My suggestion: Shift the games focus from the combat grind system, to a new resource. A rare resource that is required on top tier items. Allow players to unlock equipping high tier gear much sooner, but remove the ability to get the resources for the gear easily. Bottleneck the crafting not the combat grinding. This will create a much more enjoyable experience for players in the sandbox element of the game and pull away from the dreadful experience of farming boring mob by Cheap Albion Online Gold. It will also allow players to replay the game in different combat fields. A design flaw is to expect people to want to press the same 6 buttons that do the same thing for a full year straight on extremely dull and boring mobs. The reward should be in crafting these awesome high tier weapons, not in using them. Deliver the game as a sandbox not as a mob grinding simulator. As a sandbox game the focus on the game should be crafting, stealing, pvp, and creating your character as something you can almost feel the personality of.
A system like that would cater both to the casuals and to the hardcore players, and would also remove power from anywhich zerg as getting gear for gvgs would be harder and protecting it would be more rewarding.
If they make the path to end-game short today, they have no room to work on making the path enjoyable.
That said, what you find enjoyable and what I find enjoyable might differ. I don't want to advance my tiers in this game for the sake of advancement, I want to do hellgates, run dungeons and build up my guild island etc, and my tier progression will eventually come along. I will enjoy the Albion Online Silver, and I want to enjoy it for years to come, even if I play for 8 hours a day.
No you are not. The thing is you are going to be the minority on the forums. The "average" player is not well represented as they are busy doing RL things and when they do have free time, they are using that free time in game. The basement dwellers living off mom's cheesy poof deliveries are constantly on the forums however refreshing their posts every 30 seconds.