In yesterday's post somebody commented that "Lets face it - outside of raiding there is very little to do in WoW that is fun." Which immediately made me think of my wife, who is playing World of Warcraft casually for 6 years and has never raided, nor even entered a dungeon. And Cam commented in a post before that: "You can probably fix your angry troll problems, Tobold, by adding a big 'IF' in front of all your posts. Since folks can't seem to get that this was the original implication.", which struck me as very true.
While we often talk about dungeons and raiding, I believe that there are millions of World of Warcraft players out there who aren't at all interested in that sort of content. And I'm not talking about Gevlon's hypothetical "wants to group but is too stupid to" moron & slacker. But about people who simply don't *want* to group. Usually this kind of players has lots of alts, because that way he can access more of the sort of content he is actually interested in: Questing, crafting, exploring.
And I wonder how that sort of player sees Cataclysm. I could imagine that if you like questing, the combined Shattering / Cataclysm might be the best expansion ever, because it created several thousand new quests. There are two new races with new starting areas with very different styles (comedy for the goblins, victorian drama for the worgen). And even starting a new character of an old race is a new experience, as so many zones have changed so much.
The other kind of players, the ones Larisa calls the bitter veterans, the ones who think Cataclysm is the worst expansion ever, maybe need to realize that they aren't even the target audience here. It's a bit like going to a cinema and seeing the latest Disney movie, and then ranting that this is the worst horror movie ever. You're in the wrong film, hell, you're even in the wrong movie theatre! Blizzard wasn't even trying to make an expansion for the bitter veterans, having fully realized how futile that is.
I've been saying for years that the hardcore are Blizzard's worst customers, being less numerous, using the most resources, and paying not more than everybody else for it. While Blizzard still supports the raiding style of gaming, this might not be where they actually make their money with.