I concur on this point. My MMO experience is extremely deep. I think I may have played almost every major AAA mmo to date, and most of them to max level or raid-level.
Boundless without the economy is mind-bendingly hard. Like, you cannot believe how hard it is to get enough gems to get your first coil. I stumbled into a decaying build and found roughly, 3 advanced coils of each type and that was the best day of my life in the game. But I never took advantage of them until I had money, resources and knowledge. Just having the resources isn’t enough.
Once you have the economy, ie, other players, the game is super super easy. I think i’m on my 4th or 5th skill page on HR. Bismuth is brand new and on their 2nd or 3rd skill page. Its crazy! Bismuth hasn’t even left Grovidias Te!
So yes, the game levels super super fast when you are not solo - but the disparate experience is challenging for players. The game also doesn’t even remotely begin until you hit 50. There isn’t a story, or journey. So its “grind until you hit 50, then have fun”.