When was the last time you found something actually new? Possibly never. Whatever you've found, someone probably beat you to it. Of course I'm no different. The odds just aren't on our sides: too many other people.
We're not going to figure out the first strat, the best DPS rotation, the new loot, the coolest quest chains. Someone will get there first. Someone else will also find the troll village and the airport and the strangely obvious and trivial path from Swamp of Sorrows to Redridge Mountains. But there is something different.
So useless information is free to be found as we desire. We will never be steered to the wowiki page for the strat for jumping to Ironforge. We're free to not know it and until we want to know it, we won't. Words seem to be failing me here, let me take another shot at it.
If you don't know your spell rotation, you're a noob. Someone will probably say it. Someone beside me, I mean. It's negative information, in the sense that you don't reach a new peak by knowing it, instead you only are gimped, stuck in a valley, by not knowing it. Knowing it is the default.
In contrast exploration is mostly unknown. The default is to know nothing, so every little bit you find is new to you. And likely new to many other people. You'll never get rich off it or kill a boss with it, but you'll know it. It's intrinsically rewarding.
When I found that most of Icecrown and Storm Peaks could be traveled by land mount, I was excited. It was utterly useless. Who knew? Who cared? Almost no one at all. But I knew, and that was exciting.
Remember when you first started playing and everything was new? The most irritating quest could still be fun if it was new, if it took you somewhere new, showed you a new land, a new story, a new idea. That's hard to get anymore: newness. You've done it all, read the guide for it first, and it's old even before it's new. Except exploration.
Since I wrote this, over at That's a Terrible Idea a post has come up about fun, which I think is perfectly relevant to what I was trying to say here.
P.S. Having to spirit res isn't fun.
Eve_NT - after action report
7 hours ago