EverQuest, my guild spent an inordinate amount of time camping dungeons for keys so that we could get into even more dungeons to camp for even more keys and so on and so forth. In retrospect, I see that the key-grind was SOE's way of slowing us down and gating us from content for as long as possible so that we wouldn't notice how very little there was of it (back then). It's like goetta: a cheap way to stretch out precious pork over more meals.
World of Warcraft had keys too, even for basic 5-man dungeons, but it also introduced long, convoluted quest chains that players had to complete in order to become "attuned" to certain raid instances -- witness the quest map above, courtesy of WoWpedia. Both of these games have since heavily toned down these content blockades due to player feedback, but their influence is seen across the genre.
What about you folks? Are you a fan of gating content until some grind (be it farming for an item or completing lengthy quest lines) is completed? Or do you just want to push the hokum to the side and get on with dungeoning?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!