There are days I reminisce. I am old and I can't avoid it. Sometimes I even reminisce about MMOs. They're getting old too.
So, there are days that I miss the social interactions of old Everquest. I wouldn't call it forced grouping. It's not that one couldn't solo, but things were certainly easier if you had friends. There was plenty of stuff for friends to do together. And EQ had the coolest language mechanic. Groups of players would sit around spamming each other in different, in-game languages. On my server there was no "common" tongue, which made me happy because I think the concept is ridiculous.
It's intriguing that Lord of the Rings Online didn't use a similar mechanic. Professor Tolkien was a somewhat accomplished linguist. Language was an important dynamic in his stories. But LotRO has an awesome music mechanic. I have spent hours in game watching concerts put on by fellow players. I would love to see more games try similar things.
Everquest 2 doesn't even have instruments for its minstrels. But if there is one thing I miss about EQ2 it's its housing system. I am afraid to total the hours I've spent arranging furniture in my instanced homes. And I have a Y chromosome too. I think housing was the primary attraction for my girlfriend and her daughter.
And while I have to give EQ2 a tip of the hat for its crafting minigame, the best crafting minigame I have found so far is Vanguard's. The crafting in Vanguard is almost as challenging, frustrating and repetitive as its combat. Sometimes I wouldn't even know what I was making. But Vanguard is old, and slow and inflexible.
Until I played The Secret World, I didn't realize how inflexible most MMOs are. In TSW, Abilities (attacks, spells and buffs) are equippable, like gear. A player has eight active slots and eight passive slots. I choose which abilities to buy and equip. I can change my character from tank to healer to damage to utility as often as I like.
Guild Wars 2 does something similar, but it's still weapon and class specific. Where GW2 rocks is the event system. Couple this with the ability to share mobs and heal downed players and GW2 has taken things to the point where one begs to ask: "Why group at all?" And while I enjoy healing strangers while playing a warrior, it can be a very lonely game to play. And this makes me miss old EQ...