Here's how it is:
MMOs are too expensive to make. HOWEVER it seemed lucrative for Triple A companies to cash in anyway on the market as long as they can run a large false marketing campaign that everyone would like that's a cheaper, smaller, easer, solo experience game. Something their investors would except. Lets not forget bankruptcy is always a good option (see Donald Trumps business tactics).
The vision WAS promising........ Focusing on Blizzards World of Warcraft, they researched the current market at the time and found mmos other than WoW were somewhat crude. Some moderately successful but crude none the less, there was room for a huge cash cow. The only hindrance was up front money, super millions but on a video game ?....... Investors could understand a new automobile manufacture Like Hyundai or KIA, but selling the idea of a video game was suicide unless the promise of major cut backs. Remember, Blizzards success was the only thing keeping investors interested at any level. Developers and Marketers had to work in tandem with cheaper, smaller, easer, solo to keep cost down, yet fun and interesting with good advertisement. They had the Law on their side. They knew how to play the fine line between false advertisement and simply leaving out the oblivious short comings.
Make the game appear exciting before release, capture the audience with intrigue. After all "up front box sales is everything", this is where we get our money back and more. This along with Blizzards $15 a month style of charging.
Triple A investors don't care about consumers at all. However, they do care about their reputation. Fresh ideas have to make up for lack of high cost. Give them something fun too !
"give them something fun too "...... Is a key that worked on all of us for several years. Dynamic events, destructible worlds, story modes, the list goes on. But we can all admit it was temporary, something was always lacking. They were not mmos anymore, they were games online. It had to be that way to keep cost down, this was an absolute !
To build a traditional mmo the world had to be huge if natural occurrences were to come into play. Spreading natural would require large land mass if it were to be believable. Far off lands to be with friends and their situations became too costly. Tight small worlds full of puzzles and mini games were more viable. And again, it worked for awhile.
It seems that shiny lost it's luster, where as a living breathing world would last forever !!!!!..... We now have Asian cash shops, Triple A is no more.
Let's hope smaller developers with passion can give us our dream back.