I find many of the posts on various forums about the end of WoW due to the release or beta of some new MMO to be hilarious. Of course, when I played EQ, I also laughed when WoW was the MMO of choice that was gonna topple EQ.
I started playing WoW during the very first closed beta. I was fortunate to work for Dell and somehow we got a ton of beta invites from Blizzard which were passed around the facility. I was in a big EQ guild at the time and while I enjoyed the WoW beta, I didn't see WoW as something that would cause any real problems for EQ... but within a month of release the majority of my guild announced they were closing and/or selling their EQ accounts and moving to WoW. Since the social aspect of MMOs is what I like most, I moved right along with them.
It's been a number of years since then and I quit playing WoW a few times for a few months, but missing my friends always brought me back. It is this social aspect that has me in a quandry today.
I logged in this morning to find that my server was down again (having been down most of the weekend). I am no longer surprised. The game is really starting to show its age and the constant crashing of servers is only one symptom of a game that I think is finally coming to an end.
Oh, it's not gonna end tomorrow or even in the next few months. But more and more I see people who are bored of the game. Bored of the same thing over and over. The only thing that keeps them playing are friends and habit. But even that can hold you to something for only so long.
I have tried a number of other games including LOTRO, Warhammer Online beta, EQII, but none of them gave me any real compelling reason to abandon my friends. But crashed servers can definitely do the trick when I can't get online with them.
I don't know what the next big MMO is gonna be, but whomever can manage to make it will reap huge rewards. I'd guess that at least half the population of WoW is READY for a new MMO. And if such a thing ever did hit the market you'd see the population of WoW drop as dramatically as EQ did when WoW was released.