Gentlemen, I am going to go ahead and critisize some of the suggestions listed in this thread. I think people are missing the point of what a "next gen MMO" should be. Some of the suggestions almost sound like people want the game to be played for them. More importantly, some people are tackling this question using only WoW as their perspective, without a broader know-how of what other MMORPGs are offering in the public.
1) .. allowing for serving forums for guilds and maybe even options like TeamSpeak / Ventrilo
While you are at it, why not ask them to host your guild website and make your guild webpage?
I would much rather prefer an MMORPG developer to focus on making a kick-ass game, instead of trying to re-invent wheels. Theres a reason why vBulletin, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, etc are such popular peices of software. Because they are very good at what they do. For example, technically speaking the WoW forums are crap compared to Vbulletin and other forum softwares... the Search feature is still unusable after 2 years. This is what you get when you try to develop unscalable in-house software (no matter how simple).
Bottom line: Let MMO creators worry about making a GOOD stable game. Dont ask them to make something they arent passionate about
2) I'd like a system, much like Allakhazam, but instead something that is run and developed by the developers of the game.
This will never work out in reality. Besides, this is a detrimental business move on part of the developers. Sites like thottbot, allakhazam, Vault, etc are breeding grounds for community interest. You want to encourage people to make fansites for your game.
3) A per-person incurred repaircost is tracked and after a raid is finished you can choose to refund a % of that and the system will automatically reimburse all raiders %
This is not a feature that a developer of a "next-gen" MMO should concern themselves with. This kind of suggestion belongs in the "Little features you would like to have in the next WoW patch". heck, with a lot of hacking a round, maybe even a mod writer could write this - maybe.
4) grindless endgame
Thats an oxymoron.
Many MMO developers in the past have tried to create grindless MMOs. The reason why they continue to fail is because players conquer content much faster than developers can create new content. Therefore, once players reach the "endgame" - the only thing left to do is grind. In anticipation of this, most developers intentionally add elements in the endgame that require grinding - this buys them time to offer new content.
WoW is as grindless as it gets really, whilst maintaining the quality of content.
5) How about just removing alchemy from the game?
uh, No? Alchemy has been staple crafting profession in many generations of MMO. You cant just "remove" it. Sorry I dont have a more compelling reason, the "coolness" factor of creating potions is compelling enough for many people.
6) Alt Management Features: We all play alts. Tons of them. To the point where the concept of a 'Main' is pretty foreign
I dont play any alts. I know a lot of people who hate playing alts. We prefer to focus on one character. I dont see how this "problem" cant be curtailed by a peice of pen and paper. Again, not a "next-gen" MMO feature.
7) - "Guild leaders and guild members can influence each other through soft factors, but there's no way to create binding agreements. You gear someone up and he guildhops or whatever, then you're just screwed."
- "how do you deal with the inverse case, that being corruption at the top? If guild officers/masters are to have more power, there needs to be a way for the members to deal with grievances"
You gotta be kidding me. People people... you cannot ask game developers to worry about the social aspects of running a guild or playing an MMO. I used to play this game called Shattered Galaxy that allowed players to vote for their president, that was a pretty cool feature. But I sure as hell dont want to be burdened with stuff judicial bureaurocritical crap while playing an MMO. I do understand that in-game politics are an intigral part of an MMO, but asking the game-devs to implement technical features that cultivate this phenomenon is absurb. Let players worry about these things! Thats what makes these games soo fun.
After reading some more of the postsin this thread, most of the suggestions are concerning little nuances and quirks with current WoW system. Moreover, the kind of automation people are demanding dilutes the social aspect of being in a guild. I want to have a "guild enchanter" and a "guild blacksmith" and a "thorium brotherhood guy" and a "flask guy". Sure, at times its annoying when these people arent online - but it adds to the essence of being in a guild where each person shares certain unique traits and responsibilities. Please dont take this away from us. And I dont want no bloody in-game judiciary system.
1) if its a vital part to have those things then why not ? its becomming key features of some upcoming games. again UO had guild info pages 10 years ago (myuo.com), AO offered xml listings. blizzard makes a crapload of money with this game, they could offer parts of this easy. does your phone company offer extra online/offline services ? if it keeps customers happy theyll offer some.
2) again not much effort for devs, they got the data allready there , theres no need for hackersquest etc. to build custom stuff
3) i was never a fan of repaircosts, just makes gold selling/buying worth it. people dont have time to farm resources and raid 5 days/week. i want to play, not farm
4) grindless endgame , well devs still havent figured out that. but i dont think its impossible (in info science nothing is impossible). endgame as it is in all games atm is static (5 different breaths is still static). doesnt need a genius to say that the 1st game with adaptive gameplay will win a big market share.
5) pots are a nice to have feature, should never be a requirement in any way. the difference between a raid grp investing heavy in buffs/pots (time/money) vs. a raw grp can make and break an encounter (huhuran and ZG pots). good way of boss fight and buffs is chromagus and hourglass sand (get what you need from trash).
7) those social aspects keep players paying their fees, ignoring them is stupid. the time of big socializing games ended with wow. endgame is more like a job, if you got people who cant do it right you wont progress - fire them :(
to repeat myselfes, endgame is difficult to provide. id rather lose 10% of those who conquer it too fast than losing 30-50% players who dont have a perspective after getting to 60. mmoprgs still lack adaptive gameplay mechanics. devs still make the same mistakes after 10 years of mmoprgs and will continue to make them (because its cheaper to make them).