(Remember, I'm broke as a joke, so I'm not looking to actually produce any of this. This is a purely hypothetical discussion.)
The most basic idea behind my original post was to get away from the "Massive" portion of adventure gaming, but still be able to play with a reasonable amount of friends in a persistent world. This eliminates auction houses, gold farmers, and spawn camping almost entirely. Why even bother adventuring if you can grind up enough gold to buy the latest and greatest in equipment that other people went out to get? Why bother playing at all? There's no story or fun to be had there. (But... it's FUN being powerful! Well... why don't you EARN that power yourself instead of just PAYING someone else to play the game for you?)
The business model I had in mind would be to rent the new worlds to the players by server. There wouldn't be any buffs or shortcuts for sale. A player or group of players would prepay for a fresh, unspoiled world to be spawned where then they could log in and stomp all over it as they pleased. Griefing would be mostly eliminated as the players would (ideally) already know each other and have social repercussions for their actions in the game. Strangers and bots are up to the managing players to allow or disallow. Items would be locked to that singular world and not available for cross-server trade or sale. I think this would foster a culture of cooperation rather than competitiveness between players.