I just made the post below in another thread. It seems relevant, so I've copied it here.
When Hamilton says "down the road," he's referring to the phased approach with which we're making not just this game, but an entertainment system. There are so many ideas we have documented, there are at least 4 games worth...
To your comments:
My idea was to have the Developers modelers make a user friendly GUI that allowed us as gamers to mix and match certain aspects of mech design. In this way the modelers concentrate on certain aspects either legs, weapon pods, cockpits,arms, so on and so forth.
There will eventually be such a system. We documented such a concept in 2005, but it seemed so far away at the time that we let it slide. In addition to the features Hamilton described, we will most likely have a system that will allow the player to build a Mech from the ground up (within certain parameters) and pit it against other players.
And I don't just mean that anyone can sit down and make 3,000,000 Mechs because they want to, so that it cheapens the process. We talked about making the player earn it, something like this:(Warning: You are about to enter the Hypothetical Zone. Exercise extreme caution)
1. Every player will need to satisfy lore requirements prior to getting in-game. We believe that there is value in our story, and that it is integral to the enjoyment of all players to know it. (We promise that the lore will not be boring, and will be relevant!)
2. Every player will be supplied with a capable Mech from their corporation. There probably won't be a level 1-60 system, as we want you to be able to get a friend interested in the game, have him/her purchase a subscription and immediately join you on your adventures.
3. There will be some form of rewards system for those who participate in the in-game lore content. We think it is boring to have repeatable quests that have no effect upon the game or environment. For you WoW players, this means that once you kill Ragnaros, he's dead. Get over it, move on. (A writer's nightmare, if you ask me, but I like a challenge.)
4. Over time, you will gather things. Mech parts, metals, wiring diagrams, etc. You can't purchase them on Ebay, you won't be able to purchase them from a Chinese farmer, and some guy in your guild can't (usually) make it for you. But you'll be able to "earn" the right to build your own parts, and eventually your own Mech. Much as you describe, there will be a UI that you can pick and choose parts from, and assemble the Mech to your own specs. When you have it the way you want it, you'll "send it to the factory." Whether this means you'll send it to our modeling team or we'll have software in place that actually builds it has not been determined yet. Technology is rapidly moving forward, so this may become a reality sooner than we had hoped. (part of that challenge will be to distribute the new models so other players can see your creation without lowering frame rates, introducing lag, or bloating updates to massive proportions.)
So, as you can see, the grind isn't to level your character. The grind is to have fun, explore, and dream.
The end is just the beginning. :-)