I thought I might write something that would show what I believe to be the reason that so many care about this game even when they aren't completely satisfied or happy with it's direction or some facet of it in particular. It is also inportant for me to note that these qualities have existed since the very start.
Appearance- The game has always had a great appearance far more realistic then nearly every other game I have looked at in the fantasy genre. Melees don't have abilities that look like they are casting some spell or are glamorized with some shiny graphic. It's swing and damage numbers. I like that. Intimidate doesn't make the enemies glow red or such but simply a quick graphic to show success. Overall the game has a very clean look to it that helps to keep the realism very high. I think many of us find that appealing.
Build variety- The ability to come up wih a character idea and create a workable if not ideal build to achieve your intention has always been the major draw and player retaining aspect of the game. Really nothing more needs to said.
Controller compatability- At looking around into other games I never realized that DDO having this built into it was so unusual. Most have probably not used a controller in the game but for those of us who have this is one great feature. I use a flight joystick and a 5 button mouse. The built in key mapping options give me the ability to use all of my character abilities while moving and remaining in mouselook. It's better than having a third hand, at least as far as the game anyway.
I wanted to throw out the kudos just so people know that even those who express discontent are here and have been continously here for a reason and that reason is that this is a very well made game. It has always been that way. So when you point out any of these things or another feature that has alway been here after some irritant has been introduced remember that they were here before the irritant. Feel free to add your own reasons that you are or were drawn to this game to the list.