When I quit, I was certain that I would return for WotLK. Now I have my doubts. I think ignorance may be removing my belief that WotLK will fix anything. It's hard to get excited about a game that I'm not playing, so I've not been following the development of WoW, current or beta, as closely as I used to. Because of this it's nearly impossible to see any improvements, since I see almost nothing at all. Will WotLK fix the reasons that I quit?
I doubt it. I don't see the gear dependence going away, or lessening since I don't know that I'd want a gearless game. Crafting is still based on identical plans. Customization seems to mean nothing more than new hairstyles.
I hold out hope for better story-telling.
But back to gear, it's not new to TBC. I've played for about three years and for all of that time the game was gear-based. What made me care enough to quit now? I suppose early on I just didn't notice. I leveled slowly and was a genuine noob for many months. I made alts. Gear never became a major thing. It's also worth considering that back then there was no Naxx and even BWL was fairly new. AQ wasn't out for months after I started playing and I mostly saw it as a chance to make some gold from all the lowbie crap that I gathered. It also had an element of anticipation and really seemed amazing seeing such a massive effort, even cross-faction.
Back to the matter at hand: I didn't mind being a noob back then. Now I'd hate to be stuck in Kara and occasionally wiping in ZA. Back then I spent months in MC and died a few times in BWL. What's different?
MC wasn't for noobs while Kara is. Sure, MC was easier, but it was The Raid. Kara was never the raid, justthe introduction. In terms of player's attitudes, MC was put on a pedestal labeled: Badass, while Kara was on a little platform that said: for ages 7 and under. How did that happen? Vanilla raids came out one at a time, giving all of them a chance to become "serious business," with the exception of AQ20 since it was very clearly set up as an easier, smaller counterpart to AQ40. Even ZG had its challenges and time in the sun. TBC did not give that time.
I wonder if Blizzard will do that again. I get the feeling they will. They want to make the expansion feel like it has more to it than just a couple new instances and a raid or two. Vanilla came out with only a single raid and it worked. Why did TBC need five all at once with another coming down the pipeline in only a few months? They should have spaced them out more. Instead they shoved a bunch of content at raiders, then made them wait what seems like almost a year for the next big raid. I didn't forget about ZA. And a single instance. They didn't even add a new Dire Maul, a set of cool instances, just one. And a single new arena.