One thing that has struck a chord with me these last 6 years of playing is that World of Warcraft is the feeling that community is what fundamentally make the game what it is. This last expansion has had a feel to it that they were trying to go to more of a way to do more and more by yourself, but with others. And that to me is a big mistake. If you focus on making a game solely for profit, you may make a decent amount of money initially and when people get bored they will move on to some new game. If you sole focus is just that initial $60 sale, here is something to play for a few months, then you are short changing yourself.
When you focus on a much larger ideal, a game that not only gives people something to play, but a way to interact, even just hang out talking, then you have tapped in to a much larger market. It reminds me of the early days of America Online, where people would pay $14.99 a month just to be able to sit in chat rooms and talk to people. Back in the old days, you only got a few hours of time, and had to pay if you went over, I recall people running up several hundreds of dollars a month, just because it gave them a means to talk to people without having to leave their homes. People want to feel a part of something.
Seeing WoW’s forums, and just the shear magnitude of people that play, really tells me that the community in all it’s shapes and forms is the true back bone of the game, not the raids, or the content, that is just something we do for a time, and grumble about when we run out of things to do. Hopefully they understand the concept, and come up with ways for guilds, servers, battle groups, to do more as a community, and change the focus to less what they can do to isolate players.