I've been playing Project 1999 a lot recently and I realised why it was so amazing for the time. You had a sense of wonder for the world, you feared it, and because there was no map you imagined what you could find. It didn't feel like a game, a lot of those early MMOs didn't, I remember SWG feeling more like a chat room with tasks. I just loved being in that world, and you cannot ever really recapture that experience today. We always see these budget MMOs come out that tout how they're going to deliver a hardcore experience.... but the problem is you never have that sense of wonder because they already look 15 years old, and they play old. The MMOs we all loved... they were cutting edge!
I've been playing a lot of Rec Room lately, it has given me that sense of wonder that MMOs used to. I could really imagine a new MMO in VR that tries to be super immersive, and lets you live an alternative lifestyle like how we felt with the first MMOs. The amazing thing with VR is you do not need amazing graphics, the presence you feel overtakes graphics, which you totally rely on in standard games.
I really thing whoever can come along and make an amazing MMO in VR has latched onto the next big thing. Because today I bought an Oculus Quest (not my first headset) and I danced with a Robot in the tutorial, it felt AMAZING! I've played a lot of other games in VR since 2016, and stuff like that still amazes me. I felt like I was actually dancing with it, just such a funny experience. I've also had other crazy experiences where people touch me with their hands in game, and just some part of your brain freaks out. With the Rift controllers you just have this weird feeling of presence, and it's all done without canned animations, you feel and other people look so natural. You can see them dancing with just floating hands in Rec Room... but your brain fills out the details and it's the most immersive thing.
I really think Pantheon is an MMO waiting to die already, it's from some people who really should have learnt from making the same mistake 10+ years ago.