Feeling Alive

I was reading Hunter's entry on his first impressions of the GW2 beta and he commented on how "Cities feel more alive than SWTOR.." I want to understand that; most capital cities are seen mostly as a hub for people to meet up but doesn't do very much more. You don't go because you want to, but because you have to.

I'm going to brainstorm on some reasons to make a city feel more alive because currently in more mmo's imho is for:

- skill trainers & crafting trainers; possibly making them have special skills/recipes/discounts at certain times

- capital city leaders; normally infrequently used, even at high levels

- pvp npcs that teleport you to the battlegrounds

- show off your gear/mounts

- banks and auction houses; probably 95% of the reason why you're there

So what other activities can make a player want to go a city and make it feel more alive?

- public quests built into the city; similar to WAR's system, Mythic had quests and public questing areas (arena) built into the city. Making them accessible at all levels is sometimes hard, possibly making it a daily activity with fluff rewards can work here

- a relatively cheap money sink via mini game/luck-based game. I know WoW had the bejewelled game built into the fast travel, this could be implemented into future mmos as well but only installed in the city instead, kind of like WoW's Darkmoon Faire, but year round within the city.

- I believe a 'more alive' feel for the city was partially b/c of your personal story area in GW2. If only there was a way to be able to affect more of the city and see an actual effect; now that would be engaging.

- more puzzles, easter eggs and special achievements for exploring the city. From the looks of GW2, the city looks huge; there ought to be many different places to explore for background lore.

- guild housing; GW2 takes care of personal housing via the personal story instanced area, but guild housing would be a nice touch too, preferably farther away; what benefits would guild housing be? Possibly fast travel to dungeons, other cities, or pvp areas.

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