Why We Pay to Play
by Raph Koster, former lead designer of Ultima Online, and Creative Director of Star Wars Galaxies. He also worked on EverQuest II and 2 of its expansions.
It's abit of a read, but it gives you an idea why we pay monthly fees.
As for you Shem, you are looking at this game waaaaayyyy too linear.
This game will give you the freedom to do whatever you want.
Want to just hang around in a bar all day with friends, go go.
Want to kill some NPC's, go go.
Players? That's fun too.
Not so fun when they kill you though.
Obviously there'll be some restrictions to what you can and can't do, but far from the restrictions you usually get in single-player games.
Just thought of a good single-player game you can compare this game to: GTA IV.
Go where you want, do what you want, quest when, where, and what you want.
Another is Oblivion, which is a single-player RPG, versus WoW, EQII, SWG, EVE, etc. with are MMO-RPGs.
Basically, the keyword for this game is, freedom.