WoW was a pretty big part of my life. Over the course of ~8 years on and off I put well over 2000 hours into the game and it was great. I've always had a love for MMOs and the potential they've always held. I just got into the beta for Black Desert Online and it seems great... aside from the grind.
You don't HAVE to grind for ridiculous amounts of time and you don't HAVE to buy items or boosts from the cash shop, but if you don't you're going to get obliterated by any enemy player that decides to attack you. I love the concept of MMOs across the board with the exception of grinding and large gear gaps.
Having the option to build differently is cool. Use this gear set for this build, use another gear set for this build, etc. The gear itself shouldn't take all that long to acquire. The game should be fun without having to put a carrot on a stick. That's all grinding is and all it ever will be. If you remove the grind from the game players should still be able to sink hundreds and even thousands of hours into it because the core gameplay is fun.
However, MMOs haven't reached that realization yet... especially not korean MMOs that guarantee more grinding than a middle school formal. I was excited about black desert online, played a few hours, realized I just don't feel like investing the time into getting good enough gear to not be gimped in PvP.
I enjoy the direction sandbox RPGs are going right now. Many seem to take the actual fun elements of MMOs and simply eliminate the character grinding portion. You may still have to grind to build a base or acquire other things... but having to spend hundreds of hour sjust so that you're character isn't weaker than other players is not appealing to me in the least.
Black Desert seems really cool and appears to be a very good MMO if you don't mind grinding, though. 10 years ago I would be playing it non stop.