As a self-professed people-hater, and an MMO player I often ask that very same thing. I have, in effect, given up on MMO's which don't involve PVP so I guess the answer, for me, is that I play MMO's because I hate people. Getting in someones face, ganking, beating, killing, outwitting, etc are all part of the PVP experience, aren't they?
That's actually a pretty simplistic answer to his question and not the whole truth. I of course don't hate all people and meet some good folk in my online travels. They are, however, few and far between which is just like real life in my own experience. Rogue's point that:
The 'them' in this case are other people. It seems to be a common acceptance in the blogging world that, in general, the community in MMO's pretty much sucks- in one form or another. I agree- I'm not bashing anyone here (except the people who suck of course)- and wonder why that is? Do most people in MMO's suck, and are they the lowest common denominator? Probably. What I wonder is why is it that we, as bloggers (and readers there of) seem to know this?[Developers] make games that appeal to the lowest common denominator because that’s the only type of game we’d be prepared to share with them. Is this true? I don’t know, but it sure is food for thought.
I would suggest that those who take the time to enter into a discourse on the state of a game, or gaming in general (or any topic really) are of a certain.....how shall I say this? Class? Intelligence? Maturity?
However you look it at those who blog and read about games and comment about the 'other lowest common denominator' are a like-minded group. I wouldn't go so far as to say we are superior (we are superior) but by using our brains to examine not only the game play, but the social interactions and social implications that come with it, we go beyond 'the lowest common denominator'. We're just better. There, I said it.
To return to the point, did I give up on MMO's like Rift, Warhammer, and Eve because I hate people? Not entirely. The online games I play now are pretty solo-friendly (Wurm, World Of Tanks) but still require a good bit of interaction. My neighbors in Wurm are very nice but we see little of each other (time zone differences) and the nature of a small, niche game like that means it isn't invaded with too many people. World of Tanks, for me, could be better if I was clanned up, but for now I am playing solo and still having fun.
I play online games even though I hate people because of the changing nature of the world that those people provide. Human beings, for better or worse, inject an unknown variable into game play that creates a challenge for me. There are nights I wish WoT was a single-player game in which I could rack up 5 kills per game while taking over a tactical map (like a WWII tank-centric version of Total War) but in the end I know that I would win and that does get old, fast. I have over 500 hours of game-time in WoT and there are few single-player games out there that would provide enought challenge to keep me interested that long.
There then, is my long winded answer. The short version? Because it adds challenge to the game.