Alex Taldren seems to think that MMOs should be designed for four to five months of playability, tops. And we players should accept that and move on when we are done with the game. He thinks those players who expect to be able to play an MMORPG for years are foolish and should just move on when they done. Yeebo Fernbottom and Anjin, in his bullet points have brought up similar points--though more kindly, I think.
Here is why, Alex. An MMORPG, unlike a console game, is supposed to be a persistent world that exists independent of my being there, with other players doing their own thing and sometimes (often?) interacting with me in that virtual space. Whether it is in a "themepark" or a "sandbox" we expect that feeling of permanence or semi-permanence to be there. Otherwise we would be content to play GTA, The Force Unleashed, or Assassin's Creed, or whatever the next big single-player RPG turns out to be. But we're not. I have played WoW for almost five years. No other single piece of intellectual property has provided me the hours of enjoyment that game has. If I "beat" it (another thing that grates on my nerves, how do you beat a world? Why are you trying?) after five months, then what was the point?
I'll admit, subscribing to an MMORPG does change the player outlook on that game. We think in terms of time commitment rather than cost when considering a new game.
If you only want to play DCUO or Rift for a few months, you are certainly within your rights to do so, and I do hope you enjoy your time. To me, there is a certain level of commitment for me to play longer, assuming I enjoy it; and for the developers to have built and continue to build on that persistent world, because I have subscribed to their game. Otherwise, they could go develop a single-player RPG with a few levels and be done with it. What's in it for them? If even one million players played WoW, that's $15,000,000.00 (yes I am putting in all the zeros) per month in revenue, beyond the initial $40,000,000.00 in boxes for Vanilla WOW alone. That's a lot of incentive to keep going. Of course there are far more players than that in WOW, enabling Blizzard rake in ungodly amounts of money. I heard they made $75,000,000.00 on the first day alone from the infamous sparkle-pony. Don't try to tell me it cost nearly that to create. So ja, even without WoW's volume, a persistent game can make a ton of money for the producer, if they can keep butts in the seats, so to speak.
So it's a win-win for players who want to escape to a persistent world and for the developers who provide it. Some players will come and go. I don't know how much longer I'll play WoW. But I know that it's been fun. And I probably never would have played it as a SP-RPG. After all, I haven't played those other single-player games I mentioned.