In a sandbox game with a limited amount of content, compelling compulsion loops are worth their weight in gold. Regardless of the original intent, laborers have become one the cooler aspects of AO.
I’m pretty much capped on everything, since I need T6 mobs to gain any combat fame, so unless I have a group that is willing to risk a red zone dungeon during prime time, my progress has pretty much come to a halt.
However, the one thing I can ALWAYS make some progress towards is filling books. Filling books is what drove me into red zones, since the return it provided made it worth the tremendous risk of losing all my gear, all my books, all my tools. All that mattered was if I could fill one or more books and make it out of the zone alive. And the really awesome part was the hope of finding a rare legendary or mythical hide/resource that would fill multiple books.
Best of all, there was no getting it perfect. If you did get some rare returns, you’d always think, “Damnit, why didn’t I take more books with me?!” If you got ganked or came up empty, you’d curse yourself for having brought (and paid to travel with) so many.