So, against my better judgment, I went ahead and rolled on the new Archeage server, did some stuff, and quickly remembered why I stopped playing. Several failed regrades later, I'm after another game - something that's less likely to actively punish players for trying to progress.
At this stage, I've accepted that all MMOs have their flaws - but as long as there's enough good to off-set the flaws, that's okay. I really enjoy the combat in Archeage, and I'm at least considering going back to FFXIV - given that I really disliked the GCD & story/atmosphere, is there enough elsewhere to justify the game as playable for me?
What other options are there? I would very much prefer a sandbox, but the current slew are lackluster so I'll have to settle for a themepark for the time being; I'd prefer a complex crafting system & economy that doesn't use numbers that skyrocket into the millions, combat that is both initiated and concluded quickly (I'm well over the 15 minute arena runs of WoW), and, most importantly, a lot of class customisation and gearing options; I'd like to make my character fall out of a "meta" while still making it viable.
PvE/PvP doesn't really matter to me, it need not include the latter, though even if it's forced I wouldn't mind if the game does have it.
I'd like to specifically exclude sci-fi games, and GW2 (for the same reasons as Archeage).
Games I've been at least considering include - Aion, Gloria Victus, Rift, FFXIV (albeit reluctantly), and even some older games like Istaria, Mortal Online, and RPG Mo as well.
I'm more interested to know how the end-game is for these games; what is there to do, and, more importantly, how prevalent RNG is in roadblocking progression. I don't want to spend several months playing catch-up as well.
Side Note - I really enjoyed Project Gorgon recently.
Anyways, any suggestions are appreciated & thanks in advance.