The original Ultima Online was a great game. I would really like to see an mmorpg in the future bring back a few concepts that UO had but have been dropped from every game since.
1. I want a non-item based MMO. While it is always fun to get your new epix, I think in the end it really detracts from the gaming experience. It becomes a race to keep up with the Joneses. You end up spending far more time trying to equip your character than you do actually doing something you enjoy. Some level of item progression is fine, I think UO got it right with the difference between the gm blacksmith weapons and armor. Of course you were better off in full gm gear, but a good naked guy would beat the bad player in full gm gear every time.
2. I want real risk. (well, real fake risk) part of the thrill of old-school UO was the fact that if you died out in the wild, more than likely you lost all your stuff. It really added an element of excitement that cannot be replicated by a long walk back to your body. This obviously would never work in the current equipment based mmo market, but hey we are changing that with #1.
3. I want player created and controlled conflict. the guild warfare system in UO was stellar. You declare war on a guild, they accept. You are now free to attack anyone in that guild anywhere in the game world. This started insane rivalries between guilds. The big pvp guilds on servers declared war on everyone they could and would roam the streets and dungeons looking for fights, inevitably another guild would hear about where they were and come retaliate. You really ended up having a pretty well defined good guys and bad guys.
4. I want player housing. If you never played UO you really have no idea what this adds to game play. In a game where nothing you carry on you is safe. it is imperative you have a base of operations. YOUR HOUSE! there were many houses available, anything from a 1 room shack to a huge keep. This goes right hand in hand with #3. You rally up your guild-mates and go to an opposing guilds HQ and start camping it. Eventually they will rally and you have an epic battle on your hands. You end up having player made hot spots.
I would really like to see some of these things come back. Not implemented EXACTLY like UO, but really they were fantastic concepts and they seem to have been thrown to the wayside in favor of more grinds and farming. Who really wants to do that?