This is my own opinion on what nowadays mmo´s lack
Short version for text wall haters :
"Because of games becoming everytime easier and making of soloing the easiest/fastest way to grow and lvl up, you no longer feel integrated within the community and you do not have as much chances to meet new people, make friends, share adventures and make good memories other than "doh a rare item" so in short, games need more challenges and need to make of grouping and socializing, the main path to advance in the game, after all, we play online games to interact with people, not to grind our asses by ourselves while we watch tv ".
Now, the long version for whoever wishes to know how i feel:
What today´s mmo´s lack is ... "Community".
You see, in the last years i have spent a great deal of time playing mmo after mmo, attempting to feel what i once felt when starting my adventures in the old PSO or my first months on WoW, and i kept blaming different factors for my failure to achieve said feelings.
"This game is too grindy"
"This game is a WoW clone"
"This game is too cash shop focused"
"I have seen this before "
"It must be mmo burn out "
I kept remembering how fun were those quests and those instances i played, how immersing was that one storyline and how exciting my first pvp battles were. I was taken by nostalgy when recalling those Molten Core raids, and those fights for the first places in the old Honor System, or those endless farms for Sange and Yasha in the old PSO and how many times i blamed Dark Falz for Bitchslapping me and then spamming Megiddo on my face.
But then, i realized something.... those quests were no different than the ones i can play now, many games offer a deep, immersing storylines and pvp has evolved and many games offer fun, deep, challenging pvp alternatives ( such as GW ) and to be honest, MC was boring, plain and all the monsters looked the same, and the only thing worth of being remembered was Ragnaros.
What i really missed, was the fun i had searching for quest objectives with my friends, what i really miss is playing every evening with my trusted partners trying once again to down that damn Herod in SM only to manage to do so after 10 attempts and still never see my axe drop, what i really missed was talking about lore and the new content yet to be released in TS with my friends, and pvp was only fun cause it forced me and my companions to fend off those pesky higher lvl hordes in stranglethorn vale.
On Phantasy Star Online, any difficulty over hard was pretty much impossible to clear by yourself, and not only that, but with every player ID boosting / decreasing the chance to find X rare items, you constantly socialized and made parties with people of the desired ID´s to finally find that item you dreamed to obtain.
In short, what i missed of the old games/times was how much i socialized, how many new people i met and how many friendships, fun times, dramas and adventures i lived and shared with them all.
Games used to "force" you into playing with other people and the content was hard enough to create a bond between a successful party and a desire to play again with those players.
You constantly needed to be in touch with the community and you had fun by doing so, and at the end you did not care that much wether you finished the instance or that one item dropped because you had fun every minute you shared with them all.
Nowadays, games offer easy, casual level solo content that allows you to achieve everything in the game pretty much by yourself or with your two irl friends, which means that most players refuse / dodge the community and simply solo their way up, and even "fear" meeting new people and playing with them just in case that one rare item drops and to prevent to have to kill more than 10 boars to make sure everyone has finished the quest.
Players nowadays see partying and playing in group as something to avoid and something that slows em down in their 5 levels per evening standard they set on themselves, and everyone rushes to the endgame content completely ignoring everything under max lvl.
The only "socialization" you make nowadays out of your guild, is that one two minute long elite quest that needs an additional player, and after you are done usually the party disbands never to meet again.
And yes, i know, it´s not like it is IMPOSSIBLE to socialize and there is many people out there that still today manage to do so and enjoy their games along the friends they met, but its easy and safe to say that nowadays is A LOT HARDER to achieve that and it´s not even a core part of the game.
I realized the only reason i dislike nowadays mmo´s is cause my friend list at lv 30 is shorter than what it used to be back in the day at lv 5, and because i have noone by my side to rant to when i finish off the tenth liverless boar.
Instances are so easy to complete that nothing but "hi / i need that / thanks for the run, bye " is needed and i am not gonna be able to mock my friend about how he got killed three times in a row the next time i see him, because he neither got killed nor i will see him again.
And that is what makes me get bored of any mmo after a couple weeks of playing, that i am never really gonna meet people or socialize until i hit the end game and i am forced to guild myself to continue playing.
I want my casual meetings back, i want to party with people to be able to succeed and to share the joy of finally completing that one difficult epic questline, in short, i want to become one with the community and to share the joy, stress, fun and drama that online games used to offer.
After all, i play online games to meet new people and play with them, if i wanted to "finish the game" as my main priority i would play an offline rpg.