Some of these have been mentioned, just adding to the consensus:
1) Lower penalty for mobdeath.
2) 24/7 Shops
- Newbies spend a lot of time trying to sell scavenged pelts or buy flasks of oil, and having to wait on shops is extremely frustrating. I've
tried to introduce people to the game who have quit within a couple days because of such frustration.
- 24/7 shops will not reduce game "immersion." Can you even imagine what such a thing would look like? "Omg, I just sold a dagger to this shopkeeper at, like, three in the morning! That's totally unrealistic, my illusion of being in Middle-Earth is shattered! I am now starkly aware that I am merely playing a silly game, why am I squandering my time in such illusory endeavors? Flinging Dungeons & Dragons spells at orcs seemed totally Tolkien, but selling a dagger at night GOES TOO FAR!"
3) Remove Travel Points.
- TPs are just a "band-aid" solution to a game design problem: Lots of zones exist with no in-game reason for most players to visit them, so TPs are an attempt to compel use of those zones. Players need a much more fun and "in character" reason to visit places than just making a number in their "stat" go down. The trophy system helps this problem, as it rewards exploration and travel with increased xp efficiency. To completely replace TPs, other travel incentives need to exist, such as finding minor equipment upgrades. Experienced players who start new characters already know where to run to find a hidden shield, a quiver with some arrows, an fgc, etc., and in so doing they both 1) take care of TP requirements with no specific effort, and 2) make use of many game zones. The fact that they are doing (2) means that (1) doesn't even need to exist for these players.
New players, however, usually get equipment by killing the few mobs they know have loot or pelts, selling that loot, and buying upgrades from shops. They'd love to be able to travel thirty zones and pick up smooth black boots and a metal wall shield for free, but they don't know where these things are. Therefore, they stick to what they know, then spam randomly around in frustration to fill TP requirements. The TP system makes them -go- to remote zones, but not -play- in them. The trophy system and equipment hunting removes the need for TPs for experienced players, the problem is that the eq hunting currently doesn't/can't motivate newbies to explore. So what is my suggestion?
Increase the amount of basic/mid-grade equipment that loads hidden, on the ground, or on weak mobs in every zone, and give newbies some access to information on where this equipment is. For example, have an "old adventurer" NPC in towns that newbies can ask "advice shield." The NPC could choose a random world-load shield and tell the newbie something like, "Well, I remember when I was travelling as a mercenary hired by a group of dwarves, a funny thing happened when we were camping at the end of the Ancient Broken Road,..." and then give a reason why a metal wall shield might be located in that area, and general, but followable, information on how to find it. It'd take some work, but it would be so nice to see TPs gone forever, and newbies would have a real reason and to not only visit but to -learn- new areas, and have a method for doing so.