I think the anime really starts to suffer (read: becomes really hard to watch) after they get out. I think SAO (in reference to the game, sans real life permadeath) would be an absolutely fantastic game. As an anime, it is a fairly weak one. Let’s not even talk about season two… I hear the manga is solid, at least.
I’ve just finished the first season of Log Horizon and I am starting on the second (coincidentally while playing BnS!) So far it is a bit of a departure from the typical stick-in-an-MMO trope in that… they haven’t done much trying to get out.
That said, I grew up with .hack and I absolutely adored The World. The first VRMMO that can pull off something with that sort of immersion
the series was pretty great until you started to realize that the story and world building were literally thrown into the garbage can in favor of muh romance and muh harem anime.
Realizing that every female wanted Kirito INCLUDING his sister was when I started to really get annoyed with the BNS Gold. Then the whole “daugher” bullshit was where I realized that this would be a one watch series. Season 2 ended on episode 1 for me. If they didn’t try to ham fist all that love, romance, harem bullshit it, it could have been a lot better. The world shouldnt have taken a back seat just to become yet another harem anime.
The lack of AFK timer is absolutely the problem. If there was a 15 minute timer forcing people to actually play the game to stay in, we’d all be far better off. How many of you started the queue before you went to sleep? The queue probably took 2-3 hours, and you were AFK for 5-6 hours. I’m willing to bet that most people currently logged in are only active about 25-30% of the time, which is ridiculous. Some of my friends have literally not closed the client in over 40 hours, despite only playing for a few hours/day.