comfortablynumb saidHow is a game with 10 million subscriptions in any way dying?
The game has changed but a lot of it is for the better. It isn't a never ending farm-fest any more. I can log on at night to raid without having to spend 3 hours gathering herbs, night dragon and demonic runes. I can raid with a small group of friends I know to be reliable and good players rather than hoping 30 other idiots log on expecting to be carried. If I feel like playing on my day off I can log in and be dropped into a dungeon group within 5 minutes rather than hoping to find a group in trade chat. Our raid group often reminisces about the good old days of Vanilla and TBC, but we're all still there. More than anything it's the people I've been playing with for years that keep me coming back.
I raided hardcore in TBC and somewhat in WotLK. Not world first material, but we got many server firsts. It was great, but it was like having a second job. Video games shouldn't be a chore. I like being able to log in, have my fun and log out when I've had my fill of killing internet dragons. A lot of people felt that way so they changed the formula. The challenges are still there. I still beat hard modes, just at a slower pace. That is how WoW can lose as many subscriptions in a quarter as some games have total and still be a success.
I did not raid in TBC. I was on Boulderfist's server first Lucifron kill in Molten Core, before they nerfed the shit out of him till everyone with no skill could do it. I was also in competitive raiding guilds for Blackwing Lair, before they nerfed the shit out of it also, original AQ, and original Nax, again, before they made it all easymode.
Then they added arenas and did not bother balancing the class I played until I quit, at which point it was too late. Yes, I agree that 40-man raids, while epic and fun if you have a good guild, are not conducive to casual players, which I have become (because I don't want a gaming second job, having to spec according to rules, and push frostbolt on queue). This is why Guild Wars 2 appeals to casuals because you have to worry even less about issues of being on the same server, being the right class/spec for a group, etc.
That said, WoW then homogenized classes to be able to do the same thing (which GW2 started out doing from the beginning). This made pure classes, like my mage, fall behind and be subpar in both pvp and pve. It became not fun.
Aside from having a group of friends that still play WoW, there are newer concepts coming out (GW2), that do not require these monotonous grouping concepts of tank/healer/dps, and this makes it even more fun. Dynamic combat that requires dodging, blocking, reflecting, interrupts, etc. rather than just bluntly taking hits is more fun.
What's the thrill in logging on to do something that is easy for the sake of gearing up? WoW became ezmode, boring, and still imbalanced for me. Furthermore, gearing up is the point of endgame itself. Gearing up makes you more powerful than others. Gearing up in pvp means you are more powerful than other players. Therefore gear = skill. This means casuals who do not grind out their gear or are not capable of getting gear due to not having gear itself originally and further widens the gap between people who have jobs and lives and people who don't, especially if you aren't playing the balanced class of the month.
The graphics are the same in 2012 as they were in 2004 with minor changes.
I switched to Aion Online because it actually put a little bit more skill into the pvp and the grind, but then it had the same end-game issue of WoW. Get gear, then once you have it, then what? It's not fun to pvp because you lose points for pvping unless you ACT macho and pretend you don't care. The PvE in Aion, aside from being PRETTY, was horrible tank-and-spank. WoW's PVE was better. Kudos for WoW actually having interesting fight mechanics in PvE.
Additionally, WoW just keeps popping out new expansions like a good financially backed factory. Nothing new, but new content. More imbalances, more flavor of the month classes, and more deaths of major lore icons for revenue. Once people get tired of it, they will realize they were funding this mediocre-based factory. Let's not act like Diablo 3 wasn't a half-assed game by the same company for more money. The 3rd installment was an embarrassment to the series from my perspective. No replayability value, AND you can sell in game items for real money legally (not like it's lucrative enough as a real job unless you're under 15 and want to waste your life grinding mobs for gear to sell).
So in summary, unless you:
1) have your head in the sand and are extremely stubborn and blindly in love with the game and aren't just playing it out of habit because it is your first MMO (ie like a first relationship, you stick it out and don't know when to break it off because it's a piece of crap)
2) Have friends playing, some of which have #1 going on but you're friends (ie Real life friends, unless you have that sort of commitment to people you've never met who live far away...another topic)
Then really, why play WoW? I put my 4.5 years into that game, and I left bitter and have used up its lure. I don't care how many more expansions they put out. It doesn't matter. Old genre is old.