Real life discussions with players who no longer play
I have the WoW credit card, and using it has a decent chance of sparking conversation if they know anything about it.
The response I hear the most when they explain to me why they don't play anymore is "The game started to go down hill with WotLK."
I don't understand this comment at all for a couple reasons:
(1) I loved WotLK, everything about it.
(2) WoW peaked with that expansion.
(3) I raided more in that expansion than I did in any pre/post expansion (I've played since vanilla beta) (I remember the preview for WoW on the WCIII CDs)
(4) I had more RL friends playing the game during that expansion than any pre/post xpac.
all your reasonings have nothing to do with other people
for example i hate cross realms, LFD, and i hate heroics being better then the last raid before the current one. though im not going to go complain about it anymore thats just things that happened around wrath. i think cross realm pvp came in the first patch of tbc tho. which i dont like either
though i still really enjoyed woltk thats when it started to go downhill for me. have not played retail in a long time now
People always confuse their personal life cycle with the experience of others.
They project their own experiences onto others and think they represent a universal law...of expertise.
Of course it doesn't work that way.
Most people who started playing WoW in 2005 have a complete different view than a new 16 year old who started playing a month ago or a house wife who stumbled upon a Blizzard add to play something else besides Farmville...
As your mileage will vary in this game, the stupiest thing to do is proclaim universal laws of "quality" along these lines.
If WOTLK is the peak, it is also the start of decline. That could be it for your friends. They had their maximum fun and then later had a decline. Between my real life friends we feel like WOTLK was the best but we also feel that's when the community and development started massively arguing. After a point it felt like there was no cohesive vision. It really felt like you read the end to a good book that ended a story. Then later the publishing company needed more money so they made a sequel that was ghost written by a lot of different authors.
They are just blaming the time where you could feel that there was an end coming.
People will look at cata fondly soon. Probably because they miss head enchants and rep tabards. Personally I liked the only zones from vanilla. They just blew them up with no way to go back to them. I liked some of them. It really felt like they finally finished winter spring and parts of the plaugelands. But others felt like my favorite game places were destroyed forever, because they were. I miss some of those old zones so much.