Of course, we kind of knew that already, but Yahtzee at Zero Punctuation touches on WoW's number-centric play brilliantly.
I've been playing Cataclysm almost every day since it's release last month (minus some traveling days). At first, the abundance of "new" kept me going for a long while. Now that I've hit a little slump, waiting for the guild to get enough toons to start raiding, I'm in that part of the cyle where I reflect on the play a little and wonder why I was so sucked in. I think for me it was seeing everything there is to see, flying around in (new) Azeroth, leveling-up in the new zones, seeing the new dungeons, etc. I suppose I like exploring (though, I'm not an explorer, as I don't like typifying players; rather prefer typifying behavior).
But now that I've done that, what do I have to fall back on? Just numbers and the maximizing thereof? I sometimes think that every design decision in the last 5 years was purposefully done to narrow legitimate play, not just encouraging number play but normalizing it. I started on an RP server way back when, yet these days all I seem to be doing is theorycrafting (or, more precisely, consuming theorycraft). It makes me uncomfortable.
Even more uncomfortable is the thought that maybe the reason why no one seems to be able to compete with WoW is because they don't focus on number crunching as much... Is that true?