When WoW started out, during the 40 man raid times, a lot of ex EQ1 guilds jumped over and you had some great players. Now it is a joke.
As you can see, a new player experience does not need to be so easy that it holds your hand. Look, if you are getting a MMORPG and it is your FIRST game like that, at least know ahead of time that there will be intricate controls and things you will have to READ and understand in order to advance.
WolfsHead Online has a look at changing the new player experience in MMO's. I like the way EQ2 works because it is in depth from the get go and weeds out the morons. Some may find it hard to believe, but I don't want to play my MMO's with a watered down populace that bought a game like WoW because they saw it on a Mountain Dew can and then clicked Night Elves because they were pretty and the background was sparkly.
That is why there are two classes of MMO right now, but sadly the second, more mature class is dwindling and we are getting spoon fed more stuff like Free Realms. I understand that the WolfsHead article is more about DESIGN than a new MMO being easy to win, but people seem to like the fact that WoW is easy to get into.
Hey I admit it WoW is great because of that but not on the level you would think. I like it because it WORKS, it is laid out properly and the game functions soundly. I will be the first to admit that EQ2 is a MESS if you start in Freeport or Qeynos. Darklight Woods however is another story. A perfect example of a company learning and doing something right, but sadly 2 years after Blizzard's mega monster had crushed Sony's effort.
One of the fundamental reasons that the player base in EQ2 is so much more stellar than your typical WoW server is that the game is deep, rich and requires half a brain to play for the most part. WoW is not the same game I fell in love with 4 years ago. Gone are the EQ1 vets, the experienced players, the mature crowd that now you have to weed out of the populace by interviewing them in a guild application. Gone are the tougher content days and the faction diversity. If you pop over to EQ2, things are much different and the game has layers to learn. Same with a title like Dungeons and Dragons Online or to some extent Guild Wars. Lord of the Rings Online not so much. Have you tried to play Anarchy Online lately? I know I know many are saying why would I but that is not my point. AO is a HARD game. However it is a DEEP game.
MMO's used to be hard affairs that rewarded you for sticking around, staying with your guild, and getting to the level cap. While Blizzard did a lot to rejuvenate how people see the genre, they also felled it in one sweeping gigantic blow of their money empowered fist.
There is a difference between being a HARD game and a HARD game that eases you into gameplay. World of Warcraft is a easy game that never stops holding your hand. As such at the end of your illustrious 80 level hand holding grind you are faced with grouping with imbeciles or hunting down other non imbeciles, forming a guild, and then dealing with their baggage. I am not immune I will not lie by stating that Eve Online scares the crap out of me. However I did try it I just didn't get in depth as some other players. I asked questions, I researched, I did my homework. Same with Spore or any other game .