As I said in a previous post, I think SW:TOR has killed WoW for me. I am loving having a voice acted story so much that I don't think I can go back. I'll put up with it so I can hang out with my superheroes, but even that will be hard. The moment someone makes a superhero MMO along the lines of SW:TOR, I'm remaking Keith, Raizel, and Kit (Crystal Avenger) in it - assuming I can make a not physically intimidating inventor, a demon-looking girl* with fire powers, and a teenager with dark-looking powers. None of those seem particularly far fetched (see also the fact that I've made them in two superhero MMOs so far with no difficulty at all). So, MMO makers out there, I can haz, plz?
Speaking of things I'd like to haz, the measure of a mook problem irks me slightly when there's an actual story. I know it's, sadly, in genre for my agent to blast his way in to the villain's lair and then try to get the villain to surrender or give up villainy. Actually, I take it back, the latter part isn't in genre at all, whether we're talking James Bond movies or Star Wars. It is something I like about the game, even if the bad guys keep answering attempted diplomacy with blaster fire. I'd like it even better if, once in a while, the bad guy actually came quietly or gave Kyrian a good reason to let zir go.** I'd also really like it if Kyrian could break into enemy strongholds in some way more subtle than blasting his way in. I know one version of the agent class has stealth, but the game - like City of Heroes - isn't really designed for people to skip most of the fighting. So even if the stealth were as good as in CoH, it wouldn't really be a good solution.
I wonder if one could design an MMO (or other game) that wasn't quite so centered around blasting everything. I'd love to run around sneaking into places, using disguises and breaking and entering and secret passages and whatnot, getting the villain alone in zir study... and proposing that zie give up villainy. Even if 75% of the time zir response was to shoot at me. I think there actually are single player games like that, but single player games don't let you create your own character, generally.
Part of the mook problem for superhero games, at least, could be solved just by making a Bioware one. You just have options after fighting into the supervillain lair to, depending on the kind of hero you are, call the police and medics in, make an anonymous tip to 911 (effectively the same, but for unauthorized superheroes), or just walk out because you're the Punisher type and don't care about that stuff. Or something along those lines, anyway. (The fact that people can somehow have non-fatal battles while throwing fire and lightning and such like around is a staple of comic books, so I'm not going to worry about exactly how it is that Raizel isn't incinerating her foes. Because comic books, that's why.)
And, of course, if one tied leveling up to something besides defeating enemies, like, perhaps getting all one's points from quests, you could give people options of sneaking into places vs. walking in the front door without penalizing one of the choices. Hell, I wouldn't mind a game that let one get into places like Tom Baker's Doctor Who generally did. The high point of which was when he (I'm pretty sure it was him and not Peter Davison's doctor) walked up to the front door of some place and said: "Hello, I'm an enemy spy. :) "
Yes, I realize that solely quest based leveling isn't fair to people who don't like doing quests, but what the heck are they doing playing a story-centered game? That's like signing up to play tennis, but not wanting to hit a ball back and forth with a racket. Really, people.
I wonder what would happen if a game made *talk your way in*, *sneak your way in*, *get yourself captured and free yourself*, and *fight your way in* all equally valid and entertaining options. I have this suspicion that *fight your way in* would rapidly become the least used option, simply because the others would be new and different. And there may be other people like me who've been longing for options.
* Just realized both of my female superheroes are teens, while my male superhero (who isn't super) is an adult. *frowny face* I don't know whether to be concerned about that or not. Keith isn't exactly old and wise - he's small and thin and doesn't really know how to fight and he runs around fighting supervillains because he can, thanks to his inventions. He may be an adult simply because my mind said he needed more time to get good at inventing, while Raizel has natural powers she's spent her whole life using and Kit just had to get used to weird meteorite power (she's still working on the costume design part). But I digress.
** Holy Spoilers Batman!
In the first Imperial flashpoint, I actually wanted an option to let the guy we were supposed to capture go and fake his death or something. He made some very good arguments regarding what he was doing. Of course, that would require the whole group to conspire to commit treason, which would take some brave and reckless Imperials indeed. Would still be an awesome addition to the options. *Take Him Prisoner* *Fake His Death And Let Him Go* *Kill Him*