I've been guilty of putting my focus around me and looking for how the game is screwing the newcomer, guildless, homeless player who has the aspiration to become the hero the story in WoW tells about. And -contrary to my beliefs- I haven't been alone.
I know a certain goblin character just got a sore itch in his backside, but I full agree with Guntroll's post. That's how I see the game should be. But as long as the social tools and effect of player/character behaviour is not hardcoded into the game's core, the sociopath will rule the game and the single player aspect will rule the levelling game, making it harder every day to compete at the cap without the social contacts.
Maybe this is the reason why Cataclysm is going to destroy the original content, and bring in new requirements for grouping and levelling? We really do not know enough to even speculate with the Cataclysmic changes about to happen in the gameplay, but I'm hoping the expansion brings something to the social side, too. Like making it worth while to level in a group or to stick with a party for a bit more than just through an instance.
Then again, the changes in 3.3 seem to hint completely different approach: LFG/LFR takes away the possibility of social stigmata of being a jerk on a server -a very slight chance on a server level, even, but still. Instead of making the grouping more profitable to all, the group leader gets the benefits. Sure, a party needs a leader, but what happens when everyone wants to be a leader and there are no one to lead? It's like a certain superhero game: when everyone is a superhero, then no one is super anymore.
Anyhow, from time to time I give a netherweave bag to a complete stranger in WoW. Only once I haven't been thanked, once I got thank you again when I logged next time in with my toon, and mainly I have been thanked a lot. All I have told these lucky ones has been to pay it forward: I can only hope that they have remembered, that a little kindness goes a long way.
Sometimes all to the level cap.