One thing I always loved about the Mortal Kombat games was the range of finishing moves and fatalities that players could execute on their near death opponents. It was the sheer awesomeness factor that drove players to learn the ridiculous combos required to activate them. Nothing is more satisfying than ripping your your opponent's heart out and feeding it to them right after a long and bloody battle. I spent some time thinking during the consumption of my Chinese noodles today on how to put finishing moves into fantasy style MMORPGs...
Straight up, you can forget about activating them via some kind of keyboard and or mouse combo. Players would simply use macros which would ruin all the fun. If you made the finishing moves too easy to activate, they would lose their awesomeness. Class specific finishing moves that activated automatically upon annihilation of your opponent is another idea, but that would still be too common for my liking. Whilst approaching the last piece of chicken in the bottom of my noodle box, it occurred to me:
Why not connect a finishing move to a weapon. Each weapon in the game could have it's own unique finishing move, which activated automatically when you dealt the final blow to your unfortunate foe (he he poetry). To prevent the player from getting bored of seeing the same scene over and over, the finishing move would only activate if you dealt a critical hit on your final blow. There could even be a percentage chance of it happening based of the rarity of the weapon.
Being a software developer myself, I realize that it would not be an easy task for the games company to create x thousand finishing move animations for the amount of different weapons in the game. Therefore common weapons would have common finishing moves, rare weapons: rare moves, and unique weapons: unique moves. I think this idea would give a whole new meaning to cool weapons and add an extra layer of awesomeness to the game.