What's really interesting about the typical MMO philosophy of "the real fun is at the end" is that people regularly accept it with MMOs but not with anything else.
Would you watch a movie that's pretty boring for nearly two hours but has a great ending? Would you buy a song that's mediocre at best until the last 30 seconds?
Frankly, standard MMO design is based more on manipulation than quality. Even the outstanding games of the genre have failed to abandon what are clearly seedy practices.