Profit motive ruins art. It's a paradox that chasing money often results in getting less of it when it comes to artistic related endeavors (video games, movies etc). You may end up with more money in the short term but less in the long run. I don't want to play the games of people who are basing their gameplay design off of how many subscribers they can get. A good friend of mine makes a killing heading a mobile games studio, and that's fine but I have no interest in his game and he understands why.The last point is required if you want to make a living out of it.
Older games were better because the developers were not thinking about profit motive nearly as much as they do now. This is why projects like M&M are so exciting.
EverQuest had half a million subscribers at peak and Daybreak/Darkpaw/whatever's EQ is still limping around. WoW is more popular but it doesn't mean that an EQ clone can't work.
I dunno where you get this 'I want to be a power tripping GM' stuff from. I've been a GM on a server for 8 years and never so much as #kicked a user before (that didn't ask) let alone banned one.I think I made some wrong assumptions about what you want. From what I can gather is that you want a complete, but easily malleable game, start to finish, that you can set up a server for and hammer down to your liking, and not the bare bones of a game to develop the vision of your game from?
That will probably never happen, because frankly not enough artists would be willing to give up the copyrights to their work for someone else entirely to profit from it. The bigger the complete set of assets and more coherent it is, the more valuable it is. It's one thing to find people willing to work on a game, it's a different thing to expect people to tolerate their work to be used around the world for free.
I don't want an entire game created for me (although thats what Diku was, those power trippers) -- I want human models, elf models, some variety of monster models, a generic cave to put in a cliff in the map editor, a dozen sword models for items etc. They can be 500 polygons each and look like 90s EQ models. I just need SOMETHING to use to build a prototype. Boilerplate character stats and inventory junk might be nice but a single guy can code most of a game using middleware. Crude public domain models can be swapped out later for better ones. Multiverse did have a few assets like a human, orc and some buildings but nowhere near enough for a workable game prototype.
There are plenty of people tolerating their work being used commercially for free. It's called MIT licensed open source software. Regardless, the problem can be solved in several ways: profit sharing licenses, subsidized work by the middleware company, crowdfunding. Hero Engine for example would get a hell of a lot more customers (which they seem to badly need) if they provided asset libraries, so they have motive. Roblox is quite successful so a Roblox for adults doesn't sound far fetched to me. (setting aside them exploiting children) Of course the collective worldwide public domain works can only grow over time so once a model is CC BY then it's permanently available and the problem can be chipped away at slowly and a large number of people could contribute a small amount of work each. I would agree that it's not likely to happen soon but it will happen eventually in the worst case when games start falling into public domain after 70 or whatever more years. (Fuck Sonny Bono btw)