If anyone makes a joke about whether or not I'm "wow'd" by it I swear I will hunt you down and use your liver as a hat.
Eight years, that's how old World of Warcraft is roughly at the moment, and that's also precisely how long I went without playing it until literally two days ago. I suppose that if you'd have asked me I would have told you that I was reluctant to play WoW, not because I heard of what a timesink it was or how addicting it could potentially get. No, what turned me off was the fact that it's an RPG (being of the MMO persuasion has no bearing on that for good or ill) and also the whole pay-to-play thing, which I'm still up in the air about, although that's something that shall come up later I suppose.
At the urging of some friends and getting a computer that is able to run it, I decided a couple of days ago to get a starter account; basically the game would be free-to-play up to level 20 -- a cap that Blizzard seems rather content to leave exactly where it is -- after the installation I waited to play with the friend who had sent me the invite, and after two days of what I'd deem rather casual adventuring I've already hit the cap.
I would guess that I'm probably going to own all of WoW through to Cataclysm within the next couple of days; don't take this as an endorsement or anything, the decision is based mostly on the massive discounts that both the battle chest and the current expansions have gotten. I can buy all of the current content on WoW for what the normal cost of just the battle chest would be, so to me that's hardly a huge risk, and I get a month of free gametime on top of that too, so again, more bang for the buck.
Now, you'll probably notice that up to this point I haven't really answered a key question: have I been enjoying myself in WoW? It's only been two days, and since it's been low level content I'm very reticent to make any snap judgments. Playing with a friend has certainly helped, although I have to admit that if it weren't for his presence that I wouldn't be motivated to really play at all whatsoever. That's not to say that it's been a bad time, I'd say that so far it's seems pretty standard RPG fair. There's a lot of travelling, a lot of fetch-quests, go there, kill that, talk to person x, that kind of thing. There's nothing wrong with that, especially early on, but it's also not the most exciting thing ever either.
I suppose that more than any other game, that WoW is the sort of thing that ultimately goes as deep as you choose to go with it. Some people will be content just to do what I've been doing on a little bit of a bigger scale, while others want to raid with the best and be the best. There's plenty of options, none of which are actually forced on you. Hell, you would spent all day fishing and mining if you damn well pleased, not really going out of your way to attack anything or anyone. On the other end of the spectrum you could do heroic raids of nightmarish difficulty constantly, revelling in beating bosses and challenges that test even the battle-hardened experts to their upper limits.
What will I ultimately choose? I guess if I stick around it will probably be somewhere in-between those two extremes. I'm going to find it difficult to motivate myself unless I play with friends, which was indeed the main point of getting this thing in the first place. And if dicking around online with chums and killing giant spiders or whatever is all this game turns out to be, then so be it, I'll be willing to pay for a couple months of that I suppose. Still, after all the things I've heard about this game -- both good and bad -- in the end I find that WoW is, thus far, just that: a game. It won't be a way of life, nor will it be the destroyer of mine either. It's just another thing on the backlog, and truth be told, I look just as forward to working on a lot of other stuff on that backlog as well.