"What's the real narrative or emotional value? Sometimes it's really interesting when you're in the guild in a massively multiplayer game and you attack the fortress or whatever. Some great things can be told, but it's not guaranteed. The value is not always there."
Wow, that's deep but in all seriousness there is a certain truth to his sentiment. Leveling can be a painfully dull experience and usually MMOG use the same formula and mimic the same rags-to-riches journey. While there is nothing wrong with that, it can become tiresome and insipid if you no longer care for the redundant leveling experience. So maybe developers do need to instill a sense of danger, a sense of importance and meaning to the leveling experience. Fun is most important, and MMOGs should be enjoyed and not an emotional rollercoaster into dystopia.
What Cage is describing is easier said than done though. It's also subjective to each player, and there are plenty of MMOGs that do convey a deeper experience which allows for deeper player reactions. They expand on tenets to make the overall player experience more meaningful. Maybe he should look into EVE Online.