Hello, this is Chris Williams, AKA son #2. =) Think this is my first post to my dad’s page.
A general belief in the gaming industry these days is that gamers make the best games. My dad also believes this if you ask him. The truth of the matter, though, is that of my mom, Al Lowe, Shigeru Miyamoto, Sid Meyer, et al., I am not certain that any of them are gamers. Definitely, none of the ones I know are, and in fact my mom is largely computer illiterate.
Now, previous to making any new game, my mom would go out and purchase whatever the top selling games were (be it Myst or Duke Nukem) and give each a good weeks worth of play. For “The Mask of Eternity” I believe she might have played some form of MMORPG, and if so I would guess that that is it for either of them.
I myself am not much of a gamer, but working in the computer industry (and then moving to Japan where networked gaming is my only source of English-language fraternization) have become increasingly more likely to play MMORPGs. So far my progression has been Yserbius -> SWG -> CoH -> EVE -> WoW.
To try and answer your question, based on my knowledge of my parents and the current state of online RPGs:
If my dad was running a company that was producing an MMORPG, his primary concern would be with “Who will be the biggest market for a game of this type, and what needs to be done to make them like it more?” So pretty much, he wouldn’t have an opinion of the genre itself–just whether or not what was being made looked like it will become a successful product. Beyond that, if there were particularly nifty graphics he might be interested in trying to figure out how they did it (as a former programmer.)
If my mom was playing any of these games she would probably just say “It’s not an adventure game” and that would be that. …She’s a bit biased.
Personally, I would like to see a MMO Adventure Game and I do think it could be done. WoW certainly appears closer to this but I suspect that towards the higher levels this will degrade back to xp grind.
So, just to say what would need to be done to make a MMOAG:
No levels or skill modifiers. No dice roll
Does not require more than arrow keys and the mouse <- Opinion
Player would be able to advance through a story (or perhaps several stories) and a multitude of subplots within each
Completing a story would give only the reward of a nifty animation sequence and perhaps open up a new story
Of course on top of that you would need to figure out how to make it multiplayer and a way to make enough content to satisfy millions of people for several years and provide in-game stuff to do when you just want to putter about.