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I have played quite a few recent MMOs that the public zones are not really adding to the fun (to me, course), and i think they are better off as online RPGs, rather than MMOs.
NWO - fun game. A good take on action combat, much better than DDO. However, most of the good stuff are done in instances. I found myself wasting time walking through the city (following glittering dots) again and again. Backtracking in the same place is no fun, and waste my time before getting into the action. I would like a menu driven lobby better, and let me just enter the dungeon instantly.
PoE - the only public zone (so far i can see) is the town. All i get is seeing other people standing in front of the seller. It is much easier to just have a menu, a list of players that i can inspect and talk to.
Marvel Heroes - this one is the worse offender. They should just stick to a online marvel ultimate alliance. I don't enjoy seeing 20 spidermans (or should that be spidermEn?) running around. Just do a diablo in the marvel universe, and they will have a good game.
Are there other games that can become better to ditch the virtual world?