Nils is reaching the end of his WoW rope in his latest experiment, and my response probably fits better in a post than comment. Nils says:
In the past there was a community, but there is no community now. WoW doesn’t actually put you into any community. Everything is random groups. Sure, I could try to get into a guild. But I don’t feel like it. Blame me if you want: I bet I’m no more different than a lot of other players.
WoW has NEVER put you in a community. At all. The most you could say is that in the early days people had somewhat of an incentive to seek out strangers because it would be impossible for them to complete (group) content otherwise – something that sounds more like Facebook games now that I think about it. The “community” could be summed up the sort of proto-typical “LF1M tank H Ramps” spam, where the alternative was having nothing to do. But if Nils doesn’t feel like joining a guild, he probably would not feel like joining a random Trade chat pug either. Or perhaps he is saying that since you can press the LFD button, one has no incentive to join Trade pugs?
Honestly, there was as much community when I finally quit as there has ever been, and I saw people trending towards tighter guild/social bonds than ever before. In TBC, the only way to see content was to “trade up,” leap-frogging Kara guilds into SSC/TK guilds into BT guilds into Sunwell guilds. Choosing friendship and sociality meant you simply dead-ended, unless you won the guild lottery and got into one that progressed. Incidentally, this was my fundamental problem with articles like the one I talked about yesterday, insofar as those never seem to be written from the majority standpoint of raiders whose expansions just end mid-tier because the guild is not good enough to progress (be it skill, drama, or other).
Nowadays, at least pre-Cata, you could have your cake and eat it too, progressing with friends at relatively your own pace without having to worry about people trading up. Yes, solo players have no “real” incentive to join guilds/groups since they can get groups formed for them. Then again… well, as we’ve seen from LFD, some of the groups you get are so horrible that there is every incentive to do LFD runs with as many people you know as possible.