I played Asherons Call (1999) from beta on up (turbine made). In AC when u died it carried severe penalties.You would leave behind your corpse still wearing your good armor (some of which took a long while to aquire).One had to re-equip,and go resue their armor off their own corpse (a user corpse can stay in the field for hours before dading). This made one fear death...it was brutal,but exciting.
..my point is,these newer MMO's no longer have enough penalties.You can die,die,and die some more in both LOTRO & WOW with no loss.This is because people complained about losing their armor etc...so turbine said "ok wimps,we'll remove penalties and anything remotely challenging".
Now we have wimpy MMOs loaded with gobs of nice weps,irems,etc. There's such a ridiculous flood of good items they're no longer appealing.Combine this with no reason to fear dying...you get the picture.