Understandably, there is a lot of complaining going on about these gifts Blizzard is supposedly sending to veteran players, and in truth, I don't really feel it's warranted. People who just missed out by a matter of days, yes, I can understand that they would complain and be a bit miffed at having been so close, but people who didn't activate an account until Burning Crusade, I don't think they have any grounds.
I do admit that I consider those people to be veteran players, just as I almost consider myself that way, even though I didn't get my own account until just before Wrath (I obviously didn't think for a moment, however, that I'd be eligible), and I can understand that these people are disappointed and maybe feel unappreciated, but that's not what the gift is about. It's a gift for the players who joined WoW when it first started up, for the people who were there from the beginning, who didn't wait for game reviews or to see if the game would survive, or chose not to buy it right away as an ineffective protest towards subscription fees. They jumped in right away, even in a time when the game wasn't really aimed at casual players as much as it is now.
World of Warcraft was not the first MMO, but because of Warcraft's popularity long before, there was already a really big fan base. The idea of being able to play more freely in Azeroth, with its already rich history, and create your own story was probably an appealing one after such a story-limited game, so that helped WoW to sell right from the start. Yes, there are probably reasons such as money and time that held people back from buying it right away, people who were just unable to buy it though they were hugely interested and loved Warcraft, and it's these people I feel bad for, but that's also just life.
I can understand that people who aren't eligible are disappointed, but at this point they're complaining before they even know what they've missed. Not everyone is complaining because they genuinely think they deserve the gift, either, I think a lot of people are complaining simply because of the fact that they missed out. There are lots of people who love WoW but didn't start playing until well after the release date, people who would absolutely love whatever merch is being given out and may well own half of the products from the Blizzard store already. I adore the game, I truly do, and I've got several pieces myself, namely figurines and plushies, but I started playing a long time after the release date and I can appreciate that I'm not eligible for the gift, whatever it might be. I never thought for a moment that I would be.
Consider how well WoW sold from its release. The fact that everyone in the US and UK who activated their account within 60 days of their continents' respective release dates is getting a gift does suggest it's not going to be that incredible. It could be nothing more than a 'WoW veteran' t-shirt, because it's being given out to an awful lot of people, and they certainly couldn't be giving out thousands of Lich King helmets. However, I presume you have to have had a relatively active account throughout WoW's existance to be eligible, rather than having not played for the last 3 years. Consider that the cost of creating and shipping whatever it is is being covered entirely by them, too. There has to be a limit, and I think 60 days as of release is quite generous.
Blizzard is doing this as part of their 10th anniversary celebration, and so it's for people who have been playing for 10 years, relatively consistantly. Everyone takes breaks, either due to money or life, so I doubt the accounts have to have been active for 10 years straight, though I could be wrong, in which case the gift may well be quite amazing and quite limited for players that loyal. But I doubt it.
It's not about rewarding people for simply playing WoW, it's about thanking the players who have been there from the start for their support, players who bought the game based on their passion for those that came before it. It could be argued that these players don't need to be thanked in this way, as they probably enjoyed the game an awful lot to still be playing, so wouldn't the fun frm the game itself be a reward? Perhaps, but in that case you could also argue (admittedly to a more extreme extent) that people shouldn't be given birthday gifts because they survived another year. Not to mention the fact that WoW - the birthday boy - is the one giving the gifts.
It's not as if veteran players are the only ones to have gotten anything, anyway. All players who logged in within the anniversary period, regardless of how long they've been playing, got a free pet with a relatively unique model, a mount for players who were able to get to level 100 and a 615 item level and run a revamped Molten Core, reviving WoW's first raid, and a title for PvPers which nodded towards the old days of open world Southshore v Tarren Mill. Everyone got something. It's just that the veterans are getting a little more.
No, I'm not eligible for the gift. I created my account at the end of Burning Crusade, 3 or 4 years too late. Yes, I am disappointed that I'm not eligible because I love WoW and am a loyal player, but I can also appreciate why I'm not. There has to be a cut-off point for eligibility.
I'll also point out that Blizzard didn't have to do this, either, they could have stopped at the pet, maybe given us a tabard as well, or just given us the mount for free and not bothered with anything else. They certainly didn't need to re-establish a raid or create a battleground, but they did, satisfying PvPers and PvEers alike with content. And that was more than enough. But then they decided it would be nice to go one further and thank the veterans who have been there from the start with a physical gift, something which really would come out of their own pockets, and I think they should be congratulated for that, not yelled at by bitter players. I can understand people being disappointed because they missed out by a few days - that must really sting - but there has to be a cut-off point. If everyone had it, it wouldn't be special, and, let's be honest, of course Blizzard wants it to be special, just as those receiving it do.
Besides, I'm sure many of whatever it is will wind up on Ebay anyway, so it's not like Tom, Dick and Harry won't get the chance if it matters that much.
Either way, congrats to those who are eligible, I hope it's something really awesome. I also hope that it is limited to accounts that have been relatively active over the last 10 years rather than stopped playing for good 3 years ago, and I also really hope that these players appreciate their gift enough to keep it rather than sell it.
Personally, I'm really happy with my mount. I missed out on the title because whenever the Alliance realised they were losing, they all left the battleground, causing it to end early due to lack of players, and I admit that that is something I think they should have considered - some kind of incentive for all players to stay whether they win or lose, like a cache for each player on the losing side with a chance at old-world armour which isn't available even as a replica, or another pet. So that did suck, but in the end, I got the mount which I really wanted, and didn't expect to get, so as far as I'm concerned, I'm quite happy.