You guys--man, you all play wow and never let me know about it. :) I'm always stuck soloing crap and getting stuck with awful pugs. I'd gotten back into it with a friend and we got our toons all the way up to 84, and then of course his computer burns up and now it's bye to wow for the indefinite future.
I think if you don't get on WOW while it's hot, you really will have missed out on a huge part of PC gaming history (and really gaming history in general). I feel bad enough that I missed out on the Ultima Online and Everquest eras. At least I didn't miss the WoW one. I agree with Clok for the most part, though, it does seem to be at its peak. They can graft on more areas and such, but it really needs a new gen of graphics and collision technology to push it to the next level. As far as I'm concerned, WoW is still the best gaming experience you can have on a PC, at least until you're burned out or get into the diminishing returns after 85.
I think my wow peak came when I'd leveled a few characters and was joined by a friend. We leveled a warlock and rogue together and then got into doing PVP. We sucked, really, but it was still a blast planning out our strategies and trying to improve.
WoW has peaked so to speak.. It had to happen eventally, EQ lasted 5 years (gained subscribers yearly) WoW had done it for for about 6-7, mind you EQ peaked at about 800,000 WoW is peaking at about 11 million, quite a differnece. Of course there is some marketing trickery in WoW's numbers. Actual US subscribers is closer to 2-4 million (which is all EQ counted).. still impressive. the next 5-7 million, quite a few are based in asian marketplace and many are "farm accounts" and other are not the monthly accounts we all know in the US. In many asian countries you pay by the hour, so Blizzard counts 1 hour ever 30 days as an active account. Also over there you can play it in a internet cafe... so one accoutn can have 1000's log into it. WoW's actual numbers on people WHO PLAY for fun is probebly in the 4-5 million range. 1-4 million more who do it for a few pennies a day to FARM loot. and the rest maybe play an hour a month so Blizzard can count them.. (still massively succesfull!!!)
alot of text to get to a point..
WoW has peaked so they are finally having to "work" to get new subscribers. the 2-3 year expansion plan is no longer working and they are joining EQ (and others) in a yearly expanison release (or so Blizzard says), good think in my eyes. I like to see new... alwasy have, always will. The F2P crowd has IMPROVED in great strides, and many of them are as good as WOW (or EQ) was at the same time in there lifespan. Some are better. WoW has quite frankly so much content and things to do you could never run out, crafting, exploring, achivements, vanity pet collecting, Mount collecting faction building, rare drops, equipment grinding, battleground points, Arena combat, fishing contest, PvP, playing all classes (to see the back story, its kinda fun for several of the noob starter areas i thought), social aspects, griefing (if you are low life scum) etc..
Love it or hate it, WOW is simpley the yardstick the others are judged by. Time, Blizzard (king of taking other peoples ideas and refining them into something awsomely fun), player base, things to do, have all made WOW the king of the hill.
Personally if it wasnt for a few bad apples (player base) and the Elitest Guild player base I would still play it every day i think. I never tired of starting a new character, making new friends and playing to max level... maxing some tradeskills, making sure my cooking/fishing/first aid was maxed. I soured on people, somthing that cant be controled and isnt even if it could be. The fact you wont see alot of the end game content without scraficing hours grinding and achiving equipment others deem necisary to "join them" and go into harder encoutnters.. I have took max level undergeared toons and outperformed MAX equiped people over and over.. while WoW is far short of skill based gameplay, it can help.
if your still reading, Rob if you ever go in and want a guide, help, or just sombody to play with, let me know, right now its 90+ with 80+ humidity and a heat indeex 105+ around here (and most everywhere else) so im hiding inside most nights.
I really enjoy WOW myslef, and thing its a great game.