Please don't be offended by this. I'm really just wondering how alone I am on this. I've posted in so many forums over the years and born witness to so many flames, I'm not interested at all in that. Try to keep a cool head here.
For me it's hard if I'm dying enough and feel like I'm struggling to win fights or do things in general. If it feels like it's not a struggle, I lose interest. Why fight for something if it's easy? If I see others struggling, it makes me feel like it's worth playing. If someone else says "Don't worry it's easier past level 10" then I lose interest. Worse still, if a guildie gives me a backpack full of superior equipment, I have to decline and it's like ripping my heart apart because the guildie is only trying to help. I lose interest.
Yet I'm always chasing the cookie. I always wnat to have better gear to be my best. I like to scour over all my options. The irony is if I have too many cookies hten I lose interest. It's not worth climinbg to the summit to get the cookie if cookies are everywhere. If there're no more cookies then there's no reason to play.
I don't like hand holding either. I hate automaps and radars and glowies. I like slow travel, as long as there're things to see and dangers to avoid. I prefer some fast travel like horses, ships and teleportation, but it has to be worked for and there still needsto be dangers (like fast moving monsters or teleportation mishaps). I hate hand outs. I like item degredation/repairing.
So mainly I want competition and for things to be hard to get. I like struggle.
I've always mostly played on ffa open world PvP servers because if I don't then I lose interest faster. It's like the difference between climbing a everyday hill and a big scary hill. If you're an avid climber, the commonplace one is less interesting and not as rewarding. When a mmo looks like it's everyday (re: easy), even if it's not grindy, i'll choose hte grindy one instead just because the grind itself can be a challenge to overcome. This isn't because I like grind, but because grind is an obstacle to fight against.
The problem in MMO's is simple. They're trying to be fun for everyone in a shared space. They try to make everyone feel like a hero. The trouble is if everyone is a hero then nobody is a hero. This goes back to my analogy to climbing the summit for the cookie. If cookies are everywhere then there's no point in doing the climb. You have to voluntarily ignore everybody else and play it like a singleplayer game to feel rewarded. The result is MMO's are becoming like single player games by reinforcing the personal quest over all else. Other players are a gimmick.
It's better to play a game where you're a peasant crushed underfoot by griefers in a grindfest of painful proportion then ti's to be a hero alone.
And frankly if I want a story I prefer reading books. Stories in games never work well on me because why use a computer if you're not going to interact? Stories aren't about interaction. They're diametrically opposed to the strongest feature computers have. They're set in stone and have to be meticulously crafted to maintain pace and coherence, especially when they have multiple paths. I say--for computers at least--set us free into a sandbox world and let US make hte story in our efforts to be king of the hill. Many stories can be written about our trials and tribulations. Many things can be felt in the losses and victories. It doesn't have to be premade. It's the human imagination unleashed in natural impulses, wrapped in desire, pain and self sacrifice.
And I've lived this. I don't speak as a third party. I've been there and done that. And I'd never trade it for a premade story. My story has many warts and pains. I was angry and hurt just as much as I smiled. I probablyu lost as much as I gained. I never became king. I don't think I ever graduated from peasant first class. That's not what matters. It's the journey I came to love. I didn't dwell on the summit, but it helped make it meaningful. I admired those higher up the mountain than me. I admired those below me. It was pure magic. Mere words do not do it justice. It was alive.