And yet I would argue mmos are currently stagnating and awful. Conveyance and streamlining have ruined the social value in the communities.
Lol! Better, Faster, Stronger, and samey as fuck!
I still prefer the old Lineage 2 over all of these new MMO's (and WoW) because it was a real challenge with severe punishments and the rules of the world were under constant threat. It didn't make me perform the exact same actions all the bloody time (especially playing nothing like other genre's) because there were different tactics and you didn't have to press so many buttons (in fact, it was favourable to conserve mana). Where team work was required to speed up everything you needed, because nothing was easy to get. And I still prefer the art-style and music of it too.
And as natenate mentioned, the new ones all feel streamlined to the point of having no identity and resulting in grey mush.
I'd love to see this article expanded with mentioning early instances of these mechanics in MMORPGS. Player housing and Hybrids where one of the great features of UO, for example. When Player Housing was introduced, it kept many players stay with DAoC. etc.
Better? Well that's subjective, but they're definitely faster, except when they're not and you have to grind a hell of a lot more for no other purpose than to increase the odds of you buying microtransaction boosts or whatever.
Sure, we're seeing some development that finally doesn't try to go the WoW route of getting millions of players, but are they really worth anything apart from a quick glance into a world that someone dreamed up?
Assuming that virtual reality takes off, the next big MMO thing will be a world where you can do whatever the hell you want. People will live as much of their lives as possible in it and ditch the real world in numbers that haven't been seen since WoW and Everquest.
Whoever has the guts to make a game like that, will make a lot of money.
What? No listing for Guild Wars 2? The hell? At the very least GW2 should be listed as doing player customization right.