There may really be no 'right' answer to the question this observation raises: Do we move too fast through an MMO? Or even more to the point -- in our opinion -- is this genre becoming too concerned with imitating a singleplayer game? Those two questions are most definitely connected and it really comes down to what people want, which ultimately reaches the question of how people spend their money.
Walled garden games -- we're talking World of Warcraft and such here -- most definitely thrive on pushing players forward. It's the sandbox games that ask their players to move around horizontally; to actually talk to someone for a reason other than finishing a quest to level or craft. It's all a matter of preference. If the sandbox loving, slow rolling players aren't being properly served, someone will capitalize on that. Why, we're pretty sure there's a new game called Fallen Earth that some of you may be interested in checking out.