Old School MMORPG's were better because of 4 reasons...
1. Community - The genre pre-wow was filled with specific RPG gamers who wanted to explore a vast open world with other people. MMORPG's created two spectrums. A social experience with other players around the country/world and an open explorable 3d world. I would say that the community portion suffered.
2. Immersion - I felt that I have more immersive feelings about playing Everquest than any other MMORPG since. Perhaps some of it was simply based off it was my first MMORPG experience. I think what made old school mmo's immersive wasn't their polished graphics, but the little things. Ambient wilderness music, no icons above NPC's heads guiding you, no quest hubs.
3. Challenge - I think this is something that has simmered down quite extensively during most assets of gameplay to cater to the super casual mmo player. I remember when the wilderness of zones were a dangerous place and if you went the wrong way, you died.
4. Variety - I think old school mmo's provided more variety to various types of gameplay elements and things you can do in game. It made the gameplay feel substantial because it felt like there was a lot to do. Of course this reason is purely subjective because you can still argue today that mmo's provides variety of content. I guess I'd prefer the Everquest approach to variety.
I would conclude that most MMORPG players are not passionate about the genre nor understand the community aspect of it. In other words, they're "not true mmorpg gamers". This was partly due to the influx of players that WoW brought into the genre and the accessible game that WoW is.
Sure, there were asshats and elitist in old school mmorpgs but as a WHOLE the communities of MMORPG's to my knowledge were not as toxic as communities we see today. Not saying all new school mmo players are toxic but a good portion of them are unfortunately.
We have to remember that the genre was founded on D&D and single RPG players who were looking for an innovative approach to gameplay which involved a massive world with a massive community, hence the acronym, MMORPG.
I think players who have a passion for the RPG elements and gameplay respect the genre more and thus have a better understanding of community. I am not touting that old school mmo players are saints, far from it, but with my personal experience, the communities now and then are different.
My conclusion is lack of respect for the community aspect of the genre. One can argue solo gameplay is another deterrent for a toxic community or at least promotes it. I personally feel that a 60/40 ratio of group to solo gameplay would help wean out the toxic players. Having a server reputation is a means of negation for that. It helped in Everquest.
Hi OP, sorry that many posters didn't take your thread seriously. This is the exact reason why I won't typically get feedback from forums because of trolls who derail it. I find it more fruitful to find players on game and have one on one conversations about game design.
As as an aspiring class designer, I design classes in layers and ask my self varying questions, such as...
What is them classes Archetype? Melee, ranged or caster?
What role(s) does this class provide?
What is the lore behind the class? Their origin, what are they doing in current lore and does their core mechanics align with their lore?
What are the Thematic Core Mechanics?
What other skill sets does the Class have access too to synergize with their core mechanic?
How does the class interact and compliment the combat mechanics?
...those are typically the questions I ask my self when I design classes.
I am am currently typing this via my cell so I don't have access to my documents of my already designed classes. For the classes I have finished, I wrote class descriptions which include on the surface lore, thematic core mechanics and other skills they have access too and what role they provide. I would be willing to post a few Class Descriptions if anyone is interested. If you are, simply quote the post and tell me what Class you'd be interested in hearing about. My classes have depth and substance to them and I have put tremendous thought into the design of them. Or you can simply send me a PM.
If if anyone is interested, I'll post an overview of how I am approaching my class design a small a whole.
The classes I have class descriptions ready for are the following: Wizard, Tempest, Nethermancer, Druid, Sage, Oracle and Spirit Walker. (As I play a caster in moms I naturally designed the casters first).