= # # = (don't ask me to pronounce that) wrote me to tell me about the latest Everquest producer letter. Among other things the EQ producers report that their progression servers, where you can play EQ as it was before all the expansion came out, were a big success. And that prompted some unfinished thinking about other variations of the ruleset.
I think that this is a good idea for major games with lots of servers. Why should all the servers have the same rules? Why not have for example a special original WoW server for people who never bought the expansion? Instead of being lonely at level 60, players could move to that original server and start organizing Molten Core raids again. But classic servers, like EQ and DAoC already have are just one possible variations of the ruleset.
One idea dear to my heart would be making easier and harder servers than normal. Just like many single-player games have several difficulty settings, a game like WoW should have easy, normal, and hard servers. And how about an iron man server with either permadeath or at least a significnt xp penalty on death? Not that I'd play on that one, but it would stop those people from complaining who think WoW is too easy.
Servers with different rule sets already exist in the form of PvP and normal servers. Many games also have roleplaying servers, although those often have exactly the same ruleset, and it is up to the players to live the label. The more expansions a game has, the more likely it is to get a classic server of some kind. But all this is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. What other rulesets would you like to see?