First, a sincere thank you to everyone who's posted in this thread! I honestly appreciate your feedback, folks, whether you agree with my comments or not: it's all good, you know? And the more that's contributed, the better the game will undoubtedly be.
Second, I'm wondering about the possibilities of purchasing virtual, nontransferable titles (i.e., real estate) using real world currency. While I'm dead set against Real Money Action Houses (RMAHs) as potential exploitation makes the annoying issues relating to mudflation and goldmining laughable, I'm all in favor of players having the ability to purchase or rent a piece of the game world, whether in the form of a merchant's stall, a guildhall or (*grinning inanely*) an entire kingdom. If you think NPC enchanter and gambling fees are great goldsinks (and hedges against inflation), wait until you see what building a road, a castle or installing a sewer system can accomplish!
Of course, I recognize the importance of fast-paced action in an MMO (or MMORPG) that bills itself as a game with fast-paced action.... but, again, I wonder how a Torchlight-themed MMO could distinguish itself from a multiplayer version on this basis, let alone every other MMO that's ever been produced. Raids? Mass player versus player anarchy? Monsters with even more
hitpoints? Sure, right, okay, but I remain more than a little skeptical as I've never killed another player's character (and have absolutely no interest in doing so) and once you've killed Baal in Nightmare-mode single-handedly in hardcore (something, again, I've not done and have no interest in doing), defeating Baal in Inferno-mode form seems faintly pointless, if not ridiculously vain.
The answer (at least it's an answer for me), of course, is basic content. Content beyond enhanced graphics, level-increasing expansion packs and Panda bears that know karate. Content that supports action of the usual hack-and-slash variety alongside unusual (but just as challenging) action that arises from intrigue and social (or, more accurately, not so social) interaction. Speaking only for myself for a moment, while it's great fun dropping hordes of bad guys (and the glee of breakin' barrels apart is it's own special joy, I know), it's funner managing a corporation. A lot
more funner. Most folks will likely not have the opportunity to find this out, but here's a chance for them to do so... even if it's only in a virtual setting.
Similarly, I can understand a developer's hesitation in providing ready access to a PC healer (and some players believe the rapid consumption of healing potions to be a bit cheesy too), but I have absolutely no difficulty with either practice: I support real-world helicopter medivacs and am awaiting the introduction of tailored nanocytes that are designed to scourge cancer and promote rapid healing of bone and tissue injuries. Even in a fantasy setting, it only makes sense folks would be doing all that they could to avoid the multiple inconveniences that arise from illness, injury and black magic (mind you, I live in a relatively secular country where socialized medical care exists... in America, the country that proudly boasts the best health care possible - if you can afford it, that is - it's entirely a different philosophy and fundamentalism cheerfully thrives).
If good folks like Travis like knowing new players are dropping all over the place (and I, too, say Darwin rules!
), then let's level the playing field a bit and make the most obvious leap in game-play mechanics: It's your money or your life, babe. That is, when a character perishes, the penalty is appropriate: You can lose your life but keep all your property; you can keep all your property but lose your life. Of course, I'd introduce this option after Easy-mode...
Anyhow... once again, morning is passing, and the ski trails beckon! As always, I'm looking forward to your comments and contributions.