My name is Matt, and I've been a gamer since I was a wee lad, playing q-bert to exhaustion and a toy story game that had me captivated for a large chunk of my childhood. I got into console gaming shortly after, playing pokemon almost religiously and spyro the dragon to 100% completion. In highschool, I entered the call of duty scene and played competitively for about a year and a half, and won a few local tournaments here and there. I entered college without any World of Warcraft experience, but when I had to play it for a class, I was hooked.
We were asked to do research based on the game, which kind of takes away from the fun. But nonetheless, my partner and I came across some interesting results. The point of our research was to come up with a model for experience gained in each race and compare it to how fast a player must undergo learning in the first chunk of quests in game. Interestingly, the large and dark races gained experience the fastest, and the cute and lithe races gained experience the slowest. It's as if people that pick big scary guys are more achievement oriented and thus need a higher rate of increase to make them feel better about themselves. Heck, I certainly feel better when I get more experience, achievement might as well be my middle name.
Another weird thing though was that we found that gold never really had a steady rate of increase. The amount of gold came a bit randomly, and never really reached a useful amount until exceptionally difficult quests were completed. We came up with the conclusion that Blizzard didn't want players to continue playing just for the gold, but rather that they'd want to keep going simply for love of the game. Because gold farming is a bit of a problem in the metagame, we figured this was for the best.
Just thought I would share these results, see what the community thinks. Let me know what you think and how we could improve, and if you want some more specifics.