I once called World of Warcraft "the perfect game". After two years, perfection's flaws are starting to wear on me. What started off as a REALLY cool gaming experience, with tons of variety and cool people and quests balanced against player vs. player elements and compelling if somewhat hollow storylines, has now somehow become a pointless race to get gear. This pursuit appears to be a built in black hole in the game's structure -- one that Blizzard does nothing but encourage. If you, the gamer, are the turd, they're more than happy to flush.
Every update, every patch, every tweek and nerf to the character classes over the last couple years I've been playing, all have ease and speed of leveling at their heart for, apparently, the sole purpose of gearing up for "raids"; raids that honestly amount to little more than a spectacular looking Atari 2600 or early 80's coin-op video game. Fun, but pointless games like Yar's Revenge, Bezerk, Asteroids or Space Invaders come to mind.
This deconstruction of the world's most popular mmo has given birth to what I call "gear snobs" -- people who truly give the game a bad name and suck the joy right out of playing WoW. Avid number crunchers, anal organizers, and more frequently foot stamping little bitches, they live to see their toon outfitted in the best armor the game has to offer their class so they can do two things mainly that I can determine: run into instances and raid and dungeons over and over and over again for that Atari 2600/space invaders feeling of no matter what you do, you'll never truly advance the narrative of the game; and number 2, contract a very selective amnesia and enter a bubble in which they reign supreme over a video world not of their making, forgetting that they too had to start somewhere, while they rip and ridicule and generally abandon players not up to their level of gear, or not obsessed with their worthless pursuits.
Go on any server in either faction, Horde or Alliance, in between the inane and truly stupid things discussed in general and trade chat, you'll find the gear snobs. The impression of their asses firmly engraved into straining desk chairs, their mouse buttons and number keys polished smooth from use and their mouth running constantly about the tier of their gear. If you truly want to destroy any sort of joy the game could provide, if you prefer a completely sanitized and academic gameplay, turn off the music and sound, download ventrilo and listen to these same gear snobs talk for real.
I wouldn't have been motivated to post about this, but recently, I found myself urging my 9 year old daughter to get more agility from her hunter gear. She's been playing for a long while and having a great time, then here I come adding nothing to her experience but doubt and stress. Hence my toilet imagery above; even I was caught up in the swirling waters of the gear snob turd... And I think Blizzard is aware of this downward tailspin because in their next expansion, they destroy the original world of Azeroth -- literally.