OK - time for the old school to chime in.
Pen and Paper (PNP) RPGs are by far the better deal. Let's take the most WoWish of all RPGs, D&D 4e as an example. You can grab all three core books for $66.12 on Amazon. A little more if you go buy them from your FLGS where you'll find people to help you get started, dice, advice, and even a place to play.
You can get free adventures (blah - write your own!) on the internet to keep you busy forever. And you'll be playing in a freer, more open world where you can try anything you can imagine. And you'll be playing with actual friends sitting nearby - or far away. I've got plans to include one of my longtime players in a special Skype-based session bridging our Albuquerque-Japan gap in a week or two.
And lets face it - you're reading Slashdot - you have access to a computer. That means all the accessories you might buy like dice, maps, battlemats, markers, miniatures, lists of monsters, lists of treasure etc., are available to you for free. Frankly, lots of awesome games are available to you for free, too. Check out _The Shadow of Yesterday_ or _Spirit of the Century_ or _GURPS Lite_.
Yes, in the past twenty-four years or so, I've spent a lot on PNP RPGs. But a new book (averaging $35-$40) isn't just an investment in a strictly timebound amount of entertainment. Almost every book I own has provided:
A) Hours of enjoyment to read, reread, and peruse
B) Entertainment for myself and multiple others while being used to play as intended by the designers
C) Ideas that make *other* games more interesting or exciting
Plus, PNP games offer things that MMORPGs just can't offer.
Can you sit around on a Sunday and go over your old WoW stuff? Can you call up a bunch of WoWers you raid with and say, "Hey, this weekend, let's play WoW JUST like it was on launch day!" Can you change the course of history in Azeroth? Can you freeze the acidic blood of a fallen enemy with a spell, cram the ice crystals into the lock you couldn't pick before the fight started, take a while to rest and heal and let the melting acid open the lock for you?
No, you can't. But PNP gamers can do all of that and more. I'm not saying WoW sucks, or that it's not worth what it costs. I'm just saying if you want to pretend you're an awesome dude or lady in a world of magic and swordplay, there are cheaper ways. Oh, and the genres available to PNP roleplayers are much more varied as well. There are a lot more options besides fantasy, corporatist sci-fi, and superheroes out there.
There is no formula in ASoIaF. That's what frustrates people so much about the series - it defies expectation.
There's no script immunity for viewpoint characters. And, without being spoilerish, there are no villains that are simply villainous. Nobody in Westeros wakes up and says, "I think I'll go be awful today!"
There is rape, but not like you've described it. I'm trying to think of a likeable character that gets raped - the only multiple rape I can remember is that of a character nobody likes much to begin with, and that's done by an angry mob, not a particular character.
Either you haven't read these books, or your reading comprehension is poor at best.
As far as the delays between books, yes I find those frustrating as well. But like they say about games: A late book is only late until it ships. A bad book is bad forever. We like games that are released when they're done - books are better when writers are able to infuse them with life instead of simply cranking them out, too. We're talking about art here, people.
I had that schedule for about four years and found it invaluable. Once you've been at work for 8 hours, does 1 more really mean that much to you? As much as 26 additional (albeit inflexibly scheduled) days off per year? I have changed jobs (thanks Bush!) and no longer have the 9/80 schedule as an option. The three day weekends are great - I took a lot of short trips with my kid on those weekends.
Sure, once in a while we had to come in on an "off" Friday, but usually were able to scoot another day around to make up for it. It rocks. I miss it. Enjoy it.
"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach