Naturally, as I've been immersing myself in WoW, I've been comparing it to Everquest 2, the last MMO I played, and one I spent more that 34 days physical time playing. It's true I've been away from the game for over 2 years, and thus can't say for sure how the game has evolved since I left, I thought I'd offer up my thoughts on how the two differ, based on my memories of that game, compared to what I see in World of Warcraft now.
Finding quests in WoW is super easy, with the ! over NPCs heads. It's a system EQ2 actually copied over, and I was glad they did. WoW does a good job of combining lore with practical details players need to know to complete the quest, and then there's the arrow to where you need to go. EQ2 wasn't so user friendly. While some info was there, you didn't get such obvious waypoints, and the game basically made you figure it out. While there are times I'd prefer that to the almost hand-holding of WoW, I prefer to have clear direction, so I can spend more time adventuring and less time wondering WHERE I need to be going.
I will say this for EQ2 though: Heritage Quests kicked ass. These were extremely long, multi-part quests that offered massive guild XP and some sweet rewards. They often involved traversing multiple dungeons and zones to complete. There were days where me and some buddies would spend an entire afternoon running a single quest, and having a blast doing it. I wish WoW would offer a few more complex single-quests, or more complicated quest chains, to offer something as epic as the HQs for EQ2.
I was quite disappointed with EQ2's writing. I found it bland and I didn't really care what was going on. I made the effort to read through NPC dialogue and quest discriptions, then just gave up on it and simply accepted quests. (I am, after all, a questoholic). Most of WoW's storytelling if fairly basic, but they manage to give each zone its own coherent narrative, and it all flows together better than EQ2's disconnected quests. WoW also infuses the humor EQ2 lacks. That world took itself too seriously. If you want to see WoW humor in action, run an alt through the new Hallsbrand Foothills. That zone has been my favorite in the whole game so far, and you can experience it below level 30.
I think my buddy Sabre (Vindi) was right about the dungeon finder. While it's a great tool for finding a quick group, I have yet to see anything interesting for in-server community. In EQ2, you had to use chat channels to get groups running, and inter-guild relationships weren't uncommon for questing or periodic raiding. Character population seemed more even across all zones, unlike WoW, where I see a billion people in Org. but as soon as I leave that zone, I might as well have the rest of Azeroth to myself. (That is, no doubt, the effect of the population stratification towards high levels, since the game has been out for so long. Established players far outnumber n00bs like me.) While spawn camping boss mobs in EQ2 sucked, it did provide the downtime for some fun and interesting social interaction.
I can't decide whose I like better. Looking only at dungeon design (ignoring the fact that I can more easily get into a dungeon run in WoW than EQ2), both have pros and cons. EQ2's dungeons were more complex, though some were perhaps too involved, and confusing to navigate. In comparison, I find WoW's dungeons too linear and simplistic. I enjoyed some of the challenge of having to learn the lay of the land in an EQ2 dungeon. However, I like WoW's more aggressive use of instancing, so groups can be free from interruptions from other parties. Having the bosses readily available beats having to wait for a boss to spawn, as that sometimes took an hour or more. Still, some of the Epic moments from EQ2 make me long for that when I teleport into another linear WoW dungeon.
Not Enough Data
I did only a little raiding in EQ2, as I was always behind the level cap and current endgame raids everyone else wanted to do. The stuff I did was far from the "new hotness." I have yet to raid in WoW, so it wouldn't be right to compare the two.
Both games have well designed areas. I liked that in EQ2, each zone logically connected to the next in terms of level progression, so it wasn't hard for a noobie to know where to go. The same isn't always the case for WoW. However, EQ2 forced players to load between zones, but I can move from zone to zone it WoW without ever seeing a load screen, which is pretty nice.
I'm sure there will be more EQ2 vs. WoW comparisons in the future, but I think I'll wrap it up here for now.