Well, sorry about the wall of text in response, but having played the MMO that was the answer to all these issues, I have to put my two cents in.
I'm not sure but I think he means more like "it hasnt changed as in it's still the same we had in vanilla", that is instanced raiding. After 3 expansions it's still the same instanced raiding with new textures, some mechanics and gear treadmill. It would be cool to have MORE ways to play end game. Is instanced raiding the ONLY endgame possible in the whole mmorpg business?
I guess I can't really speak to the whole idea of innovating within MMORPGs. I play video games (especially fantasy games) to kill things in caves/dungeons. I've always enjoyed it, and so the whole idea that there isn't another avenue (besides pvp arena/rated BG) never really crossed my mind.
The current raid content is by far some of the best tuned content I've experienced. Killing Nefarian really made my entire raid group have to step up and play well. It was awesome finally killing him and I wasn't thinking "Man, I wish that we had some other thing to do".
No offense, but players like you would probably be every bit as happy playing a console game. Keep repeating the same content over and over until you know exactly what to do at every second of every encounter and then can execute it perfectly. Somehow this gets equated to "skill." Unfortunately, it's not, it's learning something by rote and then perfecting it, like good penmanship. If the term "skill" can be applied to gaming in any context, it would be in regards to being able to react to an unexpected situation, assess what the challenges are and quickly devise a successful strategy to overcome it.
THIS is what's lacking in WoW....totally. Blizzard designs their encounters to be beaten a specific way using strategies the devs have devised and the players have merely discovered. The key making it any fun at all is to have things more random and allow the players to be creative in overcoming the situation, rather than just following Blizzard's script.
Also how can the article say "The actual world of Azeroth remains one of WoW’s strongest assets" when it has only ONE purpose. To be a leveling vessel. After you are done leveling the world is only a lobby where you wait to get into instanced-whatever. I wouldnt even call it mmorpg when you could just after max level have lobby where you log in and wait to get to PvE/PvP instance. You NEED endgame meaning for the world too, not just a leveling place that is useless after max level. World PvP objectives and rewards in the actual world and PvE objectives besides leveling too. A lot of it instead of this Cataclysm model where it is COMPLETELY absent.
Again, I can't really speak to this issue. I have played games with non-instanced content that occured in the outside world and I had very bad experiences with it. For every person who wants to have valuable time in the game world, there are 150 people who just want to tag the enemies for their loot. I just can't imagine this being inserted now.
As far as the game world being a lobby, I really think that's changed a bit since cata. Dalaran was, for all intensive purposes, a waiting room with a badly abused chat feature. This was changed (somewhat) during cata. Now, the opposing factions cannot interact in a max level area with no threat of pvp breaking out. I really think that's a step in the right direction.
Often I will leave Orgrimmar and go work on other things. The whol Tol Barad area is very nicely done (besides one awful escort quest). It really is a throw back to the isle of quel'danas, a lot of quests in a small area that give good rewards and aren't instanced.
So at level 85, what's fun is doing the same dailies over and over, while you wait to do the same raid/instance, over and over, to get gear that will be obsolete the day the next expansion comes out, however many years that may be? Three responses to this : A) see above; B) if PvP were to break out a little more often, that would make things a lot more interesting...unfortunately, most people just sit around and whine about the nasty hordies killing the auctioneers and; C) don't you get any sense of futility from all that?
It's a mmorpg where you dont need to move an inch in the open world after you hit max level. I would understand that if there were world-content in this game too, equal amount (you know, it's open world mmo and all) but no, instead instances are the ONLY content. Even the "openworld" PvP zones (WG and Tol Barad) are instanced where you que+teleport. That's just stupid, call that an open world + mmorpg.
You are correct that you do not have to leave the main city once you've hit max level, but it isn't advised. There are plenty of things to do outside of sitting around org waiting for a heroic/raid. If you've hit max level and can't figure out something fun to do while you wait in a queue, that isn't totally Blizzard's fault.
Disagree. Again, see above. After a while, what is there to do that's fun and fresh and new?
I'm so glad there's vast amount of mmo titles coming without this aproach only, to a mmorpg gaming. If you want 100% instance ran game leave the openworld out of it as a bait and just admit it's a lobby->action->lobby multiplayer with a guild chat.
This is where you lose me. I really don't think the new crop of MMORPGs are going to give you the experience you seem to be looking for. What most people get out of the new games that launch is the "new factor" followed by two months of play time and then the same problem "not enough content for me". The reason I enjoy WoW is because it isn't a lack of content, but more the difficulty of the current content.
Nothing I really have to say to this that I haven't addressed above. Mainly because the game that answered all these issues is an older game, not a new one. Sadly.
Just stating what it is in essence, and what direction Cata brought it even more. Heck maybe they even add the lobby option for those who dont like to idle in cities while waiting for instance to pop :) Login screen with guild chat and instance/raid finder, a winner idea? :D
What you are describing here is Guild Wars, not World of Warcraft. The problem you seem to keep going back to is a purely player choice problem. You are sitting in a city when there is a world around you that you can explore and kill things in. Heck, there is even a new tradeskill that gives you something to fly around and do while the queue is ticking.
Ummm....flying around Azeroth, time sinking your day away for 2 minutes of activity when you get to your destination is somehow fun? I don't even have a level 85 yet, mainly by choice (sort of my way of protesting how much of a failure Cata turned out to be) and I've seen every bit of the world content except some of Uldum, which I haven't bothered with because I lost interest. I already have my Explorer title, why bother? And even if I took the 10 minutes to fly over that little bit, what do I explore then?
Simply put, WoW is for two classes of gamer. Console gamers who like cooperative play and the simple-minded who can't really handle anything that requires them to put any actual thought into it. The game that had it all, until they made a bad expansion decision and then tried make their game more WoW-like, was Dark Age of Camelot. It had something for everyone...in fact, their big mistake was to try to give the players more raid-based content. That would have been fine, and was for the 16 hour-a-day hardcore players, except for the fact that the rewards for raiding so impacted their end-game, realm-vs-realm, that the casual player who didn't have 6-8 hours a day to commit to gaming was left totally out of the picture. As a result, they left in droves and in the long run, that killed the game.
If they'd designed it so that the Trials of Atlantis rewards were only slightly more powerful than what non-raiders could acquire, giving them an edge as opposed to an overwhelming advantage, DAoC would still be a popular and thriving game. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case, and so we wind up stuck with the steaming pile of canine feces WoW has become. At least, until we see how Rift is going to do : ).