The New York Times has covered WoW before, and a couple days ago, they did again. Via sister site Massively, we find this article by writer Seth Schiesel. In it, he provides yet another paean for Blizzard's amazing work on the expansion, and touches a little bit on the casual versus hardcore dichotomy.
In Burning Crusade, he was the hardcore, racing to level 70, eschewing sleep and sustenance to get those server firsts, eventually causing him to burn out and quit the game for a time. In Wrath of the Lich King, he's been a casual wanderer, enjoying leveling slowly, surrounded by the other hoi polloi and "journeyman adventurers" taking the game at a slower pace. In the end, though, what pleases him most is that the friendships.
The article is a nice little testimonial of the way this game has shaped our lives and forged and strengthened friendships, and it's certainly a nice read on a cold Saturday afternoon like today, whether you're casual or hardcore. After all, we're all just players.