Leveling my Night Elf Druid was great fun, even though Darkshore was stretching my patience a great deal. Nevertheless, I could not easily be discouraged and I kept on playing. Everything seemed magical and the little inconveniences that existed did not hinder my enjoyment. There were very long ways to walk and some quests required me to travel to very distant places, e.g. the original quest-line for the Aquatic Form. Yes, there was a time when Druids learned their shapeshift forms not simply by visiting a trainer but by actually performing some tasks in the game world. Shocking, I know!
I died a million times in the barrows filled with furbolgs. I mean, seriously, who designed those? Close quarters, a maze, high respawn rate. It was a death trap for noobs like me. I was in there for literally hours. -- Kadomi
I had exactly the same experience in the Ban'ethil Barrow Den and the related quest asked me to bring back four items when my bags were already full. Life in Azeroth was time consuming and demanding and I loved it.
At some point my Druid hit the level cap and entered into the ominous endgame, where he experienced two massive group dungeons called “raids”. He lent his healing hands to a group that was determined to enter a fiery cavern named Molten Core. There he had his very first taste of what it was like to overcome the greatest challenges with the greatest number of people. It was very invigorating! On a different night some people of the same group asked him to help them kill a horrible dragon hiding in another cavern somewhere in the swamps. Needless to say, he joined without thinking twice. Unfortunately, those were the only two raid instances my Druid did in those days because otherworldly matters kept the real person behind the Druid busy for quite some time. I did stay subscribed, however, and played very casually and started some alts, most notably an Undead Mage.
Overall, I can say that I will be forever fond of those days as they mark the beginning of my journey into the realm of MMOs. The cynics will always attribute nostalgia to “rose-tinted glasses” and that is, of course, their prerogative. It is, however, equally valid for other people remember things in their own way and make different claims. I do not think that some of us are only looking at the pleasant parts of the past but rather that the inconvenient parts were not that unpleasant to begin with.