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I regret WoW not being my first MMO. I feel that WoW has made a whole generation of gamers more savvy about how they spend their money on particularly P2P MMOs. I got burned hard on The Secret World as my first. I would not have subbed a single month in The Secret World if I knew how many features WoW had.
From playing WoW, gamers have come to expect from their MMOs:
True, not all those features were in the game at the beginning. But that's what make WoW great and a true MMO. It keeps on evolving and adapting, growing with each expansion and listening to the community to add new features. Because that's what makes a MMO a living breathing world - its community ; the players - all 10 million of them.
Everyone should play WoW at least once, to learn what to expect from a top-tier MMO. If they use WoW as a stepping stone to other MMOs and find one they like then my congratulations - it must be a great game indeed and I hope you tell what you found to the world.