Let me start off by saying that you made a good game. It was innovative for the time. You continue to make changes and updates to keep things fresh and relevant, but most of the major problems that have plagued this game since vanilla still exist. Your current model is a step in the right direction but your product is still getting up there in years. Graphics are painfully out of date. Customer service is still unreliable, particularly with regards to players who are being harassed/abused because of gender, race or sexuality. Players are still punished for small mistakes (like misdistribution of loot). You charge WAY too much for subscriptions based on your overall cost of running. Your business model itself is out of date.
Just like any game that is getting up there in years, your subscritions are starting to wane. Sure, a lot of people are still playing. That does not mean that we will forever. I think you know that, which is why you tempted us with a free sparkle pony and free Diablo III in exchange for the year contract. You clearly wanted us to stick with you long enough for your next product to hit the shelves. When that offer went out, I mistakenly thought you were scared of losing people to Star Wars. I was wrong in that regard. I now know what you are scared of. Guild Wars 2.
After playing their beta weekend.. well.. I'm sorry to say this Blizzard but you are in deep trouble. I've seen a lot of the Panda beta now and.. well.. you aren't offering jack compared to that game. Unfinished, buggy and lagging from the fact that it is a beta, it offered levels of complexity and a flexibility of play style that I have never seen in an mmo before. The options for play style, the rewards, the business model, the graphics.. you have strong competition about to hit the market.
I intend to keep playing WoW... not because I enjoy the game but because I enjoy the people here. As a GM of a raiding guild (the only thing I still find rewarding in this game) I have struggled to fill my ranks as this server's population shrank. Any GM or recruiter here can tell you that when Star Wars hit, it hurt. 10 man guilds in particular got shat on as we have an overall smaller roster and smaller bench. Now, a highly polished mmo is coming out with all the bells and whistles that many of us gamers have dreamed of for years. You WILL lose people to that game and it will be those of us who stay with you who lose out the most.
Detheroc simply cannot afford to lose more people right now. I know that you want us to pay to transfer. That simply isn't an option for most of us. It's expensive and, quite frankly, unreasonable. What will happen is even more people will quit because they are so frustrated with the game. I'm sorry to break it to you, but it's true. So do the right thing already- merge us. Merge us with another low pop realm and solve someone else's problems too while you are at it. Do it before MoP and GW II hit, so the communities can get to know each other and guilds can solidify their ranks before the expansion.