I know that now that we have some information about how the game is actually going to be, a lot of the speculation and wishful thinking has died down.
However, even when a game is in full release people still think up ideas they'd like to see implemented someday, right? And the XIV team said they pay attention to community opinions so maybe it'll spark an idea for them :3
So here goes:
I think that one of the things that will define this MMO is that the developers have realized that not everything in an MMO has to be oriented around combat. As evidence, they are adding classes that don't even do combat. It's a smart move too. There's tons of apps online for community experience that don't involve combat already. Look at 'farm town' for facebook. It's a little hokey app where you make a farm, give cows to your friends, build houses, etc, and it has tons of players! No combat involved at all.
So I think there's room to expand on that idea and perhaps capture a market segment that has been mostly ignored by serious MMO contenders, the people who like the RPG experience but not necessarily the combat experience. People who play The Sims.
Now, here's one specific idea that can expand on that: Guild halls. The way it would work is that each major city would have a zone instance portal that takes you to your guild hall. The guild hall consists of a large room with windows and a door overlooking a yard area that's enclosed by a fence. The whole area is instanced and the look depends on the city it's part of. I don't think that's hard to program.
As part of the hall, there is stairs, or other such passages that also has an instance portal that takes players to their individual room (non-combat things to build and improve keep people coming back). If you are not part of a guild, the initial instance just takes you to this room.
The guild is improved through two ways: gil and guild reputation points. Gil buys cosmetic improvements. You can get chairs and tables, rugs, decorations, etc. Guild reputation points buy functional improvements. They are earned through performing tasks in the game. Perhaps guild leves will reward a certain amount for instance, so your G.R.P. is a cumulation of how all your members are doing. You can buy a weaving loom, or several that do things like give slightly better results through the weaving craft. There might be several upgrades with better results each. There could be anvils, bread ovens, etc.
There could also be guild tapestries you buy that give a small bonus to specific weapon skills, like a tapestry of an epic crusade vs a dragon that gives +2 to one-handed sword skill for instance, or you could buy a training bag that gives +2 to hand-to-hand combat skill.
The outdoor yard area would be devoted to certain 'outdoor only' improvements, including an archery target, and perhaps a guild garden even, where the guild could grow items together, or it could be dedicated to specific players who want to grow things.
I think this game is the perfect opportunity to really capitalize on communal improvement and growth because it stems from a tradition of group-oriented gameplay of FFXI and extends that to a wider variety than just combat.
Edited, Sep 4th 2009 11:52am by digitalcraft