That Second Life project is pretty interesting. Actually, I know one of the designers who did concept work for their logo.
I agree with what you’re thinking, Chris. As I said above, I haven’t really played any MMORPGs. I’ve never heard of British Legends, though I remember playing a lot of Trade Wars when I was in high school. We’d setup our own games on our school network, and it was a lot of fun.
Here’s the short version of the idea I had a few years ago: to setup a MMOAG, the engine connects to a server and downloads “quest modules”. These modules are either single player quests or multi-player quests. The game-world is exploration-based so that you run across the quests as you explore. The gameplay is centered around activity hubs such as towns. What this means is that while you need people playing the game and building the game world, you also need people to write the quests on a continual basis. The quests are constructed according to certain components so that they are easily added to the game world, but yet they can’t be too simple as to become repetitive. By uploading an entire series of quest modules to the server, you’d basically have a full adventure game. This is probably a poor explanation, but I just wanted to give the gist of the idea. I have a very specific idea of exactly how it could all work.