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August 6th, 2013, 23:04
I'd also contest that the original EQ + maybe the Kunark expansion never really felt like a grind at all. Levels were a side-effect of having fun with friends.

Things, however, took a turn with the faction requirements and armor farming of the Velious expansion. You began to see the emergence of playing not for fun but to climb some artificial loot and content ladder. It has only continued in this vein ever since.

If EQNext can implement a return to camaraderie-focused gameplay where grouping, exploration, and socialization are once again encouraged while simultaneously doing away with the artificial gating mechanisms that pervade many games today, I think they'd have a hit. But I doubt they'll pull it off.
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