You know, I've long since figured out what ios wrong with MMORPG's, and thought I'd share it here
A successfull game is one where just the playing is fun to do. The story is a nice bonus, but what you do every couple of seconds, the firefights/swordfights/bunnycollecting/wondering around solving puzzles has to be fun.
Problem with most MMORPG's is that it focusses purely on the MMORPG effect: the focus instead of on actual nits and bolts gameplay (literally interactions per second, decisions/s, stimuli/s) is on the MM aspect. This means that an MMORPG focusses on the social: a good chat function, guild forming, grinding (it's called GRINDING FOR FSCK SAKE! By definition something called that is NOT fun!) etc. So instead of making the actual game fun, MMORPG's have focussed on everything which is in reality a supporting function of making gameplay fun. So you end up with games which have all the fringebenefits, but none of the meat of a real fun game.
IOW, as of yet, MMORPG's have been focussing solely on it's infrastructure as it where, with just rudimentary real gameplay.
And that (confusingly as I might have put it) is the reason why MMORPG's aren't mainstream: they have no core gameplay which is fun. As soon as they have that (challenging and fun combat/interesting wufflehunting/etc.), plus all the things whithout which an MMORPG can't exist (guilding, interesting leveling, good network code, etc.; the things which up to now are mistaken for actual gameplay!), MMORPG's will be ready for the masses.
Oh, man, I'm drunk