What about FPSs that players spent hundreds of hours playing online with other people? Like Counterstrike or Quake?
That is why I said a 8 Hour
FPS not FPS's in general, they just happen to be a genre that sends to have short playtimes (at least in singleplayer). A game in which the total amount of time you could/would spend playing it is only a fraction of the time you would spend playing an MMORPG. The player would not expect to spend any of those 8 hours "bored" and in reality/ideally any decent game of that length would only have a few minutes were the player would be bored. A FPS player may say "Oh it takes half and hour to get into." or "The mission in the middle are boring" in much the same way an MMORPG player would say "It takes several hours before you hit the good part". The point is neither player should really hold the opposing players genre to the expectations developed from their genre, to do so would more often than not show a misunderstanding on their part.
I spent hundreds of hours playing Starcraft and Counterstrike, but haven't encountered a portion that is nothing more than a slogfest.
Sorry, the word slogfest was only directed towards MMORPGs. In games likes StarCraft and Counter Strike that time that is not fun for the player would be when they are loosing or in a similar situation to that. Again this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and is to be expected from this type of competitive multiplayer game. In this case what I was talking about before would be along the lines of someone complaining that StarCraft 2 is a bad game because they lost several matches (which a lot of people do, although I suspect most of them speak out of frustration and don't necessarily mean it).
Why not just let players play the rest of the game from the start?
The point is that over such a long period of play you will get times that are not enjoyed by some/allot of the playerbase. In TERAs case it would be expectational if they structured the game so they avoid having the first 8 or so hours being boring, but the complex and demanding nature of their combat system means they would require some sort of ramp up period as they introduce it to new players. This ramp up period will most likely be boring to a portion of the playerbase, but that, alas, is a problem with the design decisions made in no small part because it is an MMORPG.
What about Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, which are famous for their "no grind" system? Also, World of Warcraft can be soloed to max level in around 7 days of play time (7 x 24 hours), and it is the most popular MMORPG of all time.
Guild Wars is not an MMORPG and because of that doesn't suffer from some of the issues cause by being part of that genre, in other words its easier for them to avoid grindy situations although I don't recalling them in succeeding completely. Guild Wars 2 does seem unique in its approach so far, but Arenanet stating it has not grind does not mean it does not have one (from what I have heard one of the starting areas, the Norn I think, is relatively monotonousness from the start) and I'm sceptical whether it will have the staying power of some, classically designed, MMORPGs. Without playing the game first hand I can't give a more concrete option on the subject.
WoW is still, and most likely forever will be, a game front heavy with grinding content. Before the player can get into the meat of the game they must still level through 85, soon 90, level of content which although somewhat improved is still taxing on the majority of the players (especially the older content). Its success shows that in some respect people can look past that initial grind and have enough fun in the game to compensate for that.
To level the criticism of an MMORPG not being fun for an extended period of time or taking a seemingly long time to get into against a single game shows a misunderstanding of the genre or unreal expectations of it, at least in its current form.