In my mind, the genre has been more or less stagnant for many years.
Some games have tried to change some aspects of the genre, and I guess some would argue they succeeded. Guild Wars 2 tried to do away with the traditional carrot and brought "dynamic questing" to the playing field. ESO, SWtOR and Secret World went all the way with fully voice acted "cinematic" quests and - as a result - feel largely like singleplayer games.
Many, many smaller MMOs have tried to promote sandbox gameplay, but none of them seem to have truly succeeded in changing the genre standard in a significant way.
I could go on, but I'm just thinking out loud.
What would it take to truly take the genre forward? Are you happy with the way games are just repeating what came before?