Malkavius of Korialstrasz posed an interesting question in the General Forums. Is it too late in WoW's life for new players? She told a tale of how a friend got frustrated soon after purchasing the game because of inflation and an inability to find groups. The responses were split.
Vylaria of Ch'gall believes that it's not too late for a rookie to get their start. Gathering skills help to boost the personal pocketbook, and even veteran players that reroll face the same problems with finding a group. Cptobvious of Bonechewer believes that it is easier for folks that have played other MMOs than it is for online gaming virgins.
That poster stated later in the thread that things like dailies and arena grinds would not sound appealing to new players. He said "You may as well have said "Go get another job". If they don't enjoy questing then it will REALLY feel like a job." We've more or less accepted that grinding is part of progress in WoW. Thinking back, video games are mostly about grinding, but MMOs are unique because one's progress can easily be measured against others.
By changing leveling and mounting requirements Blizzard has made an attempt to allow new characters to catch up to existing ones. I think of it like Magic: The Gathering's Type II format. Sure it would be hard to get into Type I or even Extended format play, but the playing field is leveled for new players by only allowing the most recent sets. I've met people who have been playing WoW for years, and are still missing a basic understanding of many of the mechanics.
WoW is not for everyone, and that's alright. The easiest way for a new player to come into the game would be along side a veteran that can show them the ropes and maybe toss them a few gold. Every once in a while we all come across a new player interested in learning more about the game. It is genuinely rewarding to give them a hand, and watch them grow. There are still new players coming in, and they're still welcome.
Do you think new players can break in to WoW?