Making a game is far less lofty process than making a virtual world. When you create a game it absolves the creators of the higher responsibility inherent in creating a world. Tolkien created a world, Blizzard created a game.
Other than being a grizzled “in my day” veteran, the main problem with his argument is his premise:
I daresay the majority of people who enter MMOs today would prefer to be immersed in a virtual world of adventure than deposited into a theme park of amusement and fun if offered the choice.
I’m not convinced that’s accurate. If it were, niche games like Eve would dominate and Warcraft would fall by the wayside. Trouble is, people do want escapism in short bursts, and to feel ‘epic’. I agree it would be nice to have deeper adventure (as opposed to bursts of fun), but the market doesn’t seem to be able to sustain the more challenging MMOs.
Players today want to log on and experience a concentrated blast of shock and awe in their limited play session time. They want it all and they want it now. Everyone expects to be treated like hero without having done anything heroic and companies like Blizzard are only too happy to placate them.
Surely an MMO needs to deliver fun and adventure, not either/or. He fails to convince me (someone who has only known WoW and hence has no basis for comparison) that there is no adventure to be had. The player can create the adventure, even if the game is mainly about fun.