I suggest a new server. It will be extreme difficulty and only in place to punish players for ever complaining that the game has become too easy. It will be a dark and scary place where even walking around the harbour will be fraught with danger and you will jump at every shadow for fear of possible aggressors.
This topic has come up in a few other threads and it has seemed to be met with universal acclaim. Obviously it isn't possible to please everyone with the exact rules but with what is detailed below I am confident that everyone will be scared to death of playing there which is exactly the point.
- Permanent Death: ON. Return to life limit: constitution score. "Raise Dead"= -1 permanent con.
- Friendly Fire: ON. Watch where you shoot that fireball! (PCs only).
- Normal Fortification items: 75% effectiveness on hard, 50% effectiveness on elite/epic.
- Casual/Normal Difficulty: OFF
- Hard Difficulty: Only available for wilderness quests (see below for reason).
- Slayer XP: Disabled except for first time explorer and rares (no repeats).
- Any overlevel penalty: 0 XP
- Any repeat penalty: 0 XP
- Bravery Bonus: OFF
- First time Bonus: OFF (though first time still suspends repeat penalties)
- Quest end rewards: Only available if you also receive XP.
- Ransack status: Permanent (doesn't reset after 7 days).
- Lesser tomes of learning: restricted to TR1 characters
- Greater tomes of learning: restricted to TR2 characters
- Immunities: Immunity granting items/spells can become "overloaded" and cease to function.
- Persistent effects: Reinstated: no special treatment for PCs in regards to duration of effects.
- Account options: Disabled. Favour unlocks only. Premium race OR class available to TR1 character if you own it. Premium race and class possible for TR2 character if you own it.
- RP: Mandatory (enforcement method tbd).
- Chest loot: BTC on equip or entering a public area (can only AH items from breakables).
- Legacy item: ON. 1 designated item (that wouldn't normally be bound on live servers) is available to a new character (not preexisting) on the death of your character.
- Corpse loot: ON. If you have access to a corpse you may take 1 item from it that is available and wouldn't be bound on live servers.
- All items available for purchase are marked up by 1000% (so a raise dead scroll would be 5000 plat or more - if this markup isn't enough then it can be increased).
- Using exploits is a bannable offence (no second chances)
- PVP: ON.
- Airship buffs: OFF (except for experience shrine and a new renown bonus shrine that is unique to each progressive ship). Amenities: OFF (except for guild chest). Guild Ships are weapons of war.
PvP obviously requires its own topic. The biggest issue with any niche is server is lack of universal appeal. The idea with this set of rules is that more niche audiences will be able to find a home there hopefully rising the population to the level where it is viable.
It is intended that a person who doesn't want to engage in PvP generally shouldn't have to except for a small exposure (1% or once per life or something similar).
- Everybody is anonymous on login, certain evil actions can affect your anonymous status.
- In all public areas PvP is possible if certain conditions are met.
- In all wilderness areas PvP is possible as multiple parties can be placed in the same instance.
- Taverns, churches, crafting halls and possibly other places are designated "safe". At most, only non-lethal pvp can occur here (everyone loves a good tavern brawl).
- Engaging in PvP can affect your alignment in all 4 directions depending on the nature of it.
- The lower a characters constitution score the more evil it is to kill them.
- Killing an evil character is generally not evil though it is chaotic if they plead for mercy.
- In all cases it will be possible to engage in non-lethal (subdual) pvp if desired.
- Guild wars are complete with a scheduled airship battle. Non-evil guilds cannot be engaged without consent.
Regarding public areas:
- Changing instances is only possible at map transitions
- If your guild doesn't have an airship you can only use lethal damage against someone against their will if they or their guild are evil. You may use subdual (non-lethal) damage though this is chaotic and they may defend themselves with lethal force (though that would be evil).
- If your guild has an airship you can demand payment (mug someone), attack them and so forth.
- You represent your guild at all times and your actions will reflect upon it (and possibly open it up for reprisals).
- NPC's such as guards will interfere in player PvP if they witness it. Illegal PvP during daylight hours should be very difficult (unless you can find a dark alley without witnesses) but at night NPCs are limited by the radius of their light sources and there are less patrols. PCs can follow along with NPC patrols for safety or bribe them for an escort to a particular location (or perhaps away from a certain location).
- Affordable Life insurance is available for public areas but is void if you die while engaged in illegal acts (murder/attempted murder/robbery etc). Bodies are collected promptly by local authorities to prevent the spread of disease (this makes it quite dangerous to attack someone illegally as if you die you may be permanently dead while they will be raised in good time). If you have fines or charges outstanding then they will have to be resolved before your body will be released to be raised (by your guild or loved ones).
- Any spells cast (or similar) in public areas will often have fines or sanctions associated with them for damage or public nuisance.
- Murder is a punishable offense. However, you can never remember the moments before you died though it might be possible to bring charges against someone if witnesses can be gathered (PC and NPC).
- Engaging someone against their will will result in a delay depending on level difference, alignment and class to give them an opportunity to get away if appropriate.
For a player wanting to avoid PvP:
- Don't enter wilderness areas. This might make it harder to level up but if you are determined then that is an option available to you.
- Don't enter wilderness areas when it is likely that other people will be there. Only go into wilderness areas late at night when the server is quiet or pick wilderness areas that people don't often go into (like sorrowdusk).
- Only go into wilderness areas when you have an escape route handy (like dimension door or teleport).
- Play a lawful good character. The consequences to a player both intrinsically (their aura) and extrinsically (the repercussions in the law should they be caught) are harsher when the crime is against a more lawful and good character (and even worse if it is a paladin). (This adds a nice level of challenge due to the disadvantages in PvE for choosing good/lawful alignment.)
- Be part of a lawful good aligned guild.
- Stay in safe areas (or quests) during the night and try to travel within sight of NPC enforcement bodies (guards) when possible.
- New skills: More skills to choose from makes building a character harder
- Sense Motive: more time to get away from an aggressor
- Gather information: find someone
- Disguise: disguise yourself
I think this about sums it up.
Guilds will be of utmost importance on such a server as they will serve as your protection and as a deterrence against unwanted harassment.
Getting to level 20 with the fortification and immunity adjustments in itself will be a significant accomplishment. TR'ing and raiding will be so fraught with risk that it is highly unlikely that anyone will end up with any significant amount of raid gear.
PvP griefing will of course happen but there will be a finely tuned system in place to manipulate players actions to create a positive environment. If a powerful guild was to go to war with another it could devastate the entire server.
Wilderness areas (and the hard difficulty quests, explorers and rares that they contain) will be avoided by those who don't want to engage in PvP. Accessing these quests will be a big deal due to less relative risk compared to the elite quests accessed through public areas.
Overall, this will be exciting, fun and end the ongoing feeling that the game is becoming too easy.
All the PvP players will leave your server.
All the PD players will have a place to call home.
No one will complain about the game being too easy.
1 more server
Scripting ... (some possibly complicated adjustments here I know)
Edit: Totally overhauled the suggestion.