Borderlands is more of an MMO than Global Agenda. It has a bigger “open world”, a longer character progression path, more itemization, more quests, more lore, etc. Both games are limited in how many people can be in one area, both are heavily instanced, and neither game plays anything like Ultima Online or even WoW.
Borderlands never claimed to be an MMO, nor was it ever marketed as one. Global Agenda was (is?), including an attempt to charge a monthly fee at the beginning. Now both games have content you can buy. In GA it’s mostly boosts and fluff, in Borderlands its more quests/areas/stuff.
Had Borderlands been marketed as an MMO, my guess is most would have focused on the justification for the cost/title rather than the actual product. That, IMO, is the biggest issue for GA. It’s simply not an MMO, but when it claims to be, you go into it with certain expectations. And those expectations can easily overshadow the simple fact that hey, what you are playing is actually fun, even if it’s nothing like playing an MMO.
Why a game like GA would call itself an MMO can be attributed to WoW. When some suit sees 12m subs, they go to throw money towards “stuff like that”, and devs looking for cash pitch games like GA as an MMO to get that suits attention and tap into an existing playerbase looking to try anything new called an MMO, real or not. We are going to see similar behavior over the next few years with MOBA titles. Games that play NOTHING like a ‘real’ MOBA game are going to be called MOBA titles simply to catch some of the buzz, and players are going to judge said titles on how close to LoL that game is rather than how much fun they are having.
The one bright spot is that at least LoL is using the ‘right’ version of F2P, and if me-too games copy that part of the business, they won’t have to deal with justifying a $15 a month fee.
And on the MMO front, one can only hope that those titles who continue to charge a monthly fee do so because they CAN justify the cost. While my feelings about Rift’s design direction are well known, I will give Trion a lot of credit for actually supporting the game like an MMO should be supported; with frequent updates and a plan that goes deeper than some minor tweaks or a breadcrumb of content every few months.