We may never know who invented the first ever board games. Examples have been seen back to as far as the bronze age. However, they created a glimpse into what would be the future. Social gaming is not just about computer graphics. It is about the interaction you have with a player within a gaming environment, be it playing with them, or against them. Can we say for example that playing football is better for a kid than playing a combat game. They teach the same things, and although the kid isn't running around exercising the body, they are exercising the mind.
I wasn't a great footballer at school. I personally couldn't see the point of running around to put a small spherical object into a goal, and whilst potentially it taught team building, it never really ended up that way.
Compare this to World of Warcraft. I have recently been running raids with my guild, who currently have 10/12 cataclysm bosses down. Each of these fights is directed by one person, and every person in that group has a role to play. If one person makes even the smallest mistake it impacts on the rest of the group, and forces someone to modify their tactics. In school football, the defenders would always lounge around chatting with the goal keeper and let everyone else run around in the middle. That is something you cannot afford to do in WoW.
Thing is though, that games change depending on outside influences. WoW has changed in accordance to things other devs have come up with for their games. I suspect the game of football has changed a lot from the days when an English premiership football team contained a majority of people born in this country.
I do believe that WoW will change even more, especially if other indie companies continue to come up with new ways to tempt the players away. Wurm Online is one such an example. It is a sandbox game where the world can be changed to your whim. You forge out, join an existing village, or find a spot to plant your own. It has a few very clever systems implemented, like the idea that you can build your own island if you want to. It has a free version (all skills restricted to 20), and a limitless premium.
Eve is a game which has had hardly any competition, which is a problem for it. For as long as it has nothing to threaten it's position, it won't change. Games need that competition, and really, anyone with new ideas should be listened to. New ideas can only make the games stronger.