So I played EQ almost grudgingly. It was the the thing everyone is doing and there is something inside me that resists what everyone else thinks is cool. It is a thing. I had some friends I was around at the time though and they convinced me to play. I played for a while off and on and ultimately it left me kind of disappointed. There were moments that were cool but an MMO generally makes a less than compelling single player game well designed for a single player.
I moved into a few other games. I tried Dark age of Camelot because my brother played. I actually was excited by the beta of City of Heroes. I mean whats not to like in playing a superhero. I tried and actually liked Eve Online. I did eventually get into WoW and play it even now. I am having more fun these days in the game. Mainly that is due to having a friend to run with most of the time when I am on.
That is the key. Online games are not so compelling because the game play is so damned awesome. It is compelling because your doing it with other people. Now I work in the industry and I view the games from the other angle. I can watch games and boards and see the community of people playing and I find I am more and more interested in the personalities behind the screen names and avatars.
Here is a fine documentary about the virtual worlds and the people who play them. It is called Second Skin. It is not always flattering. It is very harsh in parts. It is also sweet in some spots and it kind of drives home the sense of community that is there, both the good and bad parts of it.