Wow, I wonder if the culture around here has really shifted that much? Color me surprised.
A few idiot trolls =/= a culture shift
Look, if you want to go play in another sandbox more to your liking, go for it. The admins here are not lavishly paid (or in some cases not paid at all I'd bet), are by and large extremely well-versed gamers with strong opinions, and all have a passion for the board they work on. I love that they will speak on topics. I love that they interact with us. They never abuse their power. I mean, seriously, if that's your concern, realize that they let
you disagree with them. They could just as easily nuke your posts, suspend or ban you at their whim if they were so inclined. Instead, they debate as if they were just another forum member, just one with better manners.
If your pity panties are in a bind because you cannot dole out a rate-down (for all the **** that actually does), well terribly sorry boyo, you're out of luck. Drew Carey said it best, to paraphrase:
Welcome to Allakhazam, the forum where everything's made up and the karma don't matter. That's right the karma is just like tasteful shoes to Ryan Stiles.
Now, as to the persistent whine about no endgame, as has been pointed out by countless games, countless times, your hardcore represents a fraction of the population. I've heard numbers varying between 1% to at most 20% of the player base, with those higher percentages likely attributed more to a reduced overall population than an increased hardcore population. The reasons for this are diverse and varied, but it boils down to the fact that to be hardcore requires a fairly hefty time investment either on a regular schedule or in large blocks of time... or both. Designing content for these people is an utterly losing battle.
The reason it cannot be done is that, in order to produce enough significantly new content rather than just reskins or hard modes (which people are already complaining about in this very thread) requires the devs invest a lot of time and energy to build the environment, balance the encounters, test for bugs, design the rewards and balance those rewards. This is not a short process, unless you want broken, half-done content. On top of that, you need to keep maintaining the current game, fixing bugs and such, as well as develop future content, like true expansions and added storyline. Not to mention that all of these steps require art, scripting, in some cases storylining... That's a ton of work. A ton of work that the hardcore crowd will burn through at an incredible pace. So all those manhours might result in weeks, maybe a month or two, of content for these grinders unless they set arbitrary limits (another thing already complained about in this thread).
Realistically, they want the broadest audience possible, and the broadest set of rewards possible. Housing allows for rewards to be less tangible, and allows for branching content (ship/airship building). PvP allows for alternate grinding and gearing. Card games allow for another avenue of rewards. Hairstylists allow for something fun to reward players with (complete this challenge, earn this hairstyle, et cetera). They are trying to be diverse because those people who do not live and breathe the game are more numerous than those that do. What you're complaining about is how they intend to keep the game alive. So which would you rather have, a game alive with players, or one desolated except for a small few who are jammed into the same content you want to do?