I spend a lot of virtual ink discussing what I think are flaws in Blizzard's game, mostly because flaws are more interesting to look at. It's not really fair though, as there are a lot of things that Blizzard has done well, and has improved significantly.
In particular, the current endgame is leaps and bounds ahead of the endgame that existed when I first started writing, about two years ago. Back then, level 60 dungeons such as Stratholme and Scholomance were a joke, as everyone "raided" them with 10 people, twice as much firepower as was necessary. They provided very little challenge, and the quality of play was abysmal. Raiding was Molten Core, where half the DPS was AFK watching TV. It required 30-40 level 60s, which was next to impossible for the small guilds to build towards.
Today on Skywall, both the heroic and normal dailies pointed at Botanica. As 40g and 7 Badges for one run is a great opportunity, I was trying to get into a pickup group (it was a bit early, and few guildies were online). I joined a group of 4 people who were all from the same guild, Hysteria, a small guild who's name I did not recognize.
That run turned out to be one of the best pickup groups I've been in. The players in this guild had a high level of skill. The tank kept everything on him, the mage sheeped and counterspelled efficiently, the warlock banished and switched demons on the fly, the rogue pulled off some tricky saps, and everyone did solid DPS. It was the type of run that I love, where everyone is playing with focus and skill. It was such an unexpected pleasure to find this run with a pickup group.
It turned out that they were a small casual guild working on Karazhan. They only raided one or two nights a week, and were up to Shade. They were planning their first expedition to Zul'Aman sometime in the new year.
It really struck me that this guild could not have existed in the old WoW endgame. The 60 dungeons would not have provided the challenge they needed to hone their skills to their current degree. The skill level is basically what I would have expected from a Blackwing Lair guild, and yet this is an entry-level TBC guild. They also wouldn't have had the numbers to field raids in the old game, and in the end they probably would have broken up and died.
And yet, in the current game, they are not only surviving, they are doing well. They have challenges that they are working on, challenges which are worthy of their skill, and have further challenges to look forward to. They don't have to raid four nights a week if they don't want to, nor do they need to marshal 25-40 people in order to progress.
I like that people, especially non-hardcore raiders, are playing with greater skill than before. To me, that's a sign that the game is healthy. I like that guilds such as this have new challenges available to them, and can continue to progress at their own pace.
In some ways, I guess I see my first guild in these guys. But where we found only barren rock after hitting the level cap, and were essentially forced to scatter to the large raiding guilds if we wanted new challenges and progression, this guild has found fertile soil and is thriving.
And this is mostly due to the efforts of Blizzard. They have made the endgame more challenging, with better and smoother increases in available challenges, which has encouraged skilled play, and they have made the endgame more accessible to smaller guilds. All in all, the WoW endgame of today is far superior to the WoW endgame of two years ago.