But have faith, game developers! If you use these simple ten suggestions to improve your virtual worlds, hundreds of thousands of players will soon return and, more importantly, get you 'back in the bling-bling' again!
1) Real-Time Payback Option: Every time a player is defeated in online combat they will instantly receive the GPS tracking co-ordinates of the gamer who killed them. This information will allow the annoyed player to physically locate the offending person in the real world in order to slap them repeatedly across the face while screaming, "WHO OWNZERS WHO NOW, BIOTCH?"
2) Gender Verification: Too many male online gamers have suffered the fate of romancing a beautiful elf maiden who is actually a fifty-seven year old balding accountant guy with hair on his back. The new breed of MMORPG's will come equipped with a small video cam that each and every player must keep trained on their genitalia at all times while logged into the game. When an online player meets someone they're attracted to, they simply click an icon on the person's avatar and voila! A real-time video feed proving female or male gender. While some players may find this to be an extreme solution, they've obviously never had a blind date that turned out to be a fifty-seven year old balding accountant guy with hair on his back.
3) Customizable Trailer Homes: Not everyone wants to live in a cold, drafty castle. Many players enjoy the comfy closeness of a trailer home, since that's the real-word domicile in which they reside. Trailer homes are the perfect solution for guilds: members can form trailer parks to drink beer, shout obscenities, and wander around in stained undershirts. Another advantage of trailer homes for guilds is mobility; if a safer area from attack is required, just pick up and move the trailers to the new 'park' (preferably in the front lawn of the nearest castle; royalty love trailer homes in their gardens).
4) Quests That Are Actually Fun: Nobody likes performing dumb quests like collecting a dozen glowing fungi or killing & skinning five deer to collect leather. Why not have quests that are actually fun, like PK Seven Defenseless Newbies or Join A Guild, Loot Their Headquarters, Then Quit, or the ever-popular quest, Ask Each And Every Player In The Game, "cn i hav yur stuff d00d?"
5) Ability To Hoof Another Player In The Nuts: Special combat moves exist in most MMORPG's, yet this author has never seen the one attack most often used in violent situations (usually around bars or the ex-wife): a good, hard kick right in the offending person's `groceries'. It would only heighten an online game's popularity if developers added such an option; when the attacking player is successful in delivering a "Testicular Trauma" special move, the kicked player's avatar immediately grabs his ribs and sinks to his knees while moaning, "oooohh...goddddd...the paainnnn...".
6) Weapons That Are Actually Cool: We're all sick and tired of swords and maces, guns and lasers, yadda yadda yadda. There simply needs to be more variety in the items players may use in an offensive manner. Many fighters would enjoy the challenge of battling dragons with a good nine-iron golf club, shattered beer bottle, or flaming accordion, for example.
There also needs to be more powerful weapons. Why can't an online game have nuclear devices? It would give a guild a great sense of satisfaction assembling an ICBM to launch at their enemies or, better yet, at a big crowd of newbies.
7) 'Going Postal' Option: We've all suffered the experience of becoming tired of an online game and quitting, letting our accounts languish in a state of limbo. Why not have the choice of going out in style? When a player decides he's sick of playing an online game, all he needs to do is click the `Going Postal' option that will grant him near god-like powers and invulnerability. He may then go on a massive killing spree for an hour, at the end of which his avatar explodes, taking out half the virtual surrounding environment. The player is then logged off and his account deleted. This 'Going Postal' feature may very well lure Players back to an online game just so they can go berserk in this style again, leading to new account creation and increased revenue.
8) Graffiti: Spray-painted `tags' are a constant feature in real-life, so why not in virtual worlds? There are some extremely talented graffiti artists who would love displaying their `skillz' on, oh let's say, each and every wall of each and every structure their on-line personae can possibly find. Guilds will benefit from `tagging' their territory with spray-painted omens such as "sTay OuT oR BC Guild RoXJor Yuuu" or insulting artwork depicting the enemy guild's leader having personal relations with Tony Danza.
9) Instant Game Master Summoning: We've all suffered through long waits for a Game Master to appear in order to fix our on-line problems. Since we, the Players, are paying a monthly fee, why should we have to waste our time standing around for a Game Master instead of playing the damn game in the first place? Instead, MMORPG companies should hire hundreds, no, thousands, of Game Masters so that when a player calls for assistance, a GM appears the very second after the request has been made. In fact, a player should be allowed to call for a Game Master if they are just feeling lonely and would like to "chat" about "stuff" at four in the morning.
10) Cease monthly billing and make all MMORPG's free to play, you greedy corporate bastards. I promised at the beginning of this article you'd get the "bling-bling" back, but I don't care. Now send me a Game Master, I need someone to help me redecorate my trailer home. My real trailer home.
The Internet Slacker