Hello, I'm a long time (classic-present) player who spends a little too much time lurking forums. I know my words will likely fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes as the case may be) but hell, I'm bored.
As i said, I spend too much time lurking around here. In doing this I see all the trite over exaggerated claims frequently used and I want to share my opinions on some of them.
First, one that particularly gets under my skin. Popularity does not equal quality. Just because the game had more subscribers at one point in time versus another does not definitively prove that point in the game was in any way "better" than another. The simple truth, World of Warcraft has regularly been improved upon over the years. While any one individual may or may not find the changes enjoyable, to say the game has gotten "worse" since a certain point is a matter of opinion. Using popularity to justify your opinion is akin to saying Justin Bieber is a "better" musician than Mozart because he's so much more popular. All those people couldn't be wrong could they? In short what people really mean to say when they claim "x had so many more subscribers. It was such a better game see!" is something like "I found x to be the most enjoyable period of the game and would like that style of gameplay to return." Objective qualities of the game like amount of content, graphics, bugs and accessibility have been improved upon continuously since day one. Just because you (and possibly others)subjectively enjoyed a period over the present does not prove anything about the quality of the game at any period.
Now to touch on a issue somewhat related to my last point, nothing blizzard can do will ever bring you back to the nostalgic epic feelings you had from when you first played. Of course the game was huge and epic back then. It was all brand new! Ignorance is bliss, truly. The more you know about a subject (wow for example) the more critical an opinion you are able to draw. It's very easy to look back to when you started and say "everything felt epic and fresh and I had so much fun just doing X Instead of now where all I do is Y Blizzard needs to bring X back!" Ever think maybe going back and doing X might actually not be fun anymore? I personally have very fond memories of getting attuned to various raids or crafting onyxia scale cloaks to do nefarian with but really, was it good for the game? What's the point of artificially gating content?
Which brings me to my next point, exclusivity of content is not a good thing. All it does is serve to inflate the egos of people with access to it. If you feel that whether or not others are able see the same content affects your enjoyment of said content, I would advise you take a look at your priorities. How does what anyone else do detract from your experience, honestly? Oh you don't feel special anymore because everyone gets to raid? Hell, I feel sorry for people that only experience the content through LFR, but it certainly doesn't take away from my enjoyment of heroic progression. Try making the game about competing with yourself to improve your play, gear, or whatever metric you want to use as opposed to turning everything into a dick measuring contest with everyone else. I'm personally far more interested in optimizing my play rather than fretting about how the LFR raider has purples damnit! I take far more pride in my ability to play (and I'm far from anything special) than I do my gear because I know that even if a baddie bought an account with equal gear I'd still out preform them.
Last point I want to touch on, no one forces you to participate in any aspect of the game. You literally could spend your entire time in wow doing absolutely nothing. Just log in and sit there. Why anyone would do that I'm not sure but the fact remains you could do it. I have an uncle that used to play, he had no clue what he was doing 99% of the time. He spent his entire wow career leveling alts, maxing professions and playing the AH. Never raided, never did 5 mans, never followed any wow news or anything. I honestly think he enjoyed the game far more than most of us because he never knew any better. No stress about gearing up or getting that MMR higher or joining a guild or anything. Just blissfully running around enjoying the game.
In closing, I think far too many people enjoy wow for ego sparing reasons that allow them to feel superior to others. As with everything in life, you'll most likely enjoy yourself more once you stop comparing yourself to everyone else.
tl/dr: popularity != quality, nostalgia is more powerful than any content bliz can make, exclusivity of content is bad, no one forces you to do anything in wow, stop making everything a dick measuring contest (in wow and real life)
Since it will likely be asked, as I said I've been playing since classic. I was in a top raiding guild on my server and participated in various server first kills ranging from chromaggus to yogg-saron. I've been 2k+ rated in all arena brackets and RBGs at different points throughout the game. I don't consider myself an elite player by any means. Just a long time player. Currently I play in a rather casual guild (9 hrs/week raiding) that is 5/14H