There's a self-created paradox in the MMO industry. This genre asks its participants to invest copious amounts of time and people do want to spend a hours and hours within a single, expansive virtual environment. The downside is that videogames tend to spin on a single mechanical axis: conflict.
In the MMO realm, conflict generally means combat. The problem is endless conflict becomes excruciatingly tedious. Crafting, socialization and sometimes even mini-games have been employed to counteract this, yet it remains a substantial issue. Whereas the story and plot development -- the topics this week -- have largely taken a back seat.