Keen, a blogger I have been following for a while now, has a nice post up about "The Journey vs. A Means to an End". He writes that WoW is both types, where the WoW endgame is the "End" part and the leveling process is the journey. To quote:
In World of Warcraft when I was playing through for the first time it felt like an amazing journey... The third, fourth, and even the tenth time through the leveling process became all about 'How can I get through these levels as fast as possible so that I can raid, pvp, etc.'
So for Keen, as least as I understand it, the leveling process was the journey, and the endgame (raiding, PvP, etc.) was "the End".
I beg to differ.
WoW's endgame is where a player (or rather character) will spend most of his/her time, unless you level extermly slow or play for a short time before canceling. Blizzard know this, and have made sure the endgame remains captivating by allowing your character to progress even while not being able to level. This progression can take many forms: simply finding new places and seeing new content, getting new gear, advancing in reputation with various factions, progressing your trade skills (e.g. getting new recipes) and of course, for those who like it, improving your PvP skills and getting higher Arena rating.
Dinging max-level, in WoW, has always been a beginning, not an end. It unlocks new talents, allows you to wear level max-level only gear and go to max-level only content. Progression pre-TBC meant doing regular level-60 instances (Strat, Scholo, etc.) for good enough gear to enter MC, followed by getting the next harder boss down in MC, followed by BWL, followed by AQ40, etc. In TBC, 5-man instances formed a much larger part of the progression, with a greater variety and heroic versions too. Attunments also were a big part of TBC originally, providing a clear path for players to follow while attempting to progress.
It was only recently that I dinged 70 on my druid so I still remember both the satisfaction at getting yet another max-level character and the slight apprehension I had on the new horizons opening up before me - would I be a good tank? How hard would it be to progress my tradeskill (LW), gear and faction reputations? As I starting tanking normal instances, followed by heroics, I had a deep satisfaction from seeing my little bear become a big bad tanking machine. The culmination (for now) was in tanking nearly an entire Karazhan run. The journey I had done on my bear to be able to do that, since I dinged 70, was a journey by any definition of the word - dinging 70 had not been "the End" for me by a long shot!