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I don't understand the continued trend of time invested => advancement.
It has been that way for almost two decades; why can't we have puzzle oriented MMOs, or something that truly tests the abilities of the players?
You don't necessarily need to have puzzles either to make something challenging. What if they took the challenging raid encounters found late game and put them in a less stat-demanding form at the beginning of the game?
I don't know about you, but I'm really tired of the KILL X/Y, GATHER I/J quests that are just timesinks and not challenges. You can still have RPG elements in a puzzle game i.e. advancement through improved ability instead of advancement through time invested.
This is a sequence of characters intended to produce some profound mental effect, but it has failed.