman, Ranger and Saboteur. Each level you receive a certain number of points that can go into each “Soul” to unlock new skills and abilities... It works well.
I look forward to go live for RIFT... it should be a fun game, I worry that Rift fighting will get old fast but so far it has only increased game play. I have been underwhelmed by the cities so far but I haven't seen them all yet. It was perhaps technically the smoothest beta I have ever seen, yes the servers would be brought down now and then but Loading the launcher and playing the game required no tweeking and the game ran well on my box that hasn't been upgraded in awhile. There was not much lagging in the Huge battles with what seemed like hundreds of players fighting 25 or so invading monsters, yes spell effects were lost and some other eye candy but all ran really well.
The Clockwinder recommends “Rift” but is still hoping for the perfect game.