I'm one of those who have reached the venerable age when you only grow sideways. I am also a gamer.
I think it started 1980 or so. With an RPG, which I believe people not vested in antiquity would call a 'table top' these days. I'm rather certain it was D&D, but what version it was I fail to remember -- it's that venerable age of mine playing tricks with me I guess.
I know for a certain that I spent close to ten years playing the ICE flagship, Rolemaster, in a way that has to be called hard core. During that time I encountered a dozen other RPGs and an innumerable amount of board games.
Then came MUD. That would be an early precursor to the WoW you're familiar with. The flavour I played for half a year and developed for another four is labelled LP-MUD. The specific one I started up with a friend, Kingdoms, came on-line 1991, and as far as I know it's still running. 20 years. That's a pretty good score for any computer game in my book.
After that I spent less time gaming and hence a lot less time making adjustments to games. One would say that I had grown up I guess, but, as every true gamer knows, that was not to last.
My fiance introduced me to a dead game. I had seen it in shops five years earlier, but after realising how awfully bugged and broken Magic: The Gathering was, I chose not to spend my cash on yet another Garfield TGC.
Now, however, it was 1999, and my fiance was dead set on me trying V:TES, and I did, and I was hooked. Eight glorious years down the drain. When I didn't work, get kids, raise kids or travel, I played V:TES.
I wrote articles, I followed and joined rules-forums. I found out what rules to legally exploit in order to force a change of the rules. I travelled around Europe to take part in championships, I eventually helped run one; and I learned the 2500 different cards by heart, how they interact with each other, what type of player prefers what type of decks.
Eventually I tired, and I ran into WoW.
Now, I know all about being hard core, and my experience from the MUD had me a bit wary. For three of those four and a half years I spent an average of sixteen hours a day, seven days a week redefining, developing, testing and changing that game.
So I am a pugadin. I'm a casual, who spends a lot of time with WoW, but I am never scheduled ahead of time, and I'll take a month or two away from the game whenever I'm bored.
Oh, and I tank. From playing fighters and paladins with sword and board, rolling dice on a table, to defining a tanking profession (that would be class for you) in the MUD, I preferred the holy warrior. During my years with V:TES i always preferred playing a defensive, blocking style of decks able to take a brutal beating.
My first character in WoW was a protection warrior, my second, after I learned about coherent talent trees, the existence of an Auction House and the possibility to trade with other characters, was a paladin. Sword and board.
That's 30 years of gaming and a total lack of evolution for you. But then I always say that tanking is a specific kind of mental deficiency. At least it's consistent.
And I guess I'm a lot of other things as well, but none that are directly related to this blog.