I was just casually wandering about the Internet yesterday, when I stumbled upon one of those random new MMORPG advertisements that you see popping up on a number of the WoW-related websites nowadays. It's for a game called Shaiya, which (like all the others), I'll probably never play, but a quick glance through it's game features revealed an interesting design choice. Without splitting up the playerbase, they've nonetheless created different "modes" to the game, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. There's an "Easy Mode," which lets you advance more quickly, but also limits you a great deal. There's also a "Normal Mode," a "Hard Mode," and even an "Ultimate Mode" for the most hardcore of players. It got me thinking about how such a system might work if transplanted into WoW:
Easy Mode: This is basically just a tutorial. Not many experience points are needed to advance from level to level, but you can only reach a maximum of level 30. You cannot create or join a guild, and you get no access to any Talent points. You also are limited to Common and Uncommon items -- you cannot use any Rare, Epic, or Legendary items.
Normal Mode: This is where most players will start off. You need an average amount of experience points to advance (something like what we have today). You can create and join guilds normally, and you also get Talent points. In addition, you also get access to Rare items.