I think the biggest problem with Sword Art Online is that so few of the players seem to treat it like a game. All the players in the new non-lethal virtual world take everything so personally. I remember even .hack//SIGN taking itself less seriously. It also doesn't help that a major character from the first cour has spent all her time since then doing fuck all. I already know what does and does not happen, but that knowledge doesn't make the slog through these episodes any less tedious.