I read the first seven on the trot when I was marooned in the pissing raid for a week on what was supposed to be a camping/fishing holiday.
Not really my thing. Epic fantasy that pits a bunch of gormless villiage kids with Mysterious Destinies against a tolkien-ripoff Dark Lord has just been done Too Damn Many Times and I couldn't find enough new, novel, or eyecatching in Jordan to stick it out after that. Especially considering how diabolically the plot started to drag around book 5...
worth noting it started a lot of the clichés. which for those that read it now will find it very clichéd.
That's really pushing it imho. Tolkien was the unquestioned first origin of pretty much the entire genre and everyone writing fantasy now pretty much owes him a slice of their paycheque, but the first Wheel of Time book was only released in 1990, and there was LOADS of epic fantasy stuff, with all the cliches, around before then. Shannara is a very obvious one. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. The Iron Tower. Thomas Covenant. The Fionavar Tapestry. And I only really started reading fantasy in the early 90s myself, so I bet there's a huge body of work from the 80s and earlier that I'm just not aware of. Hell, a lot of this stuff had been done in Dungeons and Dragons - the Dragonlance books covered most of this ground long before before Wheel of Time showed up. Even Star Wars is really just a farmboy-with-special-destiny-and-magic-sword-goes-on-quest-to-defeat-the-dark-lord yarn at heart, and then there's 80s fantasy films like Legend and Willow. Terry Pratchett was parodying fantasy as an established genre almost a decade before Jordan even showed up.
I see Jordan more as an exemplar and culmination of the genre rather than a trend-setter in any way. His work is huge, elaborate, detailed, and so enormously long I'm not all that sure where there was for the genre to go after that. It's almost like he was the end of an era in some ways, cos GRRM was just writing the first ASoIaF book while the the early volumes of Wheel of Time were being released. In some way I think that the bloodiness and moral ambiguity of ASoIaF was kinda a reaction against the comfy Good Vs Evil, Kids On An Exciting Adventure, and Designated Hero tropes that dominated fantasy up until then. And as the wheel turns (heh, geddit?!?) these days GRRM-inspired rampant grimdark, shit, rape, rats, and the offhand slaughter of main characters for no purpose other than shock value have become the stock in trade of the fantasy genre, and are getting just as wearisome to read as the Overthrowing The Evil One stuff was back in 1994.
I'd probably have a much higher opinion of Jordan if I'd read him earlier, to be honest, without being so jaded with it all when i started. Some of my most formative works remain D&D tie-in novels, and they are absolute garbage from a literary point of view and I gave them away to St Vinnies years ago because their actuality tainted the happy memories I had of them. Jordan's stuff is unquestionably higher quality than RA Salvatore, for instance. Just depends on where your headspace is at the time I guess.