First off, I should mention that aside from the classic Oregon Trail and the Super Nintendo games of my youth, I'm not a gamer. I am, however, interested in the technology behind computer games, and decided I would find out what all of the hype was about. So, I decided to try the most popular of the computer games available, World of Warcraft.
I began my trial account in October of 2007. I loved the interface and the many options that were available. A player can choose between two factions: the Horde and the Alliance, as well as various realms (servers). I found that the Horde characters (Orc, Troll, Undead, Blood Elf, and Tauren) were much less enjoyable to play than Alliance (Human, Night Elf, Draenei, Gnome, Dwarf) simply because the quests were more interesting, and the environments more detailed. The Blood Elf world, for example, looked like a Lisa Frank poster gone horribly wrong.
So after some juggling around of characters, I finally decided on a human warlock, and joined the Zul'jin realm. That was a normal realm, but players can also choose PVP and role-playing realms. I initially enjoyed the game, because it boasts by far the most realistic graphics, infintely customizable characters, and an excellent soundtrack, but there were several reasons why I chose to quit my paid subscription.
First of all, it might come to a shock to some people that WoW (as the gamers prefer to call it) is, in fact, a game. In addition to completing quests, players can also compete in battlegrounds with other players. You would think that winning was, like, the most important thing EVER to these people, and they would make fun of the lower-level players, calling them "noobs".
Of course, something to keep in mind is the age range of this game. Children as young as 8 or 9 were playing, all mixed in with adults. I have to say, the dichotomy between the two was very amusing at first, but when seriously creepy people began chatting in the general chat, I was less than amused.
I prefer playing games in which I can play with a friend or on my own - not games in which strangers are instant messaging (in the game this is referred to as "whispering") me and being annoying. It can really break one's train of thought. If you're like me that way, then this is a game to avoid.
However, if you're in the game to meet new people, there are plenty of ways to do so. You can join a guild, which is a group that is supposed to be helpful and also organize raids. Some guilds have their own websites too.
One thing that really bothered me was the addictive qualities of the game. It can suck you in (though it never did that to me because I'm too busy with real life to play more than an hour or two every once and a while). People make it their entire life, and BECOME their characters.
Needless to say, Blizzard knows what 're doing. They discourage addiction by saying as a tip on the loading page "Bring your friends to Azeroth [the game's world] but make sure you journey outside with them as well!"
That's easier said than done considering it takes FOREVER to journey around the place and earn things. Even with a mount (obtainable at leverl 40) it still took a good fifteen minutes to get places. I was bored with the game too because the NPCs say the same things over and over again. Also, it takef forever to earn enough money for important spells/armor/skills in the game, and people spend hours "farming" gold. Translation: a waste of time unless you're very bored.
I don't miss WoW at all. While I did talk to a couple of nice people on that game, the majority of them were very VERY rude. Perhaps it was the server I was on. The game is interesting from the point of view that it encourages teamworek and map skills, but that was hard to accomplish with players who had a high school mentality. Ignoring and reporting people, Blizzard's way to deal with players of that nature, can only go so far.
So bottom line: if you're a gamer by nature, then you'll love this game. If you're only a casual gamer, you'll probably get bored after a while. Either way, play in moderation, and make sure that it doesn't interfere with your real life! Remember, it's just a game.