Cool networked game experiences?

What are some cool networked/multiplayer experiences or game features that you have seen through the years? Plain old synchronous multiplayer (aka 2+ players in the same game room, playing a match) are fine (but then I’d love to hear why are they great), but I’m mostly hoping to hear of creative solutions or new ways to interact online.

I launched this discussion on Twitter a few days ago, and got a lot of fantastic replies:

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Haven and Hearth has some unique mechanics when it comes to crime. A little background - this is a player driven MORPG (no quests, no npcs, no pre-made buildings) with huge randomly generated world and perma death (you can lose months of progress in a second). To the point:

  1. There are 4 types of crime - trespassing, stealing, vandalism and murder
  2. Each type of crime requires you to get a very expensive skill
    2a. That means for example that you can’t walk on someone else’ claimed land by default
  3. Committing a crime leaves a scent object that decays over time (each crime leaves different scent)
  4. Players can use scent like a compass which leads to either the felon position (if he’s online) or position of felon’s “hearth” which is kind of a “spawn point”
  5. If player is offline but you reach his hearth with a crime scent, you can summon his character and kill it
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Very interesting! At the same time, I feel like the mechanical interpretation of crime (if there’s been a crime => scent is left behind => means a crime has been committed) is limiting, but I totally understand why they did it this way.

Fun fact and a little digression, some time ago I wanted to explore this concept of “what is a crime”, or better, “what constitutes breaking the rules”, and I wanted to use a sports game to do it (not multiplayer online). Inspired by the mechanics of fouls in football games, where (I’m sure) an algorithm decides when the referee calls for a foul or not. But in real life, there are many more factors at play: visibility of the foul, time of the match and current score, and whether the team playing is important or not.
I failed in that game jam as we didn’t get to the rules bending part, but I’d love to try again at some point.