Most people here can agree to the statement that mmos are not the same as they used to be. Some call it evolving, some call it devolving, it depends on what part of a mmo you focus on - That is not really what I want to talk about, lets just say we can agree that mmos are changing ?
There is one thing in these kind of discussions that is being said again and again, that I would like to challenge. It is that mmos are changing to meet player demands, or that mmos are being designed to a new kind of player.
As that in some areas sound plausible enough there are also in my opinion just as many things I would guess that no "new player" are asking for. You just get the whole package, some of it you like and some of it is rotten - The developers however have a difficult time guessing which was good and which was bad.
The thing I would like to challenge is that developers have such an insight in what players want that they are just reacting to it. I am sure the big ones got focus groups, trend experts and other number crunchers, but does that really reflect what players want in any kind of detail needed to understand them ?
There are x million WoW players so lets do the same.. does not really tell you what parts of WoW they like or which mechanics are good and which are unwanted. This yaddayadda style game is not selling well, so yaddayadda must be unpopular ? not necessarily, it could be all kinds of other faults that makes players choose something else.
Just because some mmo sell well does not necessarily tell that the players want/like everything contained, but more like a pros and cons decision as I am sure most of you use personally.
As an example, you love the combat system in yaddayadda mmo, but you don't like that the game is based on p2w whales... do you play it anyway ? I am sure you the player did not ask for p2w monetization so that is not something the industry is making to meet your demands, but they did make that awesome other thing many players are asking for.. now is that mmo changing to meet player demands or not ?
I am not saying it is a completely wrong statement to say that mmos just reflect what the market demands, but I would like to challenge that this is the entire truth and especially that developers know what "we" want and just delivers it all to us.