Objectively speaking, it'd be difficult to design a level that's worse than EverQuest's East Commonlands. It's essentially one long corridor, with sand to the south and a green zone wall to the North. Trees litter the landscape. There are empty huts. And yet, because of EverQuest's uncompromising brutality, gamers had little choice but to join with others. Danger and death existed everywhere, and should you be caught unawares by, say, a roving young kodiak, your only choice would be to suck up the experience loss, and then make a desperate, naked corpse run to recover your gear.
Plus, for those with any serious aims at clearing an orc outpost (or outdamaging a lousy OP wizard ganking all the kills), friends were a must. Later on, the EC tunnel served as one of the first great gaming marketplaces, home to hard bargainers and heartless scammers alike. Anyone who played EverQuest circa 2000 will attest to East Commonlands' greatness. For many, the zone encapsulated the connective power of MMOs, and arguably stands as the reason this genre got off the ground.