I hope you'll forgive me, Gilded, but I liked your idea so much I decided to write a post of my own describing my idea of a first day in my imaginary MMORPG.
It would begin in a farmland area. Relatively populated, the kind that is just a few miles outside of the city. Here, you would receive your basic training. There are a variety of NPC's about, each with various jobs for you to do. When you accept a job (and at this phase, you can only accept one at a time) you receive a set of skills equivalent to someone skilled in that profession.
Did I mention the same is entirely skill point based? That I should have. Each player is given a choice of skill trees, of which they can pick from two (or three.) and meaningfully specialize in it. Mind you, you can put any number of points in any tree, and be a Jack of All Trades, sort, but you won't be as good as anyone else who specializes. Now, these trees are not only combat based. You have crafting and gathering trees as well, and possibly a politician tree for giving bonuses when placed in a player run government.
Now, taking a job in this area will specialize you in that, and give you a taste of what that specialization entails. At any time, you can leave this area (you don't get to keep the temporary specializations from the jobs) with or without doing the jobs, and enter into the actual game world. You are given a lump sum of skill points to start with, because your character is an adult and it would be silly to think that you would have gotten to age 18 without learning anything meaningful.
From here, you step off a boat into the new land. You are one of a number of settlers on a new continent, kinda like discovering America only with less smallpox. From here, you do as you please. There is a port town that is already set up with all the amenities you need to survive, but players are free to roam into the wilderness and set up their own towns. You can specialize in combat and hunt animals, or head into mines and gather ore to build weapons, armor and buildings. You can become a merchant and set up your own shop, complete with NPC vendor whose inventory you supply. It is a complete sandbox.
Of course, there are plenty of creatures waiting to attack your towns, so best be prepared to defend them.