The first MMO I ever played was Star Wars Galaxies. It started with open beta and ended there for about 7 months when I eventually purchased the game. From there I played the game for over 3 years. I experienced the JTL expansion, which was annoying at best, the Combat Upgrade, which I actually liked better, and the Wookie expansion, then finally the Mustafar expansion with the New Game Experience. The NGE was not enough to make me quit a game I still found fun and enjoyable.
During my time playing SWG, I expanded my MMO portfolio. I played and enjoyed Planetside up to the point when the trial was canceled and the population dropped dramatically. I also picked up 9Dragons, a free to play grind-fest. However, I really enjoyed the combat and community in 9Dragons. I also played other free to play MMOs, but none of them really stuck out like 9Dragons for myself. Up to this point I went from a Star Wars themed sandbox to grindy linear gameplay. I spent months in 9Dragons to not get very far at all and I still played it while it was in Acclaim's hands.
I eventually got bored and stopped playing MMOs altogether and moved on to Coutner-Strike:Source. I played CSS for awhile until Funcom's Age of Conan was released. Friends I met from SWG and CSS joined me in playing this game. It was a good game and provided months of enjoyment. However, I was bored again as all I could see to do after hitting max level was PvP and raiding, and that was not enough to keep my interest. It lacked a social aspect of the game. I twas just fight, fight, and fight some more. I ended up bouncing between Age of Conan, City of Heroes/Villains, and other free to play MMOs on the market. Nothing could hold my attention like SWG could for all those years.
I tried to go back to SWG and could not get into the game as it did not have that exciting factor it once had. The community I knew was long gone and I was not up to the task of finding new friends in an MMO where people are constantly coming and going. I will admit I did try the SWG Emulator Project and uninstalled it the same day. I lost my interest in SWG's gameplay whether it was new or old.
After all this I would set my sights on Aion: Tower of Eternity. Two weeks into the game I felt bored. The combat was slow and the grind heavy. I am a bit OCD when it comes to figuring out my grind time and efficiency, which I'm sure contributed to a feeling of despair knowing how long it was going to take to level. After this I would continue trying new free to play MMOs and constantly quitting them within a mater of a few weeks.
Why can't I find an MMO I really want to play for longer than a month? The answer to this question is my gameplay interests changed. I no longer want to feel equal to a single regular mob. I want to feel epic. When I think of regular mobs I think of the Joker's goons, easy to take them all on and then move to the Joker one on one. So after bouncing around on MMOs I already bought or were free to play I found a game I felt worthy of a Life-Time Subscription, Champions Online.
I would find myself playing Champions Online on a daily basis with the rare week long break. This game with it's costume customizing and combat style of fighting multiple enemies at once felt incredibly fun. I played enough characters to max (4 almost 6) that I knew a lot about the game and could answer some one's concern on a quest without know which step they were working on. I also tried Star Trek Online during beta and found it was just not what I wanted to play. In my opinion, STO's space combat was fun but slow, and the ground combat was annoying and frustrating.
I can easily tell my MMO interests and needs have changed over time, but somethings never changed. As typical, I never read the quest giver's text, I was only interested in the reward at the end. There's only so much raiding I can take before I end up wiping everyone because I fell asleep at the keyboard. All in all, there are things I hope some MMOs bring to the table that can satisfy a large community, but more importantly design it's features to support and sustain that community. For me, an MMO without the social design is an empty shell of just combat and progression to eventually reach the end and move on to the next MMO.