Blizzard: "The 'world' part of WoW is arguably its strongest asset. Original WoW had very poor flow
World of Warcraft's director, Tom Chilton, has been talking about the game's early strengths and weaknesses at GDC.
During a talk entitled "Remaking the World of Warcraft through Cataclysm", Tom said "The 'world' part of World of Warcraft is arguably its strongest asset. That’s what made it go on from being an ordinary game to being a great success. Elwynn Forest is that classic high fantasy forest environment with a Sherwood Forest type of appeal. Mulgore is a place where it drives you to explore, drives you over that next hill. It was super important for people who come back to WoW for them to feel like it was the same world. It was really where we knew we could really fuck it up.
"We did a poor job of telling versus showing or experiencing the story. By and large, people didn’t read the quest text. For the most part, people just want to know what to kill, and where to find it."