I'm not sure what DCUO is exactly classified as, all I know is it was pure fun when I played, but only after I paid the subscription fee. The free version's pretty much just crap.
That's the case with most f2p MMO's. Eventually you get to the point where either you use the cash shop, or you really can't progress. Either it's a hard cap (you're locked out of certain features until you pay) or you spend so much time farming/grinding to catch up to the cash shop players that it's nothing more than a chore. I've yet to see a f2p mmo that does it right (i.e. the cash shop items don't affect gameplay, like cosmetic items; other genres like MOBAs and PoE manage to make a ton of money and still let f2p players enjoy the full game).
There was supposed to be a Vampire the Masquerade MMO that was supposedly sandbox and player-driven like EVE (and even made by the same people), but it was announced over 5 years ago and there's still no word on it. If they could make a fantasy version of EVE's sandbox and player driven system.