I was just thinking of a couple of things that would make DDO more immersive and decided to share. Now, first let me clarify that this are ideas, not suggestions. I'm aware that some of the things that I'll present would be almost impossible to implement without remaking the whole game. That said, I just wanted to throw a few out there and hear other people's opinions and ideas. Who knows? Maybe some of them are doable and the devs might like and implement them in the future. Another warning I should make is that this post is going to be long. I'm often going to go on tangents to give examples and explain/defend the statement. I apologize for that.
Let's start with the obvious. It would be great to see the PC's walk animation fixed. It's odd because the NPC's walk just fine but player's toons have this awkward limping half-run. It's so weird when you're in a quest where an NPC is leading you somewhere and instead of walking beside them you have to run a few paces, wait and then run a few more. I also dislike running in places like taverns and such. Walking around seems more plausible. And while on the subject of animations, more emotes would be good. I think the current list is very limited and could definitely be improved upon.
Something else I would love to see is more interaction with the world. So, I'm not a hard-core gamer. Never was and I expect never will be. I couldn't care less about achievements, ranks and such. I normally play a game like an interactive book. Either give me an open world where I can make my own story or give me a solid story-line and I'm happy. MMOs can actually give you both with a bonus: It's a never ending story! Or at least a very very long one.
My first mmo was World of Warcraft. Wait! WAIT! Don't close this thread just yet! Please let me finish the thought. We good? Okay, thanks. The thing I liked the most about it where the little details. First time, I played as a night-elf. They start in an island and, after finishing the quests there, are sent to the mainland. When it was my turn to leave home, an NPC told me to get a ride on a griffon. So on I go already excited to ride a half-eagle half-lion beast and when I get there, no loading screen! I was in awe that I got to sit through the whole flight. So I get to my destination and spot a dock with a bunch of ships. I decide to go check them out and jump in one. After a while running around I'm ready to move on when it starts moving. The ship that I thought was just for decoration was moving and taking me somewhere. I was so excited (yes, I am that easily impressed) that I got careless, fell off and got killed by a sea monster.
Those kind of thing just make the game feel alive. Just getting from point A to point B was an adventure in and of itself and it would have been great if DDO had been made like that. Now, I understand that in the current setting ships are useless but every single trip is a loading screen so far. Not to mention, some of the big cities in WoW had benches you could actually sit on and even chairs around tables that where interactive.
This would be great in DDO. You have this chairs in the taverns that are far enough apart from the table but the only way to sit on them is to awkwardly "walk" around the surface until you feel you're in the right place and then activate the sitting emote. If your calculation were off, you end up with part of the toon's body being engulfed by the chair. Why not do it like LOTRO where, if you are close enough to a chair and use the sit emote, a chair shows up and your avatar sits on it. It would be great to be able to sit in a tavern while I'm preparing spells or waiting for my spell and hit points to regenerate after an adventure gone wrong.
And what about adding a second floor to some taverns with rooms and beds? I mean, a port city like Stormreach not having inns is preposterous. It would make logging off during roleplaying more fun. You can just say "I think I'll retire for the day", walk to a room and presto! Your character is sleeping while you go deal with your life. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that DDO did everything wrong. It is, so far, my favorite and the dungeons themselves are very immersive. I love the DM describing the setting and even changing his/her voice when talking for another character. I love that when you summon hirelings they say something and even emote. Most of all, I love that thing can go very differently than what you expected and the adventure ends up being more exciting because of it. But then you go back to the city run around, talk to vendor, stand around while you prepare yourself, talk to NPC and run to the next dungeon. Even if you are roleplaying, isn't it more fun to have your character act out simple actions instead of having to type them out?
Which brings me to my final idea (finally, right?). The wilderness areas should be public instead of instanced. Picture this: You have just been hired by Lady Pompousbottom to recover a family heirloom she lost when her caravan was raided by bandits just outside the city. You stock on supplies and set out. After investigating the sight of the attack, you walk around looking for signs that might lead you to the bandits. Suddenly, you see a group of people in the distance around a campfire. You cautiously approach them with your weapon in the ready but, as you get closer, you catch bits of their conversation and realize they're not bandits at all. In fact, they're also tracking a group of bandits. You let your presence be known and, after talking, it is decided that you should join forces against the common enemy. BAM! You just found a party to help you without having to open the LFM window. Then you all go happily to the bandit camp (which of course would be an instance). For people like me who love it when spontaneous roleplay happens out of nowhere, that would have been a great occurence.
Anyway, what do you guys think? What are your ideas? Or do you think all this would just be a waste of game code?