I recently put up a post on the blog about enjoying some other games whilst I was on a bit of WoW downtime and I waxed lyrical about an old game, Vampire - Bloodlines, which I'd rediscovered and was thoroughly enjoying. The reason I like this game so much is that it really tried to take the whole RPG thing to a new level - in terms of questing and choices, think about the same level of moral dilemas and choices as the Fallout series of games (all of them but it has most in common with Fallout 3); for gameplay, think more in the style of the original Deus Ex although Fallout 3 again is a good comparison.
It got me thinking about how, over the past 10-12 years, games have been advancing and being accepted more and more as a legitimate artform and story telling device, in the same way a movie or a book is. This has mostly been led by RPGs, although through the years we've seen other games start to take on the idea of moral dilemas and interactive storytelling - look at Heavy Rain as an example. In fact, one of the few genres where it has kind of been lacking (or taken longer to catch up) has been in the MMORPG genre.
So I started thinking, could an MMORPG start incorporating some of the feature we take for granted in singleplayer RPGs? Rather than the "get quest, kill x number of things, hand in quest" formula, could we start seeing multiple ways to complete a quest? Could there be moral choices to be made, with an outcome that will affect both you as a player (emotional involvement) and your character (rewards/penalties). Larisa at The Pigtail Inn
has already alluded to a similar idea.
Ithink I'll pop this up as a discussion topic on my site with a full post later, but I'd love to see what other people in the blogosphere think of it. Could it be done? If so, how would you do it? What would you like to see? Would it take away from what WoW essentially is?
(Apologies for the long post)