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I'm going to be blunt. The title is a good tl;dr here.
Audience loyalty is a requirement of short-life games.
The general expectation of a game series is that subsequent titles will aim at and appeal to the playerbase of past titles in the series while hopefully expanding this audience through improvements.
This expectation holds absolutely, 100% true for single-player titles, offline games, console games, and other games with a generally short life-expectancy. The only exception is when a new title diverts from the genre of other games in its universe entirely - as was the case with the Halo RTS.
This is part of the nature of these series. Mass Effect 1 may have been an incredible game, but it is not one that is endlessly replayable to most of its audience. Some will stick around and invest hundreds, if not thousands of hours, but a majority will play through it a few times (or less) and move on with fond memories of the title and an anticipation of its sequels.
MMORPGs are different.
Sure, any given MMO may (and probably will) require expansions and developer support to maintain this momentum, but games in this genre are designed to obtain and hold a loyal playerbase for months or even years at a time.
What does this mean for the MMO genre?
Simply put, the developers have every right to "reinvent the wheel" in regards to their series. In fact, they have every reason to, if they intend to run the servers of previous titles in their series alongside the new sequel.
SOE has no obligation to make EQN a spiritual successor to EQ1 or EQ2.
They have no reason to do so if they do not wish for it.
They are not being unreasonable or disloyal to their previous fans by changing to a more GW2-esque form with this new MMO. MMO titles stand alone. Because of this, it may actually be a significant service to EQ's existing fanbase to continue to run and support previous titles.
There is no indication that EQ2 will be shut down or entirely lose developer support in response to this market shift. All signs indicate that SOE wants to create a new market but still serve its old one.
EQ2 will likely receive a better treatment than Guild Wars 1 (which continues to run, but has no developer support outside of holiday events).
SOE is being entirely fair and the product of their work looks to be worthy
With EQN, SOE is bringing forth a new title that, if it lives up to its hype, will prove to be an innovative game. It is a game that knows what it wants to be and makes no pretentions of universal appeal. It has its niche and it is actively appealing to it, which is more than can be said for most existing or upcoming titles. And it's even opened up polls to gauge community feedback and assist in the development of the game.
If anything, SOE's efforts should be commended, and I say that as someone who has never been a fan of SOE titles.