Some of the greatest fun was playing at the start while utilizing a tent or camping and a camp fire to to eat and so forth.
What if along with resources say to prepare your sword with metal, if you held to that travel and added more dangers like the sandstorm along way with no maturing out of that or instant travel as a option for servers… Then you added text given when a rare metal spawn telling you north of this land mark…or rumours as you enter the city of so and so are said that a (which bould be a metal node) has been found by a miner in this part of the land. And basically make some or alot of metals highly hard in compenant to find without following adventures to where they have spawn in world with generalize reasoning. Also preparing for a travel from home base in beginning and making it back alive was another amazing fun you kind of progress out of.
Just some Ideas choices of selections for a step progression while giving cause to adventure to different parts of the land…and a cool way to deliver to character you play in game.
2nd one would to be if you build so many houses and stable and so forth in locations…it will start to populate with npcs. after so long of hard work and building. you will get a town to forge with your naming in your maps…and it will populate its own npcs…aloowing you create say 6 to 10 trading and townships npc functioning threw game play. nodes of resources spawn threw story line lead for your characters travels and adventure.
Keeping it very hard and leaving out instant travel but for rare abilitys to achieve here and there…will keep the ever fun campfire meaningful in the world and maps reasoning of other amazing mechanics…to me…should added like some of the idea’s at the top to capitalize on them features, instead of progress out of a need for them.
Story feed shortages also in you’re area’s could drive you to seek resources say up north or to the east…same with hunting could play a bigger part. only for a short span til returns…driving you to go and stock and return back to keep your area substainable…there is many ways to keep the begining mechanics alive and as well to add more cause for them.
Your items stolen from home of value, chest raided…with npc showing up tell you this clan hiding out in jungle passing threw…making you seek revenge and adventure to find them. and so forth. A npc of yours assasinated, llaing on ground letting you know who killed them and story plot… the list goes on and on to keep real fun of maps and adventure with indept reasoning and amazing orginal mechanics virtual highly meaningful. Dynamic weather and so on.
Simple plots and reasonings that lead into a vast history and story line using faction to build up a cause in different area’s of your map, driven by either ai or just good logic coding. but with interactive information you could see in game by travel to different areas.