My husband, who plays WoW 5 to 6 hours a day at a minimum, informed me the other day that playing video games in general and WoW in particular was very unproductive. Most people would give him the Captain Obvious award, but I consider the timing of the statement a bit odd, considering WoW Insider just hired me to write a regular column (yay!) about balancing real life with WoW. Certainly, playing WoW can range from being a very pleasant escape to ruining your life, but that is actually the case with any hobby or recreational activity. The fact is that, with a little effort and planning and lots of learning from mistakes, you can successfully balance real life with WoW and even use WoW to make real life better.
There are many examples of WoW players using their hobby for being productive, and I am not even talking about the despised and pitiable gold farmers. I'm also not talking about the Blizzard employees, because anyone in the video game biz can tell you that working on a video game can not only ruin your fun in that game, it can make you not want to play any video game at all for a while. But there are people who use the social aspects of WoW for professional networking, there are the professionally sponsored arena teams and there are people who actually put their WoW playtime on their resumes.
Of course, there is more to life than just making money and WoW can help there, too.