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Fabius Maximus wrote:...Maybe you could give me an example of a setting that does it right in your opinion?...
Any setting that is just its own. Eberron is a combination of "fixes" (to things that aren't broke!) plus (seemingly) "fun things" from KB's childhood, all plopped into one big un-stirred cauldron of stew sitting over dead coals from a fire long burned to ashes.
Sorry, but that is not helpful. All you say that Eberron does it wrong, again, instead of saying which setting did it right.
Oh, but they do wait around. There are entire frontiers of the major kingdoms guarded by average low-level troops led by mid-level leaders (like 6th level) who have no peers and only a few even lower level aids to help out. One Bulette could take down half the kingdom before the PC's even hear about it. Because, let's face it, without the PCs the kingdom is doomed.
Vol herself could summon a dozen Shadows and, with their Create Spawn ability, take out the ruling class in any one kingdom in a long weekend. Except maybe Thrane. Speaking of Thrane...
Take Breland, for example. In your scenario, they would put together a force strong enough to bring the landshark down. For other scenarios, there are the Dark Lanterns, for example. The kingdoms are not helpless. If something turned up that they couldn't handle, you just run with it and have the PCs sort it out.
Vol could maybe use that plan (I highly doubt it, though), but why would she? Her goal is not to conquer a random kingdom, but to take revenge against Aerenal, which is much more difficult. Apart from that, her goals are nebulous. As are those of the Lords of Dust and especially those of the Daelkyr, because they are so alien. The only exception is the Dreaming Dark, who are trying to make the current Quori age last forever, but that doesn't have appeared on the slate of the Khorvaire nations yet.
The Big Bads do not wait around. They are planning and moving pieces into position. Don't forget, they have massive amounts of time to do that. But the moment they start speeding things up, it gets noticed and the checks and balances start being active, the PCs among them.
What your PCs do does matter, if you - as a GM - make their actions relevant. And if you think real life is boring, it is because you are not in the middle of things. The PCs in Eberron are supposed to be.
As for house ruling: Do you play Golarion, the Realms or any setting as is? Really? I couldn't do that. I have adapted Golarion to my needs and would continue to do so, depending on the region my game is set in, because some things just grate on me. That is the point of a kitchen sink setting: you take what you need and change the rest.