One wonders how long World of Warcraft will remain viable. It is quite possible that my warlock will still be going strong decades down the line. Of one thing, however, I am certain: I will be playing some sort of MMORPG for as long as I'm able to tweak my spec. But will that game be WoW?
My friends and I muse about what it would take to switch to another game. That game would have to build upon WoW's legacy and offer something new and amazing to boot. Speaking of boots, I'd wager my Prelate's Snowshoes that the new game will be some incarnation of WoW itself, as Blizzard has proven so willing and able to adapt and grow with its fan base.
What makes WoW so popular and enduring? For starters, the game is so accommodating, with plenty to offer noobs and leets alike. Players can feel a sense of accomplishment from merely questing, while others can savor the challenge of working through multiple levels of high-end raid content. I can feel the delight of one-shotting a low-health rogue sneaking around the lumber mill or experience the soul-destroying chaos of getting quickly roasted in arena. And those of us with creaking, overworked CPUs are able to take part in the fun.