But until then the rhythms of the song, that is the combat minigame, kept your mind busy. Intellectually it was boring, but overall it was not.
The minigame, which is at the heart of all MMOs, I ever played, is combat. It's so much the center of the game that it is questionable to even call it a minigame. The more interesting it is that it gets so little attention from the blogosphere.
In my opinion, the combat minigame is what made WoW what it is. Did you see all the latest posts of people who decided to test the 1-20 free leveling in WoW? And all of them seem to end up at 20; including me. The game can't be that bad really, can it? No, the game is not bad overall, because Blizzard still profits from the combat minigame that was either done by a genius a decade ago or polished as if money was no concern; probably both.
I've already gone though the fact that selecting who you attack is nowadays uninteresting in WoW. Killing mobs 10-20 in the undead starter zone, there are no interesting decisions involved, or really anything that keeps your mind busy, except for the combat minigame. But what a game it is!
One of the things that can keep a player's mind busy is a rhythm: people can create some rhythms for forever without getting bored. The most obvious example is a percussionist playing the drums.
At a lower level the rhythm has the beat: the beat, in this context, is the animation and the sound of using one single ability. The beat creates the rhythms, which create the 'song' of mowing through the enemies. Most games would fail at keeping a player's mind busy with this song alone. And WoW certainly is a worse game now that it uses this song alone to keep your mind busy. But they still succeed: you don't log off until 20.
Only after 20, when you smash everything in sight at ridiculous speed is the rhythm broken and the song falls apart. You already realized how pointless this game was, before. But until then the rhythms of the song, that is the combat minigame, kept your mind busy. Intellectually it was boring, but overall it was not.
It is this rhythm that WoW's competitors miss the most. Rhythm usually requires polish and iteration until 'it feels right'.
Slightly off-topic, the song is also what makes a good blog post. If the words don't 'flow' correctly, people can get bored reading the post before they even know what it is about. If you look at well-visited blogs and not so well visited ones, you will often see that the less-visited ones may have more interesting things to say, but they just don't sound as good.