Let's think about this for a second.
Back in the day, a game like Dungeons and Dragons Online was considered an MMORPG. Except, only the hub world was really MMO, and all of the "dungeons" were 6 person max, and very tailored to a six person party doing them. The difficulty was there, it was real, and the risk of death was at every step.
Now let's look at what people consider "real MMORPGs" such as, at the time, WoW, and it's competitors (Which in 2006 would have included things such as Elsword, Fiesta Online, Myst Online, The Lord of the Rings Online, Dark and Light, and The Perfect World).
So everyone wants to have a huge open world, with open players and all that… but what happens in modern day? Everyone just goes to play solo. But why play an MMO if you want to play solo? Well, I think it's simple. For the same reason people paint their cars gaudy or have stupid exhausts that can wake up the entire neighborhood. They want people to "look at them" but they're not actually interested in being "with the people." When people talk about the old MMOs, they often talk about "Wow, that person has X armor, I wonder if I can ever get that!" and that feeds into that same mentality. People want to be admired and/or respected. Except, that is a pipe dream. If you want to have some sort of reverence, or something special, it needs to be out of reach of most people.
Let's take a look at older games. People saw those wearing raid gear of the highest level and maybe though of doing it… but now… any player can reach the highest raid level… so… what's next? The content has been so minimized that everyone can do it, so how do you stand out? Well?
Cosmetics is the next thing, but now you're divided. People want to stand out, but people hate those who flaunt money? At least cosmetics don't affect gameplay, unlike pay to win games. But win at what? If you are having fun in a game, and you're not "competing" then you're not losing. People say PAY 2 WIN, but if you're not losing, are they really winning?
So those people who spend countless hours and possibly hundreds of $$$ on being "the best" are just like those dudes who have huge and noisy cars that speed up and down. They are making a huge amount of noise at a cost, just to get people to look at them. And with the huge amount of focus we all pay on "pay 2 win" instead of just enjoying ourselves without looking, we're feeding into it. Bleh. :< Sorry.
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