I really don't mind subscription gaming now. I used to be against it, but so long as I feel that I'm getting value for money then I'm happy. What does that mean, "value for money"? Quite simply it means that they provide a premium grade services; server hosting of the gameworld and voice communications, upgrading the code to resolve bugs and game hacks, and content development for both pve and pvp.
When you think about it, many of us give money for servers and voice coms on a monthly basis anyway so for some of us a once off monthly would actually be a reduction. Factor in the money to time ratio and its one of the cheapest entertainments you could do. Far less than a movie for many hours more.
As for modernising conflicts, I think many developers refrain because the issues can become contentious and they simply don't have the willpower to see the projects through. This isn't that big a problem, there's a glaring answer here. Make up fake countries and storyline for the setting and then just use the modern equipment.