My take on WoW, and other MMORPGs
First, I apologize in advance, this is a rant, and a very opinionated one at that.
Second, let me say that I hate WoW.. Next, let me say that I play WoW all the time. I have been searching--almost desperately--for a game to pull WoW down from it's high horse, smack it around like a cheap whore and leave it laying in a pool of blood and feces. So far, all I have seen are a bunch of posers who are trying to copy an inherently flawed game.
1.) No hostile creature collision detection. Never before have I played a game where you can pass through a hostile creature, more so, doing this benefits you as players cannot dodge, block, or parry when struck from behind. So, PvP consists of a bunch of lumbering apes wearing the heaviest or plates, or clumsiest of cloths dancing around like monkeys trying to get to the back side..
2.) You weaken as you level up. Ever noticed how your base benefits from attributes scales down as you level up? WoW forces you to constantly upgrade your gear (or collect new pokemon as I like to call it), just to maintain the strength you had the previous level. Regen rates, critical strike chance, dodge, everything scales down as you level up. A friend in game summed this up nicely, "Someone at WoW thinks they are smarter than they really are, creating <new math>"
3.) Diversity please? Whether it be your talent tree, your ability scores, your items, your skills, or your damage types. There is not much diversity in WoW, you will always be pretty much the same as anyone else of your class, you'll prefer the same gear, you'll have nearly the same stats. Some call this a blessing, others call it a curse, I'm with the latter. No one really starts off truly understanding these things, but once you learn it, it adds a whole new level of character concept and background that you will never achieve with WoW's system.
4.) Broken Character concepts. Priests dispel magic, while Mages cure curses... wtf? Many little things like this seem to be found scattered about the character classes in WoW. Someone take the alcohol away from the dev team, they've lost drinking privileges.
I could go on and on really, but I'll stop here. Warhammer, AoC, <insert cookie cutter mmorpg name here> all copy these very flawed aspects. Few have copied some or any of the good aspects of WoW, which I list below.
1.) Social Aspect. Others have mentioned the social aspect, I love this part, my wife plays, my boss plays, my friends play, what am I to do? As far as the interface goes, it can and has been improved (by mod'ers). Its a fairly standard interface, but much more populated than most games now-a-days. This part of the game is a reward for other parts of the game that were done exceptionally.
2.) Environment. Most areas of this game are absolutely beautiful. I am stunned at points to see the rich use of colors, rolling mountains, gracefully structured yet non repetitive plant life. These are qualities you cannot achieve simply by upgrading the graphics engine. The devs truly have an eye for art, each zone is like a beautiful painting. Love the artwork.
3.) Compatibility. Once again, others have mentioned this. It runs on just about anything. It does it pretty damned well. Runnable in Linux, Windows, and Mac.. via DirectX or OpenGL, it doesn't matter--it runs. Getting it running on Linux can be a little tricky sometimes, usually sound problems, but its pretty easy overall thanks to wine.
4.) Details! I have never seen another game pay so much attention to the details throughout the world. I'm not talking about detailed textures, I'm talking about building placement, critters running about the land, little scorches on the ground here and there. That sort of thing really pulls at your mind.
*sigh* The things that they (other MMORPGS) have created themselves, new classes, races etc, are nice, but nothing to leave WoW(and consequently your friends) for.
Video games are a large part of the social life of many people. There is nothing wrong with it, and there are certainly more awkward ways to pass time with others *cough*church*cough*. I still go to the mall, see movies, go to the zoo, work full-time, etc. like many others... Most of the time though, I'll be sitting in front of my computer, WoW open, with tears in my eyes, hoping a better game comes out that will still connect me with all of my friends and family.