Sorry, this is not my own idea, but there's a new MMORPG out there that tries to do away with traditional MMORPG hacking and slashing, focusing entirely on politics, crafting, maintenance, science and such, while still maintaining a focus unlike something like Second Life. The idea is that you're all on an enclosed human colony in space, trying to survive and deal with the dangers from the planet outside. It's things such as diseases, though, as there's no combat at all in the game.
Anyway, the beta is starting feb 1st, and there's still time to sign up here. Really looking forward to it myself.