In the first few months of the game your main source of exp are from exp cards, which are rewarded from questing. They have tried this before and the experience of questing for exp was gruelling… it was so horribly boring. Our characters back then would only do as much as 7-10k damage max on a mob. It literally takes you 30 sec to 1 minute to kill an ordinary mob… let alone a boss. It was challenging but, unrewarding.
I understand that the current experience of leveling through maps now is lonely and yes this games maps are astoundingly beautiful. It’s like playing a game in canvas. Problem is… the game is not getting much attention now, bec. of bad optimization and lag, which I believe is the main problem.
They are trying to fix it, but it’s just not getting fixed at all. There are minor improvements but it’s really not enough to make the game more fluid. That’s the reason why maps are so empty. There’s just not a lot of new players or people who want to play a badly optimized game.
I love this game. it’s a mix of hardcore gaming and cutesy. I have played alot of AAA mmorpgs that have all the features you want but they are boring and uncreative on actual gameplay because they spoon feed you too much. There’s just no plot twist in the gameplay itself. They have been incredibly mind numbing. It promotes spoon feeding, but that’s just my experience can’t really say for others. They are great with story,lore and with polish. But that’s all they actually are.
I’ll state somethings that killed these AAA games for me.
WoW - LFG and raid finder, it just killed dungeon and raids for me. Played vanilla to WOTLK. Those were the good ol’days of wow. Incredible talent talent system. Cata to BFA made the game a basic b!tch. Just so uninteresting.
GW2 - No sense of gear progression, slap on zerk/assassins if your’e power Dps, sinister and whatever for condi. That’s all you had to do. Builds and weapons are versatile. But the lack of class roles kinda diminished the dungeon and raiding system for me. I’ve played this game when it was still pay2play, I’ve played through HoT and PoF, I’m mastery lv276, fractral 93, and have done all of the end game raids. The lack of class roles for DG play just isn’t for me anymore. Your class can do anything, even though you still have strengths and weaknesses you still have no definite role. You either damage or buff. That’s it, my gear progression feel meaningless tbh. Exotic > ascended > legendary is a joke. It’s a trophy collector game. I have done all this just by playing 20-25 hrs/week mind you.
FF14 - Is just very slow for me, 2.5sec GCD is slow but honestly is needed because of how many things you need to dodge on boss fights. Best thing about the game is the story/lore and easter eggs of the FF world. Dungeons are fun and incredibly challenging but after doing them for more than 5 times they just become tediously repitive.
I can go on with this list but these are probably the closest things you are comparing to TOS. And this is just my opinion. Peace.