1999 - 2005....
Back then MMORPGs were something new, unlike now where each MMO is just a clone of a clone using the same old tired game design framework.
Even though back then MMORPGs like EQ and Vanilla WoW pale in comparison technically and visually to their modern counterparts; back then they were still considered epic. because it was a total novelty to be able to play "anything" with so many "Human Players".
Each of us would wait in sheer pain counting the days off until "Official Release", and hound the heck out of the store employee's with the same question of "Did you receive it yet?"
Then as each player ether received or did not receive their game, would then return to the forums with either "I GOT MY COPY!", "Gamestop Fail", "Best Buy says not till next week WTF?", "Walmart has them!", etc etc experiences.
Although it was sometimes one extreme or the other, i.e. happy you got the game or sad you did not, it sure was EXCITING!
Also, it was hysterical and fun as heck!
The forums would give reviews of stores and tell about either "pimply" faced "stoners" not giving a hoot, to really cool store employee's letting them get their game copy a day early.
Those are all just some examples.
Unfortunately these days, we now have had and still have the "endless" Kickstarters, Founder Programs, Early Access, Pre-Alpha Access, Alpha Access, Beta Access, etc etc etc, where we all pay extra money to play unfinished, unpolished games, and then talk about how poor they are and/or how the game is nothing like what was marketed to us in order to get our money.
Regardless, of how good or bad the final release of the game is, most players end up having lost their enthusiasm, get burnt out, or just lose interest.
Even those players with good experiences, will still pale in comparison to the "total rush and excitement" of the now extinct "Official Release Day" and getting your hands on a finished product, regardless of whether it be digital or a physical copy.
I truly feel bad for the younger PC Gamers who never got to experience excitement and fun of anticipating and participating in a good old REAL OFFICIAL RELEASE DAY.
And not the forever ongoing "give us your money to test this POS" for us and we ignore your feedback anyway.
Although to a degree it is really cool to participate in the testing of games in development via any of the previous mentioned access programs, especially if the game is in your favorite game universe etc.....still, IMHO I would rather have it back the way it was.