Tobold wrote an excellent series on Why do we play?, and I actually had an idea about writing my own experiences on playing MMO's and some thoughts about the reasons why I play. Somehow this got pushed back until I saw Azariel's comment on my earlier post, and I knew I had to write this piece.
I play the game with very open mind and open eyes, slightly tending to play on the role-playing side more than min-maxing: the latter comes from learning to cope with the mobs I encounter more than from reading guides and commentary. Naturally the requirements of the game are nowadays such that you have to know your stats and the gear to make the most of it. That is due to change, thankfully, at Cataclysm, but that's still at least 1.5 years in the future.
I also seek to group whenever I play. This leads to the solo-feasts like last weekend when I levelled from lv76 to lv78 with Laiskajaakko, without getting a single group invite during the 7-8 hours online. The only real grouping so far is when the Three Stooges (me and my brothers) come online simultaneously and tackle some lower level content as a trio.
The best experience as such has been the recent run in Auchindoun. Not because it was increasing in difficulty for the three of us, nor because the beginning (Mana Tombs) was completely a pushover, but because we had to learn the bosses in the Shadow Labyrinth. We wiped time and again to come up with a working solution to certain bosses and at the end of the day we all thought that this was the way we enjoy the game the most.
Having a challenge from the game, which we can overcome with persistence and thinking. The challenge in the Shadow Labyrinth was just about in line with our measly troupe (Tank lv76, Priest lv76 and Rogue lv72): it wasn't too hard to cope with (we lack DPS) and it didn't feel impossible at any time.
And the bosses finally start showing some aspects in their combat performance you really have to pay attention to.
This being said, I'm looking forward to the rest of the Outlands instances we're about to engage as the Three Stooges. Even more than the end game instances Laiskajaakko is about to engage soon.
Because with Three Stooges we can learn the encounters, communicate effectively and co-operate with each other constantly. Something a PUG or farm raid will be severely lacking, I know.