The honor system is one of those things in WoW that doesn't resemble its original implementation whatsoever. It has been refined and revamped so often over the course of the game that it's hard to remember what state it was in during which patches. However, when it initially launched, it was largely just a measure of how often you participated in PVP combat. Ranking up was a matter of time invested. It wasn't perfect and it certainly wouldn't be something players would go along with in the current state of World of Warcraft, but it was what we were given at the time and we enjoyed it.
Nowadays in World of Warcraft, to gain PvP titles you need to be highly ranked in either rated battlegrounds or arenas. Back in the day (and you may picture me waving a cane here if you'd like), titles were awarded based entirely on your level of participation. You didn't need to enter battlegrounds to start ranking up. You didn't even need to win to start ranking up, though it certainly did help. Merely participate and you would be rewarded.
Of course, it wasn't all roses and rainbows. The highest PVP ranks required countless hours of participation -- it wasn't unusual for multiple people to be playing characters that reached the highest PvP ranks. In the very early days of the honor system, it was an unspoken truth that most people seen with the Grand Marshal or High Warlord rank was a character with multiple people playing it so they could grind honor endlessly. When battlegrounds and the honor system first launched, Blizzard held a contest to give away video cards to the first person on each server to reach Grand Marshal or High Warlord. If you don't think players collaborated with their friends, family or roommates to win that thing, you're completely mad.
If you're interested in which titles were available and what the associated perks were, Wowpedia has a great entry on that.
High-end itemization changes
Patch 1.4's sweeping itemization changes throughout high-end 5-man dungeons and the Molten Core raid zone was an extension of what we started to see in patch 1.3. If you want the full explanation, I highly recommend going back to the patch 1.3 Archivist. The definition of what "endgame" was hadn't solidified until after the first year or so of the game had passed, so there were constant tweaks and revamps occurring in level 60 content.
I can't find any screenshots or videos of the first iteration of Andorhal, and it saddens me deeply. The reconstruction of Andorhal changed the terrain of that part of the Western Plaguelands on a level we didn't see again until Cataclysm. The revamp that occurred in patch 1.4 was not as simple as moving around mob spawns or tweaking respawn rates. It was a world-moving project.
Andorhal, at WoW's launch, was an absolute hellhole of a death trap. You did not go in there solo and expect to survive. It was a fully enclosed Scourge-controlled area, where the only entrances and exits were the actual city gates. The roads were flooded with the undead, Araj the Summoner sat right in the middle of everything with an entourage of other elite mobs, and the mere act of looting quest items in the area caused even more mobs to spawn. Loot a book on the ground? Mobs spawn. Investigate grain silos for Chromie? Mobs spawn. Oh, and speaking of Chromie, she hid in the very top of Andorhal's inn, which was also infested with the undead, and she sent you zig-zagging across the area to complete whatever mad tasks she had up her sleeve.
The mobs were brutal, the terrain was brutal, the quests were brutal, and it was neither easy to enter nor easy to exit. It was hell, and you either skipped those quests or you brought friends with you. If you didn't play in classic WoW, imagine the place you've died the most in World of Warcraft. It might be a dungeon, it might be a raid, it might be a specific quest, who knows. Picture it in your mind. Now build walls around it and put an extra pack of elites right in the freaking middle of it. Welcome to Andorhal.
Patch 1.4 cleaned up the mob spawns. It toned down the brutality of the quests. It broke up the outer walls, making it easier to get into, and out of, the entire area. Patch 1.4 even leveled out the terrain, making it easier to see where you were going, what was in front of you, and simplifying your paths between structures. It was quite amusing, actually, because the developers forgot to relocate resource nodes when they changed the terrain, so there was ore and herbs floating in the sky for months afterward.
Andorhal could still be tough at times. Even with the reduced spawns and respawns, there were a lot of mobs and Araj the Summoner's presence was dangerous. Patch 1.4 made it a shadow of its former self, though. It was a much-deserved nerf.
One of the biggest bits of controversy I can think of back in the days of classic WoW was the succubus revamp. The succubus model early on in the game was a bit ... well, awful. It was very much in line with the game models early in WoW's development, but there had been countless improvements all throughout the alpha and beta. Character models as a whole changed across many races. The succubus was never updated with the rest, and considering how often warlocks were meant to have her around, it was rather crappy that they had to look at such an outdated thing all of the time.
They were sexualizing the succubus more than they had previously, there is no doubt about that. However, it's a succubus. It's a demonic representation of raw predatorial sexuality. So ... yeah. If there's going to be a succubus at all, it's going to be sexualized. If the argument was against sexualization (which is a perfectly valid thing), the argument should have been for removing the succubus as a summoned demon rather than arguing against the sexualization of a sexual thing.
If the developers are adding incubus models like they mentioned earlier this year, I truly and honestly hope they have abs of steel and butts of chiseled granite, just to balance things out. Lads and ladies, feel free to discuss your incubus dream demon in the comments. Just keep it safe for work. As safe for work as Ms. Succubus up there is, anyway.
The WoW Archivist examines the WoW of old. Follow along while we discuss the lost legendary, the opening of Ahn'Qiraj, and hidden locations such as the crypts of Karazhan.