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I love The Secret World, I really really really do, I hope it lasts a thousand years. I have a great time playing it, the setting is like a dream come true for me, the leveling scheme is deep and engrossing, and now I'm hooked up with the best RP cabal EVER!
That said, the problem with story-based MMOs is that constantly encountering random strangers from the internet doesn't contribute anything to a story. In fact, a story-based MMO is constantly going to be spending resources on mitigating the DAMAGE that encounters with strangers naturally have on the story they are trying to tell. Thus instancing, thus tiny shards, thus all PVP being shoved over into a corner and made as inconsequential as possible.
No offense, but if I'm playing a game and really getting into the awesome story, the LAST thing I want is one of you guys showing up with your stupid name and your stupid clothes jumping around like a retard and killing the boss for me, so I can wait 15 seconds for him to re-appear, thus reminding me of ultimately inconsequential my actions truly are.
The Secret World is the best-implemented example of what's probably a failed concept. Story-based themeparks will not be better than this one.