Now of course, the story's not really about Tobold-- with apologies to him for the unwanted attention we sent, it never was (so leave the guy alone, already-- if you've got comments about his decisions, leave them over here). But he is a big, influential MMO blogger, and his leaving WoW was part of a trend back then. In the dark days before 2.2, progress on the realms was stagnant, and there was nothing new to keep folks interested. Even with patch 2.2, voice chat wasn't a big draw for players (and in fact, now that I think about it, I haven't used it at all since it debuted-- my guild is still on Ventrilo, and no one has invited me to use the voice chat system).
But now we're at patch 2.3, and the times, they are a-changin'. There's new midlevel content (!), Engineers have a purpose in life, Hunters have no dead zone, and there's a brand new 10-man instance in the game (almost guaranteed to quickly become the most popular endgame instance out there). Tobold's back, and, just as before, we've got to wonder if he's part of an early trend. Are all the players who took a break this summer coming back to Azeroth?