It'll be a sad day when the last MMO finally goes F2P. That will be the day the genre completely abandons it's core customers, the players who have been around for over a decade playing MMOGs. I don't play Rift anymore, but I have an ever growing respect for that game's development team, and their ongoing commitment to providing their players with tons of extra content in the form of planned world events, free of additional charge.
Thank you for illustrating my point. The "core gamers" are a dying breed. Like any declining population, you look to the "glory days" not realizing that they weren't that glorious. We got suckered into a pay-to-play format and then when obsolete, refused to let it go.
Let it go gracefully.
Don't hold on to something for fear of change. Sure we collect antiques for the memories, but who wants to go back and use a washing machine from 1862? Who doesn't have a family member that just refuses to give up some anachronistic piece of equipment because they are just so damned comfortable with it? I guarantee there is someone who still uses their old TRS-80. Every aging, declining population sees what they did as greater than the subsequent generation. We have writings from Ancient Greece that complain about how the younger generation doesn't respect their elders or have the commitment or work ethic they did. Sorry, but this hasn't changed in a millenia.