I received 10 free days to play use World of Warcraft including the new expansion so I took advantage of it last week. I still didn't get to play much, but there is something comforting about coming back to a game that you played for a long time, particularly with all the new content (for me).
The best part was being able to chat, even briefly, with a couple of guild members that I used to play with regularly. Besides that, I was able to almost complete a level, complete the beginning Tiller quests and farm every day, complete the first major quest chain and get the flight paths so I can get to my farm without having to run. This last part was more difficult that it should have been, but I think the expectation is that you can get that first quest chain done in one sitting and for me it took all week.
I am still hoping I'll be able to play either Lord of the Rings Online or something else with my wife, but with preparation for Christmas and people getting sick, it wasn't going to happen over the last month. Given that, I suspect I'll probably resubscribe to WoW now that the expansion is pretty easy to come by for $20. I'm not sure exactly why, but I can't justify $40 for the amount of playing I do, but I can justify $20.
Now, if I'm talking about value, I'm sure either playing LotRO or Star Wars the Old Republic again would make more sense. I could access a lot of content either for free or for cheap and there is no required monthly fee. However, my time is much more valuable than the amount of money we're considering and the huge amount of time I've spent on my two level 85 characters and the assorted alternate character wouldn't happen for years in another game.
There is a certain momentum that happens with Massively Multiplayer games that I don't think happens so much with single player games. Even though combat, abilities, and all the activities that go with a MMO game are constantly being changed, it is still much easier to rejoin a game you have been playing, particularly if you still have friends that are playing it.
Now there is a difference between playing and being dedicated to a game. The Godmother recently posted about her experience with players who don't care in a raid. I was able to raid in vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade, but never got to the point of being able to do it afterwards. I doubt it'll happen with this expansion either, even though my guild is very open to bringing people up. I just know I don't have the time. That doesn't mean that questing or crafting or any of the other numerous activities in WoW won't be worth the $15 a month for me. Since I do care, unless somehow I end up with more time, I know I won't even try to raid.
There are a lot of different ways to play these games. A lot of them don't hinder others enjoyment of the game, but some do. I know, for me, I can't enjoy the game in ways where pretending to be good enough to participate in activities when I know I'm not.