At least to me, it's the $15 US monthly fee for subscription that causes the failure. It's just too much, that pricing model is at least 14 years old.
I'm betting $10 US price mark would increase the subscription base of most if not all mmogs by 30% to 50%. I don't see a single company trying it, out right. I've seen some like LotRO try it as a discount for 3 months, which does seem to be successful.
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.