In MMO land, death is a temporary inconvenience. But does the in-game fiction reflect this?
I object to many games because it is not even theoretically possible to complete them without dying many times. There are trial-and-error puzzles where “error” means “death”; in-world, your character somehow just knew to jump after opening that door and to put a bucket on his head before walking into the cave. The NPCs see an invulnerable god, but you just had many save files. It is entirely player knowledge, where the character never knows why he avoids certain doors
Some MMOs recognize that death happens. Asheron bound you to a lifestone, and there is an explanation, although not perhaps for how your equipment rebounded with your spirit. You have a telepathic bond with a stored clone, which is how you bring back knowledge of what killed you. Other games have stories in which people die, which seems ridiculous when graveyards are known to be waystations rather than permanent parking spots. Who is in those graves? Why don’t they just release? How can there be widows and orphans, and why are there epic stories about fallen heroes when they could just rez?
That you can kill the boss once a week seems less silly once you remember that you died three times in the process. What makes it more silly is that everyone else should know, so why does anyone think that VanCleef is really gone just because you decapitated him? You’ve survived worse. I want a game that takes this principle seriously and has quest-givers comment on why they would want to temporarily inconvenience the enemy, or the quest is to finally banish the Lich King rather than to kill him. Again. Of course, if you do, he would really need to be gone for that to make any sense.