Before I played MMORPGs I was a very active player of VGA Planets 4 by Tim Wisseman.
VGA Planets is a play-by-email strategy game in a Sci-Fi-fantasy setting that mixes themes from all major Sci-Fi IPs. One game usually takes half a year, often one year. Some games never really end. VGA planets requires someone to start the game. To that end he can either use standard universe maps or custom-scripted ones. After having played for many years I eventually decided to make my own games with my own maps.
What had annoyed me ever since I had started was the abundance of resources. Games would often end in players having hundreds of ships and thousands of objects to manage. One turn could take hours to play through and often the real brilliance was in coming up with ways to speed up the process and focus on what is important. Still it was unfair, because those players who spent massive amounts of time a week on one turn had a huge advantage.
While I did spent massive amounts of time each week on one turn, I didn't like so many objects for another reason: the emotional bond to your starships and planets became worse the more you had.
That's why I scripted "The Last Bastion of Life". I made each planet have so little resources that players had to fight over every single piece. Every starship mattered. No race could afford more than one of the dreadnoughts. Whether to build one at all was an interesting question.
Up to that point there hadn't been a game with so little stuff. The game was a success. Players loved it. A lot of other games were started with ultra-poor planets.
Today I find myself in the same situation with MMORPGs. With the added problem that scripting my own game isn't all that easy. Scarcity is what engages humans. Abundance is boring and makes players apathetic. It is bad from a gameplay point of view and it is bad from a simulation point of view. If a ball of fire that engulfs an enemy does major damage, but doesn't happen often, it's more impressive than enemies that are constantly engulfed in fire.
When I look at the most recent Guild Wars 2 gameplay video, that's what I worry about. There is value in scarcity, but MMORPG companies rather compete for the most fancy graphics. There's a difference between good graphics and fancy graphics. Do you care when you are engulfed with fire in an MMORPG? Nor do I.
If you start with normal fireballs that engulf entire players, there's no way to make an impressive fireball. But impressive fireballs would be fun!