So, I realized after yesterday's post that there were still a few points about a TBSMMO that I wanted to touch on. The post had just started to feel long-ish and I felt like I was rambling. To continue:
I talked about how abilities and gear would work, as well as the class structure, but I also wanted to touch on game structure. Now as far as this goes, the game should be entirely mission based. You get a mission, you and some friends (or just you by yourself, maybe with some hired sprites) enter an instanced battle field from whatever hub city you were in. You should be able to walk around the city freely with your toon to visit the mailbox, auction house, player housing, guild hall (this game has everything!) but the battles should be highly structured. You start by getting a mission, either from an NPC or perhaps from a posting in a pub, then you get your group together, decide who will be fulfilling which role, then enter the instance. At that point, the group leader will select the difficulty of the encounter (i.e. how long you will have to make decisions on your turn) and then the encounter will begin. The game board should be grid based, including topography and environmental hazards than might make an ability less effective, or might hamper your movement (you are able to walk farther on pavement per-turn then through marshland, for example). You face off against either a group of enemies, other players or maybe a boss or two. Many of the ideas that came up in my Raid Based MMO post would apply here as well, such as tanks having a zone of control, forcing mobs to circumnavigate them or throw projectile and spells over them to reach the casters, having your swifter classes like rogues and hunters (using the WoW model of class ability) go after casters and archers that are hiding in the back, and mages being the long range glass cannons that make them so endearing. Once you are successful, you are shown a summary of the battle, how much xp was earned, how many skill points toward your abilities, how much gold each of you received, as well as any items that need to be divied up. After that, if this was a single fight mission, you will be returned to the hub city. If this was a multi-fight campaign, you will be sent to a lobby-like war room within the instanced battle ground to heal up, change classes and weapons if need be and prepare for the next fight.
The nice thing about being able to freely switch classes is that it gives everyone a chance to do everything and makes for a more dynamic group. When the focus is more about strategy and having the right abilities and mix of classes for any given fight, the gear can be made a secondary consideration. The stats help, you can't win if you have no gear at all, but what you equip isn't as important as how you prepare yourself and your group. The game could even be set up where it shows you in advance what types of mobs you will be facing (especially if it is randomly generated) so you can balance your party appropriately. With the pace of the game slowed a bit, you're given time to make the interesting strategic decisions. With a dual class system, (especially with the 50 classes I would recommend . . . don't ask me to name them, just trust me that they exist) you are given an immense tool box to draw from. Oh, as a quick side note, there wouldn't be any restriction on bag space, as in order to accommodate so many class possibilities, you would have to carry and insane amount of gear. Getting all your classes prepared and ready to go would be a game unto itself.
Now, from this basis you can add crafting by putting mining and herb nodes, along with treasure chests, scattered across the maps as well as crafting drops (both recipes and reagents) from mobs and bosses. The nodes would give a reason for your party the thoroughly explore any given map and could even be it's own kind of mission. Instead of a story mission, there could be a few random map spawn points around the hub town where you could go into an instance with some wild monsters who don't launch as coordinated an attack, but are no pushovers either, and an increased amount of mining/herbing nodes.
The nice thing about MMO's is there is already a lot to choose from as far as game play devices. Maybe with the first expansion to the TBSMMO (which sounds like it should be about Everybody Loves Raymond) they introduce non-combat pets and battle mounts that, once earned, can increase any class' movement range-per-turn in battle. They could add a support character for everyone, kind of like a squire that would need to be moved during that 30 second turn as well as your main, but could throw buffs and minor heals. The could add the ability for certain classes to have combo abilities with other classes or members of the same class. Player housing!!!!1!!
Alright. I think that's everything about TBSMMO's I wanted to say. Naturally, as I'm sure you could have guessed since it's the ideal version of something I want, I would play this game.