This post makes me sound like an old man, but please read it anyway...
The MMORPG genre has been boring to me as of late. Why? Because my first MMORPG was EVERQUEST--where the world was huge, and atmospheric. Where dying actually meant something (experience loss and corpse run, although I think SOE may have recently changed the latter, probably because of WoW), where there was roleplaying (roleplaying rulesets and naming policies were actually enforced by GMs), and where reputation with a faction didn't simply mean you could buy their mounts, recipes, or that shiny necklace. In EQ, your race and class combo factored into which NPCs would KOS you. Some race and class combos were more hated than others, such as a Shadowknight Iksar. In other words, by just being a Shadowknight Iksar, most of the capital cities and races would kill you on sight, fundamentally changing the way you played the game. It was awesome! You actually felt like you were playing an evil character--if you created one that is. It was just another thing that separated your character from the others.
And then there were the PVP servers; real PVP servers. There were different kinds of PVP servers. In some of them, the ruleset was such that when you died in PVP your killer was allowed to loot 1 item off your body (and that's in addition to losing experience). Do you know of any game like that now? Let me rephrase that. Do you know of any successful and well-made game that does that now? (because EQ was insanely popular and revolutionary for its time). I don't. And EQ didn't have so-called Battlegrounds or Arenas, rofl. You know what they did in PVP servers? They world PVPed, baby. That's all it was. World PVP. World PVP for the sake of world PVP. Ganking, guild rivalries, etc.
Another difference in EQ was the dungeons. I see the advantages of instanced dungeons. Even EQ used instanced dungeons--but EQ also had dungeons that were part of the permanent virtual world itself--where raid bosses would spawn and guilds would have to figure out whose turn it was to kill it. This created friendships, tension, rivalries, and PVP! (if it was on a PVP server). It encouraged interaction between players (Interaction between players in an online game? No way!). Now what do we do in most MMORPGs nowadays? We sit in a capital city and press the "find-me-a-damn-dungeon" button, and then we're whisked away to an instanced dungeon that is separated from everyone and everything but the players who you've been grouped with. Players that you may never see or play with again (depending on the game we're talking about). I thought this was the MMORPG genre?
What about leveling? You always hear and read about people complaining about the grind in some MMORPGs. Are these people insane? Is queuing up for the same heroic dungeons, queuing up for the same Arenas, queuing up for the same BGs, and doing the same dailies not a grind? I don't know about you, but I'd rather grind out some more levels. In other words, I'd rather a team of developers raise the level cap, add some new skills, or add some other way to advance my character outside of items than to have me grind dailies or heroics all day (In EQ there were alternative advancement points (AA), which were another way for player to advance their characters after they had hit the level cap. it was also another way to separate the long-time players from those who were just starting.) In all honesty though, this isn't my biggest problem with modern MMORPGs like WoW.
So, why did I post this? I want some of you who are fans of WoW (and WoW clones) to try some other MMORPGs for a change. Maybe even try out EQ classic? Yup, it's still up and running with 11 expansions. And yes, the graphics, UI, and combat aren't as good, but it does beat WoW in other areas. Maybe you'll like it... Maybe you won't... But you should try it. The point is, I don't think it will be good for the MMORPG genre in the long run if most MMORPG fans have only experienced WoW, which is in some ways just a watered down version of EQ. Yes, the graphics, combat system (e.g., in EQ you had to spend literally minutes to recover mana), and UI are better in WoW, but it's watered down in other areas.
In conclusion... whoa, I wrote a lot. I wonder if any of you will read it. In conclusion, I'm actually going to try to play EQ classic again and see how that has aged. Later.