There is a difference between telling a story and laying out a world.

EQ has always been about laying out a world, making a place that exists that folks can run around in and make up whatever story they like. But for that to happen there has to be a story, or else there isn't any life to the world. NPCs need to have goals and histories (and futures) of their own.

And if you don't give PCs something to direct them, they get bored.

So, for me anyhow, it seems that the best way to handle this is to make a world where the folks living there are doing things and the PCs can come along to help if they want. But for some folks this isn't interesting. Their character isn't the focus of the story, so they don't feel invovled enough.


It's very hard to make a world that players care about without making their characters the focus of the story. But it's just about impossible to make a living world that focuses on a character that isn't even there most of the time and has goals and desires that can't be predicted. So devs focus on one or the other. Purely character driven stuff like SWTOR or wide open sand box games.

I can't speak to EQNext, but it's not a simple task for an MMO to make both types of players happy, so most don't try. And I don't think they should. Pick one and do it right.