I've recently been suffering from a bout of ennui with World of Warcraft brought on by the direction the game has taken recently. I will probably organize my thoughts into a post eventually but at the moment I'm just going to say I've been playing other games more often. One of the games I picked back up on a temporary basis was the original Everquest which was always fun in that "OMG, I don't want to die kind of way". It’s changed a bit though and been made very solo friendly at the early levels since it’s pretty difficult to find a group. Another new feature is the addition of newbie armors quests which help jump starting your gear progression. In fact about the only thing which hasn't changed in the game is the combat pacing which is still much slower compared to modern MMOs.
I believe Blizzard realized that this was a common occurrence and that it allowed hardcore raiders who could field 40 well experienced players to burn through new raid content. Most guilds though have to worry about fielding new players and teaching them the basics of how their class works in groups. In Everquest not only was the pacing slower so less split second decisions were needed but players learned group mechanics early on. Blizzard tried balancing the last couple of raid zones before the expansion towards having 40 experienced raiders. It was a disaster. Most guilds couldn't even beat the first boss and the number of players who saw the content was minimal.
In the future I wouldn't be surprised to see games that allowed players to set the difficultly level of a raid zone. This could be something as simple as a "Heroic" setting or even a system that automatically increased mob difficulty based on a guild rating. I'm also sure that new ideas will arise which better match fast combat to large scale PvE content. I don't really see the market moving backwards to slower combat since it seems to go hand and hand with increased downtime. While MMO players almost never agree on a subject, there's a common belief that we're better off without downtime or time sinks.