People who play WoW for the most part don't want to deal with those sorts of consequences. There are games where they have them and to each their own. I don't see a problem with that.
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It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy...let's go exploring!
WoW has been the most popular mmo to date. I'm hoping with Wildstar and ESO the devs will be forced to do actual work on improving the game when they lose fucktons of subs because they fail to put out quality content. They have been able to just kinda dick around on the top of the hill, but good games will force them to wake up.
As far as gameplay goes, the devs have been shitting on it since wrath. It will take a few expansions of very good development in order to fix anything.
Then later they added Item Insurance where you could insure your equipment and it stayed with you when you died.
In other words, the "good old times" of rampant PK were not as golden as some say. Only after it became a choice of gameplay (like WOW pvp server vs PVE server) did the game actually flourish.
I know, I played it, was part of the Atlantic Shard RP Community, etc.
"Reality: The refuge of those who fail in RPGs"
~Though this be madness, yet there is method in't~
As for the OP: WoW just isn't that sort of MMO. Look how long we had the original Vanilla world. It took what, 6 years to get the world altered to reflect changes? In lore, things DO change. In the game, it does take a while. That's simply because of how much constant updating the world would need. You think you get sod all in terms of content now? Imagine if 99% of updates to the game were just updating some bridge to make sure it reflected a lore-based fight. WoW is too big now (in terms of overall content/world size) to continually update stuff like that. It's pretty meaningless to do so, imo. I'd much rather Blizzard spent their time on things that matter much more.
None of this sounds like good ideas to me
In EvE online we wanted to kill a titan, to give an idea of how valuable they are they approximate to $5,000 a piece in real money. A person in his "guild" wanted to backstab the titan owner so helped us. He formed a party with the dude while it was in a spot that made it invulnerable to damage. We then distracted the titan owner by getting his guildmate to link him silly youtube vids. When we were good and certain he was lolling to one his guildmate warped him out to where we could gank him and we dropped the hammer. Boom, $5k splatted. This is childsplay compared to the lengths that many will go to.
Corp robberies of billions there are the norm, spying, DDOS of voicecomms in important ops and so on.
But yea, wow isn't that kind of game and I'm glad it isn't. WoW is a nice change of pace.
And the OP's question has been answered in this thread. Wow is not that type of game. Games with (heavy) repurcusions are for a niche market. Wow wants to appeal to a bigger crowd.
It's interesting though, people that criticize Wow for being too casual or too mass appealing mostly want games that not many people play.
Wow is the McDonalds of MMO gaming, a lot of people hate it but the majority loves it. It tastes good but it's not for everyone. The people that like to dine in the smaller restaurants are eager to critique it while eating in their quiet little restaurant.
LFD and LFR killed community
Flying killed the world
Whiners killed the rest
There you go, a lobby game without consequences.
I remember UO and EQ fondly too. I also remember de-leveling on Cazic-Thule pulls more than once and getting pissed as the night got harder. To be fair, I thought it was kinda cool that you lost some exp if you died. It also meant you only had to gain 1 xp when a new expansion came out to hit the next level.
UO I was a PK so I dealt out more frustration than I got in return.