I will say one thing about BC-era PvE. Its not that it was "harder" per se. It was harder if you were using the "wrong" class/spec.
The design back then still held specific roles for each spec. So if you were a druid that wanted to be the main tank, you were "wrong" and thus it was "harder" for you to do the job because the "right" class/spec (Prot Warrior) was the one for that particular part.
So if you went into a heroic dungeon as a dps spec that had no cc, you were "wrong". You, as a hybrid, were meant to level up using that dps spec you had (that was the "right" use of the dps spec of hybrids) and then at max level you were to switch to the "right" spec and heal.
I assure you, going into a heroic dungeon with a Prot Warrior, a druid healer and 3 CC dps wasn´t all that hard. The game started to get rough when you started using the wrong class/spec combos.
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Ahead of the curve Lei Shen. ilvl 550 Enhancement Shaman main spec. Azjol Nerub USA: Titusx
What I meant with that list is this: I noticed that most people complaining about how "easy" the game is this days do so on the basis of completely ignoring all challenging content Blizzard has placed in the game.
If you ignore challenge modes, heroic scenarios, brawlers guild, proving grounds and relevant heroic raiding content... then yes, the other handful of things that are left (PvE side) are pretty easy. So I say, don´t ignore the stuff thats been clearly labeled the "challenging" and then say there is no challenge.
Thats what the list is meant to point out.
I played a Druid from Vanilla to Pandaria, what this guy said checks out. There was zero choice in specialization, and the game punished you if you deviated from the "Holy Trinity" setup.
Yeah that's a great point. I only played an Arms warrior from Vanilla-BC, hated tanking. It sucked. Warriors were the best end game tanks but sucked in PVE DPS. I felt the game was hard then but I was doing it wrong, bad and too stubborn to change.