I have written about my battles with (mostly losing my battles with) altoholism many times. I just enjoy playing multiple characters, and the leveling process more than many areas of the game.
Previously, all this was at least in the theory that I could possibly raid with these toons. OK, realistically the total number of non-LFR raids I have done with any of my alts has been two, but that's not the point. Other times it was to level an alt so that I could level professions for use on my main, or for some other tangible purpose related to progression and end game content.
The idea of sepnding vast amounts of time on something that provided no benefit at all in any manner to my main or those previous goals was unthinkable. I would half-heartedly grind out a few achievements, or go and beat up Lieutenant Drake in the completely fruitless search for his boots, but I have never managed to complete a decent transmog set.
Pet collecting was some foreign concept where crazy lunatics spent inordinate amounts of time camping deserted areas for things that 99% of the time weren't even on display. It was something you might do in the 15 minutes before dinner, or the time waiting for that 10th person to log on for a raid.
That has changed. I have spent much of the last week pet battling, so much so that I am 57% through all the pet battle achievements. I have my Vermling, a Safari ... er, TWO Safari Achievements, and am frustrated that there is no achievement for 100 rare pet captures? I mean, seriously, I blew through 50 in no time and there is nothing bigger?
So, yes. I have the pet bug, and I have it bad.
What I have found though is the amount that I have enjoyed it is at least partly based on the ease of fitting it in around RL activities. You don't have other people relying on you, you don't need to spend hours at once doing something. I can unfortunately see the time when this and the other solo activites in the game are the ones that will keep me coming back.
I have spent more time this expansion on my main (OK, leaving alts in Deadwind Pass, near a Pet Battle Trainer, or in the Master's Cellar, or on Jaguero Isle doesn't count) than I have in many many years, but this is at least partially because I just can't face the idea of the daily grind on another 420 alts. (I hit the toon limit on my account most recently only this last weekend :S). I haven't even got close to finishing the grind for Shado-Pan, or Klaxxi on the Monk and I haven't even started the Celestials.
The amount of content in the expansion is massive, no question, but things change, people move on. It has been a wonderful time the last how ever many years, but is WoW starting to lose it's lustre for me? I have posed the question before, but like quitting smoking, it keeps coming back and each time is bigger than the time before. I don't plan on quitting any time soon, but my RL is unlikely to ever return to the peaceful time it once was ... and I am starting to put in some serious time into my running (About to sign up for a 10km run in Feb, a 15km in March and a 12k with killer hills in May - something I would never have expected and long term has to be significantly better for me than gaming all day!).
What will happen once I complete the pet achievements? Will I dive into Mogging? Back into my alts? Or will I decide that a level 25 rare of every pet is the goal (I can't believe I just suggested that)... I can't answer that. I enjoy raiding, I do, but ... I guess this post is a very good indication of my current thoughts - rambling, switching topics, and without a definite conclusion. Oh, sorry, is that another rare ..........