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12-29-2011 @ 10:21AM
The biggest difference, really, was that gear was far less accessible in Burning Crusade than it has been since. If you were a non-raider, chances were fairly low that you would ever out-gear the dungeons. Adding to that the fact that a lot of the dungeons didn't really have much of a difference in loot between normal and heroic modes (the ones that had level 70 equivalents basically dropped the same gear in both modes with the exception of epic gems and the end boss dropping epics), and gearing up was just a much longer process then.At best, non-raiders wound up in Kara or ZA-equivilent gear levels. Which took the edge off of some of the dungeons, but didn't totally overpower them.Compare that to Wrath and Cata, where it became considerably easier to get more powerful gear as the expansions went on. Adding to that the removal of the "gated" concept by taking away the rep grinds to get into the heroics in the first place (Anne's not kidding when she talks about it taking a while to even be able to access the heroics), and the entire process was much faster.As far as sheer difficulty goes, was Burning Crusade harder than Wrath and Cata? That's hard to actually say, because perception goes a long way in coloring someone's judgement, and there was an awful lot in place in Burning Crusade to keep the majority of the player base at the level where the content was very difficult. I do recall doing a few heroics in Burning Crusade with people geared in full T6, though, and it being just as much a "run through and burn everything" experience as anything in Wrath was. So I agree with you that objectively, the actually gap in difficulty between BC and later stuff isn't nearly as wide as people claim. The model most definitely did change, though, and that did make heroic dungeons easier on a functional level, regardless of the actual tuning.It's a necessary side effect to them wanting to open up the content to more and more of the player base, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. At the very least, avoiding it completely would mean taking away an awful lot of improvements to the game that I doubt players would be willing to part with, however nostalgic for BC they claim to be.
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