MMO trade skills are pretty much all the same. Kill or gather components, make items, gain skill, repeat until you can make the best stuff.
The problem with that is it doesn’t allow for very much creativity or individual expression.
I think MMOs have matured enough to allow a different take on trade skills, in addition to the traditional – the creation of actual art.
Game makers spend a tremendous amount of time crafting a beautiful world, which players can screen shot, but that’s where it ends.
I’d like a trade skill system where players can make art for both in and out of the game. As they gain skill they gain more access to filters/instruments/combinations. Under this system even a novice would be able to create unique, interesting, and desirable for purchase) art.
I’ll run through one example in detail, screen shots, and outline briefly how it could be applied to sculpting, writing, and music making.
Using a screenshot I took from The Elder Scrolls Online I applied a few different filters (click for full size):
Another picture downloaded from Pantheon – Rise of the Fallen (click for full size):
Using one of the Elder Scrolls Online screen shots, I added a frame and “hung” it:
Created art could then be sold to players for use/hanging in their in-game homes or art galleries, played at player run bars/hangouts, read in player run libraries.
Screen shots using filters and mounting options (frames, also crafted) would be relatively safe for developers since it’d require no oversight for what people make for content – it’s all based on in-game stuff.
Music could be done by giving players a series of clips for them to mesh together as they want. For example: Splice Beat Maker
Sculptures could be created from screenshots or existing items and filters applied. A more advanced system would allow players to combine existing things in new ways – for example a door is a door, but a sculpture (carver) could create art on it and sell that.
Writing would be trickier due to the fact anyone could write anything and some people are immature. Rather than have developers/community supervisors deal with it, I’d have a reporting system – with enough complaints the piece gets pulled and the creator can appeal the decision.
It would also allow players a way to make in game currency as well as earn experience. Perhaps even a bonus experience given per item sold combined with how much it sold for. One piece sold a at high price would yield X experience while many items sold at a low cost would also earn X – for example.
Out of game purchasing:
A company run web site that would allow players to purchase created items for use outside of the game using in game currency. Not use of actual, real world money.
A screenshot in it’s original and/or altered form for use as a desktop background, for example.
Music to listen to you your phone or computer.
Writing to read while not in game.
Sculptures to send to your 3d printer (okay that’s a stretch, but we need to think big here 🙂 ).
This would also increase the reach of the game itself. Friends could show friends what they “bought” which in turn may make someone more interested in the game.
Although I’ve used a fantasy setting for my examples it could work in any genre, fit to that game’s tech level. A sci-fi game could display the pictures on a monitor as well as hanging on a wall.
MMO communities are full of very creative people – hopefully a developer will take better advantage of it.