I started playing WoW in February 2005 and haven't stopped. Sometimes I look at my /played and shudder. But for all the hours spent, I've never joined the game's community. I'm not in a guild. I don't have anyone on my friend lists. I don't know the names of my server's ninjas or trolls.
To some extent, I'm a product of my environment. With a non-gaming family, friends, and girlfriend, my social circle is not predisposed to WoW. But the truth is that even if I had the support, I still wouldn't spec "social butterfly."
I blame my hyper-social job. Beyond a meeting-heavy 9 to 7, I'm expected to spend most nights out at parties, dinners, concerts, etc. I love my job, and I love being social. I wouldn't trade it for the world. But when I come home, all I want is a chance to unwind and pew-pew. As such, my only engagement between me and my fellow players is furry or icy death. No in-game social life means no schedules, no obligations, and no drama.
But when you read a certain WoW publication as much as I do, you begin to wonder about life on the other side, a world of guild runs, in-jokes, server reputations, and social engagement. On my darker days, after a particularly bad PUG or PVP match, it sounds kind of beautiful. I've played for six years now, and I doubt I'll ever go social. But sometimes, when I stand on top of a mountain and look at the damage wrought by Deathwing's passing, I wish I could /tell my guild that "I finally died in the fire!"
Do you go solo? Could you never imagine WoW without your social network? Have you found a middle ground?