I don't really understand why so many MMO commentators are obsessed with the idea of players making an impact on the game world.
Scratch that. I understand why they want to make an impact. What I don't understand is how they expect people who don't make an impact in the real world, to all of a sudden be able to make a significant impact in a virtual one.
Very few people actually change the world. Most of us settle for small victories and quiet defeats. That's not bad, that's just how life is. Very few of us are offered Achilles' choice.
But it would be the same in an impactful MMO. You'd have a few people--the hardcore, the Ensidias and the Mittanis--and they would shake the world. A dragon would arise, and they would rush to slay it. You and I, we'd probably arrive on the scene much too late, long after the dragon has been defeated.
Faced with that, I'd much rather have a world of handcrafted, polished content that I can experience. Even if everyone else experiences the same content. Indeed, there are advantages to having shared experiences. Everyone knows who Hogger is, because because everyone has experienced Hogger. Shared experiences help knit a community together.
In the end, I guess I doubt I would be the hero in an impactful world. At least in a static world I can slay dragons, even if everyone else can slay them as well.