I think about MUDs a bunch, here is a stream of ideas.
Here’s a funny idea: make the central loop progress via levels and experience. But make permanent changes to characters, the world and the game based on these really complex raid scenarios.
Okay, now the fun part: give all players an XP bonus, 1% per active player!
This would be great for a game with arbitrary high levels; I have an idea to have 1,000 or 10,000 character levels.
Would be neat to see what happens.
Create zones that get explored, but make steadings a small set of rooms, to keep everyone “near” each other.
When they leave a safe place, count rooms and traits of each, in secret. Make skill rolls or something, for passive skills. Like collection skills, foraging or mining.
When/if they return to a steading, roll to see which materials they gathered. Don’t even trip on inventory, why bother? Make boneses to these rolls a character development.
Tap a cannabis strain database and randomly make things from their qualities, be they numerical or descriptive.
Okay, so the obvious one is a random drop! And this happens in LOTRO sometimes! Except somehow more mature sounding!
But wait! Monsters! That you train! Based on cannabis strains! Omfg, that is hilarious!
Or! Talking artifacts with personalities corresponding to the strain!
Use linked data, folks.
In order to build a stronger adventuring community, and foster better understanding between regions, guilds have quotas where each quest must have party members from a pool made of qualified members from other guilds.
In game terms, you control a party, but your team is at least half characters made by other players! And there are bunches of XP tracks, and some can only be progressed while adventuring “abroad”!
That means each person will draw a party from characters other players put forward. It isn’t quite an auction, but it is first come first serve, as each character is tracked individually. That means you’ll actually want to trick them out with gear, so they get note xp to unlock your abilities as a guild.
Also also also: I can be solar punk, commentative, and mud!
Class based game, except all the classes just do their own thing, and take requests from each other, and do mini-games to complete them.
To develop a new spell, you might need to post a quest to collect these things, while also taking on magic item creation requests.
In fact, that could be it, fantasy economy simulator. Don’t even harvest resources, generate them during logged out time.
Quest-based artifacts: make artifacts really powerful game changers, but limited amount of use. Maybe time, maybe numbers of uses.
How do you get an artifact? Combine a quest token with an item token, tokens being quest currency paid out.
Quest token have tags, so when you combine the item is chosen from a pool of items with that tag, that isn’t currently in use. Yep, artifacts are unique! They expire if not used. And go back into the pool.
There are deviations on this scheme:
- collect multiple artifacts at once, unlock a thing
- use a secondary token to ensure the generated artifact
- artifacts have a chance of leaving behind a “remnant” of itself when it moves on, a lesser but still very powerful magic item