Citing the original Neverwinter Nights (through ForgottenWorld, I suppose), Ultima Online, EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, and Dungeons & Dragons Online as their prime examples, the editors at GameDynamo are arguing how "old MMORPGs can still hook players" if we're only willing to give them the chance. I resist the urge to go back to DDO every single day despite all of the other competition, so I know where they're coming from:
Some people will swear to a game's effectiveness or immersive qualities by pointing to its graphics, but I maintain that is not the only requirement to define a MMORPG by, but to understand them and to realize what makes players really enjoy them, you have to look at the history of the genre.
One of the earliest MMORPGs people played and enjoyed was America Online's Neverwinter Nights. It launched in the Spring on 1991 and back in those days, before high speed internet became the norm, players had to pay by the hour to use the internet. Imagine how expensive a proposition that would be if you had to pay by the hour for a game like World of Warcraft, which some people complain about having to pay a monthly subscription to enjoy. Neverwinter Nights and its subsequent expansions was based on the TSR Dungeons and Dragons license and was the first multi player online role playing game to feature graphics, but in comparison to today's graphics, they were downright primitive.
Of course, as innovations in computing advanced and as video games became more and more popular, so did MMORPGs improve in both execution and graphical look and ambiance. Games like Ultima Online, and Lineage had players hooked on virtual worlds but it wasn't until 1999 that a little game called Everquest (Evercrack as it became known in some circles to allude to its immersive and addictive qualities) changed the landscape of multi-player fantasy worlds forever.