You are putting years of work and millions of dollars on the line, so I am sure you can go extra mile and read this wall of text :) . Warning: Please be patient with this because my English is not as developed as my Java :-)
Note: I don't have time to finish this article which I started years ago. I didn't pick up RoA or DND after the demise of Darkfall Unholy Wars. There are other pressing needs in life entertainment is taking back seat. I will publish this unfinished version which still has value for new game developers.
Incidentally Ub3rgames been developing Darkfall New Dawn and many of their ideas matches what I wrote 2 years ago!
Why I decided to write this article?A very exciting time is ahead of us, with so many MMO featuring open world, full loot, in a sandbox setting that are to be released from single person indie to large established studios. I have been playing this type of games for many years starting with UO and most recently playing Darkfall. Here few thing game designer should consider for long term success.
Lets Jump right into it.An informal discussion with dev (developer, game designer, director, anyone making the game). "Dev: This is my vision and a game I always wanted to create..." which is all good and dandy but it may not be a game many people wants to play.
"Dev: I don't care because I am not trying to create a game for everyone. I am creating a game that people have been asking for a long time". Often times game developer can't distinguish between vocal minorities and silent majority. These vocal minorities often distorts reality in social media and developer loses insight of their target audience. As a result they end up developing a product that is not sustainable. You already know that game development and maintenance is super expensive so while a satisfying a niche market is ideal, but at the end of the day game still needs appeal to a crowed of 50,000+ paying customers.
"Dev: Basically it sounds like you are telling us to develop the next World of Warcraft (theme park) and not take any risk". No! The market for theme park MMO is saturated. You are better off buying hotdog stands and get better ROI then writing another theme park MMO.
"Dev: Why bother reinventing the wheel when we already seen the perfect model that we can just copy from EvE, UO, SWG?." This is a very good point. Philosophy and game design used in these games were perfect for the time these games served but they will not necessarily work in current time. UO and SWG were pioneered and had very little competition. Technology changed (broadband Internet, 3D graphics, etc), player expectation greatly shifted, and player are now exposed to a much wider range of Sandbox games (100 already in the market). EvE Online is still going strong simply because over the years CCP kept up with the changing market and constantly evolving their game and business model to stay ahead of time. (click read more)