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So, last week, I asked a simple question to a forum called Bay12; what do they want their perfect mmorpg to be? The source thread can be found in a link in the artcle, whilst my most substantial response can be found completely in the article. In the reply, I cover Relationships, Stats, Skills, Wounds+Death, Religion, Individual Player Power, Skill Flexibilty, Quests, PvP, Metagaming, Transportation, Flora, Fauna, Politics, Trade, Time and, quite a bit of detail on, Magic.

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Source thread Here
(The entire thread has a bunch of small replies by me that you may be interested in reading. Otherwise, my most informative reply is below)

@Relationships;

Dwarf Fortress has an ethics system whereas you set a minimal and maximal range on an ethic; that's the sort of system i'm using for anger, happiness, and all that jazz (I think it's ethics? Might be personality tags).
I'm planning to have all the armour, weapons, items, crafts, and so on, made by NPCs personally. When they do so, their skill in that area will increase, thus, kicking out better crafts. Their output with craftsmanship, I guess, would be set by some type of "Laziness" or "Dedication" tags.
NPCs will have stats, age, levels, experience, skills, names, family trees, favourite weapons/armour/crafts/materials.

@Stats

Stats will increase according to skill usage - not the other way around! So if an NPC has the background history of carrying heavy things, he will have a higher strength. If they run alot, dexterity. Read alot, intelligence. You get the idea.

@Skills
If a player wants to wield a sword and throw a fireball, that's their choice. Magic is explained below. People train their skills by using them, practicing them. The more you use a skill, the more practiced you are in it. Read educational books for a boost, be trained, sort of like The Elder Scrolls, I guess.
Skills cover swordplay, magic schools, crafting, farming, building, and so on - all the abilities a player could do.
Turn-based combat would impliment autoattacks. but, Myworld has three battle systems, inspired by the Suikoden series. The first is, evidently, turn-based combat with up to six players/npcs on either side. The second is an army-based system, where it's action-based, running in and doing your jizz against waves of enemies, and the last is a Duel-system.
Now, you're idea of different attack types has completed the puzzle on how duels work. I wanted something more than a rock-paper-scissors system, and you've give it me! Thank you! Players will be able to do different attack moves, for different actions.
As you said, Parry. Uppercut, Stab, Vertical-slash, and maybe some special moves that are learned through training. Other than that, you have the choice of Dodging, (Parrying), or blocking. Maybe throw a shield block in there, if they have one equipped.

Wounds & Death
I think i've finally come up with how to intermix Dwarf Fortess style wounds, with the HP based system. It was really obvious, when I just this moment came up with the example; Fallout 3! You can have a battered body on that, which then effects your attacking, defending, movement speed, vision, and so on. I think i'll use a system alike to that.
If you are killed, you are not killed. Players run through a background before playing the game, whereas they learn as to why they are pretty much immortal. So, with that in mind, they get knocked unconcious. Whilst unconcious, you can be looted by players passing by, and maybe NPCs if you are in a bandit-infested area. Or, maybe somebody passing by will put some sort of bitter salve in your mouth, which snaps you out of unconciousness... I remember watching 24, where they break a little tablet by an unconcious person's face, and the smell is so strong it wakes them. Something like will work.

But then, you would have to be fixed up. Healed. This is where magic, healing aids, naturally balms and so on come into play. Whilst a crutch and band aid may give you a temporary fix, you can either wait the weeks for it to heal, (In-game weeks. 4 days = 1 real day), or go to a cleric's guild, where they will fix you up. Maybe for free. Depends if it is player-run or not, I guess?

@Magic
The lore behind magic is that every living and unliving entity has a source of magic. A wooden table will have a magical (lifeforce) residue from whence it was a tree. Magic is in the air - in the wind, although very little. Magic is in the water, as it rains from the skies, which grabs magic from the air, bringing it down the mountain, gatherering more, and finally to the sea, where it is foccussed by the sun, and "shook up" by the waves, undercurrents and creatures. It's all one big cycle, basically.
Mainly, magic is notably strongest in smarter, or particularly magical, creatures - which opens a whole new bag on Blood Magic, for one example.
Now, back on to the subject of skills, players will have to be trained to "unlock" their magic at a school-based system... Or it may unlock naturally, which is potentially dangerous, and will need to be trained to control it.

There are a number of magics already planned... Natural magic, Star Magic and Blood Magic. Natural magic is where you focus the magic around you, in nature, and put it to use. This can be done with air, water, earth, fire. There is also eating plants, which will restore your magic, as opposed to taking it from animals, which would be blood magic, explained below.

Example; you are in a battle, and intend to use wind magic. You focus on the air before you, and imagine a circle, a globe. You then compact as much magic into that unbreakable globe to the best of your ability, then open the other side of the globe - releasing a sort of "Force push". This can be compared to pushing two magnets together, whereas a stronger person physically can push them closer, easier - somebody who practices the muscles for this skill.
In the other end of that example, is magic. Practice manipulating the air around you, and you get better at it each time.

Then there is Blood Magic, where you take magic from living animals, as opposed to plants, bark, fruit and so on. Blood magic is where you take blood from an animal, by cutting them and absorbing the magic. More magic is gained not only from drinking their blood, but also from eating their flesh. More magic is in the cells and organs, than the blood itself.
Of course, when you mix sodium with water, bad things happen - just like mixing two different magic sources. You become further and further corrupt, even addicted to it. This is inspired by reading The Magician's Apprentice series by Trudi Canavan, and the addiction/corruption came from my own thoughts, but is comparable to the Supernatural series.
This would be a good background idea to Vampires, actually...

Finally, there is Star Magic. On cloudless nights, where hundreds and thousands of stars are easily visible, and/or the moon is bright, a sort of Cosmic Magic is present. Star Magic can be gathered and stored in oneself, and released later.

Of course, the above three are sources of magic, where to gain magic from. For their use, the magic can be released to manipulate, not create. That is a base rule of magic. You can manipulate the air molecules to rub together veraciously, causing a spark of flame, which can then be forcefully fed air and brought into existance, but that is manipulation, not creation.
The wind can be redirected, the water can be gathered from the air (For example, water magic may not work in a desert, or maybe be more powerful at sea), Rocks can be brought up from the ground/cliffs, and magic can be released into a physical entity. You may even become strong enough to "summon" creatures. That is, to teleport a creature of your choosing to you, then controlling it to fight.
Summoning a creature may take much focus and magic power to sustain, though...
You have healing magic, which manipulates cells to exponentially grow, sucks out poisons, and so on.
Enchantment magic, where you gather your magic, and permanently place the enchantment on something. For example, you may craft the magic to thinly coat a blade, and then manipulate the magic to be extremely sharp along the blade's edge. The enchantment, obviously needing a name that I will have to come up with, a focus perhaps, will require to draw magical energy from the user for user, or extract magic and store it in itself, from blood of it's victim.
Alchemy isn't a magic, is more of a study of herbs... unless you start throwing magic in as a spice, so to speak! But for the most part, Alchemy will be Herbology, with a whisper of magical entity.

@Religion
That's an interesting idea. Maybe when you worship a god, or entity, that entity is transferred some of your natural magic, magic-user or not. From that, you gain magic from worshippers, but very little. Over the millenia, the focus of magic from the millions has focussed into the creation of an entity, a true god, a being of pure magic, and its ideals are that of which has been focussed into the magic, from the worshippers. Therefore, a goodly god would be a goodly one. An evil god, an evil one. A god of sunny weather may effect the weather when prayed to by many, in times of need.
Very interesting idea - I think I'll use that. This is why I like having these topics, so useful!

@Individual Player Power
Players are pathetic, put simply. At first, at least. Everybody starts as a farmer or a fisherman, or some other meagre background. They can continue that life, if they really wanted to, or they can take that step into the unknown, and follow the road where-ever it take them. Skills effect a players' abilities, and maybe some sort of bonus on levelling up, which I havn't covered in design yet. But, it would take a good while before players are slaying dragons, naked and with a dagger. There will not be any one-hit-killing powerful creatures (Unless, of course, they had some sort of magic behind their attack).
Basically, powerful creatures will stay powerful, and weak will stay weak.
On reading the rest of your post on the individual player power, it seems you are saying the exact what I am saying, just now. Players *can* become kings, if they and their heavily-trained army can defeat the current king and his army. This system is called Lordshipery, where if you wear the crown, you are the king of that land - not that it will be easy to gain.

@Skill Flexibility
Imagine skills like this; you have a page in your menu, where it displays a skill name, and a % of your ability in that skill. If you want to become a different skill-user, just start using that skill instead. Practice makes perfect is the motto, here.
If a player wants to flip from fighter to mage, then they have to go through the school and yadda yadda as I write above. Perhaps players can only roll into the schools, is they pay an internment fee - or, whatever it is you americans call that.

@Quests
Quests will be relative. A herder may need somebody to kill the wolves. A farmer may require a trapper to lay traps for the marauding moles and rabbits. A private in an army may have lost his helmet, and need help finding it before the sergeant.
Why exactly does a guy on the road need you to go and hunt down 20 boar in the local area? Is he insane? That is the main reason I stopped playing WoW, and I won't be endorsing that sort of Quest system in MyWorld.
Then again, don't expect somebody to ask you for help if they're desperate. You might need to earn their trust. I'd like quests to be one-shot only. So, once somebody has done it, nobody else can do it afterwards. Or, at least, for a while. Maybe give a week or so before the rabbits return to the carrot patch.

@PvP
Woah, okay, let's see... PvP can either initiate 6-party-battle in unwanted battles, or two peoples can agree to a duel. Say for example, you're taking a shortcut through the city, through the alleyway. A player with no money jumps out and start a battle. Or, you decide to take a shortcut across a long line of houses, through the theives-guild-run-sewers.
As for guards, I'm not quite sure how to impliment them, that will be a complicated matter, and I'll have to say No Comment on their involvement at this time.
Bounty boards was available in one of the earliest version of MyWorld, when it was playable, so they will be in. Players can post a bounty on anybody. They give over the bounty award to a third-party NPC, which then pays the bounty hunter, when task accomplished.
NPC Interaction may be a toughie to confuse with players, seeing as the conversational system will be completely different between NPCs and PCs. That is, to say, to converse with an NPC, you will have to click them, then choose from a number of options on what to say. With PCs (Players) you can just scream and shout, and people will scream and shout back, for example.
A king is a king. Henry VIII was a complete fat dickhole, but nobody sent him away, because without him the country would be in chaos. Players/NPCs may refuse to pay taxes and leave the country if the King is too harsh, though. Maybe? And perhaps, without taxes, the kingdom would fail, and the king removed by the senate/council.

Metagaming
Immersion is what I am aiming for with MyWorld. No flying hamburgers, no random advertising, no useless crap. Everything will have a purpose. If players is woodcutting, for example, and needs somebody to haul wood back to his home with him, he could then pay the helper afterwards. If the woodcutter then breaks the deal, the helper could steal the wood, kill the guy for his money, report him to the bounty board, and so on.
As for assassinating the king in that style, that is something that will need to be avoided. The king is the seat of power. Without a king, the country is in chaos. Lordshipery is handled here, whereas you have to attack the capital with your army in an army battle, and then charge at the king, slapping through his personal guard.
If the NPC king was just assassinated, a 7 year old newbie could walk in a grab the crown, if the assassin decided to leave the crown behind, or give it away.
Then again, the assassin could then take the crown for himself, or auction it off for thousands, for his effort. Perhaps assassinating NPC Kings would be possible. I'll think on that.
As for assassinating PC Kings, that couldn't happen. You could attack and knock him unconcious, but, his is immortal, after all, and will remain as the king.
NPC Interactions with needs and moving around places... That I'd like to see, but I've attempted that once and it isn't easy! But, I will attempt it. As I said in an example once, a quest requires the player to go and give a love letter to Lucy of Village X, but she has gone to the city as she does every Tuesday each week, to trade her mother's goods. Or something.
Logging out will put you to sleep. This will force the player to need a secure bed, or being looted, or maybe catching a cold or some other illness.
A camp system is what I would like to see. Where you are on the world map, and your sleep requirement bar is at 1% before you are about to collapse. There is no where to go nearby, so you quickly hit the Camp Key, and you are warped to a camp. You build a fire, and if you have time a tent, otherwise a bedroll, and fall asleep. The fire would reduce the chance of a cold, whilst a tent knocks it down to very unlikely, for examples.

@Transportation
Mounts, ships, airships, underground rails (Dwarven-like cilivization?), and whatever comes up. Teleportation I plan to be a powerful feat, and not easily done at a low cost. You are basically folding spacetime when you teleport, which is evidently not easy!
As for hitching a ride, perhaps escorting a merchant will not only give you ease of transport, it may also pay up a little - accompanied by a little drama and experience!

@Flora
There will be 1980 plants generated and spread across the map of MyWorld, give or take.
I'm not quite sure how to switch and change them about on a massive planet the size of MyWorld, in the case of extinction and invasive species, although a randomly generated location on each map, perhaps, or some other sort of instance placement, may cover that.
Plants will regenerate from their roots, once taken by a player. On a farm, plants will take a set number of days to mature, keeping in mind that 4 days are in 1 real-time day.

@Fauna
There will be 1970 creatures generated and spread across the map of Myworld, give or take.
Every creature has 3 adjectives generated, these include appearance, attitude, if they are domesticated and if they are mounts... and a few others, making them poisonous or not, for example.
Example. Some are woolly and domesticated, which would make them sheep, but may have sharp teeth, be carnivores, or maybe really small - or really big. They may be pets, rather than wool-providers, or guardians.
A dragon would be a rare case of generated content. It would need the fire-breather tag, winged, scaly, gargantuan or bigger, and so on. So, there could be a dragon in-game, but not exactly the usual type. It could be missing a tail. Or have tentacles. Maybe it is pink and has long shaggy hair. Who knows?
Of course, I do make sure each creature makes sense. I go over them all, and check for any clashes. "Good" and "evil" tags, duplicate tags, "Woolly" and "Scaly" - I fix all these, and more.
In actual fact, I hit the generate button and type them all up by hand, which takes a while.

Again, you return to the NPC Immersion. I'd also like a world where NPC and PC are indistinguishable, but, that would take up alot of AI Programming, which I or nobody I know, has the skill to do. In fact, they say that perfect AI will not be possible till 2050, where they will be able to "copy" the human brain into the format of a Computer. (Wikipedia for "2050").
Anyway, NPCs won't be saying the same random nonsense, that's for sure!

@Politics and trade
Players can create villages. Players can take over kingdoms. All land will belong to somebody already, NPC-wise. Constantly shifting borders, that is able to be done by setting "outposts" or "war camps" between warring borders, where when one camp is defeated, it is taken over. Thus, the border shifts. Something alike to this, anyway.
On that note, if a border were to be reduces so much that a Player Village were to be taken over, what if that village was designated to be destroyed by the Player who runs that country? That would be problematic.
A lone warrior standing in the throne room, bearing the bloodied crown - surrounded by his five party members who helped him get there. Maybe one of the party members challenges him to a duel over the crown. Perhaps one of the party members breaks off from the party, and attacks the guy on the remaining four party members for the crown.
Siege engines/methods would be interesting to see, and maybe a Fourth combat system whereas the War Battle system would include great balls of fire being tossed at your face (lol), your soldiers being taken out in their clusters. Diseased corpses knocking over an ally squarly, or a steel ball clipped somebody's leg.
Trebuchets are sexy, by the way.
Assassins would be one of the hirable agents, I should think, and work much like they do in Medieval 2, where they have a chance to kill, miss or be killed on-mission.
Whilst on the Agents subject, there will be Diplomats who you can send on diplomatic missions with trade invitations, alliance invitations, all that jazz. Theives that will attempt to steal from a treasury. Assassins, that will assassinate as explained, and a few others I have forgotten - feel free to make a suggestion.
Weapons, armor, jewelry, magical items, livestock, precious metals, anything and everything - all will be crafted and craftable. No randomly placed items in a shop. You buy something, the shop loses one of it. If you buy all of something, the shop loses all of that something till the NPC recrafts those items, or buys more from somewhere. You then have that something, which you might sell to another player in your own shop, or sell back to another shop elsewhere - the shop then gains X number of that item.
I want items to stay in circulation for a long time - including money - till they are broken, destroyed or lost.
I think I covered Trade in the above example.

@Metagame Part Two
MyWorld Points - This is a system I was contemplating, and i'm thinking I may only use it for expanding the world of Cerria, to include space for new Kingdoms for players who have earned it.
Banned - If a player is banned, his character will sleep. Forever. Till he decays. A temporary ban will just be a long sleep.
Permadeath - Every NPC will begin at some random age. They will give birth to children, and then themselves die. Their children will grow old, give birth, and die.
Player Aging - Nope. They reach an age, then do not age. The original plan is that players are "chosen by god" as you say. But, perhaps, they were exposed to some magical "pulse" of energy, which has exponentially lengthened their life. In the initial lore-history of MyWorld, All life was created by "Oril" the overlord god, the god of gods. The first humanoid creation was a Guardian, an elf-like creature that protected the forests. These then migrated, evolved to suit their location, and became dwarves of the mountains, humans of the farmlands, etc.
The first creation of this type, the guardians, was a male and female, sort of like an adam-and-eve story, but they were created with the very essence of Oril. Oril is immortal. The essence of Oril is immortal, and thus, so were the initial Adam and Eve Guardians.

Now, my point is, perhaps the players wander into a cave in the history/background gameplay at the start, where they are exposed by an essence of a god. Perhaps they see visions in the cave, where they make choices. Kill or do not kill the innocent, sort of thing. Then finally, they come across an artifact, which is a product of the player's choices. The artifact would be an inflection of the real life person, if they chose the choices they personally would choose. Then upon exposure to this, they are made immortaly, touched by a god alike to the person's personality.

That's just me rambling an idea, though.

@Time
I seem to have answered the initial question a good number of times already, above. One real day = Four game days. Why four? I can't remember. but, it was a good balance between things being too long, or too short, aswell as an easy round number for multiplying and dividing where needed.
The lives of NPCs won't be two years in real life, they'll be far shorter, living perhaps, 4 or 6 months, real-life.
Sieges. By previous games, sieges tend to last for a season. Maybe a month. So, if a siege were to last for 1 game month, that is 30/4. 7 real days? Oh, wow, that sucks... Hm... Maybe that's the maximum time, and for a large city. Thinking about it, sieging a player's fishing village with high walls and many soldiers may last only a few real hours. Two days, perhaps, game time.
In any case, I'm not even sure about implimenting wait-sieging. That could really mess everything in-game up.

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