What could make the MMO's more roleplayable rather than gearing and levelling game? Of course one thing would be that the worlds should be less static, and the actions of the character should have profound effect on the world as whole. I can see that the phasing technology Blizzard used in Wrath of the Lich King can create a game in which the character's actions seem to have an effect on the surrounding world. I could be so bold, even, to say that this tech will be the backbone of their future 'secret' project.
The other thing making roleplaying more prominent would be a system in which your actions as a character would really make the difference in the perception of NPC's and other players. In DarkFall the system ranks your player kills on honor scale from -100 to 100, rating you as free kill on the negative side of the scale, also making it impossible to trade or enter cities of that faction. In WoW the reputation system tries to simulate that, but it's used only for the reputation grind based gear and recipes: a great system stronly abused. I say that because the same system is in use as Honor in battlegrounds: the difference is negligible and has no real effect in the world and your character's interactions with it.
In the original D&D and AD&D there was the Alignment, much discussed and very much explained system of rating the characters view of the world. This system could pretty easily replace that of honor or reputation, as it would impose the moral views on the character, and it could easily be flexible stat. Evil deeds taint the mind, good deeds purify it.
These are just few things that could help the MMORPG's become more RP than G's. Like jedioftheshire so well stated that: "It’s not a Virtual World anymore, it’s just a game. The people that play MMOs are gamers first and RPers second because intuitively we know this. MMOs aren’t designed to be rich RP environments, and they’re successful at what they do, so the trend may be to continue to shy away from RP-friendly design."
Which kind of summarises the problem with MMO's: they are 'just' games, not really roleplaying games from which they have evolved. The best theorycrafter has the edge, not the one best versed in the world.
What would be your ideas to improve the roleplayability of the current MMO's?