Joichi Ito on the World of Warcraft MMORPG, in Wired:
On November 23, 2004, Rob Pardo and his team at Blizzard Entertainment wrapped up four years of development on World of Warcraft. It quickly became the most popular massively multi-player online game ever, with more than 6 million subscribers each paying up to $15 a month to access its fantastic realms. (At the peak of its popularity, EverQuest had only about half a million subs.)
I started playing a year ago and have become custodian of We Know, a guild of about 250 people worldwide: medics, CEOs, bartenders, mothers, soldiers, students. We assemble in-game to mount epic six-hour raids that require some members to wake at 4 am and others to stay up all night. Outside the game, we stay in touch using online forums, a wiki, blogs, and a mailing list – plus a group voice chat, which I’ve connected to my home stereo so I can hear the guild’s banter while I’m cooking dinner. I have never been this addicted to anything before. My other hobbies are gone. My daily blogging regimen has taken a hit. And my social life revolves more and more around friends in the game.