This topic is somewhat a continuation of my twinking post where I wrote about handing down items or giving great items to lower level characters. Back in the early, original days of EverQuest few if any items truly bound to your character. It wasn’t until my characters started getting planar drops that the majority of the gear was stuck to my character. Before that time, I could go into a dungeon with a max level group, find some awesome items, and then hand those items down to a newbie character. Many quests (true quests) for great rewards could be done, and the reward traded or sold.
Personally, I dislike the concept of bind of pickup and bind on equip gear. I believe the problems people say are solved by these mechanics are actually caused by the mechanics being in place. When gear is designed to bind to your character, that naturally creates an emphasis on gear and an emphasis on gearing up particular characters. Suddenly content can be designed to force people into raids to get gear rather than allowing gear to be acquired and propagated throughout the server. A rebuttal would be that good gear then floods the server, but again that’s indicative of another problem created by emphasis on gear. Items should be much more rare, and the reliance upon items should be diminished. If a rare drop offhand adds 9 wisdom that’s fantastic, but there should be a +7 wisdom quest reward or much more common item.
Bind on Equip and Bind on Pickup are indicative of a system where gear makes the character. In a system where the character’s ability are emphasized and only slightly augmented by gear, the dependence upon gear becomes much less pronounced. If the issue is giving players a reason to play, then that’s easily resolved by addressing design depth. If all a game is designed to do is put people on gear treadmills through raids, then that’s the problem right there.
In summary, I’d like to see a game where everything can be traded to and used by characters of any level. A robust scaling system would ensure twinks aren’t too overpowered, and content would have depth beyond treadmills and emphasis on gear making the character.