I remember starting WoW in Nov 2004 with a bunch of people I played SWG (star wars galaxies) with back in 2003/early 2004.
The world/game in general felt thriving and huge to me...even coming from another MMORPG..
I'd say this feeling lasted from 2004-2007
NOTE: I am not saying the game was BETTER OR WORSE, im just saying it felt more "alive", the game is far better now...to a gaming point of view...tons more things to do, tons more features....a lot more things fixed...many useless things now playable...i am not denying this fact
Now when I log into the game I just feel like im walking around in a museum or something....the game just feels dead...even though theres MILLIONs of more subscribers...I wish I could explain it better but I guess you sort of have to be around MMORPGs a long time.
I am not talking about inner guild communities...thats normal..im talking about the community as 1 entity...it seems dead. And please don't think your private raiding guild chatter/banter makes up for this....i am talking about server wide community here.