lognoronon, If you believe that EQ1 is better now then it was during the Verant days then you aren't a hardcore MMO player... you probably didn't make high level till recently... I played EQ since the start and untill planes of power... it became nothing more then a game of kill this mob, get gear and move to next mob. When Kunark and Velious expantions released we were given some original quests and factions to deal with... not just new mobs to kill.
Well short answer is I was max level in EQ before the first expansion came out and of course made the max level each expansion after. So yes I consider myself a hardcore player but with a difference of opinion. Saying I'm not hardcore cause I didn't like what they did is retarded. I played the game so much it almost ruined my life but got it under control eventualy but still did 8 hour raids on the weekends.
I am not saying they didn't do anything right as velious is a good example of a good expansion but they were too hard headed with certain things that came under "the vision".